Friday, August 31, 2007
Padres rookie right hander, Jack Cassel, is toeing the rubber as a starter for the first time in his MLB career. If a rookie making his second career outing against the division rival Dodgers wasn't enough of a storyline for Friday nights contest, throw in the opponent' s starting pitcher, David Wells. Boomer made 22 starts for his home town team this year going 5-8 with an ERA over 5 before being designated for assignment and signed by the Dodgers. Cassel is the brother of New England Patriot backup QB Matt Cassel.
Pete Laforest was designated for assignment to clear a spot for Cassel. This makes Geoff Blum the Friar's backup catcher until Michael Barrett returns to club, which will most likely happen tomorrow.
In news three levels of indirection away from the Padres Friday night starter, ESPN reports former Charger and current Patriot star Rodney Harrison has been suspended because he "obtained Human Growth Hormone ".
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Chris Young looked sharp in the first inning Thursday night - unfortunately, his command seemed to wane a bit more each subsequent inning. All told, the tall right hander was touched up for 5 runs over 4 1/3 innings - doubling his home ERA for the season from 0.66 to 1.24 - as the Friars fell to DBacks 8-7. CY's 6 walks underscored his control issues.
For most of the night the game seemed like a laugher. The Friars didn't put a run up until the 7th, when their bats suddenly came alive. Down 2 runs entering the 9th, Milton Bradley hit a massive bomb to right field to pull within 1 before the rally faltered.
Not only does this loss drop the Friars out of first place in the NL West, but it also puts soem pressure on the GM Kevin Towers on finding a starter for Friday's contest. The Padres had hoped to pitch by committee to avoid an end-of-season minor league roster lock up, but may now be forced to make a move after 5 pitchers wore out a path from the pen to the mound on Thursday.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Greg Maddux led the Friars to a 3-1 win over the DBacks Wednesday night at Petco Park. Coming into the game with a streak of 35 innings without issuing walk (for a 1.2 walk/9 innings ratio), Maddux tacked on an additional 7 walk-less innings while also recording 5 punch outs on the way to his second career triumph over Arizona. Maddux appeared to talk Padres skipper Bud Black out of removing him from the game with 2 outs in the 7th; the Professor responded with an emphatic strikeout of AZ star Chris Young. Kevin Cameron pitched a 1-2-3 eight for his 34th scoreless inning in 39 attempts - not too shabby for someone the team was hiding in the bowels of the 'pen to start the season. Heath Bell pitched a perfect ninth for his second career save as Trevor Hoffman was on the shelf after appearing in 6 of the last 8 games.
Brian Giles kicked off the San Diego's scoring by yanking a high and tight fastball over the right field wall. The blast not only knotted the score, but it also notched his 1000 career RBI. Giles is now only the twelfth active player to have 1000 RBI, 1000 runs, 1500 hits and 250 dingers. Giles also scored the Friar's second run on a Mike Cameron double in the 8th. Adrian Gonzalez then drove Cameron in with a single (Gonzalez was tossed at second trying to extend his hit into a double).
The Padres now have 30 games remaining in the 2007 campaign, with 22 of those contests happening within the NL West. A win tomorrow will give Kevin Towers' club a 4 game sweep of the Diamondbacks. The Phillies won tonight to keep pace 3 games back in the Wild Card race. Ironically, Philly won on an obstruction call to end the game.
* Kevin Kouzmanoff's 7 game hitting steak came to end with a on 0-3 night.
* Maddux threw 88 pitches Wednesday night. His season high pitch count was 97 on April 22 during 2-4 loss to the Rockies at Coors Field
CBS Sportsline's Scott Miller reports that San Diego should enjoy Milton Bradley before he wears out his welcome. We all know about Bradley's reputation, but San Diego might just be the place for Milton to turn things around. There may not be a more laid back stop in the Big League circuit than America's Finest City. After his acquisition, Michael Barrett was supposed to be a clubhouse cancer too, but he's fit in perfectly to date. Given that Bradley is feeling accepted, hanging out with pitchers and playing like a super star, FF is going to keep the faith. How couldn't we - the guy has hit 4 bombs in his last 5 games to go with a .375 average and 22 RBI over his last 23 contests.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
That's why they play the games!
On paper, the Diamondbacks had the advantage by throwing their ace Brandon Webb against the Padres Justin Germano (7-7). Although walking a tightrope most the evening, Germano stayed away from the Dbacks fatal bite and came away with the victory and a quality start in San Diego's 6-4 win. The Friars erupted against Webb in the 6th for 4 of their 6 runs, starting with a booming blast by center fielder Mike Cameron. Although the Pads left the bases loaded in the inning the 3 run lead was sufficient enough for the Pads pen to record the final 9 outs. Doug Brocail threw in the 7th and surrendered a 2 out solo shot, that was the only damage done the remainder of the night. Buddy Black used Heath Bell to set up his HOF closer, as Trevor Hoffman tossed a scoreless 9th for his 35th save in 40 chances.
The Pads pulled within 1 game of the front running Diamondbacks and maintained their 3 game lead over the Phillies, who won their 3rd straight, in the wild card.
Khalil Greene stayed hot with 2 hits and ties Josh Bard with 2 RBI Tuesday night.
Chris Young felt good enough to take some hacks during BP today, and is scheduled to start on Thursday night in the series finale.
Padres spark plug and emotional leader, Milton Bradley, will wake up with a bruise on his leg after he snapped his bat like a twig after striking out ~ the Petco crowd seemed to love Bradley's antics.
Monday, August 27, 2007
The beginning of the four game showdown between the top two teams in the NL West did not disappoint. The Padres ace, and leading Cy Young candidate, Jake Peavy threw 7 solid innings allowing the Dbacks to score 1 run (solo shot by Eric Byrnes in the 6th) and fanning 11. Peavy moved his record to 15-5 in part thanks to a 2 out 2 run blast of the bat of Geoff Blum. An insurance run was provided in the 8th, again with 2 outs Milton Bradley found the Petco Porch to his liking as he drove a solo shot just over the yellow line, Bradley's tater delivered the last run of the 3-1 victory. Heath Bell was impressive in the 8th and Hoffman closed the door on Arizona after allowing the tying runs to reach base, it was Trevor's 34th save of the year.
Although Josh Bard did not record a hit he did put together a quality at bat that lead to the 2 out walk in front of Geoff Blum's HR. Hoffman continues to struggle a bit, although he did end his streak of allowing a run. The Friars cut into the DBacks lead, which is now at 2; San Diego also maintained their 3 game lead in the wild card over the Phils while gaining ground on Colorado, and Atlanta.
With Jake Peavy's 1st inning strikeout he surpasses Andy Benes as the franchises all time strike out leader.
Chris Young threw a bullpen session on Monday and was encouraged by how he felt and hopes to return to the rotation on Thursday or Friday.
The Padres optioned Sunday's starter Tim Stauffer back to Triple - A Portland and recalled lefty Joe Thatcher.
Jake Peavy takes the mound for the Padres Monday night to kick off a 4 game series against the DBacks at Petco Park. With a single strikeout, Peavy will move past Andy Benes for the franchise record. More importantly, a sweep would put the Padres up a game in the NL West - might seem like a lot to ask, but clearly the DBacks are worried, which is why they are compensating. Bud Black's club currently holds a 3 game lead in the NL wild card race.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Tim Stauffer gave up 3 in each of the first 2 innings. With the Pads down 6-1 in the 4th they loaded the bases with nobody out, after a fly ball to shallow right where Agon didn't tag and a Laforest strikeout Bud Black opted to let Stauffer hit for himself, he grounded out to conclude the Friars frustrating inning. You figure Black wanted to preserve his bullpen for the upcoming 4 game series with the first place DBacks. Stauffer responded by surrendering another 5 in the 4th to extend the Phillies lead to 10 runs. All 11 runs are earned and Stauffer remained in the game through 4 with Wil Ledezma getting loose between innings.
The Padres end up losing the last game of a 4-2 east coast swing in a laugher 14-2 in the city of brotherly love.
How does a guy with an ERA north of 17.00 have a hot streak to extend? Well, that kind of ERA doesn't keep one around in the Bigs too long, so Tim Stauffer has had the opportunity to take the positive of his last start and work on it at AAA Portland. Tuesday the former 1st round selection tossed 7 1/3 scoreless innings for the Beavers (help save the Beavers name now if you haven't already), extending his hot streak with only 1 run allowed over 21 innings. Stauffer has had mixed success at the big league level over the course of 3 seasons. He is generally believed to have the stuff to stay with the big club, but his confidence tends to swing like a yo-yo. The Union Tribune reports that Bud Black remarked that, "his confidence is high", hopefully a sign that tonight may be an opportunity to extend both Stauffer's and the Padres' hot streaks.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
After collecting a season high 22 hits last night, the Padres responded with just 9 hits in Saturday's contest. Luckily, 4 of those hits left the yard, powering the Friars to a 4-3 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mike Cameron, Milton Bradley, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Terrmel Sledge all hit solo shots while a combination of 6 pitchers held the Phillies to 3 runs. Bradley's homer was the most impressive, making a loud crack off the bat on landing about 8 rows deep into the second deck. Apparently, only Barry Bonds and Ryan Howard have reached that distance in the past. Starter Clay Hensley allowed 2 runs over 4 2/3 innings. Despite a dropped foul ball by Kouzmanoff and not being able to capitalize on a potential twin killing, Justin Hampson battled backed back with a pair of strikeouts after coming on with 1 out in the sixth. Heath Bell powered his way to an hold with an impressive inning. Most concerning was Trevor Hoffman getting touched up for another run on the way to his 33rd save. The win pulled the Padres within 1.5 games of the D-Backs in the West while opening up a 4 game lead in the Wildcard race.
The Padres telecast has just reported that Marcus Giles has been placed on the 15-day DL as a result of injuries related to last night's bush league slide by Carlos Ruiz. Friar announcer Matty V reports that Giles had to obtain help from the Padres medical staff at about 4:30AM as his knee became swollen and made it difficult for him to move around. Diagnosed as a sprained knee, the new injury overshadows the hip pointer that forced Giles out of last night's game. Craig Stansberry was called up to fill Giles' spot on the Big Club and is uniform for tonight's game. Stansberry was recently mentioned by GM Kevin Towers as a likely candidate to join the Padres, partly due to his .820 OPS at AAA Portland this year.
Vasgersian also mentioned a questionable column in the Philly Inquirer today. The author, Phil Sheridan, suggests that Philly starter Jamie Moyer could have plucked Giles in response to his "histrionics". So let me try to understand this - the team that commits the egregious offense should be doing the plucking? He also says that Ruiz's slide wasn't "an outrage against all that is holy in baseball". Really? I don't know if the slide was intentionally dirty or not, but the bottom line is that it was far enough over the line to be called for interference. Oh, and now Giles may be lost for the season. Maybe the Padres are just being theatrical about that too...
Doug Brocail hit Carlos Ruiz on the thigh in the 6th inning of tonight's game. In case Mr. Sheridan is confused, this is the typical plucking relationship for an event of this nature.
Stansberry entered the game as a pinch hitter in the 7th and lined the first pitch he saw into right-center field for a base knock. Running out Brian Giles' fly ball, Stansberry look fairly fleet of foot. A little more speed can't hurt the Padre bench.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Greg Maddux pitched masterfully, earning his 10th win of the season while passing Cy Young for a MLB record 20th consecutive season with at least 10 wins, as the Friars rolled to a 14-3 victory Friday night. Maddux also surpassed his brother on the Padres all-time win list. Milton Bradley supplied the bulk of Maddux's run support with a pair of 3 run bombs, one from each side of the plate. Adrian Gonzalez made it 3 dingers in 2 nights, adding a pair of home runs himself. All told, the Padres gathered a whopping 22 hits.
The game seemed to turn on a dirty play by Phillie Carlos Ruiz's take out 'slide' of Marcus Giles in the fourth. Ruiz came in on Giles both late and high in a manner that looked more like a collision at home plate than it did a slide. The benches cleared and the umpire crew eventually ruled the slide interference, in effect completing a double play and pulling a run off the board in the process. Giles stayed in the game, but was later removed with a hip pointer and is listed as day-to-day.
Philadelphia's broadcast team had a rough night. They seemed to deem Ruiz's slide clean and later couldn't seem to come up with a reason why Giles was pulled from the game. This was just one of several miscues that made that game a bit difficult to take at times. FF understands that with the amount of airtime these guys get, they are bound to make mistakes, as did the Padres' Matt Vasgersian not long ago (us bloggers, on the other hand, are of course perfect). But the bar for announcing seems lower and lower every year.
Ruiz admits he came in high, Maddux and Rollins chime in.
ESPN's Keith Law explained why Padres manager made a horrible mistake last night in opting for side winding Cla Meredith for starter Justin Germano in the 6th inning with the bases juiced and no outs. Law wanted to see Black go to a "killer lefty" to face Mets left handed struggling slugger Carlos Delgado, Mr. Law also points out that the Friars do not employ a pitcher who fits the description of a killer lefty. Law also states that Cla Meredith was the worst possible pitcher to face a left handed hitter due to the arm slot that he throws from. Let's see what FF feels about Law's thoughts.
I think we all can agree that the Padres had a 6-1 lead at the time of the pitching change. Bud Black, in the 6th inning, was willing to trade outs for a runs. Who in the Padres bullpen would one go to in to get a ground ball? How about Cla Meredith, I hear he throws a heavy sinker. As far as the Padres lack of the killer lefty ~ I think the last time they had that guy in their bullpen was in 1998 when they acquired Randy Meyers ,that sure didn't work out well. The Padres have long been known to have the best relief crew in the game with or without a lefty. Why do you need a lefty to call on when your right handed relievers have the ability to get the southpaws out?
In looking at the roster FF found that only Heath Bell and Trevor Hoffman are better against right handed batters (and these are the 2 best, most reliable arms in MLB's best bullpen). Doug Brocail holds lefties to a .180 clip,Kevin Cameron keeps them to .220, and lefty Justin Hampson holds LH's to just .196. As far as Cla Meredith is concerned, he too has faired better against lefties although the batting average against him is a plump .292.
