Carlos Zambrano has pitched very well lately. Tim Stauffer has pitched well all season. Even with that I had a sneaking suspicion the Padres would lose last night. I didn't expect it to be a frustrating loss, which it certainly was.
Either Mark Grant or Dick Enberg said during the telecast Zambrano is one of those pitchers you have to get to early. I've never considered him in the same vein as Greg Maddux, who most definitely was a pitcher you had to get to early. This is kind of a silly comment, now that I think aboutit. If you make any pitcher labor early they either will give up more runs overall, or leave the game sooner leaving it up to the long men in the bullpen. So don't you always want to get to a pitcher early? The Padres definitely had opportunities in the first two innings, most notably thwarted by Chase Headley's line drive DP to X Nady. Ugh. If it was only 3 feet higher.
After Chicago pushed across their run in the seventh, the Padres had a good chance to tie in the bottom half and flubbed it. Luckily we have Geoff at Ducksnorts to explain how they flubbed it. Geoff does a much better job of articulating what I kind of knew intrinsically but couldn't explain. I turned to my wife and said, "Ball Game" when that inning ended.
Of course that was before the bizarre bottom of the ninth happened. Yorvit with a hustle play. Headley "hit" by a pitch that clearly bounced between his feet. Tony Gwynn Jr walked (where was that in the seventh?). Here's Nick Hundley. I thought he hit that 2-1 pitch out from my couch; he actually got it off the end of the bat and it died in deep LF.
Here's a random thought - why not bunt there? Who in the world would expect Nick Hundley to bunt in that situation? You gotta get a run; Torrealba already slid into first to beat a throw (which was, for once, absolutely the right play). Nick's a pretty good hitter, but by hook or by crook, right? Not saying it was wrong for him to swing away (it wasn't; a single wins the game). I was tired and it popped into my head.
The results of that game, as you probably know by now, dropped the Padres a game behind SF and out of the Wild Card lead. It's really going to be tough to win the division now. Basically the Padres have to win the rest of the games in this series, then take 2 of 3 from SF. Should AZ take a game off the Giants it helps, because there's more margin for error, but the Padres would still need to win 2 of 3 to take the division. Expecting AZ to win more than one game from SF is unrealistic.
It might be unrealistic to expect the Diamondbacks to win one game. Who knows. We'll know for sure Friday morning.
Latos makes his biggest start of the year tonight. Padres gotta win this game. They just gotta.