Saturday, May 21, 2011

Game Reflections - #46 vs Mariners

First, a correction:  Yesterday I said Ryan Ludwick's ninth inning RBI snapped the Padres' 0-for-19 slump with RISP.  That's not true; it was actually 0-for-21.  I stand corrected.

On to tonight's game.

Hmmm looking a little gloomy.  Foreshadowing?

- Will Venable belted a first-pitch fastball to the wall in dead center.  Think he went up there looking for a fastball?  You betcha.  After that, or perhaps because of that (I really don't believe starter Michael Pineda was able to change his game plan on the fly like that), the Padres saw a steady diet of off-speed stuff early in counts the first time through the order.

Pineda readies for Hudson after striking out Maybin in 7th
- Pineda is indeed a beast, but he really did not command his fastball well until the sixth and seventh innings.  He threw sliders with precision whenever he wanted to, though.  Show the fastball, fire a slider.  Padre hitters were off-balance all night.

- After Venable struck out to end the third inning he flung his helmet with disgust.  I feel for ya, Will.  It's been a tough year.

- Brad Hawpe cannot catch a high fastball over the plate.  He can't.  He waved at 94 and 97 MPH fastballs above the belt, middle out, against John Axford on Wednesday night, and he swung through 93 and 96 MPH fastballs off Pineda, same location, tonight in the fourth.  If I was a pitcher who could rush it up there that fast, when I got behind I'd just throw that pitch.  Hawpe will either foul it off or swing through it.

And he's been one of our best hitters this month.  No wonder the Padres struggle to score runs.

- Mariners second baseman Jack Wilson fouled off 5 consecutive pitches in the second inning before hitting a sacrifice fly.  A kid in a section near me caught two of them.  I've been going to baseball games the better part of 30 years and have never caught a foul ball during the game.  This young'un got 2 in less than 3 minutes.  Good for you kid.

- Kyle Phillips walked to the plate in the fifth to "Forever Young" by Alphaville.  I briefly flashed back to Prom Night.  Well played Kyle - you big softie.

- Now the salt for Phillips.  You are not Yadier Molina.  Why are you trying to pick guys off base?  Phillips threw behind the runner at each and every base tonight.  He was never close, and his attempt at third in the sixth inning sailed into LF allowing the run to score.  That run did not affect the outcome (it was already 3-0 at that point), but what are we trying to do with these throws shorten the runner's secondary lead?  Let the infielders do that.  Save your arm, and if you must try to pick someone off limit it to first base.

- Two more errors for the Padres tonight.  That makes 9 straight games in which they've committed an error.  The team record is 10.  Hopefully they won't tie it tomorrow.

- Kudos to Pineda for legging out his nubber up the line in the second.  After Clayton Richard dropped it, Pineda was able to beat the throw and reach safely.  Thus is the old adage reinforced:  Never give up on a play.

- Obviously Richard did not have his best stuff.  Recent call-up Mike Wilson had 2 hits and 2 RBI before the third inning ended; he came in 1-for-11.  Richard worked a lot of 3-ball counts - 5 to the first 12 hitters he faced - as he struggled with his command.  He was gone after 5 having thrown 100 pitches.

- Seven consecutive Padres (and 8 of 9) struck out between Ludwick's pop up to end the sixth and Headley's soft single with one out in the ninth.  The seven straight happened off 3 different pitchers (starter Pineda, then David Pauley (who struck out the side) and Jamey Wright).

- Padres went 0-for-6 with RISP tonight.  They are 1 for their last 28 in those situations.

- Bud Black's post game comments included:
  • "The first time you face someone the advantage is to the pitcher"
  • "We thought he threw the ball well"
  • "I've talked to the players about it.  We prepare the same way at home and on the road" (probably in reference to a question about the dichotomy between their offense at home and on the road)
  • And so on.
- Perhaps the worst news - I didn't get a fan kit.  Showed up too late apparently.  Crap.

- In reality the worst news:  Nick Hundley is 'not even close' to being ready for a rehab assignment, according to Those Who Know.  As you recall Hundley went down with a strained oblique muscle.  He had cooled off at the plate right before he got hurt after a torrid start.  He is a far more dangerous bat than Phillips or Rob Johnson (no offense, fellas), and we need him back with the big club soon.

Finally tonight's stinker stat.  The Padres have not won a Saturday Home Game this season (3-1 on the road, 0-4 at home) but that's not the stinky part.  The Padres have scored exactly 2 RUNS at home on Saturday.  Both of those came off Joe Blanton in the first inning April 23 (a game they lost 4-2 in 11).  Yikes.

Padres get the reigning AL Cy Young winner tomorrow as they try and avoid the sweep.  Then they get the NL Central leading St Louis Cardinals for 3.  It does not get any easier.

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