Thursday, September 30, 2010

Will Venable and Chris Young save the season

AP/Lenny Ignelzi
Admit it:  after the double steal, you didn't think there was any way the Padres would get out of the first inning without allowing a run.  Not with Byrd, Aramis Ramirez, and X Nady due.  I sure didn't; I figured escaping while allowing only 1 run would be Above Average.

Emphasizing how important that sequence was, Bud Black brought the infield in for the THIRD HITTER OF THE GAME.  When was the last time you saw that?  What is a more powerful testimony to how much the Padre offense is struggling?

Cue the music.  Chris Young escaped on an easy chopper to third, one ridiculously well-placed fastball that tied Ramirez up, and a flailing strikeout of Nady.  Wow.

AP/Lenny Ignelzi
But that was nothing.  Will Venable topped that by robbing Soriano of extra bases leading off the second.  Enberg (live) and Leitner (on the Padre Replay this AM, courtesy of XX1090) both called is as taking a HR away.  From the excellent vantage point of my couch 20 miles away, it looked like Venable didn't go over the fence to catch it.  Sadly Channel 4 never offered a shot along the fence line that could have determined it, and I don't know if WGN/ESPN had a better shot of the catch.  Either way it saved a run; if the ball doesn't clear the fence, Soriano scores on Koyie Hill's double later in the inning.

But THAT was nothing.  Ramirez didn't miss a fastball in his next AB, hitting the high hard one a loong way into LC.  Venable, not slowing down and not giving up, leapt into the stands to make a spectacular catch, robbing Ramirez of a 2-run HR, and ending the inning.

The description above does not do that catch justice.  With the season on the line, playing for the first time in three days thanks to a balky back, in a game they could not afford to lose, nursing a tenuous 1-run lead, what a play by Will Venable.  San Diego should have been down 3-1 at that point, and could have been down 4 or 5-1.  Instead, they added single runs in the 4th and 6th, winning 3-0.

Unfortunately, Atlanta cruised past Florida, while Ian Kennedy made one bad pitch to Pat Burrell which he hit for a 3-run bomb, giving Tim Lincecum all the cushion he would need in a 3-1 Giants win.

San Diego still controls its destiny.  Win out and win the West.  That said, they could really use a Arizona win today coupled with a win over Chicago.  Winning two of 3 in San Fran will be very difficult; the Padres have to beat up Zito Saturday, and will need to find a way to beat either Cain or Sanchez.  Asking them to sweep this weekend series in order to qualify for the post-season is bordering on impossible.  Not with this lineup.

This morning Scott and BR brought up 1996, and the famous Padre 3-game sweep of the Dodgers to win the West.  There is one crucial difference.  That year the Dodgers had qualified for the post-season before the series started; the only question was would the Padres make it in or not.  This year, nothing is decided, and both teams face the very real possibility they could miss the post-season altogether if they lose the series.  San Francisco has a lot more incentive to win than the Dodgers did in 96.  Seeing as the Padres have dominated the season series, I would think the last team SF wants to play in the NLCS is San Diego.  Other than Philadelphia, that is.

Another big game this afternoon.  I should be there, work and weather permitting.  Podcast tonight.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Not much left to say

I said they had to win last night's game.  Is it worth repeating again today?

Two back (on the loss side) of both Atlanta and San Francisco with 5 to play.  Unless they find a way to generate some offense, and win the next two games from Chicago, the weekend series in 'Frisco won't mean a thing.

Come on guys. You've played too well for too long to give up now. Forget about last night.  Get today's game.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

That One Hurt

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.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Seven Game Sprint

I should probably give some explanation to my last post.  As you know from reading the game recap, if nothing else, David Eckstein was not intentionally walked to get to Miguel Tejada on Friday night.  I did not see this game live, as I was on a softball diamond in the Mira Mesa area, and was monitoring the action from my iPhone.  The Gameday graphics showed the first 3 pitches to be waaaay outside - like splitting the left handed batters box outside.  It sure looked like he was being pitched around to get to Tejada, which made no sense, and still makes no sense.

Hence the post.  Guess Posnanski won't be covering this one.

Anywho, we reach the last week of the regular season.  I have a Baseball Digest post pending talking about this next series with the Cubs.  In a perfect world, the Diamondbacks would sweep San Fran, San Diego would sweep the Cubs, and we'd go to the Bay Area with a 3-game lead and 3 to play.  Since San Diego holds the season series edge (10-5 at this point), the NL West would be ours.  That's probably not going to happen.

