Monday, May 31, 2010

Yet Another Series Win

This homestand has become exactly what the Padres needed.  Few predicted the team would win 2 of 3 from the powerful St Louis Cardinals, but they did.  Some hoped they'd win 2 of 3 from the resurgent Washington Nationals, but they have.  A quick series recap, in case you've been buried in barbeque this weekend:

  • Friday, Clayton Richard gives up a 3-run HR to Josh Willingham which the Padres can't quite overcome.  In the ninth, San Diego scores a run and loads the bases with no one out (down by two), but the rally fizzles.
  • Saturday, Nationals second baseman Adam Kennedy can't quite pick up a ground ball in the hole off Adrian Gonzalez's bat.  Chase Headley singles, and Nick Hundley homers to give the Padres an early 3-0 lead.  They win 4-2.
  • Sunday, the Padres survived two solo homers by budding Nationals star Ryan Zimmerman to take the game in extra innings.  There another Kennedy error (again with two out, no less) let the Padres get the winning run to second, where rookie Lance Zawadzki singled him home.
So the Padres have taken 4 of 6 on the homestand, and remain in first place two ahead of Los Angeles.  Courtesy of a Cincinnati loss Sunday, they've reclaimed the best record in the league at 30-20.

Two other items for your perusal after the jump.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Can't Win Them All

Although it would be nice, you can't win them all.  When Bud Black stated he didn't think the bullpen would need reinforcements following last night's 13-inning game, it meant Wade LeBlanc would be out there for a while regardless of how poorly he pitched.

And he didn't pitch that poorly, all things considered.  Brendan Ryan had a big day off him (3 hits, including a HR in the fourth).  Albert Pujols homered.  The Padres, on the other hand, couldn't muster anything off Cardinal spot starter PJ Walters, and with no run support LeBlanc was doomed.  Adam Russell pitched two innings for the depleted bullpen and gave up 4 runs, taking the doubt out of the issue.  8-3 Cardinals in the finale.

Padres finished the series 2 for 25 with runners in scoring position, and still managed to win 2 of the 3 games.  That's one of the more ridiculous stats you'll see.  No Sacrifice Flies were hit with a runner on third throughout the 3-game series.

I was at this afternoon's game, but it was a seminal moment - I took my oldest to his first baseball game.  Needless to say we didn't watch the whole game, nor did we stay until the end.  But the boy did get a hit at the Park at the Park field, and we did walk around a lot, and he did eat a lot of Skittles.  A good day.  So, the rest of this post will be photos.

View from our seats.  I like the 1978 jerseys.

Jerry Hairston Jr and David Eckstein

Matt Holliday singled, then got thrown out trying to stretch it to a double, to end the fourth.  Here's LaRussa asking second base umpire Mark Wegner if he has pigeon shit in his eye.

Wade LeBlanc pitched as hard as he could, but it wasn't enough.  Here he is exiting the game in the sixth.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pitching, Good Fortune, and a Hairston

Went to last night's game.  The Cardinal side of the story is posted here if you care to read it.

First, people driving downtown last night were a****les.  Unbelieveable.  I'm headed down 10th street to the Padres parking structure we usually use, and let a couple of folks in, you know, to be courteous.  Well apparently everyone else in the middle lane then thought I'd just let them in too.  One Padre fan was willing to risk damage to his Lexus SUV in order to cut me off (yes he did emerge unscathed).  Lesson learned:  drive like a jerk too.  It's sad society has come to this.  LA fans driving around were much better.

Okay, cleansing complete.  On to the game.

