Padres not laughing at Padilla's 'funny' curve

Padres not laughing at Padilla's 'funny' curve

LOS ANGELES -- Padres outfielder Will Venable saw two "soap bubble" pitches from Dodgers pitcher Vicente Padilla on Wednesday.

"It's a funny little pitch," Venable said.

The pitch, which is a curveball thrown at speeds that seldom exceed 60 mph, was one Padilla used on occasion on his way to a shutout of the Padres, 9-0. Padilla took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before Ryan Ludwick singled with one out.

Venable had a simple approach to the pitch, one that comes in with a high arc and, if thrown correctly, breaks sharply as it passes through the strike zone.

"It might be different for other guys ... but I told myself I wasn't going to swing at it," Venable said. "I didn't know how consistently he threw it for strikes, so I wasn't going to swing at it.

"As soon as it came out of his hand, I was in auto-take mode."

San Diego manager Bud Black was more impressed with the 94 mph fastballs Padilla threw, though he admitted the "soap bubble," as Dodgers announcer Vin Scully calls it, can be effective.

"It's the way he pitches," Black said. "He's got that rare ability to flip that curve up there with good arm speed. That's hard to do."