Preaching Padre religion one post at time

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Padres Banks In

The San Diego Padres quietly picked up pitcher Josh Banks off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays earlier in the season, and that wire transaction is now paying off. Banks made his first start for the Friars Saturday in San Francisco and was extremely impressive tossing a complete game 6 hitter in the Friars 5-1 victory. FF would like to point out that Banks did not walk a batter, which kept his pitch count to just 101 for the game. Banks made a strong bid at a shut out as the Giants managed to plate a run with 2 outs in the 9th. Bud Black could not have asked for a better time for this complete game as his bullpen is taxed from last Sunday's (May 25th) 18 inning affair and the 13 frames played Friday night.

Friar Footnotes

Left handed Shawn Estes joined fellow starters Jake Peavy and Chris Young on the DL Saturday after fracturing the tip of his left thumb in a freak accident. Estes fell down the stairs leading to the Padres dugout during Friday night's game.


The Pads will replace the injured Estes with Carlos Guevara, a Rule 5 draftee from the Reds organization, who will need to remain with the Padres through the remainder of the season or be offered back to the Reds for $25,000. When the right hander makes his first appearance, he will be the 21st pitcher the Friars have used in the young season.

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Sitting On The Walk Of The Bay

The San Diego Padres patience at the plate pays off late as they outlast San Francisco in the opener of a 3 game, weekend set by a score of 7-3 in 13 innings. Common place for the Friars this season has been letting opportunities slip through the cracks, and Friday evenings tilt was no different as highlighted by Kevin Kouzmanoff's tough night that included grounding into a triple play in the 8th and a rally ending twin killing in the 10th frame. The Padres 3rd baseman had a chance to redeem himself in the 13th when he found himself at the plate with the bases juiced and just 1 out; Kouz could not come through again as he popped up to the first baseman. Fortunately for Kouzmanoff and the Padres the Giants pitcher lost the strike zone and walked in the deciding run as he issued a free pass to Khalil Greene. An RBI HBP followed, and a 2 run single by Justin Huber capped the 4 run inning in front of a perfect inning by Trevor Hoffman.

Pad Points:

Cha Seung Baek looked great as he struck out the side in order to pick up his 1st win as a Friar.

The Friars used their 20th pitcher of the season on Friday...its still May!!!

No team in the NL West will post a record of over .500 in the month of May

Bryan Corey (who as previously noted by FF pitches with his spikes on the rubber) had his spikes slip out from under him as he was pushing off the rubber, it was a balk and lead to the Giants tying run on the 7th, it will be interesting to see if Corey makes an adjustment.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Peavy Throws; Friars Swap Righties With M's

The Padres and ace Jake Peavy received good news after the latest MRI showed vast improvement in his right elbow. The 2007 Cy Young winner resumed throwing Tuesday and is working his way back to the mound. Tuesday night not only saw the Padres match a season high win streak (2 games), but the Friars also shipped rookie Jared Wells to Seattle for pitcher Cha Seung Baek. The right-handed South Korean is 29 with a 10-9 major league record in 24 starts (37 appearances) with an ERA of 4.96. The Friars plan to use Seung Baek as a bullpen arm who has the ability to start in a pinch.

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Padres Power Surge at Petco

The Padres picked up a little mojo Tuesday night, with a Petco power surge in the form of back-to-back bombs from Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Kouzmanoff to break a 2-2 tie in the seventh. Trevor Hoffman rebounded from recent outings to secure the 4-2 win and a save (his 10th). Kouzmanoff's homer was a no-doubter, landing in the second deck in left center field. Earlier, Michael Barrett plated the first pair of runs with a based loaded single, erasing the two run lead created by a first inning Arron Boone homer. Whether this game is indicative of things to come or is just a Nationals-induced false-positive is tough to tell. But FF is hoping for the former and some entertaining ball over the rest of the season.