So what, realistically, should our expectations be?  Splitting this series with the Cubs is absolutely essential.  You gotta figure the Giants are going to get at least 2 of their 3 games with AZ.  Splitting the 4 game series sends San Diego to San Fran 1 game back with 3 to play.  Still a tall order, but do-able, to win 2 of those 3 and the Division.  Should the Giants sweep, well, then the Padres would have to sweep to win the division, and that's probably not going to happen.

I think the club can take 2 of these games from the Cubs, most likely the last two (against Wells and Gorzelanny).  Getting one of the first 2 (against a hot Zambrano and Dempster, the Cub ace) will be a taller order. At least we have Latos going on Tuesday, well, hopefully the May-August Latos.

Starters for the AZ/SF series:
  • Rodrigo Lopez vs Sanchez
  • Ian Kennedy vs Bumgarner
  • Barry Enright vs Lincecum
AZ has a shot at two of those games, although admittedly it depends on which Sanchez shows up.  Kennedy has thrown every bit as well as Bumgarner.  Enright is no slouch, but let's face it, Lincecum is hot so advantage SF.

In any case, buckle your seat belts.  It's going to be a heck of a week.

Friday, September 24, 2010

I Don't Get It, but Thank You

Let's set the scene:  First and third, 2 out, Cincinnati leading by a run.  Arthur Rhodes on the mound, David Eckstein stepping in.  Rhodes was an All-Star this season, has an ERA+ of 200, and sits third in the NL in holds (a meaningless statistic yes, but anyway).

Eckstein career against Rhodes - 3 for 9, HR, HBP
Tejada career against Rhodes - 4 for 20, 2 BB, no extra base hits.

Dusty Baker pops out of the dugout.  He signals the bullpen for Nick Masset.  Masset has had a good year too, but not as good as Rhodes (not an All-Star, ERA+ 114, better K/9 but worse WHIP, 16th in holds)

Eckstein career vs Masset:  Never faced.
Tejada career vs Masset:  2 for 5, no extra base hits.

Baseball is fun because baseball is replete with small sample sizes, and many many MANY decisions are made based on small snippets of information.  I suspect Dusty Baker had these snippets at his disposal.  Small sample sizes are fraught with danger, but even so one COULD say Tejada had better numbers against Masset than Rhodes.  With the game on the line one would think the best matchup is what the manager seeks to set up, and in that vein Rhodes vs Tejada seems to be the best matchup.

Given that, why in the world would he have Masset pitch to Tejada instead of Rhodes, if he was going to walk Eckstein?


Wait - why am I complaining?  Thanks Dusty, for the gift tonight, and the NL Wild Card lead.  Please, continue doing what it is you do.

I hope Joe Posnanski tears this decision apart in about 5000 words.  I look forward to that read.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Back in First Place

"Don't worry, boys - I got this."
Does the air seem cleaner today?  The sky brighter, traffic lighter, and people happier than yesterday?  It could be the Wednesday AM drizzle cleared out some of the lingering summer crap.  OR, it could be the Padres return to first place.

Yes, thanks to the Diamondbacks beating the Colorado Ubaldos, and Chicago shutting out the Giants, San Diego returns to their rightful place atop the NL West.  Philadelphia's sweep of Atlanta also pushed the Padres ahead of the Braves in the Wild Card race.

Overnight, San Diego's playoff odds jumped from 44.1% to 61.9%.  Awesome.

Miguel Tejada provided the big blow with his 300th career HR, and that's a big milestone to be sure.  But let us pause a moment and consider what Tim Stauffer has done in the rotation lately.  He's made for high leverage starts in September, thrown 21 innings, allowed 6 runs.  Four of those came in the same game, last Thursday in St Louis; 3 of those runs scored because Albert Pujols' RBI dying flare landed JUUUUUST out of Ryan Ludwick's reach, and Yadier Molina's hit a 2 RBI flare off Ryan Webb in a perfect spot (on the RF line out of everyone's reach).

Overall he's thrown 26 innings as a starter and posted a 2.08 ERA.  In September he's been the best Padre starter not named Clayton Richard.  With Jon Garland's and Mat Latos' struggles, Stauffer has been essential to keeping San Diego in the playoff hunt.  It is not an exaggeration to say the Padres probably would be dead and buried without him.

