The turbulent 32-year old was traded in August from the Rangers after creating numerous beanball confrontations and often retreating to the clubhouse in the middle of the game to surf the web (according to Baseball Prospectus). He had two great playoff starts for the Dodgers last year, and was even tabbed to be this year's Opening Day Starter. With the Dodgers he is 8-2 with a 3.48 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. He's in his 12 major league season, and for his career, he's 102-87, with a 4.30 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. He made the All-Star team in 2002 with the Phillies. Padilla hasn't faced the Mets since 2005 so his stats against them don't matter, but he is 10-3 in 12 starts (21 appearances).
Padilla has regained some of his velocity on his fastball back (up to 92.5 MPH, highest since 2005), an 84-mph slider, 64 mph curveball, and an occasional split 84 mph. This season all his pitches have been plus, but for his career his only plus pitch is his fastball. He's increased his use of his curve this year to 14% (from 9%). He's getting swings and misses on balls out of the strike zone 30% of the time, a career high, but his swing and miss % is below average at 7%. He throws a first pitch fastball 72% of the time, and with two strikes he's willing to throw his fastball, curve or slider.
This year he's spent time on the disabled list with a strained R forearm, and is 4-2 in 10 starts (61 2/3 innings), with a 3.65 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. His strike out rate is at a career high, 8 K/9, and his walk rate is a career low, 2.1 W/9. Before you think he should be in line for a Cy Young vote, look at his BAPIP (.242; career and league average is .300). So that is unsustainable, and his strand rate is higher than normal (76.4% career = 72%). When you take both of those into account, his FIP is 4.46. In his last five starts since June 25th, he's been outstanding, with a 3-1 record. He's only five earned runs allowed in 34 2/3 innings (1.29 ERA). Versus the Cardinals last start, he threw six shutout innings and allowed only one hit, but walked five, a season high. He's only thrown 100 pitches in three of his six starts since returning from the DL.