A night after their young stud starter Mat Latos had another dominant performance, the San Diego Padres sent another young hurler to the bump against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Cory Luebke made his second professional start Wednesday night and he was awesome.
Luebke was stellar over six shutout innings, allowing just two hits and one walk, while striking out seven. The 25-year-old lefty has been one of the top pitching prospects in San Diego’s system for a few years and looked the part Wednesday night.
The Padres supported Luebke by getting four runs off of Chad Billingsley but using their patented version of small ball all night. The rookie was then backed up by baseball’s best bullpen, which had four relievers combined for three innings while allowing just one hit and no runs.
The 4-0 win over the Dodgers gave the NL West-leading Padres a sweep over their hated rivals and allowed them to pick up a game on the second-place Giants, who dropped a 3-1 decision to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Luebke’s performance has to be encouraging for the Padres. It could give them a fresh arm down the stretch as a major part of the starting rotation.
Fellow starters Kevin Correia and Wade LeBlanc have struggled over the past month. While Correia’s issues are more likely related to an inability to repeat his delivery consistently, LeBlanc is obviously struggling because this is his first full big league season. He may have simply hit a wall.
Luebke boasts a low-90s fastball that touched 93 tonight that he can turn into a two-seamer, a solid change-up and a slider. He used all of his pitches effectively on Wednesday and looks like he could be the real deal.