Mat Latos will start today against Hiroki Kuroda.  Frankly I'm a bit surprised by this.  Yes he did get an extra day of rest following his Friday start/drubbing in St Louis, but I kind of expected San Diego to skip his turn in the rotation and have Chris Young start today on normal rest.  Granted, CY has not beaten LA in LA since 2007 (and in fact has only beaten the Dodgers once up there), but it seemed a good time to rest Latos.

The Cardinals and Giants attacked Latos early in the count with great success.  It will be quite interesting to see how Latos adjusts to that strategy in this start.

The Padres Trail Podcast returns tonight!  We've a lot to talk about.  Hope you can listen in.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Because, You Know, We Need Some Levity Here

When I came to work today, I was blue.  No, not literally.  I was tired, I blew off my workout period (which I later regretted), my right calf ached where I was hit by a batted ball last night (Sure sign you should stop pitching to your team in 3-pitch softball?  You start getting hit every game, because you're too slow to get your glove down and/or get your legs out of the way gracefully).

Then I came to work, found my way to Deadspin, and discovered the Fire Joe Morgan team was posting.  Oh Happy Day.

Amongst the usual excellent satire (which included a Joe Morgan piece, appropriately enough) was a story on a subject that drew me to their site in the first place:  David Eckstein and his grittiness.

It is worth the read.  But in case you don't have the time today/tonight to read the full article, I carefully chose this paragraph for your perusal, mostly because I don't want to lose it to history.

No room in the game for David Eckstein? "I hope that's not the case," Black said recently. "He's a baseball player with talent. One thing I think gets overlooked: he can play.


You know who's overlooked? Adrian Fucking Gonzalez. Nobody in the world outside of Adrian Gonzalez's immediate family has any idea he even exists, much less that he is one of the very best hitters in the world. A reporter recently asked Yorvit Torrealba to talk about how good Adrian Gonzalez has been for the Pads this year, and Torrealba said, "There is no one on our team by that name. You are mistaken. Perhaps you mean to ask about David Eckstein?" Then he directed the reporter over to a velvet-roped-off area down the left field line where David Eckstein was standing on a giant lazy susan, like a 20-foot Bowrider at a boat show, rotating slowly as thousands of screaming journalists took his picture so they could say they once got the chance to see the great David Eckstein in person. And while this was happening, Adrian Gonzalez, who has a .922 OPS hitting in fucking Petco every night, was outside gnawing on discarded chicken wings in a dumpster because he doesn't even get paid for playing baseball, because nobody knows who he is. That's a true story, people.

Man I miss Fire Joe Morgan.

Richard goes The Route. Twelve to go.

Clayton Richard threw his first shutout as a Padre, Ryan Ludwick continued his resurgence with 3 RBI, and the Padres whipped the Dodgers 6-0.  Giants won, so they stay a 1/2 game out.  Rockies lost, so they picked up a full game (Rocks now 2.5 back of SF).

As I detailed yesterday over at Baseball Digest, San Diego is in a dogfight now.  I think they have two advantages - a slightly easier schedule, and one more home game than their rivals.  Of course they still have to win.  The unfortunate reality of their recent struggles is, they no longer control their own destiny.  San Francisco must lose, and so too Atlanta, for the Padres to play post-season baseball.  Happily they trail Atlanta by a 1/2 game as well in the Wild Card race.

More good news:  ESPN has upgraded their playoff chances to 44.6% from 35.1% yesterday.  Almost a 50/50 chance now.  That's awesome considering what's transpired since 26 August.

Tim Stauffer vs Ted Lilly tonight.  Lilly mesmerized the Padres at Chavez Ravine back on August 3 in a 2-1 Los Angeles win. I think he retired 21 in a row at one point.  Stauffer has made 5 career starts against the Dodgers, the last being September 6 of this year.  San Diego has won 3 in a row when he starts.  Stauffer has been the Padres' other good pitcher over the last 2 weeks (in addition to Richard), so we've got that going for us, which is nice.

Ubaldo goes for the Rockies against Rodrigo Lopez in Arizona.  Jonathan "Big Mouth" Sanchez will face Randy Wells in Chicago.  I find myself in the interesting position of rooting for the Small Bears.  The things we must do to see our teams through.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Love Coors Field

The Padres have one one series in Colorado every year since 2003.  Did they pick a good time to get their series win for 2010, or what?  With the buzzards circling, and Colorado seemingly on the same path they took to the World Series in 2007, virtually no one expected the Padres to put up much resistance this week.

