Friday, April 13, 2012

Random Thoughts - Games 6 and 7

I've watched a lot of Padres baseball in the last 2 days. Let's over the highlights.

- Cory Luebke was all over the place in the first inning Wednesday, needing 43 pitches to retire the side.  Some of that was due to an inconsistent strike zone from HP umpire Eric Cooper (which, incidentially, was a common theme throughout these two games), some of it because Luebke was all over the place.  After walking Jason Kubel to force in Arizona's first run, he struck out Paul Goldschmidt swinging.  The next 3 1/3 he struck out three more, didn't walk anyone else, and scattered 4 hits.  The fact he got into the sixth inning is something of a miracle, but he did, and he held down Arizona's offense.

- Willie Bloomquist's triple in the second inning should have been a HR.  I've never understood the function of those plexiglass windows placed at the end of stairwells at Petco.  I had season tickets waaaay out in the LF corner a couple of years ago and the aisle right next to our seats had that window.  It made it tough to see the game because the plexiglass is warped.  Other than giving the usher something to lean on when standing at the bottom of the stairs I don't know why its there.

Bloomquist managed to hit the plexiglass plate in left-center, on the fly, with a batted ball struck 400 feet away.  That's amazing.  There is no yellow line at the top of the wall at Petco, so that plate is considered part of the wall; and since the ball struck it, it was a live ball and Bloomquist had a triple.  If he'd hit the ball 4 feet either side of where it landed he'd have had a HR and they might still be playing.  If the plexiglass isn't there that ball is out.  Tough break for Willie.

- Nick Hundley's throw down to second in the first inning was one of the most ridiculous ones you'll ever see.  Hundley had two options on that play.  He could either eat the ball and give up the stolen base without a play, or try to throw it down.  Because the pitch was low, away, and breaking away from him, his momentum pulled him into the LH hitter's box and he didn't have time to get on top of the ball.  Apparently just after he let it go he thought "Oh S*!t" knowing he'd uncorked a wild throw to second.

- The Padres really only hit Joe Saunders hard in one inning - the seventh, his last inning.  Kyle Blanks had a hard single,  Orlando Hudson lined into a tough-luck double play, and Andy Parrino lined out to right.  Other than a pair of line drives by Guzman (one for a single, one for an out), the Padres didn't hit it all that hard.

- I didn't think Chris Denorfia's ball would get out.  It didn't appear to be hit well enough, but it kept carrying and carrying and carrying.  Then the other bizarre play in this game happened - Diamondbacks CF Chris Young jumped up to try and catch the ball, but he clipped the wall on his way up knocking his glove off his hand.  The glove kept going upward and was struck by the ball on its way down.  In slow motion on Fox Sports SD it looked very cool.

Padres pulled it out to win 2-1.  Arizona kind of gave that game away, having left the bases loaded twice and 11 guys on overall.  The game featured 10 walks, 12 strikeouts, and 5 pitching changes.  Two hours and 58 minutes of fun.

By contrast, tonight's game featured 6 walks, 20 strikeouts, and 8 pitching changes.  Three hours and 2 minutes to play a 3-1 game.  If you want to live forever go to a Padres game because they take forever.  I'm the biggest baseball fan I know but these two games were excruciating to watch.

- I'm also the biggest Jesus Guzman homer this side of his mom, but he had a lousy game tonight.  Three strikeouts at the plate, and a fly ball he misplayed into a double.  Guzman broke the wrong way initially, charged in far enough to catch it, then had the ball kick off his glove as he slid trying to catch it.

San Diego has made at least one error in 5 of their 7 games so far. Yeech.

- The sad thing about this game is the Padres came out on fire.  Cameron Maybin's leadoff triple was crushed, as were the singles that followed it by Will Venable and Chase Headley.  I could watch Maybin run all day, by the way.  Love the chicken wing.  But after Guzman struck out looking for the first out, the Padres kind of went all flat.  After that they got a 1-out double from Jason Bartlett in the second, and a two-out single from Yonder Alonso in the sixth.  That was their offense.

As an aside, HP umpire Marty Foster's strike zone was just as inconsistent as Cooper's was the night before.  Not inconsistent during an at-bat, but definitely inconsistent from at-bat to at-bat.  On several occasions a pitch called a strike to one hitter was a ball to a later hitter.  Hitters on both teams were frustrated throughout these two games.

- Gotta love it when you get to see the 5-2-4 double play.  Also both games featured a rundown, which is always cool (Parrino picked off first 1-3-4-3, and Anthony Bass' great play on Lyle Overbay's drive up the middle that led to a 1-5-6 put out on Chris Young).

- Bartlett airmailed the throw to first that eventually led to the unearned run which won the game.  I don't know if Alonso could have caught that ball in any situation.  He didn't jump for it, which is true, but the throw landed 3 rows deep in the stands on the fly.  Not sure he had any play on that throw.

- Bass pitched pretty well despite not surviving the fifth.  He had some tough luck in that fifth; had Guzman made the play on that fly to left Bass might have gotten out of the inning unscathed.

- Young's HR in the seventh was crushed, a line shot into the fans down the LF line.  Nice, easy swing, dropping the head of the bat onto the ball.  Since it was coming in at 98 MPH he didn't need to do too much with it.

San Diego finishes their opening homestand 2-5.  Last year they went 3-5 on their first homestand.  They head up to LA and out to Denver for this 6-game road trip.  They've used everyone in the pen during the last 2 games, but only Josh Spence in both, and he threw only 1 pitch tonight.  Tomorrow's game is a rematch of Sunday's game.

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