  • Eight Padres each collected a single hit in the win
  • Khalil Greene uncharacteristically walked twice
  • Brian Giles finished the day with a .301 average and is the only regular above the .300 mark.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Topic de Jour: Strikeouts

We can't bear to give recounts of games on a daily basis at this point in the season. This is a microcosm of what we've all seen at Petco Park lately. When hard core Padre fans can't bear to watch the team (including the ones that will maintain blogs that exclusively discuss the team), it's a sign of a franchise in crisis. But that's for another post. This one will focus on something even more disturbing than the club - the strikeouts frequency it is producing. Strikeouts are unproductive outs in that nothing good can typically come out of not putting the ball into play. Over the course of that last 4 seasons, the Padres have gone from a well performing team in terms of strikeout frequency to a very poor performer. In 2005, the club punched out a respectable 15.57% of their plate appearances (PAs). In 2006, they regressed to just over the NL average over the last 4 seasons, 17.56% compared to 17.20%. In 2007, the Friars K-ed 19.42% of their PAs and are now off to a 20.40% clip. Couple this with a nearly 10% reduction in the club's ability to get on base compared to the 2005 squad (.305 vs. .333) and it's clear that pitchers will need to flash some lumber to help this club win (the NL average from '05 - '08 is almost exactly a .333 on base percentage). In fact, the average 2008 Padre gets on base just 1.5 times for every punch out. Only Brian Giles (3.96 times), Jody Gerut (2.22 times), and Josh Bard (2.24 times) boast at least 2 touches of first base per stroll from the dish to pine. In 2005, the entire club managed 2.14 trips to first per K.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

New Wave Of Padres

Kevin Towers and the Padres promote 4 minor leaguers on Thursday as three pitchers and AA catcher Colt Morton join the big league club. The three AAA hurlers include Mike Adams, who was 3-1 with a 5.52 ERA, Jared Wells, 5.85 ERA with 9 saves, and Josh Banks who is 1-1 with a 6.66 ERA in 8 games at Portland. To make room for the newest players the Friars sent both Josh Bard and Chris Young to the 15 day DL after they were each injured in the 3rd inning of Wednesday's game. San Diego also sent Joe Thatcher back to Portland and released Justin Germano.

Towers said he was going to make wholesale changes, which he has started to do. The only question FF has is where is Chase Headley?

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Adding Injury To Insult

The Padres lost more than a ball game (11-3 Cards victory) and a series Wednesday night as in the span of 360 feet the Friars lost their battery of Young and Bard. In the top half of the 3rd inning a line drive off the bat of Albert Pujols hit CY square in the face and after a few minutes on the ground and a bloodied jersey later Young left the game to a standing ovation and a 2-0 lead. A few batters later a base knock to right field cost San Diego the lead and their starting catcher, Josh Bard, as Pujols slid into the backstop's ankle scoring the go ahead run and knocking Bard out of the game with an ankle injury.

This is a blow across the bow of a struggling Padres team, who will lose Josh Bard for at least 15 days just as Michael Barrett is getting close to returning. Chris Young and his broken nose may land on the DL, but FF expects to see Young back on the bump 5 games from now. FF would like to be clear; in no way was the Albert Pujols slide at the plate dirty and after the his ball knocked Young out of the game the former MVP was seen praying with Adrian Gonzalez. Pujols was obviously shaken by the affect of his base hit.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

KT To Harvest Farm System?

A frustrated Kevin Towers lets his players know that he is sick of watching this ballclub accept defeat after mind numbing defeat. Towers' club is on pace to be the second worst team in franchise history, and this organization has had its fair share of poor teams! What makes this season's debacle exceptionally painful is the '08 team was pegged for 90 wins and a divisional banner by the front office. The solution may be in a farm system that KT has seemed hesitant to harvest.

"We've got some hungry players down below looking for an opportunity. There's not one player in the system who is going to turn it around. If we make changes, it will be wholesale."

These words from the GM make it clear that they are not happy with the teams performance and that multiple moves are on the horizon, as well they should be.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Peavy Heads To DL

The 2007 triple crown and Cy Young winner will be placed on the Disabled List retroactive last Thursday to rest a sore elbow. Wil Ledezma replaced Peavy in the rotation Monday night and got knocked around a little, as did Justin Germano and to a lesser extent Sean Henn.

Peavy had a MRI done earlier on Monday, with the results being less severe than they could have been with the pain occurring close the the "Tommy John" ligament. Luckily for Peavy and the Friars their was no structural damage, but the swelling and strained muscle were more than enough to send him o the DL. The Padres will promote Joe Thatcher to fill the vacant roster spot. Thatcher has struggled this season posting an ERA of 6.75.

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Just Not Good

Monday night's game against the Cardinals has the look and feel of every other game this season, the visiting Cards are launching balls out of the yard, running all over the base paths while the Friars continue to swing and miss. Even the white hot Brian Giles is making bone-head mistakes as he ran into an inning ending out after delivering a run scoring single. I think what bothered me the most on Monday was the 3rd out of the 1st frame turned into a 2 run homer, as Scott Hairston pushed a ball over the left field wall. FF though the Padres were continuing to bury top prospect, Chase Headley, in AAA so he work work on his defense? Strange, very strange.

