Correia a pleasant surprise for Padres

Entering Saturday's games, there was a surprising name among the top five starting pitchers during the past 30 days on our Player Rater. But San Diego Padres pitcher Kevin Correia hasn't been good only this month; he's quietly been a top-50 starter the entire season.

I first mentioned Correia at the end of June after he had posted five straight quality starts to lower his ERA to 4.23 and WHIP to 1.23. However, he's continued to post good outings through the balance of the season and now sits with an ERA of 3.89 and a WHIP of 1.31 after throwing five straight quality starts this month. He's also beaten up on the weaker teams like a pitcher is supposed to, firing seven shutout innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates and then a six-hit shutout against the Arizona Diamondbacks in his past two starts, in addition to a scoreless outing against the Washington Nationals earlier this month.

Correia didn't have the numbers last season largely because of a troubling oblique injury that affected him for most the year and prevented him from getting the most out of his delivery, in addition to an early-season stomach illness that caused him to drop about 12 pounds. The San Francisco Giants let him go after the year, and the Padres happily scooped him up. However, his velocity has returned this year now that he's healthy, with every pitch up about 2 mph.