Probable Pitching Matchups

Carlos Zambrano vs. Tim Stauffer

Zambrano is riding a 10-game winning streak, dating back to last season. He’s coming off a win over the Astros in his last start in which he gave up five runs on seven hits over 5 2/3 innings. His wins haven’t been pretty, but they’re still “W’s.” Stauffer pitched 4 1/3 innings in last start against the Reds, allowing two runs on six hits. He threw 99 pitches, 63 for strikes.

James Russell vs. Dustin Moseley

In his first big league start on Aug. 12 at Houston, Russell couldn’t last through two innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits in 1 2/3 innings. He’ll be followed by Jeff Samardzija again as the Cubs try to fill Andrew Cashner’s spot. What can you say about Moseley, who is 0-3 but has a 1.83 ERA? The Padres haven’t scored a run for him in his three starts, though he’s pitched well. That streak spans 19 2/3 innings. He got 15 ground-ball outs in his last start against the Astros.

Matt Garza vs. Aaron Harang

All Garza needs is a little help from his teammates. The Cubs have been shut out in his last two starts. He pitched well enough vs. the Rockies, giving up five runs on seven hits over six innings. Garza now has fanned 25 over 18 2/3 innings. Say this about Harang — he’s been remarkably consistant in his first season with the Padres. He’s allowed one run over six innings in each of his first three starts. He struck out eight in his last start against the Astros on Friday.

Geoff Young’s Scouting Report on the Padres

Who’s Hot – Nick Hundley started strong, got moved up from the no. 8 spot to no. 5, and then stopped hitting. Newcomers Orlando Hudson and Cameron Maybin have been solid on offense and defense. Maybin is the Padres’ most exciting player to watch right now. Dustin Moseley has been a pleasant surprise in the rotation, although the club has yet to score a run for him in three starts. Local product Aaron Harang looks like his old self in the early going.

Who’s Not – The offense has been nonexistent. Jason Bartlett and Will Venable are off to slow starts. Ryan Ludwick has continued last year’s struggles and is hitting under .200 in nearly 300 plate appearances since joining the Padres. Brad Hawpe is swinging at everything and missing most of it.

News & Notes – Former Cubs farmhand Eric Patterson is on the roster. He had a terrific spring before starting the season on the disabled list due to a bad hamstring. The Padres lead the National League in stolen bases and rank near the top in bases on balls, but are at or near the bottom of almost every other offensive category. On the other side, they lead the league in ERA.

Prediction for the series – Predicting the outcome of a short series is a fool’s errand, but that’s no fun, so I’ll say Padres take two out of three. The key is Ludwick, who should do better in the NL Central’s smaller ballparks. If his bat comes to life, the Padres will have a good series.

Geoff Young covers the Padres at the Ducksnorts blog, part of the SweetSpot Network and can be followed on Twitter @ducksnorts

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids and helps people protect their assets as an independent insurance agent. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail