Monday, May 21, 2012

Random Thoughts on Game 42 (vs Angels)

Nothing like 13 innings of baseball to break up your Sunday, is there? Padres take 2 of 3 from California over the weekend. Some thoughts from yesterday's 4-and-a-half hour marathon:

- The game actually entered the seventh inning in under 2 hours. I believe it was 2 hrs 5 min to the seventh inning stretch. Of course it took another 2:18 to play the rest of the game. Time slows down as the game gets longer.

- Both teams played the last 2 innings with no more position players available. In fact, Langerhans injury on John Baker's double that opened the eleventh set in motion a whole chain of events (which ultimately was decisive in how the game ended):
  • Backup catcher John Hester came in for Langerhans, pushing
  • Starting catcher Bobby Wilson to first, moving
  • Starting 1B Albert Pujols to third, sending
  • Starting 3B Maicer Izturis to second, and exiling
  • Starting 2B Howard Kendrick to LF.
That's fun.

If it seems stuff like this happens more and more it's because it does. Back in the day when bullpens were 4 men deep, and starters on their throwing day would be long men out of the bullpen, managers had a lot more flexibility because they carried 16 position players on the roster. Now, with starters routinely not getting out of the seventh, and all the specialization out of the bullpen, pitching staffs have expanded. There have been a couple of teams this year (albeit it briefly) where they carried 13 pitchers and 12 position players.

Baseball is great because there is no time limit. You can't run out the clock; you have to get 27 men out to win, or more if the game is tied after 9. Because of how the game is played today, and how rosters are managed to play today's game, teams are only built to play 9. If the game goes longer than, say, 11 innings, teams are forced to use the worst guys in the pen. The guys like Hisanori Takahashi with a 5.91 ERA, or Miles Mikolas with a 5.40 (numbers include yesterday's game).

Look at yesterday. Bud Black used his best 3 bullpen arms for an inning each - in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings. With the score tied and those guys out of the game you're just hoping you score before one of your less reliable arms gives up the go-ahead run.

- Of course, this game wouldn't have gone 13 if anyone could drive in a runner in scoring position. Anaheim was 1-for-14 with RISP; San Diego 1-for-13. The winning run scored from first base thanks to Kendrick's bobble on Will Venable's single, which allowed Clayton Richard to scamper home. Kendrick was playing out of position, as noted above; although he did start 20 games in LF last year, yesterday was his first exposure there in 2012.

- Additionally, starting with Chris Denorfia in the bottom of the seventh inning Saturday night, 9 consecutive pinch hitters in this series struck out. That streak includes both teams, and also includes Peter Bourjos' first AB after Vernon Wells left with a thumb injury. This particularly random streak of futility didn't end until Baker's double.

- Will Venable was hit by Angels starter Ervin Santana in consecutive AB's. He is the first Padre to be hit-by-pitch twice in the same game since Everth Cabrera was plunked twice by Texas' Kevin Millwood in 2009.

- Apparently HP umpire Doug Eddings doesn't like to ask for help. The first 3 check swings in this game were called strikes by Doug himself. On replay it looked like he got 2 of them wrong (Nick Hundley with the bases loaded in the first, and Venable with 2 out in the second). He finally asked for help when Andy Parrino checked his swing in the sixth inning.

I'm not in a position to tell a seasoned umpire how to do his job, but one would think that the 1B or 3B umpire has a better view of a check-swing than the HP guy who's focused on whether the pitch is a ball or a strike. I don't think it a stretch to say the call on Hundley changed the game; he was hitting with the bases loaded in the first, and the Padres had been hitting the ball hard off Santana early in the game. We might not have played 13 innings had Hundley delivered there. Of course, the WHOLE game is different if the Padres tie it up or go ahead in the first inning, so saying the Padres win in regulation if Hundley has another pitch is a stretch - I know that.  There is the possibility the game goes a lot differently if he gets another pitch.

- This just in: Mike Trout is fast. He hit a slow roller to short leading off the 10th inning and beat the throw by a step. Usually that play is bang-bang. Trout hits right-handed.

- This also just in: So is Alexi Amarista. He hit a line drive to LC in the bottom of the 10th and left the box thinking 2 bases. If Bourjos doesn't slide to cut the ball off, it's in the gap and Amarista circles the bases. Although Bourjos threw the ball to second, Amarista slid in without a play. Love love LOVE the energy he's brought to the Padres so far.

- Amarista also hit a line drive to Angels SS Erick Aybar in the twelfth inning which Aybar then dropped, attempting to turn the 643 DP. Kerwin Danley, working 2B, said 'nay nay moosebreath' on that. Scioscia then tried to argue it.

Uh, fellas - if I can't get away with that on my slow-pitch, beer league softball team, you can't do it in the majors. The fact the Angels tried was hilarious. The fact Danley vetoed it was just.

- Is Pujols lost at the plate? Well, he had homered at Petco every year since 2008. He also homered here in 2006 and 2005. He didn't homer this weekend, and had only 2 singles in the series. He didn't hit a ball out of the infield yesterday. San Diego attacked him with fastballs and sliders. He looks lost to my untrained eye.

Yesterday was a big win in the most-attended home series so far this year. San Diego flies to St Louis to take on the Cardinals, who are currently reeling, and were just swept by the Dodgers. The Padres might be more competitive in this series than many thought they would be just 2 short weeks ago.

No comments:

Post a Comment