Someone forgot to tell the 25+ guys in the visitors dugout they'd been buried for 2010, and ought to work on their tee time schedule.

The much bally-hood inability to score 5 runs in a game, at least since August 26?  San Diego has scored 6 and 7 runs in the two games of this series.  Put that little streak to bed.  There's nothing like playing in Coors Field to cure whatever offensive ills one has.

The problems San Diego starters not named Richard and Latos seemed to have?  Mostly put away.  Yes, Cory Luebke and Jon Garland each had one bad inning in their starts, but by and large the starting pitching has been solid.  The bullpen has returned to its former lights out form (Heath Bell's adventure in the ninth inning last night notwithstanding).

Suddenly the Padres find themselves with a 1.5 game lead on San Francicso, and 3.5 on Colorado.  A little breathing room never felt so good.  A sweep of this series is too much to ask, but the Padres will go for that behind Clayton Richard today.

Two other notes of interest regarding this blog:

1.  There will not be a Podcast this week because,
2.  I will be in St Louis for the Thursday game with the Cardinals.  It is Social Media night at Busch, and in my other capacity as a Cardinal blogger I'm going.  There is a panel discussion scheduled, including some of the local press writers covering the team.  I will not be on the panel, which is probably good.

As a result, there won't be much (if any) content on this here blog before the weekend ends.  However, come Monday I should have a summary post up on the weeks activities somewhere.

Monday, September 13, 2010

It gets harder from here

Let's start with some good news:

- After losing 10 straight, the Padres went 4-3.  Improvement, baby!
- Tim Stauffer looks legit, and with Wade LeBlanc/Kevin Correia struggling the Padres rotation needed a lift.  We really needed you Tim.  Nice job.
- The strike 'em out, throw 'em out to end Saturday's game was ridiculous.  That was exciting.
- Bud Black finally dropped Ryan Ludwick down in the order.  I'm probably the biggest Ryan Ludwick fan in San Diego, but it's about time.  Ludwick has been killing us.
- San Diego is still in first.
- They are headed to Colorado.  If there's a tonic for a struggling offense, it's Coors Field.
- I'm going to appear on the I-70 baseball Podcast tonight about 8:15 local time.  This is a Cardinals/Royals focused production, but since San Diego will be in St Louis the end of this week, I was invited.  Should be interesting.  I'm expecting lots of questions on the 'collapse'.
- I did something very rash this week:

Yes that is a bet on the Padres WINNING the World Series.  It might be throwing money away, but what the heck.  I'll cut 10 sodas out of my diet.

Now the bad news.

- Padres still aren't hitting.  They scored 3 meaningful runs this weekend against San Francisco in 4 games.  Ludwick's HR on Thursday night was nice, but cosmetic as the Padres were down 6 when he hit it.
- The brutal September continues.  Now in a virtual tie for first, with Colorado only a game and a half behind both us and the Giants, we travel to Denver.  Colorado has won TEN STRAIGHT at the moment, and are 11-4 this season against San Diego.
- Then they get to play in St Louis.  San Diego is 7-26 in St Louis since 2000, and have lost 9 in a row there.

Hope springs eternal, but reality is starting to smother hope.  Today ESPN projected the Padres have a 48.8% chance of making the playoffs.  Unless they snap out of their funk starting today they might be out of the playoff hunt eintirely by next Sunday.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Four consecutive series sweeps.  At least this one went the Padres way.  This marks the first time San Diego has swept LA here since June 2007 (June 5-7 2007, to be exact).

It could not come at a better time.  Coming off the long losing streak, San Diego needed a shot of confidence.  They've gotten it.  Coupled with San Francisco losing to Arizona, last night's win marked the first time since 25 August the Padres have gained ground in the division.  Also quite nice.

Cory Luebke?  I think this is more what the Padres expected when they promoted him last week.  We all were concerned when he gave up 2 long HR in that game vs. Colorado, but I liked the fact he settled down and retired the last 11 hitters he faced.  Luebke seemed to find himself after the Tulowitzki HR, and he carried that into Wednesday's game.  He's probably earned himself another start, next Monday in Colorado.  I'm sure he'd like to face those guys again.

Ryan Ludwick sat last night, a move that was long overdue.  I think he would be well served to sit tonight too; one more change to regroup before hitting it again on Friday.

