Series preview: San Diego Padres
No Padre was more excited about Opening Day than right-hander Aaron Harang.
After three down seasons in Cincinnati, the 32-year-old native San Diegan signed as a free agent with the Padres with the hopes that the combination of being home and working at pitcher-friendly Petco Park would reverse his fortunes.
For their part, the Padres named Harang to pitch the home opener.
Not only did Harang win the home opener, but he shut down the Dodgers on Sunday to halt a three-game Padres losing streak.
In his first two outings as a Padre, the 6-foot-7 Harang allowed three runs (two earned) on nine hits over 12 innings. He is now 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA and has retired 34 of the 47 hitters he faced.
On Sunday, Harang gave up only three hits in six-plus innings, although his own fielding error in the seventh led to an unearned run and his exit.
Harang retired 17 of the 23 Dodgers he faced, including 10 straight.
"I don't think it's a surprise to anyone who knows me that I'm happy to be pitching back in San Diego," said Harang, who attended San Diego State after attending a high school less than a 10-minute drive from the university.
Harang signed a one-year contract with the Padres at $3.5 million with a mutual option for 2012 at $5 million.
--LF Ryan Ludwick snapped out of an 0-for-17 slump Sunday with the home run that tied as the 10th longest in the history of Petco Park. Ludwick hit a John Ely fastball 438 feet into the second deck in left. Ludwick is hitting .120 on the season with his first two RBI coming on a bases-loaded walk and a ground out.
--RHP Mat Latos comes off the disabled list Monday to make his first start of the 2011 season against the Cincinnati Reds at Petco Park. Latos, 23, finished 14-10 last season with a 2.92 ERA and set a major league record with 15 straight starts allowing two or fewer runs while working at least five innings in every start. From May 1-Sept. 7, Latos went 13-3 with a 1.64 ERA, but was 0-5 with an 8.18 ERA over his last five starts. He is also coming off an unsettled spring.
--LHP Wade LeBlanc was recalled from Triple-A Tucson Sunday. Although he is a career starter, LeBlanc, 26, adds depth to a Padres bullpen that has logged 19 innings in the past two games because Friday night's starter Clayton Richard came out after facing one hitter in the second due to a 94-minute rain delay. LeBlanc was 8-12 with a 4.25 ERA in 26 games (25 starts) with the Padres last season. He was the Opening Day pitcher for Tucson in Colorado Springs and gave up nine runs on 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings in a game won 18-14 by the Padres' new affiliate.
--RHP Samuel Deduno was optioned to Tucson to make room for LHP Wade LeBlanc. Deduno, 27, was recalled from Tucson just before the start of the season when RHP Mat Latos was placed on the disabled list. He made two appearances with the Padres, most recently Saturday night when he allowed the Dodgers a run on four hits over two innings.
--OF-2B Eric Patterson was activated from the 15-day disabled list Sunday. Patterson, 28, opened the season on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain. Patterson hit .438 (14-for-32) during spring training with seven doubles, a triple, a home run and eight RBI.
--CF Cedric Hunter, 23, was optioned to Tucson to make room for OF-2B Eric Patterson. Hunter was promoted from Tucson just before the start of the season because Patterson went on the disabled list. He made his major league debut as a pinch-runner on Opening Day in St. Louis and got his first major league hit in the home opener against the Giants on Tuesday.
--2B Orlando Hudson was 5-for-12 in the three-game series against the Dodgers and 1B Brad Hawpe was 3-for-9 and had three hits in his last six at-bats after snapping a 1-for-17 drought. But their success shouldn't surprise the Dodgers. Hawpe (.351) and Hudson (.337), respectively, have the third- and fifth-highest averages among active players with more than 150 plate appearances against the Dodgers.
--C Nick Hundley is off to a .440 start (11-for-25 with a double, triple and two homers for seven RBI). But his error and passed ball Friday night resulted in two unearned runs that allowed the Dodgers to score a 4-2 win in 11-innings. Hundley has hit safely in all six games he has started.
BY THE NUMBERS: 3 -- Homers by the Padres Sunday (Ryan Ludwick, Nick Hundley and Cameron Maybin). That's the most homers by the Padres in a game against the Dodgers since Sept. 11, 2007. The last time they hit three homers against the Dodgers in Petco Park was Sept. 21, 2004. The Padres had also hit three homers in their first seven games.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's a tough day. Everyone is a little tired from that fiasco last night." -- 3B Chase Headley, after the Padres on Saturday lost the suspended game from Friday and the regular game to the Dodgers. Friday's game was delayed four times by rain for a total of three hours and 36 minutes.
--RHP Mat Latos (right shoulder bursitis) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He threw a side session March 31, and he pitched a simulated game in Arizona on April 4. He will be activated to start April 11 against Cincinnati.
--LHP Joe Thatcher (left shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He had a setback during a bullpen session April 5, and he was shut down again.
--1B Kyle Blanks (Tommy John surgery in July 2010) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22.
--INF Jarrett Hoffpauir (right quadriceps strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. The injury was not considered serious.
--OF Mike Baxter (left thumb surgery in March 2011) went on the 60-day disabled list March 28. He might be able to return in late May.
• RHP Tim Stauffer
• LHP Clayton Richard
• RHP Dustin Moseley
• RHP Aaron Harang
• RHP Heath Bell (closer)
• RHP Mike Adams
• RHP Luke Gregerson
• RHP Chad Qualls
• RHP Ernesto Frieri
• RHP Pat Neshek
• LHP Cory Luebke
• LHP Wade LeBlanc
• Nick Hundley
• Rob Johnson
• 1B Brad Hawpe
• 2B Orlando Hudson
• SS Jason Bartlett
• 3B Chase Headley
• INF Jorge Cantu
• INF Alberto Gonzalez
• INF/OF Eric Patterson
• LF Ryan Ludwick
• CF Cameron Maybin
• RF Will Venable
• OF Chris Denorfia