  • Thank GOD Tony LaRussa likes to overmanage.  As Joe Posnanski said recently, he can't help himself.  Granted, hindsight is 20/20, but how much different would last night's game be if:
    • Felipe Lopez isn't thrown out stealing in the first, or
    • John Jay isn't thrown out at the plate to end the inning, or
    • Kyle McClellan comes out instead of pitching to Matt Stairs (Stairs is 0-3, 3K lifetime against Trever Miller), or
    • The contact play isn't on with first/third, 0 outs in the 11th.
  • Matt Holliday was booed before his first at bat.  Way to go, Padre fans - never forget.  He STILL hasn't touched home plate.
  • The Cardinals ended two innings (first and fourth) with a hit and a runner thrown out on the bases.  I don't think I've ever seen that happen twice in a game I attended.
  • Dick Enberg pointed this out in the twelfth, and it's amazing:  The Padres are 0-15 this series with runners in scoring position.  They've won both games.  Wow.
  • Kevin Correia was more like his old self (before running into Ubaldo Jimenez, Clayton Kershaw twice, sandwiched around the untimely death of his brother) in this game - 6 innings, 5K's.  He danced in and out of trouble for most of the night though.
  • It was nice to see Bud Black's learned from recent history, and had Ryan Webb/Luke Gregerson up in the pen as the sixth inning started.  The sixth has by far been the worst inning for Correia - he's surrendered 10 runs in that frame alone.  When Correia loses it, it's not a gentle degrade - he goes bad in a hurry.  You gotta be ready with a quick hook once he gets that deep into the game.
  • I've never sat through a more painful inning (for both teams) than the fifth.  Both teams brought their clean up hitter to the plate with the bases loaded.  Both struck out.  Both had a borderline pitch called a strike during the at-bat.  Both wear #7.  Odd.
  • You want to make fun of the Padre bullpen?  Don't.  Gregerson/Mike Adams/Heath Bell struck out 7 hitters between them.  Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica bent but didn't break in extras, although Webb was helped by more bonehead Cardinal baserunning.
  • I didn't know Adrian Gonzalez had that kind of speed.
  • I looked down to update my scorecard, and the next thing I know Stairs has hit the ball in the gap.  He couldn't have thrown it out there in a better spot than rolling the ball under the 401 sign in left-center.  Tremendous theater.
  • Tip your cap to Skip Schumaker and Ryan Ludwick.  Those were great at-bats against Bell, who was throwing gas (96 repeatedly on the fastball).
  • Luis Durango ALMOST got to the ball Schumaker hit.  In one of a 1000 'what-if's' from this game, what if Durango had given ground and held Schumaker to a single?  Don't know.  Perhaps the inning is different, perhaps not.
Quote of the night comes from Jack in the Box:  "Buy me some peanuts and Sourdough Jacks."  This made me laugh.

Quote of the night #2:  Mark Grant "Hey Dick, what's your scorecard look like?"  Enberg:  "It looks like I left it in the rain."

PJ Walters vs Wade LeBlanc today at 3:35.  Walters is making his first start of the season, and the second start of his major league career (the last was 17 April 09 at Wrigley).  LeBlanc looks to bounce back from a horrible outing in Seattle.  Padres go for the sweep.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Garland, Defense Shut Down Cardinals

Jon Garland walked the high wire, and came away unscathed.   Especially in the first inning.

Before we get to that, a quick comment.  Darren Smith, on the Padre BP show, talked about last year's Cardinal/Padre finale and the Will Venable/Albert Pujols dust-up at first base.  He shed some additional light on that event; apparently AP tends to straddle the first base line when recording outs at first, so the Padres were told to go through him.

Smith, in attempting to recall the specifics of the event, said it occured in September, on Sunday, and the Padres won.  Not quite.  Happened on a Sunday?  Yes.  But, it was 23 Aug 09, and the Padres lost 5-2.  It helps my memory that Smoltz struck out a career best 7 consecutive hitters, and that it was Ryan Franklin's last save in 2009, AND that I wrote about it over here.  Come on Darren.  I know you're a St John's* alum, but you're better than that.

* A little Big East dig, since I went to Villanova.

Garland labored through the first, but got the big strikeouts when he needed them.  His defense backed him up by turning 3 double plays during his seven innings.  Jerry Hairston, Jr, pulled a rabbit out of his hat and hit his first 2010 HR - off Cardinal ace Adam Wainwright, no less.  Another example of the Padres doing just enough to win.

Mike Adams threw an uneventful eighth, and Heath Bell negotiated an interesting ninth (exacerbated by the strike zone, if Ted Leitner/Andy Mazur are to believed) to get the save.

Last night was the third 1-0 win this season by San Diego.  That's the most since 2007, when they won 5 such games.  The franchise record for 1-0 wins is 6, set in 1985.

If I had anything to nit-pick, it would be Adrian Gonzalez striking out 4 times.  However, considering the first three came against the 2009 Cy Young runner-up, that's not much of a nit.

