Six-man rotation pays off for Padres

Six-man rotation pays off for Padres

SAN DIEGO -- The second week of the Padres' six-man rotation experiment began with a bang on Monday, when Cha Seung Baek tossed seven scoreless innings with an extra day of rest, which prompted a question of manager Bud Black.

Why not carry a six-man rotation in 2009?

The Padres opted to go to a six-man rotation last week for two reasons: They want to get a look at four pitchers who could be in their rotation next season -- rookies Josh Geer and Wade LeBlanc and Shawn Estes and Baek.

The move also allows pitchers like Jake Peavy and Chris Young an extra day of rest in a season gone sour. Had the Padres been in contention for the playoffs, Black has said, this isn't a plan they would have attempted.

So far, the results have been good.

Baek had a strong outing against the Dodgers, which followed Young's near no-hitter on Sunday when he came within four outs of the first no-hitter in franchise history. And one day before that, Peavy allowed one run in seven innings.

Estes allowed one run in six innings of a 5-2 victory over the Brewers on Thursday in his first start since coming off the disabled list.

Still, it's not enough to convince Black that this is something worth carrying over to next season.

"I think we've pitched better lately because we've made better pitches," Black said, as he dismissed the notion that an additional day of rest was the main reason for the recent run of success by the starters.

Black said Tuesday that the Padres will stay with this plan for a while, possibly to the end of the regular season.

"The premise was to see a lot of our starters ... and not have everyone push through four days' rest in September," Black said.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.