Clearly, the article was meant to point out the Pads don't have a Billy Wagner type lefty, however in looking at the whole picture we can see that the Padres are doing well with the guys they have. I'm not sure what bothers me more: the lack of research, or the dismissal of the game situation. A ground ball would have been 2 outs and one run. Of course the maneuver did not work last night, but it has worked over the long haul of the season. I do agree with you that Bruce Bochy did perfect the art of mismanaging. I actually wanted to see Black stick with Germano in that situation, but understand he wanted a double play grounder in exchange for a run or 2.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
2 of the more recent ex-major leaguers to sign with the Padres organization played major roles in the Beavers win on Wednesday night. Brady Clark contributed 3 hits as Casey Fossum, whose signing went under the radar threw 4 1/3 of 1 run ball.
The lefty starter was 5-8 with a 7.70 ERA in 40 games with the Devil Rays before being released on Aug. 10. Fossum, who has a career record of 37-52 with a 5.46 ERA in the Major Leagues, has pitched for Tampa Bay, Boston and Arizona.
Portland's 2nd baseman Craig Stansberry, who Kevin Towers said would see time with the big boys this summer also drilled his 14 bomb of the year. It should be interesting to see how the second base position unfolds through this year and into next season. The Padres currently carry 4 players who have logged MLB time at the position in Blum, Giles, Hairston, and Mackowiak. With youngsters like AAA All Star Stansberry and 2006 1st round pick Matt Antonelli on the horizon it would be surprising to see Marcus back with his home town team in 2008
The San Diego Padres and New York Metropolitans finished up a ridiculous series with the Padres winning Thursday 9-8 and taking two of three from the Mets at home. After taking a commanding 6-1 lead to the 6th, the Padres third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff's error opened the flood gates to a 6 run inning. The Friars had a chance to even the score in the 7th after David Wright's 2nd error of the night; with runners on the corners and 1 out Brian Giles hit into an inning ending twin killing. The Pads entered the 9th trailing by one against hard throwing lefty closer Billy Wagner. Khalil Greene continued his strong series by leading off with a hustle double to left. Many failed bunt attempts and hits that found holes came off the bats of Marcus Giles, Sledge, and Josh Bard lead to a 2 run inning setting up Trevor Hoffman to protect a 1 run lead. Hoffman who took the loss with his blown save on Tuesday night came right back and earned a save in Wednesday's game. After retiring the first batter Hoffman gave up consecutive singles by Jose Reyes and Luis Castillo; with 1 out and David Wright at the plate the Mets pulled off a double steal (which were the 10 & 11 stolen bases off of catcher Josh Bard in the series) to put runners at 2nd and 3rd. A fly ball to center tied the game at 8 before Hoffman loaded the bases and got Alou to ground out to second. Adrian Gonzalez hit a 1 out solo shot to right center to set former Met Heath Bell up for his first major league save, which he earned to push the Padres to 2 games over the Phillies (who they play in a 3 game weekend series beginning Friday) and just 3 games back of the idle Diamondbacks.
You would have figured the scores to look a lot different with the NL's best 2 pitching staffs going at it ~ this could be a preview of a playoff series this October, if that ends up happening make sure to have plenty of antacid handy.
MetsBlog.com reports that David Wells is close to signing with the NY Mets. The Point Loma High School grad was designated for assignment by the Padres on August 10th. Part of me just wants him to hang it up at this point as he couldn't seem to last 5 innings for the most part this season. That said, he handled the situation like a real professional and FF wishes him the best of luck, regardless of what happens and that it doesn't happen at the expense of the Friars.
UPDATE: Wells has signed with the Dodgers and will start against the Mets on Sunday! The goodwill I expressed earlier has vanished.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Tuesday night's biggest story wasn't the last minute loss to the Mets - it was the loss of Chris Young's next start to a balky back. It appears that Young will held out at least one start, with more information pending an exam by the Padres medical staff back in San Diego. It's not currently known who will fill Sunday's open slot in the rotation, but the Wil Ledezma or Tim Stauffer, who's been hot in AAA Portland, are the leading candidates.
Michael Barrett may be turning the corner; he's experienced 3 straight symptom-free days and has been told that he needs that streak to reach 7 in order to get back on the field. That would target him for a rehab assignment on Monday. The Padres could really use someone to spell Josh Bard right now. Bard's fielding has been lacking in recent days as he hasn't been able to block a few balls over recent games that have put the team in a bind. If we learned nothing else in Bruce Bochey's tenure as Padres skipper, splitting time is instrumental for catchers, especially at this point in the season.
Jake Peavy was once again dominant, piling up 11 strikeouts to tie Andy Benes for the all time franchise record. Tossing 100 pitches over 6 innings, Peavy left the game with a 7-2 lead. The Padres bullpen again tried to make it interesting; the tying run came to plate in Carlos Delgado, but Trevor Hoffman flabbergasted him with a classic change up to sniff out the treat, giving the Friars a 7-5 win over the Metropolitans. Things got so dicey in the bottom of the ninth that Geoff Blum staggered after a pop fly to second, eventually dropping it, thereby allowing a run. Blum did recover enough to record an out on the play with a force at second base. Overall, the Padres look like the are playing tight - maybe even scared. A few more strong nights by the middle of the order might help to relax the team enough to realize that ever run allowed doesn't have a multiplier attached to it. Adrian Gonzalez and Khalil Greene both collected 3 hits, with Mike Cameron and Kevin Kouzmanoff adding on 2 hits a piece. All told, the 4-7 hitters combined for 7 RBI on the night.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
The San Diego Chicken is clearly the best mascot in sports history. He even edges out Bolt Man. Mr. Met, rumored to be a cousin of Jack of Jack in the Box fame, tries hard and FF gives him an A for effort, but he's still no SD Chicken.
Teaches chicks to piss on umpires
Chicken beats up Barney
Mr. Met does Pooja's Wedding
In the bottom of the 7th, Khalil Greene made a fantastic play to rob Lastings Milledge of a base hit, just a few innings after Mets commentator and former big league pitcher Rob Darling asserted that Greene doesn't have the fielding skills of Kevin Elster. A quick comparison of stats shows that Greene and Elster actually have nearly identical range factors (per game - not inning, the preferred stat, because these stats are not available for Elster) and fielding percentages. Meanwhile, the Mets broadcast team touted Jose Reyes' fielding prowess. A look at his stats show that they are nearly identical to Greene and Elster... And who says there isn't an East Coast sports bias?
With a San Diego-like drizzle and unseasonably cool weather in New York, Chris Young had trouble finding his groove early Tuesday night. He gave up a 2 out, 2 run opposite field bomb to Carlos Beltran in the 1st, giving Beltran homers in 3 consecutive at bats and staking the Mets to an early lead. Making his first start since August 3, Milton Bradley plated the Friar's first run with an RBI single to drive in CY in top of the 3rd, bringing the Padres within a run. Beltran stung Young again in the bottom of the 3rd, this time with a 2 run, 2 out double. Mike Cameron ignited a 2 run Padre 6th with a monster home run to left field. Marcus Giles then drove in Geoff Blum with a 2 out pinch hit triple, pulling the Padres back to within a run. Justin Hampson and Cla Meredith relieved CY in the 6th, holding the Mets at bay. Young allowed 4 earned runs, pushing his ERA over 2.00.
With 2 outs in the 7th, Adrian Gonzalez's single was misplayed by Mets' right fielder Lastings Milledge, allowing Gonzalez to coast into second base. Cameron hammered a double to left center, driving in Gonzalez and positioning himself to score on Khalil Green's following single, pulling the Friars ahead by a run. Meredith kept the ball in the bottom of the 7th, holding the Mets again, this time with a fantastic play from Greene to rob Lastings Milledge of a base hit. Josh Bard then led off the 8th with a ground rule double to dead center. Terrmel Sledge following a pinch hit single, before Brian Giles' laser beam line drive was caught by Mets first basemen Carlos Delgado. Sledge was then thrown out trying to steal second on what appeared to be a busted hit-and-run with Blum at the plate. Blum then grounded out to first on the next pitch, stifling the Padres rally. Heath Bell came into the game in the bottom of the 8th, hitting 99 mph on the gun against his former team. Bell then gave up an RBI single to Beltran, yielding the tying run and Beltran's 5th RBI of the game.
Bradley showed his importance to the team by leading off the 9th with a hard single against New York closer Billy Wagner. A Cameron walk, followed by Greene being hit by a pitch, allowed a Kevin Kouzmanoff sacrifice fly to right field to put the Padres up by one leading into the bottom of the 9th. Trevor Hoffman entered the game and promptly allowed the tying run on an RBI single to the ageless Marlon Anderson. Hoffman then allowed a pair of of hits, not only blowing the save, but earning the loss.
Monday, August 20, 2007
The Padres find themselves in the later portion of August for the third time in three seasons with something to play for. Heading into Shea to square up against the NL East leading Mets the Friars find themselves 3.5 games behind the Diamondbacks in the west and leading the Phillies (who they play this road trip after the 3 game set with NY) by a game for the wildcard. The Padres have kept themselves in striking distance of the rattlers all without their most exciting offensive player, Milton Bradley, for close to 2 weeks. Rookie skipper Buddy Black has Bradley penciled into left tomorrow night at Shea Stadium and I'm sure he had to fight back a smile as his left hand sketched out the name.
With the starting pitching and defense that the Padres employ they make for a tough match up for any senior circuit team. They have shown glimpses of power throughout their line up and hope that Bradley, Barrett, and Scott Hairston all make healthy recoveries for the September run. Frair fans also hope to continue to see a red hot Brian Giles (circa Pittsburgh), and a consistant stick out of Geoff Blum filling in as the starter at second.
The bottom line is that the Pads have at times been a little difficult to figure, stagnint bats, and random bullpen blow ups. However, when the standings are laid out the Friars have an outstanding opportunity to progress to the playoffs and do some serious damage. Time to sit back, and enjoy a memiorable run to the post season ~ and from there anything can happen...especially with this pitching.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
...first there's news of last night's 3-2 loss to Houston, which dropped the Pads to 5 back in the NL West race. And then there's an article describing how Jake Peavy doesn't expect to be on the team over the long term.
Peavy basically says that he doesn't think the Padres will step up and pay him what he'll be worth when his current contract expires. While his comments on the subject are certainly part of his negotiating strategy, he raises some interesting questions about the goals of Padres management.
Might our beloved team be financially tuned to deliver fits of playoff excitement but fall short of World Series gold? Does the unspoken strategy in the Padres front office involve putting up enough cash to field a contender but to stop short of paying for the firepower to win it all? Jake Peavy seems to think so. From today's article:
"I'm more concerned about the team making a conscious effort to win a world championship. At times, I don't know if they've gone out on a limb to make it happen. I believe the big philosophy is right. But the first question I'd ask is, 'Can you give me your word that we're going to make an effort to win the World Series?'
“Honestly, they've done a phenomenal job with what they've spent. But we're being asked at a $58 million payroll to compete against the Dodgers and Giants . . . and we're doing it.
“But if we had made a little bit more of a financial commitment to winning, I think we could have already won a World Series.”
The Padres rank 24th among the 30 major league teams in player payroll this season.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Padres ace Jake Peavy threw very well surrendering only one run through 7 innings. The only problem was that the Padres were facing a starting pitcher with a high ERA...that is an equation that has proved deadly to the Friars offense. Ex Padre Woody Williams came into his former home at Petco with an ERA of almost 5.50 ~ he left after giving up 1 run through 7 to match Peavy. Houston got to Heath Bell for 2 runs propelling the Astros to a 3-1 victory. The Friars face an up hill battle on Saturday as they start Justin Germano (who surely would give his own team fits) opposite the Astros Roy Oswalt.
The Padres fell to 4 games behind the Diamondbacks who have been as hot as a Phoenix summer since the All Star break winning 20 of 25 contests. In the last four games the Pads have scored 8, 0, 11, and 1 run. Its become very difficult to determine which offensive team will show up and while the pitchig continues to be stellar, the bats need to come alive quickly in order to catch a young Arizona team who is gaining confience by the inning.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
...actually I'm Shane, a born-and-raised San Diegan, died-in-the-wool Padres fan, and longtime FOR&S (Friend of Ryan and Scott) who has been given the green light to chime in with a few posts. The Friar Forum is a top-tier operation, and between you and me, the pay is terrific, so I'm honored to contribute. To get caught up in the proper Padres spirit, I thought I'd conjure some of my most poignant Padres memories from my 25 years of humble fanhood.
Some of the best moments involve the Padres personalities, of course. There were players like John Kruk, Carmelo Martinez, and Garry Templeton. There were the Four Tops. The classy Ray A. Kroc, and his equally classy wife, Joan.
That one year Greg Vaughn hit all those homers. That one year Mark Davis got all those saves. And of course all those years that Tony Gwynn did dozens and dozens of awesome things, often in the same game.
Like any family, we've experienced some tough times. The Roseanne national anthem incident. The '98 World Series sweep. Ken Caminiti, we miss you. Alan Wiggins, RIP.
The high notes seem more common, though, and seem to resonate much clearer years later. There's Jerry Coleman's "Oh doctor" and "you can hang a star on that one," which play well in any baseball or softball game, and are also funny at bars.
There's the '84 World Series run, which is hazy in my mind's eye. The '98 Divisional Playoffs and League Championship Series, which are much sharper. The 82-80 first place finish in 2005. And another NL West title in 2006.
The city of San Diego has been unusually hot and humid for weeks now, and I like the tropical style, so I'm hoping it develops into a full Indian Summer, where things stay warm and summery into late October. And if the sun lets up a little bit, that'll be all the more room for the Padres to keep things heated.
In the second highest scoring game in Petco Park history the Padres come out on top of the wild 11-9 game. The 20 combined runs is second only to a 27 runs affair between San Diego and Atlanta last July (a Pads 15-12 victory). After the Padres pulled even at 2 runs apiece the Rockies scored 4 runs in the 5th against Friars starter Clay Hensley to take a 6-2 lead. With 2 on and 2 out in the bottom half Mike Cameron smashed a 1-1 fastball over the center field wall to start an unprecedented 9 run 2 out rally that saw Pete Laforest hit a frozen rope out to right for a 2 run bomb in part of the 12 batters to step in against 3 Colorado pitchers.