Kevin Correia looks to snap his personal 3-game losing streak tonight against Jamie Garcia.  This will be Kevin's second start at Petco against the Cardinals; he lost the first one 7-0 to Chris Carpenter.  He is 1-2 in 3 career starts facing St Louis.  Five current Redbirds have at least 8 Plate Appearances against him:

  1. Felipe Lopez (29 PA):  .200/.286/.280
  2. Matt Holliday (25 PA):  .304/.360/.609
  3. Albert Pujols (13 PA):  .400/.538/.500
  4. Yadier Molina (9 PA):  .143/.250/.143
  5. Skip Schumaker (8 PA):  .429/.500/.571
I'll be at the ballpark tonight.  Hope to see you there.

My coverage of the game from the Cardinal perspective can be found here.  Yes the content is different.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Odds and ends and the Cardinals

Well the Latos/Hernandez duel was pretty good, with Latos getting the better of it.  Of course, it didn't hurt the Mariners put a woefully weak lineup on the field for that game (and if you don't read USS Mariner, you should), and their bullpen combusted in the eighth.  Considering the Padres got ambushed on Friday night, taking 2 of 3 over the weekend was a nice turnout.

Coupled with a Dodger loss, and our Friars find themselves still in first as we start play this week.  This is becoming a trend.

This will be a short 'catch up' post, where I make a couple of announcements.  First, we've added two new players to the Juan Eichelberger All-Stars:  Milton Bradley and Chase Utley.  Anytime a player exists with the name of a major board gaming company of my youth they are automatically inducted on this roster.  If there was a McGraw Hill or a Parker Brothers playing at the major league level, they'd be on the team too.  Chase Utley sounds like a guy with 'a tea cup on [his] lap and ticker-tape coming out of [his] ears'* as opposed to the best power-hitting second baseman in the game.  That's enough.  Also, with Yuri playing short, we need some help up the middle.

*Can anyone name the movie that line appears in?  I'll give something to the winner.  Not sure what, but it'll be nice.

Second, I've been asked to write about the Padres over at Baseball, and have accepted.   My first story went up today.  I hope to make it a regular weekly feature over there.

Finally, since the next Padre opponent is the other MLB team I blog about, I am going to try something daring:  do a game recap for each of the 3 Cardinal/Padre games from the perspective of each team's fanbase.  I don't think this has been attempted anywhere ever by the same writer.  It might suck, it might be great, it might cause the Mayan Doomsday Prophecy to happen 2 years early - I don't know.  But it'll be fun nonetheless.

The Cardinals are scuffling right now but are still one of the most dangerous teams in the league.  St Louis has had some success at Petco (10-9 against the Padres since the park opened).  Adam Wainwright is one of the best pitchers in the NL, and the ace of the Cardinal staff.  Jon Garland has his work cut out for him, because the Padre offense won't get much from Adam.  Jamie Garcia is an early favorite for Rookie of the Year.  The other Cardinal starter is unsettled; both Brad Penny (who's turn it would be) and Kyle Lohse are on the DL after injuries suffered this weekend.  From the Cardinal perspective, it's great to bring a kid up and pitch in a pitcher's ballpark.  From the Padre perspective, it's fresh meat.

Amazingly, this series will pit two division leaders against each other (amazing because none of us expected the Padres to be in first place the week before Memorial Day) You'd think that'd mean a Wednesday Night Baseball gig, right?

No, it'll be Yankees/Twins.  What-ever.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Well That's More Like It

OK, first a mea culpa.  I spent last week in TAP class.  TAP stands for Transition Assistance Program, and is one of many things the military offers folks getting ready to 'transition' prepare for life on the outside.  The class was great, but it also meant I had to do actual work in the evenings - so I didn't get to write much.

Friday is softball night in these here parts, so I was able to listen to the game on the drive up to Hourglass.  I got out of the car with the Padres down 3-2 and Wade LeBlanc in a heck of a jam.  I got back in the car in time to hear San Diego score ... and make the score 15-5 Mariners.  Of all the things I thought would happen during Friday night's game, 23 runs and 30 hits combined did not enter into my calculations.

I don't think Wade LeBlanc enjoys his trips to Seattle.

Tonight's game was much more like what I expected when two of the weakest offenses in baseball hooked up.  Matt Stairs popped a couple of stitches on the ball he hit, didn't he?  True to form, the winning run scored on a wild pitch (USS Mariner has been rather vocal regarding the state of play by Seattle catchers this season.  Josh Bard has been the best of the bunch).  I thought Heath Bell was going to blow the save, but he managed to strike out Milton Bradley and get Casey Kotchman to ground out to end the game with runners on the corners.

So the Padres stay tied for first with Los Angeles, and open up a 2.5 game lead on San Francisco.

