When it comes to recent surprises, the San Diego Padres’ current (and season-long) six-game winning streak ranks somewhere between my inexplicable 7-1 run with these selections (after the Pirates’ 2-0 win over Houston last night) and the say-it-ain’t-so breakup of TomKat. After posting five straight road wins in Colorado and Arizona, the Padres last night came home and rallied from 1-0 deficit with single runs in the bottom of the eighth and ninth innings to walk off with a 2-1 victory. Most impressive is the fact that during its hot streak, San Diego has been able to win both conventionally (with strong pitching, giving up a total of three runs in three of the victories) and unconventionally (the light-hitting Padres have posted four wins by scores of 8-6, 9-5, 6-2 and 8-4).
While the Friars are rolling, so too are the Reds … downhill, that is. Cincinnati has dropped three in a row (scoring a single run in each defeat), four of five and six of nine. Still, the Reds are favored tonight, mainly because of a perceived pitching matchup. I don’t really see it. Admittedly, Padres journeyman Kip Wells isn’t someone I want to bet on regularly (there’s a reason he made his first big-league start in 2½ years just 10 days ago), but he did pitch seven shutout innings in Colorado on Saturday, winning 2-0. Meanwhile, Cincinnati’s Bronson Arroyo is just 3-5 with a 4.06 ERA, and the Reds are just 3-6 in his last nine trips to the mound (1-5 on the road). They’ve also lost six of Arroyo’s last nine starts against the Padres (including four of the last five). Roll with the red-hot home ‘dog in this one.
Rating:★ ★ ☆ ☆
Thursday’s Result: Pirates (-140) vs. Astros (Win)