Trevor Hoffman converted his 30th save of the season for the 12th time in his career. Shortstop Khalil Greene aided Hoffman by making a nice play to record the first out in the HOF closer's perfect inning.
David Wells is drawing interest from NL West rivals Colorado Rockies & LA Dodgers
Padres AAA affiliate Portland has added right handed veteran outfielder Brady Clark to their roster.
After the Rockies silenced the Padres bats to even the series at one a piece on Wednesday night the Padres will look to take 2 out of 3 to win the home series. With Friar Forum successfully picking Chris Young as the Friar On Fire yesterday, we look to the offense to provide the first consecutive FOF choices in the history of this site.
The Padre who will take charge and make the most significant difference on Thursday will be:
first baseman, and Eastlake High alumni, Adrian Gonzalez. With Elmer Dessens toeing the rubber, I feel we will see Gonzalez go back to using the entire field by shooting pitches on the outer half to left ~ if Colorado tries to come inside with a heater later in the game Adrian will drop the head and yank one to the right field corner.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Wally Joyner might be happy with where the Friars hitters are; however the fan base has seen poor performances like Wednesday's 3-0 loss to the Rockies far too often. San Diego wasted another brilliant start by Chris Young as they fall to 3 games back of the Arizona Diamondbacks, who won in Florida earlier in the day.
The strike zone was interesting all night, but was consistently bad for both sides. The most frustrating at bat of the game was turned in by Mike Cameron who, with the Pads down by 2, swung and missed at ball four on a 3-0 count then popped up to short on the next pitch.
Catcher Josh Bard was back to hitting left handed against right handed pitchers - which is curious due to his early success on the last road trip.
Chris Young extended his scoreless inning streak at Petco to 27
The Friars send Clay Hensley to the bump Thursday for the series win.
The Friar On Fire for Wednesday's game versus the Colorado Rockies will be starting pitcher Chris Young. Not only has the All Star, Young, been outstanding this year on the bump he is taking time to help those less fortunate than himself as the San Diego UT details. Normally Friar Forum would not take such an easy way out to pick the FOF, but the Rockies have been a dangerous offensive team in '07 and it will take an outstanding performance to notch the win. Friar Forum will update the FOF tally after the game Wednesday.
FOF Pick: Chris Young
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
The Padres had a big night behind Greg Maddux Tuesday, scoring 8 runs and picking up a game on the rest of the NL West while blanking the Rockies. Jeff Francis had won 8 consecutive starts prior to being chased with one on in the forth; all Friar runs were charged to Francis. Manager Bud Black went with a heavy right handed lineup, starting Morgan Ensberg at first with Marcus Giles getting the nod at second and Geoff Blum shifting to left field. Kevin Kouzmanoff had 3 hits to go with 3 RBI. Both Kouz and Ensberg hit bombs. Maddux collected his first win since June, getting assists from Cla Merdith, Joe Thatcher and Doug Brocail, who was activate from bereavement leave prior to game. Mike Thompson was optioned to AAA Portland to make room for Brocail.
The Padres and Kevin Towers will have to continue to search for another starting pitcher within their organization as the Kei Igawa talks have broken off between the Pads and Yanks. With the amount of interest that the Frairs have shown for Igawa ($10 million + negotiating fee to Japanese club, trade talks before and after July 31 deadline) I would not be surprised to hear his name come up in the off season. It will be interesting to see if any additional names start to float around Petco Park.
In the first installment of Friar On Fire, we aim to choose the Padre who will be the difference maker in that day's game. The most obvious choice here would be the white hot (and tan) Brian Giles who is coming off a career series in Cincinnati that saw him raise his homerun total from 2 to 7 in the three game set. While the Padres right fielder should have earned this first spot as FOF, he has not. The FOF for Tuesday night is Khalil Greene. The shortstop has been hitting the ball well and heavily contributed to San Diego's record breaking performance on Sunday (9 doubles, 12 extra base hits) with a career high 3 two baggers. I like Khalil's chances against the Rockies left handed starter this evening and I am feeling like he's got a "hang a star on that" type play up his 3 quarter blue sleeve!
Monday, August 13, 2007
Just when Matt Bush's stock began to rise, its tumbled again. Drafted first overall by the Padres in the 2004 draft class as a shortstop, as much for his sign-ability as his potential, Bush struggled through parts of 4 seasons at the plate and in the field. His .570 OPS and career best .940 fielding percentage tempted the front office into trying him out as a pitcher. Stranger things have happened - Trevor Hoffman himself is a converted minor league shortstop. The early returns were nothing short of breathtaking: a 8-1 strikeout to walk ratio (a statistic known to make the front office swoon), 0.95 WHIP and a strikeout per 9 innings pitched rate of nearly 20 in the Arizona Rookie League. All of this for a guy that hadn't pitched since high school. Did I mention that he was nearly hitting 100 on the gun? Well, it now looks like he's facing Tommy John surgery.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Have yourself a series Brian Giles! The Padres right fielder who entered Cincinnati's Great American Ballpark this weekend with 2 home runs on the year, trots back to San Diego with 7. Sunday marked the third time in Giles career with homers in three straight games; however he had never before hit 5 in that stretch. Brian Giles was not the only hitter with something extra to give during the 10-4 win; the Padres set a franchise record with 9 doubles and 12 extra base hits.
Padres ace, Jake Peavy cruised much of the afternoon leading to his 7th road victory against 0 defeats. The hard throwing righty tossed 6 2/3 innings allowing 4 (2 earned) runs while striking out 5. The Cy Young candidate has run his record to 13-5 with a 2.23 ERA.
With a day off Monday, most of the Padres bullpen will have multiple days off to rest their heavily taxed arms. Heath Bell came in relief of Peavy in the 7th and put a stop to the Reds rally that had them within 2 runs with the bases juiced. Bell stayed in to pitch a scoreless 8th, and Joe Thatcher finished the game after a 4 run 9th put the game out of reach.
A series win and a 3-4 road trip has the Padres 3.5 games back of the Diamondbacks and leading the wild card race by a half game. The Friars head home to begin a series with the Colorado Rockies who come into Sunday tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers 6 games back in the west.
As FF expected, Clay Hensley will return from AAA Portland and assume David Wells' old spot in the rotation on Thursday. Hopefully this will end the timultuous portion of his 2007 campaign, picking up on his fantastic second half in 2006 in which he compiled a 2.66 ERA. Over his career, Hensley has posted a post-break ERA that is 2.36 runs better than his pre-break numbers. This dichotomy is further strengthened by his recent strong start in Portland, going 6 innings while allowing 2 runs, striking out 6 and walking none.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
The good news for the Padres is that Brian Giles seems to have found his power stroke, spanking a pair of home runs and accounting for team's entire RBI production. The bad news is that the Padres still can't muster hits as a team, putting extra pressure on a pitching staff that has been heavily taxed over the last week. The result was an 8-3 loss in Great American Park to the Cincinnati Reds. Justin Hampson offset Justin Germano's strong work, allowing 4 runs to boost Cincinnati's total to 5 at the end of 7. Recently recalled for a fresh arm, Mike Thompson was tagged for 3 runs (1 earned) in an inning and a third to follow up on Hampson's effort.