Big series tonight - I don't need to tell you that.  It looks more and more likely I'll be at tonight's game.  There won't be a Podcast tonight if I'm at the ballpark, but I will tweet periodically throughout the game here.  Feel free to respond and participate.  And oh if you're going to tonight's game too let me know - maybe we'll meet for a beer or something.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Two straight

This just in:  Mat Latos is good.  Just for fun, let's compare his strikeouts per nine inning ratio to other notable National League pitchers (not including games on 7 Sept):
  • Lincecum - 9.5
  • Latos - 9.3
  • Jimenez - 8.4
  • Wainwright - 8.3
  • Halladay - 8.0
  • Carpenter - 6.9
A question on the Padres post-game show last night that Scanlon answered asked if Latos should be included in conversations on the NL Cy Young.  Absolutely.  That comparison above is just a sampler of how good Latos has been in 2010.

I thought Bud Black really rolled the dice bringing Mike Adams in to start the eighth inning, given the high leverage 5 outs Adams got Monday night.  Adams was not up to the task.  Black decided to bring Heath Bell in for a 5-out save.  Considering the Dodgers had the tying run on second with one out in the inning, and that Bell hadn't pitched since 27 August before last night, I thought it absolutely the right move.  Bell striking out 4 and getting the save was gravy.

The only downside?  I suspect both Adams and Bell will not be available today.  San Diego has assured itself of at least a tie for first place going into the Giant series.  I would think having both those pitchers ready for Thursday's game is more important than running them back out there Wednesday.  Besides, everyone else (less Tim Stauffer) should be available to back up Luebke.

Padres go for the sweep today.  Is it too early to talk magic numbers?  Yes it is.  Let's save that discussion until after the weekend series with San Francisco.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Why hit Hundley eighth?

I'm KILLING the ball right now!
One of the recurring themes of this season is a lack of offense.  Or at least a lack of consistent offense.  The other more recent theme (that, mercifully, has been laid to rest) is the 10-game skid and various people ('fans') screaming "The Padres are falling straight out of first place and through the center of the earth!  AAAAA!"

Talk about getting all worked up over a small sample size.  But speaking of a small sample size, last night Nick Hundley hit his second HR of the homestand . . . from the 8-hole.  Which begs the question:  Why is Hundley hitting eighth?

To start the argument, here are the offensive numbers for the main Padre hitters since the start of the losing streak (August 26 thru last night):
  • Hundley:  .375/.375/.792, 2 HR (24 PA)
  • Denorfia:  .214/.290/.321, 0 HR (31 PA)
  • Eckstein:  .184/.256/.184, 0 HR (44 PA)
  • Ludwick:  .200/.256/.225, 0 HR (43 PA)
  • Gonzalez:  .385/.467/.538, 1 HR (45 PA)
  • Tejada:    .214/.233/.429, 3 HR (43 PA)
  • Headley:  .175/.233/.225, 0 HR (43 PA)
  • Venable:  .059/.059/.059, 0 HR (34 PA)
  • Torrealba:  .235/.316/.412, 1 HR (19 PA)
One expects to see a lot of lousy averages after losing 10 of 11, and those numbers are truly horrible.  Other than Adrian Gonzalez, Hundley has been the best hitter on the club over that stretch, yet he and Yorvit are splitting time behind the plate, and he is hitting low in the order.

Based on these numbers, I would rearrange the lineup thusly.
  1. Chris Denorfia
  2. Ryan Ludwick
  3. Adrian Gonzalez
  4. Nick Hundley
  5. Miguel Tejada
  6. David Eckstein
  7. Chase Headley
  8. Pitcher's spot
  9. Will Venable
Gonzalez and Hundley lead the team in OBP right now.  Neither one is a guy you want hitting leadoff based on their speed and/or their power.  So it defaults to the #3 guy right now, Denorfia.  Ludwick has better power potential than Eckstein.  Personally I like him hitting #2; he thrived there with the Cardinals, and it puts him in front of a marquee hitter again in Gonzo.  Gonzalez returns to his customary #3 hole, Hundley is #4 because he's hot.  Tejada hits fifth, again because of power potential over the rest of the candidates.  Eckstein has the highest remaining OBP, so he's sixth, followed by Headley.  Venable is struggling so bad the Padre pitchers are more of a threat right now, so they hit eighth and Will slides into the ninth slot.

