Monday, June 27, 2011

Karmic Payback

After leaving 11 runners stranded it felt like the Padres were doomed to fail again. After Orlando Hudson and Will Venable played hot potato with the ball on consecutive plays int the eighth, the groan from 24000+ in the ballpark was audible.

Here we go again.

Then a funny thing happened. "It seems Destiny has taken a hand," ; Richard Blain would say. San Diego loaded the bases again in the bottom of the inning, weathered a bunt lineout by Venable that thankfully was part of a safety squeeze, then exulted when Johnny Venters deflected Jason Bartlett's ball into no-mans land to drive in Denorfia.

Seven pitches later the Padres had three more runs off Venters. It should be noted Venters was the stingiest relief pitcher in baseball at the start of the day; he had allowed 3 earned runs to the league.

Destiny took a hand indeed.

Two other non-game action notes for your consideration:

- What were the odds I'd put a post up about squeeze plays, and Bud Black would call for one in the eighth? It also means my stats are wrong; Black's Padres had successfully EXECUTED 307 sacrifices prior to last nights game; he may have tried many more. I'll have to go back to the data.

- On the post-game show Ted Mendenhall suggested maybe the Padres should send Rizzo back to AAA and try out Jesus Guzman at first. His rationale: Guzman is hitting .308 at the moment, Rizzo .175. Personally I didn't think there was a need to rush Rizzo to the majors, but now that he's here the Padres should take a long look at him to determine if he is the first baseman of the future.

The kid is 21. He tore up a hitter friendly league in AAA. There's a reason guys pitch at AAA - they ain't good enough for the Majors. The jump from AAA to the Majors is the biggest improvement in talent Rizzo has experienced during he advancement through the minors. Only one guy in my recent memory went right from the minors to being a great Major League hitter, and he may well turn out to be the greatest right-handed hitter ever. Rizzo is good, with ML-caliber power, but he's not Albert Pujols.

An adjustment period was inevitable. Rizzo will figure it out. Let's not panic after two weeks of plate appearances.

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