Tomorrow's game should be a doozy - Mat Latos and Felix Hernandez.  Looking forward to it.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

5/15 Game Recap: Dodgers vs Padres

Went to tonight's ball game.  It did not turn out like I had hoped, as San Diego lost to LA 4-1.  This is not your normal recap.

  1. Since the game was advertised a sellout, I felt we had to get there early.  So, my father-in-law and I left for the ballpark at 3:20 pm.  Thanks to little traffic, we were parked by 3:50 and in the ballpark by 4.
  2. Hot Dogs and soda.  mmmmm.
  3. The section immediately to our right was loaded with Dodger fans.  Also, the 4 folks immediately behind us were LA fans as well.  They rooted for their team with gusto, and got obnoxious from time to time, but I really didn't have a problem with any of that.  Having spent a great deal of time rooting for favorite teams in opposing ballparks, so long as they aren't in my face or throwing things at people I'm good.  Of course, as the game went on and the Dodgers put a hammer lock on the outcome, they got more and more vocal.  And after the game?  Whooo boy.  Lots of chanting and heckling as they exited the building.
  4. Why give out 'Beat LA' t-shirts that are blue?  Yes it was a dark blue, but the Dodgers wear blue too.  Why not Sand (or, egads, brown/yellow)?  Make it stand out, marketing gurus.
  5. Also, 'Beat LA' is what they chant in San Francisco at Giants games, and in Boston at Celtics games.  I think the chant originated in the Boston Garden during the 1980s NBA finals, but I could be wrong.  We need something different and original here to poke at the Dodgers.
Some game notes follow next.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Giant Killers

Never in my wildest dreams did I think the Padres would win the first six games of the season from the Giants, but that is exactly what has happened.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think the Padres would have the best record in the NL after 34 games, but that is exactly what has happened.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think Mat Latos would beat the Giants twice by a 1-0 score, but that is exactly what has happened.

I don't know if this is an indictiment of my dreams or the Padres are a better team than believed before the season started.

On the Podcast last night we talked about some potential problems the Padres have that could derail this strong start.  The superior pitching (starters due to regress, bullpen perhaps not).  Kyle Blanks' struggles at the plate.  The offensive hole at shortstop.  I also pointed out, however, the Pythagorean record for these Padres is 23-11.  Their actual record is 22-12.  This isn't a fluke, folks - they're playing as well as their record reflects.

Whether it's sustainable or not for the bulk of the season remains to be seen.  Fangraphs' Jack Moore posted today on how wide open the NL is in 2010 - seriously, almost everyone has a shot right now.  Should the Padres come back to earth and play .500 ball the rest of the way, they'll win 86 games.  That might be good enough this year to win the Wild Card.

Some food for thought as we head into our first series with the Dodgers this weekend:
  • San Diego has had a few longer winning streaks against the Giants.  To wit:
    • Seven straight in 1982 (4/14 to 6/27),
    • Ten straight in 1996 (5/1 to 9/16),
    • Eight straight in 2007 (6/26 to 9/16).
  • San Diego has never won the first 6 games of a season series from the Giants, though.
  • Oddly (and as pointed out by Jerry Coleman I believe), both series with the Giants have produced the same game scores:  one game 3-2, one game 5-2, and one game 1-0.
  • Jonathan Sanchez is probably talking to himself.  In his two starts against San Diego this year, he's thrown 15 innings, struck out 15 Padres, allowed 5 hits and 2 runs.  He's lost both games.
I don't know when the last time was a pitcher threw consecutive 1-0 victories against the same team.  I tried to do a search on Baseball Reference, and the Play Index feature laughed at me.  Here's what I did find:
  • Since 1969 there have been 38 games decided 1-0 where the winning pitcher threw 9 innings gave up only 1 hit.
  • Since 1920 there have been 209 games where the visitor threw a complete game and one-hit the home team.
  • Of those 209 games, in only 29 the visiting pitcher threw the one-hitter and won 1-0.
  • It was last done to the Giants at home (albeit in Candlestick) on August 20, 1986, by Don Corman of the Philadelphia Phillies.
  • It was last done to the Padres at home (in Jack Murphy) on August 3, 1983, by Nolan Ryan of Houston.
  • It has been done before by a Padre - the immortal Dan Spillner did it in Wrigley of all places, on June 19, 1974.  It was one of 2 shutouts he threw in a year he went 9-11.
Here's the coolest stat.  The last time a pitcher won a game on the road 1-0, threw a complete game one hitter, and drove in the lone run was June 26, 1955, when the Kansas City A's Alex Kellner beat Baltimore's Jim Wilson in old Memorial Stadium.  Oddly, the #8 hitter that day (catcher Joe Alstroth) doubled and Kellner followed with a single, exactly like what happened yesterday with Zawadski and Latos.

