Padres went 3-6 on this homestand. I managed to watch two of the wins in person, and had tickets to the third win. Now before you start thinking "Of course! All we need to turn the season around is for Mike to attend every game! They never lose at home when he's there!", I also had tickets for Saturday's loss but couldn't make it.
Anyway, some random thoughts about last night's game.
- Through 2 innings Tim Stauffer had thrown 20 pitches, 18 strikes/2 balls. I can't remember seeing a guy pound the plate like that. It wasn't a function of the strike zone, in other words, he wasn't getting generous corners or the low pitch from home plate umpire Chris Conroy. He was on. Stauffer didn't have a 2-ball count until Aaron Miles' at bat with two outs in the third. He had only three 3-ball counts all night (not counting the intentional walk to Matt Kemp in the sixth); two of those were during his 7th inning jam.
Stauffer is currently the best starter on this team. Aaron Harang's record is better, and mat Latos may have more upside, but if I need to win one game this year I'm giving Stauffer the ball.
- Cameron Maybin's went 0-for-4 last night. His first 3 at-bats: A slicing line drive to deep center that Kemp ran down; a line shot to third that almost took Miles' glove into left field with it, and a ball to the track in right that Andre Ethier ran down. Jed Hoyer said recently that he watches every game because you can't tell how well a guy is hitting from the box score. Maybin is stinging the ball right now, even if he came up empty last night.
- When did hitters start prepping the batter's box like they're lining up a 15 foot putt? Twice hitters reached down and threw debris out of the box while setting up for their at bat (dirt clods I think). No wonder games take so long to play now-a-days.
- Luis Martinez tripled to right last night. That's not a misprint. He hit the ball to the base of the wall down the RF line, and it caromed away from Ethier into the Dodger bullpen. I initially thought Ethier played it badly, but there's no way he gets over there to cut it off.
- Orlando Hudson fell asleep at second in the seventh and it almost cost San Diego. Tony Gwynn Jr dropped a drag bunt up first, and Hudson forgot to cover the bag. Bartlett was also late getting to second, but with the jump Dioner Navarro got there wasn't a play there anyway. Luckily Josh Spence shut the Dodgers down (Don Norcross has an excellent article on his outing). Hudson then couldn't get a bunt down in the eighth. Not a game to remember for the O-dawg.
- Bud Black played this one like it was a playoff game. He intentionally walked Kemp in the sixth with the go-ahead run at second. He intentionally walked Casey Blake in the seventh to load the bases. Both gambles paid off.
- Speaking of the seventh, I cannot believe Aaron Miles didn't get run after being called out on strikes to end the inning. It was a borderline strike, a high strike, and Spence got the call. Miles slammed his helmet and fired the bat from 1/3 up the first base line to the on-deck circle outside the Dodger dugout. A different umpire would have tossed him for that display.
- The home eighth ended on the unusual strike out/picked off at third double play. Navarro caught Jesus Guzman straying too far off the bag.
The Padres are off today and start a 3-game series with the suddenly slumping Pittsburgh Pirates tomorrow. Two more notes:
- Blake Tekotte was sent down to AA immediately after last night's game. Joe Thatcher was called up and will make his 2011 debut this weekend.
- There won't be a Padres Trail Podcast tonight. I've decided to suspend the Podcast for a while, likely through the end of the season. There are a couple of reasons for this. The most pressing is my schedule has become even more hectic than ever, and I find myself unable to do any prep work before the show - and the show suffers as a result. Secondary to that, I want to re-evaluate what I'm trying to do with the show and how I can improve it, and I'll need a little time to do that.
Thanks for your patience, and I expect to have a better show for you when it resumes.