MLB- (8:05 ET, MLB.TV) San Diego at Houston

MLB- (8:05 ET, MLB.TV) San Diego at Houston

San Diego's road trip continues in Houston on Friday and the acknowledged ace of the staff Jake Peavy has once again run into problems


San Diego's road trip continues in Houston on Friday and the acknowledged ace of the staff Jake Peavy has once again run into problems. Still, oddsmakers are giving him the respect he's received all season long again tonight, listing him and the Padres as 150 favorites.

The 26-year old right-hander is known for having four very good pitches, excellent velocity and quiet confidence with bulldog determination. Still not near his peak in terms of experience and knowledge, he is developing disturbing trends that should at the very least be considered by those willing to place cold hard cash on the betting line.

This season Peavy started brilliantly with 9-1 record and the Padres 12-3 in all his starts. Since being matched up in a true pitchers battle with Josh Beckett on a Sunday afternoon interleague game on June 24 and losing to Boston 4-2, the wheels have started to shake like the alignment is off. The 2.47 earned run average is certainly no sign of trouble; however he has lost four in a row and has not won since June 18.

Pitchers like batters go through slumps and maybe he's scuffling a bit right now. It is curious to note in 2006 he was 11-15 with 4.20 ERA and was 6-4 after July 1 in 2005, with San Diego only 7-6 in his starts. He does benefit like all pitchers do throwing off the mound at Petco Park. The main difference between the Petco and the Grand Canyon is the north rim of the park does not border Utah. Otherwise when asking hitters the differences are fairly similar save the Colorado River.

This is not intended to say Peavy is not a very good pitcher since he is 4-0 on the road this season with magnifying glass ERA of 0.94. The most dependable aspect of his game is 16-3 UNDER record vs. teams outscored by the opposition by 0.5 or more runs a game in the second half of the season in his career. (Padres Record) Plus he will have the good fortune of facing a Houston lineup that is 3-13 against the money line after batting .240 or worse over a 15 game span this season. has made Peavy and the Padres -150 road favorites over the Astros facing former teammate Woody Williams. The well traveled Williams is having negative year with 5-11 record and 5.03 ERA. After abysmal start he is rounding into form with four quality starts in last five outings and 2.91 ERA in last three trips to the slab. At 40, Williams is not the same pitcher he used to be, yet interestingly enough is 19-5 against the ML after giving up no earned runs last outing since 1997. (Team's Record)

Williams is also 4-0 with a 2.25 ERA against the Friars back when he was pitching with exceptional St. Louis clubs. Peavy is 5-3 lifetime against Houston and his teammates have had problems with hurlers like Williams posting 12-20 mark vs. an NL starting pitcher whose ERA is 4.70 to 5.20 over the last two seasons.

Jake Peavy could throw a no-hitter Friday night, his stuff is that good, but recent history suggests the weak hitting Padres and less then overwhelming Alabama native are not "Guaranteed Winner."

Those with MLB-TV can follow Peavy's exploits starting at 8:05 Eastern or listen on XM 183. The Live Odds page will enable the savvy bettor to stay on top of the latest moves for this and other MLB encounters.

StatFox Power Line San Diego -148

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