That's a major shake-up.  This team hasn't scored more than 5 runs in 10 games, and their last 5-run outburst came well after that game was decided.  If that proposed lineup makes you uncomfortable, fine; let's go with this one:
  1. Denorfia
  2. Eckstein
  3. Gonzalez
  4. Hundley
  5. Tejada
  6. Headley
  7. Ludwick
  8. Pitcher's spot
  9. Venable
Moves Gonzo back to #3, Hundley to #4, Pitcher to #8, and Ludwick/Venable down to #7 and #9, respectively.  A little less radical, but still moves people around based on how they're doing right now.

Again, we have to be careful with small sample sizes - they can be very misleading.  However, Nick Hundley is such a 'shimmering star in the [Padre offensive] firmament' at this moment in history he should not be hitting 8th UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

Move him up, Mr. Black.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Enjoy the Silence

At last we don't have to listen to any more talk about the stupid losing streak.  Finally.

There is still a long road to hoe.  Bud Black pretty much burned his bullpen tonight.  Mujica a third of an inning, Thatcher 2/3, Webb an inning, Gregerson a third, Adams 1 and 2/3, Bell an inning.  Not to mention Stauffer's 4 innings in the emergency start tonight for Mat Latos.  At least Latos should be well enough to pitch tomorrow night, and Kevin Correia/Wade LeBlanc will be available to relieve if needed.

Figure Stauffer and Adams are out for tomorrow.

But in any case, enjoy the silence. (DINGgggggggggggggg!)


Let's keep this short.  It is, after all, a Federal Holiday and we all have barbeques to attend, beer to drink, and baseball to watch (and perhaps, a football fantasy draft to complete).

I'm not going to panic because the Padres have lost ten straight.  I'm going to get pissed off.  There's NO WAY the team that has stumbled through the last 10 games is the true talent level for this group, not after they went 76-49 over the first 125.  If you find yourself jumping off the Padre bandwagon because of the last 10 games good riddance.  Don't let the pavement give you too much of a road rash when you hit it at 40 miles an hour, because I'm driving and I'm accelerating.

Get pissed, Padres.  You're not this bad, not even close.  Stop pressing.  Stop blaming others for what happened.  Stop suggesting MLB has it in for you because you're a small market.  Stop trying to hit 3-run HRs with no one on base.  Get back to what got you here - long at bats, aggressive baserunning, good pitching in the rotation and out of the bullpen.

Believe you can do it.  You did it for the first 125 games, why in the world would you let a two-week funk invalidate all that effort and change your mindset?

Here's what's going to happen.  After you take 2 of 3 from the Dodgers - and you will take 2 of three from the Dodgers - we're going to smack the Giants in the mouth.  They can't beat us, haven't all year.  They aren't going to beat us this weekend either.

Go put on Green Day, or Depeche Mode, or Eminem, or Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, or whatever music you need to get the blood running.  Go call your mother.  Go take an enormous dump.  Go light a candle at your preferred house of worship.  Whatever you need to do to clear your system and reset yourself.

Then go stretch and have a good session in the cage.  Then put a hurt on the Dodgers.

Enough is enough.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Nine Straight

I said the series against Philadelphia, at Arizona, and Colorado would be harder than the 17 of 20 games on the road.  I didn't expect the Padres to lose 8 of those 9 games with one to go Sunday.

This is the franchise's longest losing streak since losing 9 straight in 2003 (May 14-23).  The last time they lost 10 straight, it didn't stop until they'd lost 14 in a row (May 8-21, 1994).

A point of order.  Cory Luebke pitched well, or as well as could be expected for a rookie starting a September game in a pennant race for a team on a 7-game losing streak.  Yes he gave up two long bombs in the game.  Remember, though, after the Troy Tulowitzki HR he retired the last 9 batters he faced.  I'd be a lot more concerned if he'd retired 9 in a row to start the game, then got lit up by the Rockies.  Coming back and making the adjustment is the mark of a good pitcher.  I'm not worried.

That said I would be a lot happier today if the Padres had completed the comeback against Colorado.  Jason Giambi's play on Chase Headley was a killer.  Will Venable not being able to drive the runs in hurt.  Ryan Ludwick being caught looking to end the seventh hurt, although I sympathize with Ludwick.  It certainly looked like the 2-2 pitch called strike three was in the same location as the first pitch of the at bat, which was called a ball.

