Take a look at Shelby Miller's numbers, and it's easy to see that the Padres are about to face one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball on Monday.
There's Miller's 1.40 ERA, tied with Clayton Kershaw for the lowest mark in the Majors, his 57 strikeouts in 51 1/3 innings, .182 opponents average and 0.88 WHIP. He's been untouchable lately, as he carries a 14 2/3-inning scoreless streak into Monday night's matchup with Jason Marquis at Petco Park.
"I feel really strong," Miller said Wednesday. "I feel really good. I feel like I'm where I need to be."
But there's one number Miller can improve -- the quickly escalating pitch count that limited his last start to 5 2/3 innings. He's finished seven innings only twice in eight starts and averaging 16.2 pitches per inning, and he'd obviously like to pitch deeper into Monday's game.
Miller has still been as effective as any pitcher in the Majors, however, and he's allowed only one run over his last three starts (20 2/3 innings). Making him even more dangerous, he rediscovered his changeup his last time out. It's not a new pitch for him, but he had hardly needed it given how well his fastball and curveball were getting the job done.
"The biggest thing is building confidence in the pitch," Miller said. "I have mixed up the grip on it since Spring Training, and it went back down to 83-85 mph, which is 10 mph slower than my fastball. I like that speed. It's kind of weird. It was like 86-87 in Spring Training. I got some mph off of it. I like where it's at, and I like that we threw it [on Wednesday]."
Taking the ball for the Padres will be Marquis, who lacks most of Miller's dazzling numbers but has been no less dependable for San Diego. Marquis has gone 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA over his last four starts, his longest winning streak since a five-game stretch for the Cubs in 2008.
The team's leader in wins threw eight scoreless innings against the Marlins on May 8, then gave up two runs on seven hits and four walks over five-plus innings Wednesday against Baltimore. But the Padres scored eight runs in that game, and his sinker was good enough to induce two critical double plays and get the job done.
"Some days you're not going to feel as good as others, but you've still got to make pitches in a big situation," Marquis said Wednesday. "It was huge [that] the defense picked me up. I tried to force them to hit the top of the ball."
Cardinals: Road warriors
• The Cards are 14-7 on the road this season, the best winning percentage in the Majors and the second-most road wins by any club this season. Monday's game marks the beginning of a three-city road trip through San Diego, Los Angeles and Kansas City -- their second of five three-city trips this season. The Cardinals haven't even played a game outside the Midwest since a late April trip to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Washington.
• Right-hander Mitchell Boggs returned from Triple-A Memphis on Sunday, taking the roster spot of Jaime Garcia, who was sent to the 15-day disabled list with a left shoulder strain. Boggs spent 16 days with the Memphis Redbirds. His first five appearances were scoreless innings, then he walked three and allowed two hits for three earned runs his last time out.
The Cardinals haven't elaborated on what Boggs' role will be now that he's back, but he was eager to prove himself.
"I can sit here and talk about [mechanics] all day long, but it's not gonna matter when I go out there and compete," Boggs said. "Whatever adjustments I've made, I feel good about them and I look forward to showing that."
Padres: Maybin inching toward rehab assignment
• Center fielder Cameron Maybin will hit in the batting cage and on the field Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and, if all goes well, he could begin a Minor League rehab assignment by Friday. Maybin has been on the disabled list since April 17, missing 28 games with a right wrist impingement and a slow recovery.
"If Cam has a good three days -- baseball activities, hitting in the cage and on the field -- you could expect to see him go out Friday," Padres manager Bud Black said. "We feel confident where Cam is."
• The Padres have scored 88 runs over their last 18 games, second in the National League during that span and an average of 4.83 runs per game.
• The Cardinals have won 14 of their last 18 games.
• After going hitless with no RBIs from May 1-8, Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin has a hit and an RBI in five of his last six games.