Outside of the older Giles brother, the Friars collected just two hits. As a team, the Padres have the worst batting average (.243) and on base percentage (.313) in the National League (NL). They also strike out and get hits at the second worst clip in the NL (897 Ks and 965 hits, respectively). Otherwise put, the Friars strikeout 16% more and compile 8% fewer hits than the average NL team. The average Padre gets just 1.08 hits per strikeout (see graphic below). The vaunted Padres pitching staff only holds its opponents to a .247 batting average. Simple math, even at a very abstract level, explains why tonight's outcome has become a far too familiar occurrence in 2007.
The following graphic depicts the percentage of hits (Padre blue line with sand shading) and strikeouts (Charger blue line, no shading) per total plate appearance (PA) for the Padres over the last few seasons. Notice the near convergence of hits and strikeouts in 2007. Disturbing, isn't it?
In 2007 the Padres average a strikeout every 20.1 PA and a hit every 21.6 PA.
Discovery Channel's Mythbusters aired a baseball myth special this week, taking on the following topics:
* Do corked bats hit a ball further than regular bats?
* Does storing balls in a humidor really decrease their distance of travel?
* Is sliding into a base faster than stopping on the base?
* Is there such thing as a rising fastball?
* Is it possible to hit the cover off a ball?
The show is definitely worth checking out, even though it is abundantly clear that nobody on the show knows much about baseball. They imported Rodger Clemens to help them out. One of most interesting sequences shows the difference in path of a Clemens fastball, curveball and slider to the plate.
Myth test results are listed in the comment of this post!
Friday, August 10, 2007
The Padres have been bitten by the injury bug once again as they plan on sending catcher Michael Barrett to the 15 day disabled listed due to concussion like symptoms. The Friars plan on calling Pete LaForest (29 HR's) up from Portland for the second time this season.
Did you see that:
When switch hitting catcher, Josh Bard, pinch hit for the injured Michael Barrett in the 6th against a right handed reliever he walked into an unfamiliar territory ~ the right handed batters box. His game changing 2 run triple in the Padres 5 run 11th was as a right handed hitter slashing a line drive into the right field corner...he was facing another RHP. Bard has been far more successful as a right hander, hitting .391 compared to just .227 as a lefty. Is the switch hitting a thing of the past for Bard?
The San Diego Padres continue to try to upgrade thier team have been awarded the waiver wire claim of Yankees left handed Japanesse import Kei Igawa. This does not mean that Igawa is now a Padres, however it gives the two organizations 2 days to work out a deal to send the struggling starter to Petco.
The San Diego Padres battled back from a 3 run deficit early in the game and poor defense and a blown save late in the contest en route to a 12-7 series opening win in Cincinnati. Rule V rookie Kevin Cameron threw two scoreless innings to earn his first major league victory; but it was a story of two other Pads hurlers that stood out. Wilfredo Ledezma got his first start for the Padres and proved to be a disappointing and short one as he lasted only 2 1/3 while surrendering 4 (3 earned) runs. Enter Jack Cassel, who struck out the first batter he faced in the big leagues ~ Cassel, who was called up earlier in the day in yet another flurry of moves, hurled 3 innings with 2 runs scored after he was pulled in favor of Cla Meredith. The Padres used a total of 6 pitchers in Friday's victory.
The Pads had their power swings working as 4 Friars left the yard. Brian Giles put a charge into one that pulled the Padres within one run for his 3rd bomb of the year. Adrian Gonzalez and Khalil Greene continued their back and forth struggle for the team lead in home runs ~ both sluggers went yard for their 19th of the year. Kevin Kouzmanoff provided additional cushion in the 11th as he sent a deep fly into the Ohio night for his 12th of the season.
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Greg Maddux gave up two runs in the bottom of first while his teammates managed just one run against National League loss leader Kip Wells, sticking the future Hall of Famer with a loss. If you've watched much Padre baseball this year, then you understand that there simply not much to say about this game.
Milton Bradley, rumored to be DL-bound, made a pinch hitting appearance in the 9th. It was another strong at bat for Bradley, who stayed in the game after walking; Friar fans have to take this as an encouraging sign that his balky hamstring is doing better.
Less than 2 weeks after acquiring Shea Hillenbrand, MadFriars.com reports that the Padres have pushed him out the door at AAA Portland. With subsequent additions to the big club in Morgan Ensberg, Rob Mackowiak and Geoff Blum's ability to play third, it's not difficult to see why Hillenbrand became dispensable.
With Kevin Towers on speaker phone in Bud Black's office Tuesday night, David Wells learned that his second tenure with his hometown club had come to an end. The organization is giving Wells a day to decide if he'd like to continue playing, in which case the club will designate him for assignment, or simply retire. Wells is mulling over that decision while reportedly hunting at his Michigan ranch. Fellow southpaw and deadline acquisition Wil Ledezma will handle Wells next spot in the rotation; no long run decision has been made for his rotation slot. It's possible that Wells' subsequent starts may be filled by Clay Hensley, who is eligible to return from AAA Portland on August 16, a day before the second open turn in the rotation. Then again, the front office has mentioned that they'd like to stretch Ledezma out into a starter.
Wells currently sports a 235-156 record and will always be known for throwing a 120 pitch perfect game. That game and its incredible tie with fellow Point Loma High School perfect game winner Don Larsen, coupled with his larger than life personality, will make him missed not only in San Diego, but across the league in the case of his retirement.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
The number 19. Jake Peavy ran his scoreless inning streak to the magic Friar number with 6 strong innings in a 4-0 Padres triumph. Peavy struck out 5 and probably could have gone another inning were it not for expending more than 13% of his 104 pitches (14) on Scott Rolen in the bottom of the first. Upon finally retiring Rolen on pop up, Peavy grinned widely on his way to the dugout. Peavy's ERA now stands at 2.21 with his league-leading strikeout total expanding to 159.
Josh Bard and super-slugger Scott Hairston supplied the all the firepower the Padres needed, though it was Hairston's two run triple in the ninth, followed by his scoring on a wild pitch, that put the game firmly out of reach. Perhaps the only Padre hotter than Peavy, Geoff Blum, added 3 hits out of the two hole.
Greg Maddux will be followed by Chris Young over the next two days as the Padres hope to continue to exercise their Busch Stadium demons.
Toward the end of last night's game, Matt Vasgersian was caught on the air making some less than positive comments about St. Louis and Cardinal fans. To his credit, Vasgersian has apologized for the remarks, saying that they were tongue-in-cheek and meant to get a rise out of Mid Westerners on the Padres' broadcast team. The Cardinals broadcast team brought up the apology in their Tuesday telecast and said that they believed that it was heartfelt.
We may not have seen the end of the Padres roster evolution as there is talk of San Francisco Giants pinch hit specialist Mark Sweeney rejoining the Padres for what seems to be the 15th time.
