Tim Stauffer is giving the Padres reason to believe he'll join Mat Latos and Clayton Richard and perhaps Wade LeBlanc and Corey Luebke in an inexpensive, well-balanced Opening Day rotation, 2011. Stauffer has stretched out nicely since moving from long relief to starting. Over his last five starts, Stauffer has a 2.25 ERA with a .208 batting average allowed. He has a 1.91 ERA in six starts this year -- 33 innings, seven earned runs.
Stauffer's good work was for naught on Monday, as the Cubs prevailed 1-0 behind three good pitchers -- Carlos Zambrano followed by Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol. The Padres have stunk it up against a variety of pitchers for several weeks now, so I'm not giving the Cubs all of the credit. But Chicago's pitching staff is having a pretty good year. The Cubs have thrown 12 shutouts, their most since a staff led by Mark Prior and Kerry Wood amassed 14 shutouts in 2003. I wonder if this Cubs staff throws too many breaking balls for its long-term good, but that's just a random thought.
Tonight, the Padres need a return to form by the Tattoed One.