Playing in 1,218th game, Orlando Hudson bats cleanup for first time

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Incredibly enough, the Padres have scored 43 runs in their last four games. Still, they’re giving Orlando Hudson his first career start in the cleanup spot Tuesday against the Mets.

Never in his life has Hudson batted from the fourth spot in the order, even in his appearances off the bench.  His previous 1,165 starts break down like this:

Batting 2nd: 414
Batting 3rd: 239
Batting 8th: 193
Batting 7th: 144
Batting 9th: 82
Batting 6th: 53
Batting 1st: 23
Batting 5th: 17
Batting 4th: 0

Hudson brings a .239/.332/.320 line, three homers and 27 RBI in 259 at-bats with him into tonight’s game.  That the Mets are throwing a left-hander in Chris Capuano is undoubtedly part of the reason Bud Black has decided to hit Hudson fourth tonight.  All three of the switch-hitter’s homers have come against southpaws, and his slugging percentage skyrockets to .386 when he’s batting from the right side.

The Cubs will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday

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The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.

The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.

Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.

The matchups for Tuesday’s action:

Carter Capps to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome

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Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.

Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.

The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.