Coupled with his first start against Jonathan Sanchez, Mat Latos has now twice been involved in something this season not seen at the Major League level in at least 35 years.  Yesterday's game was more impressive because it's been 60 years since a pitcher did that.

He's killing the Giants in new and inventive ways.

Padres start a 5 game homestand tonight.  Saturday's game is sold out, and I'll be there.  Get out to the stadium and root on the best team in the NL.  They deserve it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Still in first - YEE HA

First some administrative items.  We have a shortstop for the Juan Eichelberger All-Stars, and he is Yuniesky Betancourt.  Remember, this is all about the NAME, not the PLAYER.  Because if it was about the player, Betancourt'd be DFA'd today.  We also have a back-up catcher:  Humberto Quintero.  I love this name; it sounds like the nom-de-plume of a Roman Emperor.

Back to the Padres.  They won 2 of 3 from a bad Astro team over the weekend, which made me smile.  They could have swept, but Mujica decided to test the 'Minute Maid Park is a Band Box' theory (and he was proven wrong), and Jerry Hairston AIR-MAILED a throw to first in the ninth (which led to an unearned tying run).  Life goes on.

I have one complaint about this series, only one complaint really, and that is why was Jon Garland lifted after 7 innings and 83 pitches on Saturday night?  At the time he left, Garland had allowed 3 baserunners (2 hits and a walk), had retired the heart of the Houston order in the seventh, and had retired 7 of the last 8 hitters (he walked Keppinger to start the seventh, then retired him on a double play off the bat of Carlos Lee) he faced.

Eighty-three pitches is the fewest Garland has thrown in a game this season.  Why take him out?  Adams came in and gave up a run in the eighth, which further irked me.  Thankfully Bell slammed the door in the ninth.

I don't understand the 'setup man/closer' mentality when the starter is rolling along.  You never know when you might need to tax the bullpen in the future, so if you can rest everybody behind a dominating performance by the starter, I think you should.  Sadly the Padres had to go with an emergency starter on Sunday (Correia missed his start due to a family tragedy), which meant they needed all hands on deck.

Granted, Adams/Bell pitching on Saturday didn't figure into why the team lost on Sunday (see Mujica and Hairston, who we discussed above), but the next time it might not work out that way.  It just seemed foolish to me.

Padres start a 3-game set in San Francisco tonight.  First place is on the line.  I hope we can still say that when the Padres/Giants hook up in August - that'd be really cool.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pitching Pitching and More Pitching (and lots of links!)

First, if haven't seen this team play (and judging by the attendance, you haven't), the Padres have managed to win a few games here and there.  With last night's 3-2 win, they sit 1.5 games ahead of the Giants in the NL West.

How are they doing it?  Not so much with the bat (19th overall in team AVG, 19th in wOBA, 19th in OPS), although they are 13th in BABIP.

Nope, it's been all about the pitching (4th in FIP, 1st in xFIP, 3rd in ERA).  In this series, they've had to have the pitching, because they've scored only 5 runs against the Colorado Rockies (while allowing 7), and yet have split the first two games of the series.

Kevin Correia pitched well Monday, but Ubaldo Jimenez was flat-out better.  That happens.

Speaking of Jimenez, Ubaldo Jimenez is one of the great names in baseball today, along with Yorvit Torrealba.  As such, they are now charter members of the Juan Eichelberger All-Stars, dedicated to recognizing great MLB player names.  Have a nominee?  Leave it in the comments.  Needs to be a current player, unless it's one of such superior quality it transcends time. 

Wade LeBlanc - 6 innings, 2 ER, 4 K?  Slacker.  Actually, he continues to strengthen his case for staying in the rotation long-term.  Had the Padres cashed in on any of the numerous chances Greg Smith created for them, Wade could have been the winning pitcher in this one.  Wade is second only to Correia in xFIP among the starters; in fact, the two of them are the only starters with xFIP's under 4.00.

