If only there was an infield chop rule. Edinson Volquez pitched the game of his life on Thursday night, literally missing a no-hitter by inches, as the San Diego Padres shut out the Houston Astros, 1-0. As good as the complete game, one-hit shutout was, it would have been the first no-hitter in franchise history if not for an infield chopper that glanced off Volquez' glove in the fourth inning off the bat of Matt Downs. The infield single turned out to be the Astros' only hit, leaving us waiting for the that first Padres' no-no. The near miss was hard to think about for Volquez:
In hurling the first complete game and shutout of his career, he improved to 6-7 and lowered his ERA from 3.69 to 3.34. It's a good thing he was so on, because the offense was not. Already suffering from the lowest run support in the Majors, Volquez had to be nearly perfect to win on a day when the offense managed only one run on four hits. Alexi Amarista led off the game with a double, and Logan Forsythe punched a single through the right side to knock him in. Two batters, one run, and that was all the drama the day would produce–except for that little infield chopper that spoiled history. Volquez walked three, fanned five, and is now 4th in the NL with a stellar .214 opponents batting avg. against him. In comparison, Mat Latos, the man the Padres gave up for Volquez, is currently 7-3 with a much higher ERA, 4.33, and batting avg. against, .243. How do you like those numbers Padre fans?
Lucas Harrell was the hard-luck loser for the Astros, leveling out his record at 7-7. Imagine going seven innings, giving up just one run on four hits, walking one and striking out six–and getting hung with a loss. That, my friends, is exactly why ERA is a significantly better indicator of a pitcher's performance than won/lost record.
It was only the second complete game of the season for the Friars, and get this–they were the only team in the Majors to not have a complete game all of last season, and had only two in both 2009 and 2010. In other words, in the past three-and-a-half seasons, Padre pitchers have hurled a mere six complete games.
Taking three out of four in the series means San Diego has won two series in a row, three games in a row, and five of their last seven. Can they keep it up? Be sure to cast your vote in the fan poll here at Padres 101.com about how the Padres will do in the second half, and then join the conversation by leaving a comment in this or any other article. Let your voice be heard! Thursday's game was also goodbye to the Houston Astros, who are moving to the AL next season, so the next time the Padres see them will be either in an interleague series–or the World Series.
Next up is the Colorado Rockies, who come in for a three game set and are currently two-and-a-half games behind the Padres in the NL West. The opener has Jason Marquis (2-5, 3.62) going against the Rockies' Drew Pomeranz (1-4, 3.79).
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