Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Well That Was Fun

Did I mention I was going to Opening Day?  I'm sure I did.  And what an opener it was.  You don't see a team score 10 runs in an inning very often, especially on Opening Day.

Well most people don't.  As Michael Weston likes to say, "I am not most people."  I've seen this before - thirteen years ago.  On April 1, 1997, the Padres hung an 11-spot on Pete Harnisch and the Mets (sixth inning).  I believe it is the most runs San Diego has ever scored on Opening Day in one inning.  And yes, it is the only other Opening Day I've ever been to.  I'm sure I have a ticket stub lying around the house somewhere.

I should tell the Padres to make sure I attend the home opener every 13 years.  It's a guarantee they'll score at least 10 runs in the game, and probably all in the same inning.

Some thoughts about yesterday's game:

1.  It rained during the Padre introductions.  I've never been to a Padre game where it actually rained.  Thankfully the rain only lasted until the national anthem was sung, then the sun came out and remained out (off and on) the rest of the day.

2.  I thought Kevin Correia pitched from behind a lot yesterday.  The stats bear it out to a point:  of the 25 hitters he faced, he started 12 with a ball, 11 with a strike, and 2 hit the first pitch.  That's not terrible, but not great.  After the Padres exploded for 10 runs in the fourth, he didn't improve:  Five first pitch balls, five first pitch strikes.  With a 10-run lead, wouldn't you pound the strike zone?  Seemed curious.

In fairness, "Big Ed" Mujica wasn't much better (2 1-0 counts, 3 0-1 counts).  Adam Russell, however, pounded the strike zone (1 1-0, 5 0-1 counts).

3.  Everth Cabrera laid down a bunt in the third inning, and almost beat it out. If he had pushed it a little further up the line he would have.

4.  The fourth inning was a little bit luck, and a little bit of great hitting:
  • Chase Headley reaches on a ball just out of Nate McLouth's reach in center.  McLouth then rolls over the ball, and Headley hustles into second.
  • Will Venable singles to center.  I thought they should have sent Headley, but Glenn Hoffman held him up. A smattering of boos when that happened, but in the end it really didn't matter.
  • Nick Hundley and Tony Gwynn Jr walk, forcing in a run.
  • The first of 3 key at bats in the inning:  Correia fouls off two balls, then he's late on a fastball...but manages to send it down the RF line for a single and 2 RBI.  Bad luck for Jair Jurrjens.
  • Second of 3 key at bats.  Atlanta brings the infield in, and Cabrera hits a ground ball to the left of second baseman Martin Prado.  Prado makes the play, then throws home; Gwynn beats the tag at the plate.  It was a slowly hit chopper, and I was surprised Prado tried to throw home.  He had a play at first on Cabrera (he had no play at second on Correia based on defensive positioning).
  • After Jurrjens retires David Eckstein on a fly to right, Adrian Gonzalez tattoos this next pitch to LC for a ground rule.  That ended up being Jurrjens' last pitch of the day.
  • The third key at bat.  Jo-Jo Reyes comes in to face Kyle Blanks.  Blanks works a 11-pitch at bat and then lines a double into the LF corner.  Awesome.
  • Venable completes the scoring with his 3-R HR to RC.  That ball was crushed.  I thought it was out when he hit it, if it had enough height to clear the wall.  It did, barely.
5.  Point against the new 3:35 start times - in the sixth inning Venable lost Prado's lazy fly ball in the sun (or at least, in the sky).  The ball was emminently catchable.  Correia could have retired the side in order, but instead, after striking out Chipper Jones looking he gave up single/single/walk/walk and left the game.  Maybe it was just yesterday's cloud-flecked sky that caused Venable to lose track of the ball, but it's too bad.  Thankfully the game was well in hand when those 2 runs scored.

6.  Scott Hairston's single in the seventh was a direct result of Brave pitcher Reyes falling asleep on the mound.  If Reyes gets over to cover first, Hairston's out.

42, 843 attended.  All in all a fun day.  I'll have some other notes tomorrow on non-game related items.

Padres are off today.

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