Saturday, June 25, 2011

Game Reflections - #77 vs Braves

"I got ALL of that one!"
Last night's game was a treat.  Easily the most complete game I've seen the Padres play in person this season.  Now that you've digested the SDUT writeup, and game summaries on your favorite sports website, allow me to add some thoughts.

- Lots of aggressiveness early.  Venable going on an 0-2 count kept San Diego out of the double play. I really liked him going on that pitch because Lowe threw over 3 times during the at bat; kind of an F-U steal attempt.  Additionally the Padres successfully moved runners over on ground outs 3 times in the first 2 innings.  Many folks disdain situational hitting, but it is an important part of the game - especially for this team that struggles to score runs.

- Ludwick is flailing at the low and away pitch again.  Looks like his hot hitting is done.

- Heyward's single through Stauffer, and Jones' soft single to left, but Stauffer in immediate trouble.  Bartlett made a real nice play on McCann's ground ball.  It was hit hard, and Bartlett was blocked by Heyward's body.  He still picked it on one hop and started the 6-4-3 twin killing.  That was the start of 16 up, 16 down for Stauffer.

- Padres got their second run courtesy of a great take-out slide by Orlando Hudson.  Without that play Ludwick is doubled at first and the score is still 1-0.  Again, more fundamental baseball. Could it be the Red Sox rubbed off on these guys?

- The Braves pitched out in the third with Bartlett going, and he still stole second base.  It helped McCann's throw was high and on the first base side of the bag.  I cannot remember the last time I saw someone successfully steal on a pitchout.

- After San Diego made it 5-0 I was a little surprised Stauffer went back out for the seventh inning.  Schafer's line out to end the sixth was well struck, the best contact any Brave hitter had made since McCann's double play ball.  It seemed to indicate Stauffer was tired.  Sure enough, the three balls put in play were smoked.  Freeman's HR cut the lead to 3, but stauffer was able to strike out Uggla for the second time to retire the side.

- Speaking of Uggla, he almost got hit in the head by a Freeman foul ball in the fifth inning.  Freeman was late, hit it off the end of the bat, and it hit the screen with a thud right next to where Uggla was standing.  He moved into the dugout for the rest of the at bat.  The next time he came on deck, he stayed in the on-deck circle.  Visions of Juan Encarnacion flashed through my head when I saw how close that ball came to Uggla.  Glad he was not struck.

- When Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell visited Lowe in the sixth, Jorge Cantu's entry music blared over the PA system.  Somewhere Avenging Jack Murphy went into convulsions and could not understand why.

-On Alberto Gonzalez's single to drive in 2 later in that same inning, Heyward fielded the ball and threw to... third.  Not sure I understood that.  Maybin was the runner at second when the play started, but Gonzalez stuck the ball well and Heyward got to it in a hurry.  Plus, as he showed off on that play, he has a cannon for an arm.  Hundley (who was at first) was not going to try for third.  An interesting choice of bases to throw to.

- Guzman's HR sounded like a rifle shot.  Literally.  First Padre pinch-hit HR this season, and first Padre pinch-hit HR since Sept last year (Stairs, against STL).  You've never seen a happier guy rounding the bases and sitting in the dugout after a big hit than Guzman on that one.  Love the energy.

- Josh Spence came in with Peavy's number (44).  He topped out at 85 on the gun with his fastball.  You're typical soft-tossing lefty.  For his ML debut, he only had to face Jason Heyward, Chipper Jones, and Brian McCann.  You know, the three best hitters on Atlanta's roster, two All-Stars and a Hall of Famer.  He retired the side in order.  Well done kid.

Towel night tonight. Not sure I'll make the game.  I will make tomorrow's, and am looking forward to Cory Luebke's first start of 2011.

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