Jake Peavy came out with something to prove, to show why the Padres should keep him, why they can win with him at the helm as a leader.
If General Manager Kevin Towers' eyes weren't open before, they were after the dominant performance by the Padres' ace against the Cubs on Friday night. Peavy gave up just two hits and struck out 10 through six innings of work and got strong pitching from the bullpen as the Padres won their seventh straight, shutting out the Cubs, 4-0.
Ever since Towers shook up the team and their bullpen, the Padres have been untouchable. With sweeps of the Cincinnati Reds, San Francisco Giants and now a shutout victory over the strong Chicago Cubs' offense, this team looks like the team that came out of the gates with a 9-3 start.
They're getting strong pitching from Jake, Chris Young, Kevin Correia and they're getting shutdown pitching from Luke Gregerson, Greg Burke, Edward Mujica and most of all, Heath Bell who closed out the game for his 12th save in as many chances, lowering his ERA 0.49 as he would get the final out in the ninth.
But, let's not just talk about the Padres' pitching, they've also been getting it done offensively. Tony Gwynn Jr, making his first start for the Padres, picked up a double and scored twice. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez picked up his Major League leading 16th home run with a towering shot to left in the seventh inning off Cubs' reliever Neil Cotts.
There was a scary moment in the very first inning. After Gwynn doubled to lead off the game, second baseman David Eckstein squared around to bunt and was hit square in the chest by a Carlos Zambrano fastball.
Eckstein remained on the ground for a few minutes before getting up under his own power and, like only Eck can do, stayed in the game as he walked down to first base. He would later be taken out of the game to be checked on by team trainers.
I will say one thing about that moment; if you watch the video of it, had the pitch been another few inches higher and it would have caught Eckstein right in the face. You can't say that the Zambrano was purposely throwing at Eck, but the pitch was way too far inside.
The Padres and Cubs will play the second of their three game set on Saturday night from Petco Park. The Padres will have Josh Geer (0-1, 5.61) on the hill while the Cubs will counter with Randy Wells (0-0, 0.00), who will make just his third start this season, getting only no decisions in his previous two outings.