We've talked a lot about LeBlanc vs Latos in the rotation; the original post on the subject generated discussion at at least three different Padres websites.  One of the Ducksnorts commenters suggested, should CY be activated, the odd man out be Sean Gallagher.  Based on his numbers, that makes a lot of sense.  As far as who would go to the pen in his place, I'd think I'd keep riding the hot hand in the rotation and send Latos there.  That, of course, is subject to change based on how the season progresses.

Speaking of Chris Young...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mow them down

Our season ticket package included tonight's game, and needless to say it portended to be a doozy.  Ubaldo Jimenez, you may have read, is pretty good; something about 5-0, 0.79 ERA, and a no-hitter coming into the game.  Kevin Correia has won his last 4 starts after losing his first in Colorado.  AND, I have both on my NL-only Rotisserie team.  Oh, goody.  Except that life intervened, and we couldn't make the game.  Luckily I had an inkling this might happen, and set the TIVO to record it, which I watched on fast forward (always an interesting way to watch a game).

It's one thing to watch Yovani Gallardo strike out 11 Padres with a large assist from the home plate Umpire.  It's quite another to watch someone strikeout 13 by completely overpowering the Padres.  Ubaldo overpowered the Padres.  Joe Posnanski famously predicted Ubaldo Jimenez would win the NL Cy Young.  Seeing as he's started 6-0 this season, it's easy to see why, and agree with him.

As dominant at Jimenez was, the Padres had their chances.  First and third, two out in the first (Venable strikes out swinging - albeit strike 2 and 3 were check-swing strikes courtesy of the appeal to third)  Hairston left at third in the second (he made it there with one out).  Torrealba left at second in the third.  Gwynn Jr left at third in the fourth.  After Gwynn was stranded, however, Rockie pitchers retired 12 in a row; by then, there were two out in the ninth and the Padres trailed 5-1.

You can't win them all.  Had we been there, we would have seen the Padres lose for the second time this season; they've lost 4 times at home all year.  So apparently, I should be allowed in the building for all Home Openers (having seen the Padres score 10 or more runs in an inning on Opening Day twice), and not for any other game (I'm 1-2 in the other 3 games, the Padres are 9-4 at home since the Opening Day blowout).

Today's interesting tidbit (and thanks for reading this far).  Last night marked the 84th time at least 14 Padres have struck out in a game.  They've also struck out 29 times combined in two separate games over a span of three days or less several times in their history (courtesy of the team batting game finder feature at Baseball Reference):
  • June 17 and 19, 2008 (Yankees)
  • May 23 and 25, 2008 (Reds - San Diego actually won the game on the 25th, 12-9, although they struck out 19 times in that game)
  • 14/15 May, 2008 (Cubs) (BOY that 2008 team struck out a lot)
  • 21/22 Apr 2006 (Mets - won the 21 Apr game 2-1)
  • 6 and 8 July, 1995 (Astros)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Hoffman Saves win for Rob Drake - home plate umpire

Yovani Gallardo pitched a great game - 1 ER, 121 pitches, 11K.  Interestingly, 7 of those strikeouts were looking.  Having watched most of the game, I thought home plate umpire Rob Drake called a generous left corner (as I looked at it through the CF camera).  Pitches off the plate, from belt high to a baseball width below the knees, on that corner were called strikes. 

As a result, fourteen Padres were punched out, along with eight Brewers.  Of the 54 outs recorded, 22 were by strikeout.  And they say umpires can't have an effect on the game.

We also learned what it takes to wake up the normally sedate Padre crowd:  Adrian Gonzalez getting ejected.  Jerry Hairston Jr's reaction after being called out to end the sixth didn't to it, but Adrian arguing about his second called strike three did.  All the strike 3 pitches were off the plate, at least, based on the excellent view I had from my couch.

Why is it umpires today feel the need to return fire when a player questions a ball/strike call?  Did Drake really need to point at Gonzo while Headley was shepherding Adrian to the dugout?  Gonzo's an All-Star and one of the best players in the NL, so you decide to take issue with HIS arguing, as opposed to Hairston Jr who has a little less notoriety?

At any rate, the fans really got on Drake after that.  At least until Hoffman came in.  It's tough for me to watch Trevor pitch against the Padres, given how many games he saved for the Padres during his career.  Hoffman has struggled on the mound this season, blowing at least 4 saves I can remember.  But he was able to retire the Padres in order tonight for the win.

There's been a lot of bad umpiring behind the plate in this series, and tomorrow we get Joe West.  Yee Ha.