The San Diego Padres won’t ever be confused with the Texas Rangers, but the team is showing signs of life after a quiet first half. San Diego has scored seven or more runs three times in the five games since the All-Star break after accomplishing that feat just 13 times in its first 87 contests. The Padres routed Houston 8-2 on Tuesday, handing the Astros their 14th loss in their last 16 games. After a dismal first half, center fielder Cameron Maybin is hitting .319 in July. Utilityman Alexi Amarista had three more hits Tuesday, and he’s batting .383 (31-for-81) in his last 27 games.
Before Tuesday’s loss, Houston Astros learned catcher Jason Castro could need season-ending surgery after being diagnosed with meniscus damage in his right knee, and shortstop Jed Lowrie will be out four-to-six weeks with a nerve issue in his right leg. The team hasn’t won back-to-back road games since April 25-27, and rumors persist that Houston will deal relievers Brett Myers and Brandon Lyon before the July 31 trade deadline. In the midst of all the bad news, the Astros have been pleasantly surprised by the play of rookie shortstop Marwin Gonzalez, who is 7-for-12 in his last three games.
Astros Padres Betting
When: 3:35 PM ET, Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Where: Petco Park, San Diego, California
TV: 3:35 p.m. ET, FS Houston (Houston), Fox Sports San Diego (San Diego)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Astros LH Wandy Rodriguez (7-7, 3.51 ERA) vs. Padres LH Clayton Richard (6-10, 3.83)
Rodriguez has worked five or more innings in his last 48 starts, which is the longest active streak in the National League. He gave up four runs over six frames last Friday against the San Francisco Giants, and he’s 3-2 with a a 4.93 ERA in seven career starts against San Diego.
Richard has been the Padres’ most consistent starter this season, and he’s been especially sharp over his last seven starts – going 4-3 with a 2.68 ERA. He’s posted a quality start in 10 of his last 14 outings, and he’s 0-1 with a 5.11 ERA in two career starts against the Astros. He gave up one run over seven innings against Houston on June 27.
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1. Over the last seven games, the Padres bullpen has allowed just three runs over 22 1/3 innings.
2. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow indicated that 1B Brett Wallace will soon be promoted from Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he’s batting .295 with 14 homers.
3. Padres RHP Joe Wieland will have season-ending Tommy John surgery on July 31.