Today's game?  Well Garland couldn't get out of an inning unscathed.  All the runs he allowed were after two out (and nobody on).  When you're going bad, things like Cabrera bobbling the inning ending ground ball happen - just like Giambi's great play the night before.  Padres fought back again and fell short again.

Tomorrow the Padres get Jorge De La Rosa.  The Rockies have not lost a game he started in Petco (2-0).

Help us, Clayton Richard - you're our only hope.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Season Ticket Holder Night

I had hoped to have this up much earlier, seeing as I had the day off.  Unfortunately I was informed by the missus we were table shopping today.  Which lasted from 0930-1600.  So much for that.

In the interim some dude using Axiom as his handle did a post for Gaslamp Ball which, well, is a real good summary of the nights events.  You can read it here.  There are some minor errors, but seeing as the guy did that post from memory let's not quibble.  Well done, sir.

So instead, let me inundate you with photos and a couple of stories.
Jerry Coleman still looks awesome, doesn't he?

Jed Hoyer at the microphone.  Good seats, but no zoom on the ol' iPhone.
I took photos like this of Jeff Moorad, Tom Garfinkel, and Jarrod Dillon (VP of ticket sales and service), but do you really need more photos of a couple of guys you can't really make out?  Really?  Email me and I'll send them to you.

say 'Cheese' REAL LOUD!!!
Okay, so after all the speeches and discussion we were herded onto the field for the photo.  There was an interlocking 'SD' outlined in blue/white strand line, with a yellow border around it.  We all stood patiently waiting for the signal to raise the banners we'd been handed on our way in.  The Padres staff had told us the picture would be taken from the top of the stadium, and they weren't kidding.  If you look CLOSELY right below the arrow you'll see a Padre staff member standing at the top of the aisle.  Just to his left is the camera.  I didn't know the camera was actually to the left until the flash went off.

As an aside, I would hope the Padres hired a professional photographer for this memento.  Mr Photo-expert-guy - you do realize a flash at that distance is completely useless, right?  Unless you're trying to illuminate the bannister of the aisle just below you to get a good picture of it, that flash had absolutely no effect on the quality of the photo you shot.  Just sayin'.

Here are some more shots from the OF grass during the photo shoot.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Okay, some anxiety is in order

Well getting swept in Arizona was not in the forecast.

As predicted, Ian Kennedy pitched worse this week than last week, allowing 3 whole runs.  And Kevin Correia, believe it or not, did pitch better, but he still couldn't get out of the fifth inning, and allowed 6 ER this time too.  Improvement, yes, but not enough.  Padres lost 7-4.

Oh, it is so frustrating to see the little Padre miscues come back to haunt them.  Walk to Ian Kennedy leading off the fifth inning Wednesday night opened the door to 5 runs.  The botched double play ball last night in the seventh opened the door to 4 runs.  San Diego, struggling for offense all year, has thrived while doing a high wire act, supported by the best pitching staff in the league and superior defense.  When either of those two legs of the triad falter this team will struggle.  As we have seen over the last week, that's what's happening.

Losing seven in a row is tough.  San Diego's September schedule is tough - they only have 4 games remaining with teams below .500.  San Diego will play 17 of their remaining 30 games at home, so they've at least got that going for them.

It doesn't seem like a good time to throw one of the organization's prized arms into the mix, but the Padres are starting Cory Luebke tomorrow night.  He'll oppose the Rockies' Aaron Cook.  Luebke started this season in AA and was promoted to AAA Portland on 15 July.  His statistics for the 2010 campaign:
  • San Antonio (Texas League) - 8 starts, 5-1 record, 0.941 WHIP, 3.67:1 K:BB ratio
  • Portland (PCL) - 9 starts, 5-0 record, 1.023 WHIP, 2.59:1 K:BB ratio.
According to what I've read, both those leagues are hitters leagues.  Assuming that's actually true, Luebke's numbers are really impressive.  If he can translate that to the big stage look out.  I just hope he doesn't get over-excited given it's both his ML debut and how badly the Padres need to win that game.

Today is a much needed day off.  A chance to clear heads and re-attack tomorrow starting with Colorado.  Tonight there is a season-ticket holder event at Petco starting at 1800.  I'll be there.  If anything interersting happens or is said, I'll get it up to my twitter account.

The Padres Trail Podcast returns tonight.  There's a lot to talk about.