This team has made it possible for die-hard Friar fans to not care about the Padres, this season is quickly becoming the most miserable in recent memory.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bell's Mr. Hyde Performance Sinks Padres

The Padres looked to have the Mariners on the ropes with a 2-1 lead heading into the bottom of the 8th. Then the typically sturdy Heath Bell, who had struck out the first 2 batters he faced in dominant form, quickly loaded the bases before allowing a 2 run double to give Seattle a 3-2 lead it wouldn't relinquish. Newly added to the starting rotation, Shawn Estes pitched 6 1/3 strong innings, punching out 2 while allowing just 2 hits. The Padres managed 8 hits, with 3 coming off of the white-hot Brian Giles' bat. All Friar runs came on another Adrian Gonzalez home run. The 7 strikeouts by the Friars continues a pattern of poor at bats. We're too disgusted to spend any additional time describing the latest mid-game implosion, let's turn the the page to Wil Ledezma's start tomorrow.

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Peavy's Painful Pitching Elbow

FF, like all Frair fans out there, are holding our collective breaths in hope that Jake Peavy's MRI on Monday will not find any damage to Peavy's elbow. The injury has apparently caused the 2007 Cy Young award winner to skip bullpen sessions over his last 3 or 4 starts. Obviously, the last thing the struggling club needs is an injury to their franchise player. That said, FF urges caution with Peavy, preferring that the club doesn't let him rush back to potentially injure himself further.

Wil Ledezma will start in Peavy's place on Monday, marking the first need for an injury-related substitution in the rotation this season.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Friar Sale?

The San Diego Padres have become a hot topic in baseball's front offices as ESPN's Jayson Stark reported that one AL executive feels that the Friars may open their doors early stocking players like Khalil Greene, Kevin Kouzmanoff, and Randy Wolf on their shelves. FF was a bit surprised to see Kouz on this list, although opening a spot for Chase Headley doesn't seem too far fetched ~ FF still would be shocked to see the 3rd baseman moved this summer. Other players that FF could see being dealt include a myriad of free agents to be; Brian Giles, Greg Maddux, Michael Barrett, and Tadihito Iguchi. If Estes continues to throw well, the Friars might be well served to swap him for a younger model. In smaller moves FF wouldn't be surprised to see a Scott Hairston or P Mac cleaning their lockers in San Diego.

Not even half way through May and it seems that baseball has given up on the 2008 installment of the Padres. Its a little sad, but at least there will be some exciting rumors swirling to help the water cooler chatter.

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Peoria Pairing

As the San Diego Padres get set to open their Inter League play Friday evening in Seattle FF is asking for one player to make a very short trip from Portland to Seattle and take over for a group of unproductive left fielders. The Padres have obviously been trying to "go green" and wait until they traveled to the pacific northwest to call Chase Headley to save the additional fuel, how else can you explain Headley not being with the big boys? The Beavers are at home taking on the Las Vegas 51's this weekend and FF will be disappointed if the Padres leave Seattle without Headley.

As much of a Paul McAnulty fan as FF has been, it does not appear that he is a good fit for this club or ballpark. The Justin Huber experiment can be deemed a bust (although the slugger hasn't gotten too many chances). Scott Hairston has enough pop to stick around as a reserve OF, but should never again be considered for a full time job. At this point there is no reason for the Pads not to dip into their farm system again, and this time hook the big fish.

The Pads dropped 3 of 4 against a solid Cubs team who took advantage of their opportunities, as good offensive teams do. In Thursday's 4-0 snoozer, the only part of the game worth mentioning was a beautiful, run saving, diving catch by center fielder Jody Gerut. The center fielder continues to impress FF with his overall play, we can't wait for balls of his bat to find holes.

Pads & Ends

The Swing 'n' Miss Friars have struck out an amazing 29 time over the last 2 ballgames ~ thats a number that would make Phil Nevin and Rob Deer blush!

As reported by FF earlier in the week; Jim Edmonds has signed with the Cubs and hit 6th and roamed CF for them in the series finale. Edmonds stroked a soft single to right in his first at bat and wrapped into an inning ending double play in his second AB. The former Friar finished 1-4 to raise his batting average closer to .200.

