Rookies Despaigne, Hahn Making Marks

Pittsburgh Pirates vs San Diego PadresBy Bill Center

Rookie right-handers Jesse Hahn and Odrisamer Despaigne have four of the five wins recorded by the Padres over the last 10 games, going a combined 4-0 with a combined 1.03 earned run average.

Hahn, who faces the Reds and former Padre Mat Latos Monday night at Petco Park, has allowed three runs (two earned) on nine hits and three walks with 15 strikeouts over 13 innings in his last two starts. Overall, the 24-year-old Hahn is 3-1 in four Major League starts with a 2.38 ERA in 22 2/3 innings.

Despaigne is 2-0 with a 0.66 ERA after two Major League starts. He has allowed one run on nine hits and four walks in 13 2/3 innings after holding Arizona to one run in 6 2/3 innings Sunday afternoon in the Padres 2-1 win at Petco Park.

Before joining the Padres last Monday in San Francisco, Despaigne was 1-3 with a 7.61 earned run average in five starts for Single-A El Paso. What is different with the Cuban?

“From our reports and the people who saw him pitch at El Paso, Despaigne had stretches of really good pitching while he was with the Chihuahuas,” said Padres manager Bud Black. “There were a number of at-bats and innings that looked like big league pitching. “Numbers don’t truly show how a guy is doing.”

But there are some interesting numbers from Despaigne’s first two starts.

  • Despaigne is the first pitcher in Padres history and the 33rd since 1914 in the Major Leagues to throw 6 2/3 or more innings in his first two Major League starts and allow one run or less in each of the two games.
  • Since 1914, he is the 21st Major League pitcher – and the first National Leaguer since Geraldo Guzman in 2000 – to go 2-0 with zero or one run allowed in two games and pitch 13 2/3 or more innings in his first two Major League games.
  • Despaigne is only the seven pitcher (and sixth starter) in Padres history to go have a 2-0 won-loss record after his first two Major League appearances.

Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt had some nice things to say about Despaigne after Sunday’s game.

“We had a lot of information,” said Goldschmidt. “We had some guys who faced him in Triple-A. We had video of his first start. It didn’t matter.

“He mixes it up. He can throw any one of his five or six pitches at any time in the game and in any count. He uses his curve ball and slider. And he can throw all his pitches differently. He threw a super slow curve. He threw one at 75 (mph) and one at 65. His slider was anywhere from 80 to 88.”

PADRES PUZZLER: In addition to Despaigne, who are the other six Padres in franchise history to be 2-0 after their first two Major League appearances?

LATE RELIEF: Right-handed, late-game relievers Joaquin Benoit and Huston Street appeared in tandem Sunday for the first time in nine games dating back to June 19. Street retired all three Diamondbacks he faced Sunday to pick up his 21st save. It was his first save opportunity and appearance since June 19. Street is a perfect 21-for-21 in save opportunities this season, but has had only four chances in June. Since 1969, Street’s 0.93 earned run average is the second-lowest by a closer without a blown before the All-Star break to J.J. Putz’s had a 0.88 ERA for Seattle in 2007. Benoit (1.34 ERA) has not allowed a run in 16 appearances since May 11. He has given up seven hits and three walks in 16 innings with 20 strikeouts. Street (0.93 ERA) has made 10 straight scoreless appearances, allowing five hits and a walk with nine strikeouts.

GOAL: The Park at the Park at Petco Park will be open Tuesday so that World Cup soccer fans can watch the United States-Belgium quarterfinals match on the large (17 feet by 29 feet)  LED video display board on the back of the batter’s eye. Gates will open at 12:30 p.m., a half-hour before the match starts and will close at the end of the match. Admission is free with discounted parking available in both the Tailgate and Parcel C parking lots. Selected concession stands will be open in the area, including the Beer Garden. Enter through the East Village and Gaslamp gates.

GOOD MEDICINE: First baseman Tommy Medica has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games (9-for-30). He has also hit safely in his last seven games at Petco Park, going 7-for-22 (.318). He is hitting .563 (9-for-16) in five games against Arizona this season with two doubles, a triple and two home runs.

MAYBIN IMPROVING: Center fielder Cameron Maybin had a RBI double to tie the game Sunday and is hitting .292 (7-for24) with a double, two triples, three RBIs and five runs scored in his last nine games.

PUZZLER ANSWER: Dave Freisleben (1974), Lee Hardy (1974), Joey Hamilton (1994), Brian Tollberg (2000), Oliver Perez (2002) and Mike Thompson (2006).


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