After getting hit around the yard for the 4th straight outing the Padres seem to be considering the release of veteran lefty David Wells. Boomer, a Point Loma High School grad, has an ERA over 14 in his past 4 starts, and his 5.54 ERA is over a run above the average in the Senior Circuit. If this is in fact the end of the road for Wells, Friarforum will salute his solid and colorful career that includes a perfect game and Babe Ruth's hat.
Monday, August 6, 2007
FriarForum.com reader Travis recently commented on our post about Bud Selig's reaction to Barry Bonds tying Hank Arron's record. In his comment, Travis provides a link to an editorial alleging that Bonds' elbow armor not only unfairly gives him access to outside pitches without fear of injury, but also improves his mechanics. We haven't studied that massive elbow armor in detail, but the article does bring up another interesting angle that has been bantered about between myself and my father. Inexplicably, my father has become a Barry Bonds defender (in my estimation, his argument is that if Tony Gwynn says Bonds is okay, he's okay - but he can log on and attempt to explain himself). A popular theory aimed at protecting Bonds from asterisk status in the record books is that steroids weren't technically banned (and were actually passively encouraged) in baseball while Bonds (and others) were allegedly using them. This conversation turned into a debate about what's worse - performance enhancing drugs or outright cheating. I firmly believe that performance enhancing drugs are worse than cheating. For instance, throwing a spit ball seems much less of an transgression than sucking down Human Growth Hormone. What do you think? And how about that arm brace?
The Padres medical staff remains busy, but good news appears to be around the corner with Chris Young appearing likely to make his next start on Thursday. Not only will this return the League's best ERA to the lineup, but will supply the Friars with a much needed fresh arm; Young has averaged a (high) quality start in 2007, excluding the 2 inning start in which he was injured. Additionally, Justin Germano is recovering well from a cracked finger nail suffered Sunday and is not expected to miss any time.
Bub Black can pencil Geoff Blum back into infield as both Brian Giles and Scott Hairston have returned to action. It will likely be a couple more days before new Padre fan favorite Milton Bradley brings some attitude back into the batting order. The gaggle of media following Barry Bonds brought some unwanted attention to Bradley over the weekend, suggesting that he and Moneyball star Billy Bean didn't get along, precipitating his departure from Oakland. Regardless of how he got to the confines of Petco Park, Friar fans have to be pleased with his 1.082 On Base Plus Slugging (OBPS) percentage since donning a blue Swinging Friar jersey.
The Padres played great for eight innings on Monday, but suffered a complete meltdown in the 5th, allowing 10 runs - 7 before an out was recorded - to lose 10-5. David Wells took the brunt of the Cardinal explosion by allowing 7 earned runs. The Ocean Beach native now has an ERA north of 14 over his last 4 outings. He has not lasted more than a 5 1/3 innings over that span. Summoned to eat innings and cool down the Red Birds' bats on a 96F degree day, recently recalled Mike Thompson allowed 3 additional runs (2 earned). Thompson rebounded in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, holding the line to allow the Padres to crawl within 5. The Padres continued to hit with Adrian Gonzalez and Khalil Green again dueling for the team's title as home run leader. Both left the yard on the same day for the second time in 5 days, finishing with 18 round trippers a piece. Continuing his torrid steak, Geoff Blum had a pair of hits including a 2 run bomb while also making his third straight cameo appearance in left field. Brian Giles returned to the top of the order but was hitless in three at bats.
While the Friar's front office has stated that Morgan Ensberg is not a threat to Kevin Kouzmanoff's playing time, Ensberg got the nod for the third time in 4 days. It may be tempting to think that Manager Bud Black has come down with a case of Bruce Bochey syndrome, but Enberg's lifetime average of nearly .500 against Cardinals starting pitcher Braden Looper was the likely the real culprit. Black surely wanted to leverage Michael Barrett's .636 lifetime average against Looper, instead opted for Josh Bard behind the plate as Barrett was scratched due to ill effects of a foul ball taken off the mask on Sunday.
Sunday, August 5, 2007
As a fan of the pitching rich Padres, it was a pleasure seeing the Mets veteran lefty notch win #300 Sunday. Tom Glavine who starred for many years in Atlanta next to San Diego's own Greg Maddux reached a milestone that we may not see another pitcher achieve. The last three to make the club of 23 hurlers are Glavine, Maddux, and Clemens all of whom won #300 in their forty's. The only player who is close to to joining the club is Randy Johnson, 43, (who is out for the remainder of this season with another back problem) who goes into 2008 with 284 victories. It seems unlikely for the Big Unit to win 16 more games in his career.
In a week that we saw A-Rod become the youngest player player to hit 500 homeruns, Barry Bonds tie Hank Aaron's 755, it is Tom Glavine's 300th win that deserves the Friar Of The Day award. The homerun milestones are amazing, but we will see more players hit 500 round trippers and we will see Bonds' number broken (A Rod); but will we ever again see a pitcher record his 300 victory?
The San Diego Padres completed the 3 game sweep over the division basement dwelling Giants on Sunday by a tally of 5-4. The victory marked the 4th in a row and 4 and 2 homestand. The first place Arizona DBacks took their brooms out as they swept the LA Dodgers back to 4 games off the pace. San Diego maintained their 1.5 game deficit with a chance to pick up a half game tomorrow in St. Louis with Arizona having an off day.
Justin Germano threw well over 5 2/3 innings prior to exiting with a bloody right thumb after being hit by a comebacker. He was replaced by Doug Brocail who after surrendering back to back singles, retired the Giants and would up earning the win with the Pads putting up 2 runs in their half of the sixth.
Mike Cameron was the star of the game making things happen with his glove, legs, and bat. Cameron made a beautiful leaping grab at the wall that ended with his body slamming squarely into the pads in left center. He then tied the game at 2 by stealing third and scampering home after the ball got away from Giants third baseman Pedro Feliz. In the 8th, Cameron, who was hitting in the leadoff position for the first time under Bud Black, smoked a ball to the wall in right center to score Morgan Ensberg who had a 2 out pinch single. That run proved pivotal as closer Trevor Hoffman allowed a 2 run homer that pulled the Giants within 1 before a vintage Hoffman change up got Randy Winn swinging to end the game. Baseball's all time saves leader has converted 29 of 31 save opportunities this season.
Clay Hensley, who started last night's game for the Friars and will be remembered for giving up Barry Bonds' record tying 755th homerun was optioned to AAA Portland in favor of a fresh armed Mike Thompson. I feel this move was made based on the fact that the Pads needed an additional arm after consecutive extra inning victories. Mike Thompson started the season with the Padres and will be used as a long reliever and spot starter depending on the recovery time of Chris Young, who leads the National League in ERA.
Barry Bonds will be held out of the line up for Sunday afternoon's contest, setting him up for a run at history in San Fransisco. Padre fans were generally respectful of the event; a number of fans held up asterisk signs and there was some moderate booing. All in all, they were much more respectful of Bonds than was MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, who stood up but kept his hands firmly planted in his pockets with a dour look upon his face. Selig was also noncommittal about watching 756 in person, saying that he or a representative will be in attendance, clearly delivering the message that his involvement is out of respect for the game, not Bonds (who his statement noted is innocent until proven guilty in the United States).