Glendon Rusch has officially declined the Padres minor league option and is now a free agent.

Adrian Gonzalez continues to use a tan glove during day games and black leather for contests under the lights.

Tony Clark will get himself some AB's this weekend as the Friars plan on using the big switch hitter as their DH.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Carlin Moves to 3-0

Luke Carlin is a rabbits foot for a struggling Friars team, moving to 3-0 as a starter with the club's 4-3 win over the Cubs on a rainy Tuesday evening. Shawn Estes made his first start out of the rotation's 5 hole, earning the win (the 100th of his career) while allowing 3 earned runs over 5 1/3 innings; he overcame a leadoff bomb from Alfonso Soriano and was then spelled by another excellent relief outing by Cla Meredith. Heath Bell bridged the 8th inning, handing the ball the Trevor Hoffman, who posted his 7th save of the season with crisply located fastballs. Khalil Greene provided the major jolt for Bud Black's club, a 3 run homer that added on to Jody Gerut's RBI double in the 4 run 4th. Edgar Gonzalez made his first major league start, playing a shaky hot corner, but pounding out a couple of solid knocks. Adrian's big (little) brother runs the bases hard, reminding FF of the kind of effort that Eric Owens once displayed at the Murph (Gerut also reminds us of Mr. Owens' hustle). In all, the Padres have turned thing around to provide a glimmer of a hope for restoring the seemingly lost season, winning three of their last four.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Edmonds To Cubies?

It appears that the career of Jim Edmonds will not end in a Padres uniform as the Chicago Cubs are considering signing Edmonds to split time in center field. If the Cubs should sign Edmonds it would be at the expense of Felix Pie's roster spot. This would mark a huge drop in the value of Pie, as he has been a highly touted prospect for Chicago. FF has no ill will towards Edmonds, however we are surprised that a contending team is willing to give his heavy legs and slowing bat a roster spot.

The Padres have been long rumored to have an interest in Pie, as he brings speed to both the base paths and defense in their roomy center field.

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Monday: More Moves

The San Diego Padres are performing a face lift on a team that was in drastic need of a new identity. Prior to taking the field against the Chicago Cubs and their ace Carlos Zambrano the Padres will announce their 4th roster move in as many days. San Diego will call up Edgar Gonzalez to take the place of Rule V draftee Callix Crabbe. Typically, Rule V picks must be offered back to their original team (Brewers). However, the Padres still like what Crabbe brings to the table and will try to work out a trade to keep the speedy, versatile player. This transaction will reunite brothers Adrain and Edgar Gonzalez, who were inseparable during Spring Training. Older brother Edgar will assume the utility infielder role and brings a .293 average and 4 bombs to the Friars. San Diego has had many brother tandems in the past that include:
Tony and Chris Gwynn; Roberto and Sandy Alomar; The Brothers Giles; and Trevor and Glenn Hoffman.

Bard Hurting

Catcher Josh Bard is expected to return to the starting lineup on Monday in Chicago after receiving a cortisone injection in his surgically repaired throwing wrist. Newcomer Luke Carlin is scheduled to make at least 3 of the next 7 starts behind the dish for the Friars.

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Fathers Win On Mothers Day; Take Series

The Friars not only won a game Sunday, but they won a series for the first time in 9 tries! The Pads have played baseball with a certain crispness that has been lacking this season. San Diego got a strong outing by Chris Young and some power off the bats of Scott Hairston and Khalil Greene leading the Friars to a 6-1 victory. The majority of the players in both dugouts used the pink colored bats as part of MLB's Mothers Day/Breast Cancer awareness.

Friar Facts:

Tadahito Iguchi is starting to turn it up a notch as the Friars 2nd baseman continues to play stellar D, and added 3 knocks and his second stolen base in as many games.

Luke Carlin made his second consecutive start and he responded by smoking a double down the right field line for his first Major League hit. Carlin also gunned down a runner attempting to steal second.

Jody Gerut picked up his first hit since returning from Portland. Although it was his only hit of the series, Gerut made solid contact consistently and hit into some loud outs.

The newest Padre (and that's saying something lately), Bryan Corey, tossed a scoreless 9th inning. San Diego announcer Mark Grant noticed that the reliever pitches with his right (push off) foot directly on the rubber. It appears that Corey only uses the balls of his feet and toes to push off.

Kevin Kouzmanoff garnered FF praise on the first play of the game when he charged, fielded and threw out Rockies speedy leadoff man, Willie Tavares, on a bunt attempt.

