The 30-year old RHP was a 1st round draft pick in 1997 by the Cubs and has been in the majors since 2000, has made 30+ starts every year since 2002, and averaged 208 innings a year. He’s one of three pitchers (J Vasquez and M Buehrle) that has thrown 190+ innings every year since 2002. He has signed two one-year deals the past two off-seasons; in 2008 he signed a one year deal with Arizona for 7.25 million. This off-season he signed for 5.3 million with the Padres. He was dealt to the Dodgers for the stretch run, made six starts and had a 2.72 ERA for them last September. For his career, he is 123-105, with a 4.35 ERA and 1.38 WHIP. He is considered a “league-average-innings-eater”. His number one comp is Kyle Lohse. He’s started against the Mets three times, threw 21 innings and is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA, and 1.19 WHIP. Two of those starts were last year, one was a CG and ten days later he threw six innings with two earned runs.
He throws a fastball (90 mph) 59% of the time, both two and four-seam, a slider (84 mph), cutter (20% of time), an occasional curve-ball (76 mph) and an improved change-up (80 mph). Manager Bud Black credits his change-up for his improvement this year, but as detailed below, he's decreased the usage of it. His fastball has been outstanding for the Padres, as well as an improved slider. He has also increased the usage of his two-seam fastball (35%) and cutter (16%) this year, while decreasing his change-up to 8% (from 15) and his four-seam fastball to 35%.
This year, he’s made 12 starts, and his numbers look great; he’s 6-3 with a 2.68 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. However he’s been very lucky (high strand rate 77%, low BAPIP .269), and is walking 3.6 W/9 (highest since 2003), while still not striking out a lot of hitters, 5.6 K/9. He has gone 7 innings in six of his 12 starts. His last start versus the Phillies he went seven innings, but let up 10 hits, six earned runs and a home run. Eight of his last 10 starts he’s allowed two earned runs or less.