Friday, April 29, 2011

Game Reflections - #25 vs Braves

Although a couple of days time-late, let's go through Wednesday's game against Atlanta. (Note:  I was under the weather the last 2 days, which explains why no post).

1.  The Padres managed to get the leadoff man on just twice - Orlando Hudson's infield single in the fifth, and Ryan Ludwick's walk to start the ninth.  Neither runner advanced past second.  Bud Black talked all winter and during spring training about being more aggressive on the base paths, but it is hard to be aggressive when there's no one on early in the inning.

It's also hard to be aggressive when guys either get forced at second or erased via the double play.

San Diego also only managed one runner as far as THIRD.  That happened with two out in the sixth.  After Will Venable stole second, Rob Johnson struck out swinging on a full count, ending the threat.

2. Credit should be given to Tyler Hanson for being dominant on this day - 10 strikeouts along with 4 hits (all singles) and a walk.  That said, not every pitcher the Padres have faced this season is Cy Young.  At what point does one draw the line between saying 'oh, that guy was really on today' and 'we just can't hit, and it makes every opposing starter we face look that much better'?

3.  Let's look at the positive out of this game for a moment.  Mat Latos got beat up pretty good in the first two innings (more on the second inning later).  After Brian McCann's double driving in Atlanta's sixth run of the game, Latos retired 10 of the last 11 hitters he faced - 4 by strikeout, 4 via ground ball.  That's encouraging.  Latos has been killed this season by leaving the ball up.  If it clicked after the double that is very good news.

Remember, he struggled last season coming out of the gate.  Only after he got torched by the Marlins in Florida did he right himself and become the dominant pitcher he was from May - August.

4.  Brad Hawpe's error ultimately became the key play in the game.  If he makes the play on Martin Prado's grounder, Latos is out of the inning, the score is still 1-0, and the possibilities are endless.  After the error the Braves went single/triple/double and blew the game open.  Padres fans at the game rode Hawpe the rest of the afternoon, sarcastically cheering after every play he made and booing him after every out he hit into.

Hawpe is struggling.  No one hits .143 at the major league level without struggling at lot at the plate, and I'm sure Hawpe is painfully aware of his trouble offensively.  Booing him won't help.  That said, I completely understand why fans booed him Wednesday.  It is their right as fans to voice their displeasure when players (or umpires, for that matter) aren't performing up to par.  Just don't expect Hawpe to suddenly snap out of it because he heard booing from the normally laid-back San Diego crowd.

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Two other items worth mentioning:

1.  The Padres announced Thursday the return of the $5 discount when purchasing Padres tickes online through Padres.com.  From the press announcement:

Padres President and COO Tom Garfinkel made the announcement.

"The $5 online discount originated last year in an effort to increase both affordability and convenience for Padres fans," Garfinkel said. "It was incredibly popular, and our fans repeatedly told us they saw great value in the offer, so we decided to bring it back again for a limited time this year."

The $5 online discount is available now exclusively at padres.com, and is valid for all games on all tickets normally priced $13.50 or more. The promotion excludes PETCO Park's All-You-Can-Eat seats, and may not be used in conjunction with other discounts or promotions, including 2-for-1 Tuesdays, presented by Coca-Cola. Go to http://www.padres.com/ to take advantage of the limited-time offer.
Yes, a naked attempt to bolster flagging attendance, but $5 off is $5 off.

2.  The Padres Trail Podcast returned last night.  You can hear the episode here, or also through iTunes - just search for either 'SMS_Mike' or 'Padres Trail Podcast'.

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