There's tip-toeing to be done around this fact: Kenshin Kawakami was horrendous his last time out. But if there was ever an opportunity to turn things around, Kenshin will have one when he faces the gutted San Diego Padres on Monday night.
The Padres no longer have Jake Peavy, but the Braves will have the misfortune of facing the best rookie San Diego pitcher since Peavy: 21-year-old RHP Mat Latos. Young Mat has been stellar in his first 16 1/3 innings in the majors (13 K, 4 BB, 9 H, 5 ER). If there's a chink to be found in Latos' armor, it's his 59% flyball rate. When major league batters are hitting that many balls in the air, several of them are bound to leave the yard. But there is one obvious factor mitigating the impact of this weakness - tonight's game will be played in PETCO, a park that has been very generous to the likes of flyball pitchers Jake Peavy and Chris Young over the years.
Kawakami will also enjoy the benefits of PETCO. Though he doesn't have the extreme GB/FB split of Latos, he's no GB artist (41% FB). But it's Kawakami's other skills that need improvement if he's to improve upon his woeful start against Florida last week. In the last 22 1/3 IP, Kawakami has struck out just 10 batters while walking 12.
Tim Hudson pitched 4 scoreless innings at AAA Gwinnett on July 27th... Just saying.