In related Selig news, he has fined David Wells yet again. This time Wells was docked $5,000 for speaking out against MLB discipline czar Bob Watson in the press. Wells has offered to buy Selig lunch to talk it over. Hopefully he'll at least send a representative in this case.
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Barry Bonds did pull even with with Hank Aaron as he drove a Clay Hensley fastball to the seats beyond left field, but the Padres win for the third straight night. Friday night's hero, Scott Hairston, homered to lead things off for the Padres (Hairston's HR marked a round tripper in 3 consecutive at bats). In a common trend, the Pads struggled with RISP but Khalil Greene came through in the 12th inning to give San Diego their second straight walk off win in extra frames.
The short bench came into play as Bud Black was forced to insert Jake Peavy as a pinch hitter in the bottom half of the 9th. With Giles and Bradley unavailable due to injuries and Scott Hairston forced out after fouling a ball off his foot ~ Geoff Blum made an uncommon visit to the outfield (he played three balls without incident). With Clay Hensley (making his first start for the Padres since May 2) only lasting 4 2/3 the pen was empty by the 11th inning as Sunday's starter, Justin Germano, was getting loose. Germano will be asked to eat some innings tomorrow to give the relief staff a much needed day off.
The San Diego Padres most exciting player since his arrival from Oakland, Milton Bradley, will take a couple of days to rest a strained right hamstring. It does not appear to be severe enough to warrant another trip to the DL, but paired with right fielder Brian Giles' ankle injury it leaves the bench a little thin.
Friday, August 3, 2007
On a night where everyone was talking about Giants slugger Barry Bonds possibly tying Hank Aaron's homerun record at 755, it was Padres new comer Scott Hairston who left the San Diego crowd in a frenzy. Hairston, who replaced injured LF Milton Bradley, tied the game in the 8th with a monstrous 3 run homer to left. He then sent everybody home by clearing the wall on a full count with 1 out in the bottom of the 10th to propel the Friars into 2nd place in the tight NL West.
On consecutive nights a newly acquired Friar has had a 2 homer game (Morgan Ensberg Thursday night against the 1st place DBacks), as the players are making General Manager Kevin Towers look like the executive of the year. The new additions have played a huge roll in making the 25 man roster a lot deeper and scarier to face. Rob Mackowiak led off and played RF for the 2nd straight game and impressed with both the stick and the leather as he doubled and scored in the 8th, and started a relay from the right field corner to nail Mark Sweeney by 20 feet at the plate to end a Giants 9th inning rally. With Friday night hero Scott Hairston and the consistent Mackowiak having MLB experience at second base it should be interesting see whether they get some playing time at that position after Geoff Blum's hot streak (3 more hits Friday) comes to an end. The injection of the new bats has brought needed offensive fire power to the Pads lineup and it would be great to see the new blood starting in as many positions as possible.
Everyone seems to hope that Barry Bond's won't hit a home run at Petco Park this weekend. I, on the other hand, really look forward to it happening. How sacrilegious you say? Not really. There couldn't be a better stadium in the league for this moment. Padre fans HATE Barry Bonds. Remember how fans booed Steve Finely when he came back to the Murph after the Padres showed him the door? That will be nothing compared to the total utter lack of respect that Padre fans will show Bonds if he manages to clear the wall for 755 or cream a dinger for 756. Every news broadcast in the country will have to remark as much about the negative reception as they will the home run. Maybe we'll even get an encore performance from the guy who tossed the giant syringe on opening day last year...
The Padres have had some trouble producing home grown talent (Khalil Greene and Jake Peavy are the only 2 that stick out on the current roster), but it would appear that their farm system is improving dramatically. Having a solid farm system helps in a myriad of ways; besides providing the major league roster with talent it gives the front office flexibility to make trades when needed. Having young talent ascend through the minors also allows teams to keep their payroll at a manageable level.
Thursday, August 2, 2007
It's no secret that the Padres front office has become more and more comfortable with the use of statistics to impact their moves. This begs the question of how their new additions will alter Bud Black's daily line up card. Let's dig a little deeper and see if we can find out, starting with third base.
The big dig against Kevin Kouzmanoff is that he has struggled against right handed pitching. This is certainly true - but's lets take a gander at his stats in comparison to newly acquired Morgan Ensberg. Against right handed pitching, Kouz scores just below Ensberg in terms of OPS, .610 to .653. While facing left handed pitching, Kouz enjoys a .942 to .789 advantage. Perhaps this will be enough to get Ensberg occasional starts against righties, but it doesn't seem to support a full fledged platoon. The more likely scenario is that Towers, Black and company keep Kouz in there as an everyday player and hope he breaks through against right handed pitching as he had in the minor leagues in prior seasons (.952 and .923 OPS in 2006 and 2005, respectively).
That said, Morgan Ensberg is a very accomplished player. If he gets hot and returns to his 2005 form, Bud Black will find a regular spot for him. Today was certainly an example of what he can do. Perhaps more encouraging is that Ensberg has noted that he feels that he needs to regain the aggressiveness that he has had in prior seasons. A quick pass through his numbers shows that in the last two years, Ensberg has been seeing nearly 4.25 pitches per plate appearance. In his massive 2005 campaign as well as prior years, that number hovered in the mid to high 3s.
We'll look at some of the other newcomers and how they might fit in to the Padre hitting machine over the next few days.
Jake Peavy once again showed his dominant side, shutting down the Diamondbacks with 10 strikeouts against 3 hits and a walk over 7 shutout innings. The Padres would go on to prevail 11-0. Newcomer Morgan Ensburg suggested that Peavy's performance, "looked quite effortless." Ensburg didn't exactly make the game look to hard himself, contributing 3 hits and 4 two out RBI, highlighted by pair of long balls. Fellow July 31 addition Rob Mackowiak, filling in for injured Brian Giles in both the lead off spot and right field, added two hits and stolen base. Khalil Green and Adrian Gonzalez each added their 17th home runs of the season.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
The Friars rallied back from a 5-1 deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning to tie the game on a 2 run Petco Porch home run by Milton Bradley, but eventually fell to the Diamondback 9-5 in the eleventh inning. Bradley's first pitch dinger capped off RBI hits by Geoff Blum and Mike Cameron off Arizona closer Jose Valverde. With the game knotted up in the eleventh, Scott Hairston nearly pulled off a spectacular diving catch in left field. Hairston had secured the ball mid-dive, but lost it when his glove hit the ground. Heath Bell was unable to recover, despite pitching well prior to allowing a Chad Tracy home run. It marked only the second home run allowed in 2007 by Bell. Tracy's 3 run shot to dead center topped off Eric Byrnes' weakly hit infield single, which plated the go ahead run. The Padres followed with a 1-2-3 bottom of the eleventh.
Earlier in the game, Brian Giles injured his ankle making a fine catch while simultaneously crashing into the right field wall. He continued on, but pulled himself from the game after walking in the fifth. He's listed as day-to-day with a sprained ankle. Mike Cameron was also snake bit, repeatedly falling victim to mid-count strikezone enlargements by home plate umpire Mike Reilly. It marked the second straight night that Cameron clashed with Reilly. Arizona center fielder and possible Rookie of the Year Chris Young also robbed Cameron of a grand slam to right center.
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