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Shake Up Continues

The Padres and Boston Red Sox completed a trade Sunday that will send 34 year old right handed reliever Bryan Corey to San Diego in exchange for cash or a player to be named. The addition of Corey, who has posted an ERA of 4.40 in 59.1 career innings with a strikeout to walk ratio of nearly 2 to 1, means that southpaw reliver Joe Thatcher will be demoted to Portland where he will look to regain the form that he showed last year after coming over in the Scott Linebrink trade from the Brewers. Sunday's trade marks the 3rd consecutive day that the Padres roster has been altered, FF likes to see the Padres brass trying to correct a poorly constructed team.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Maddux Wins #350; Hoffman Saves #530

The Friars broke their losing streak behind fantastic pitching from Greg Maddux, an Adrian Gonzalez 3 run blast and Hoffman shutting the door on the pesky Rockies. Maddux finally grabbed his 350th career win by pitching 6 innings, allowing one unearned run on an uncharacteristic error by the 17-time Gold Glove winner. He left the game with a 3-1 lead, staked by Gonzalez's bomb after Tad Iguchi and Brian Giles walks. Cla Meredith came in an pitched a very effective inning, following by a shaky outing by Heath Bell, who had command problems while allowing a run in a inning worked. With Hells Bells tolling, Hoffman showed renewed command with 87 MPH heat and typical change ups.

Carlin Starts
Luke Carlin caught the future Hall of Famers, Maddux and Hoffman. He looked spry behind the plate, but was overwhelmed at the plate, punching out 3 times. All told, the Friars struck out 12 times.

Base Stealing Wonders
The Padres managed stolen bases from Iguchi, Giles, Khalil Greene and Scott Hairston. In fact, the Padres treated the Rockies on the basepaths much as their have been treated by the league over the last couple of years.

Lineup Shakeup
Bud Black shuffled the lineup, moving Jody Gerut (who hit several balls hard, with anything falling) into the leadoff spot while shifting Giles to the 3 hole. Kevin Kouzmanoff hit 5th, with Paul McAnulty hitting 6th, followed by Greene and Carlin.

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Why Not

FF is going to try something new, whether we believe it or not while typing is another story...

FF is officially going on record to suggest that all Friar faithful prepare for a run by this inadequate team. The Padres will start by winning Greg Maddux his 350th on Saturday night and continue to rattle off 15 of their next 20 games, you heard it here first.


Estes Steps into Rotation

As we speculated Tuesday, Shawn Estes will assume the 5th spot in the starting rotation. Additionally, as the U-T also hints in the previously referenced article, we expect Joe Thatcher to be sent to Portland in order to make room for Sean Henn. Then again, we've frequently discussed Bud Black's unhealthy reliance on Thatcher, particularly in critical situations, so you never know...

Glendon Rusch was outrighted to make room for Henn and will likely become a free agent.

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Friday, May 9, 2008

Familiar Game, Familiar Result

There is little to say about Friday evening's contest at Petco Park. The margin for victory was predictably razor thin, so the three run allowed by Jake Peavy over 6 innings was clearly too much for the Padres anemic offense to overcome (despite statistically ranking as a quality start). Glendon Rusch relived Peavy, allowing a bomb into the sandbox in right center field to Matt Holliday, giving the Rockies a 4-2 lead that would mark the final score. The Friars managed their first run on a ground rule double by Peavy, followed by an opposite field double by Brian Giles. Their second run came on a first-deck bomb into the Western Metal Supply building by Kevin Kouzmanoff, who had previously grounded into a pair of a double plays. Kouzmanoff had entered the game as the least likely batter in the league to ground into a double play. Newcomer Jody Gerut played hard and easily tossed Todd Helton trying to advance to third, but was hitless. Otherwise put, same poor play, same poor result.

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Friars Pen Henn Off Waivers

The Padres continue their busy day by claiming 27 year old lefty Sean Henn off waivers from the New York Yankees.Henn has Major League experience making 36 appearances with the Yanks over the last 3 seasons. The southpaw has made 5 big league starts, but figures to make his mark in the bullpen joining what seems to be 10 other lefties. Henn has enjoyed great success this season twirling out of the bullpen in the minors with an ERA under 1 (0.81). A move will need to made to clear a spot for the hurler. FF thinks Justin Germano may have not only lost his spot in the rotation, but also on the roster.

Lefty Love

For years it was common for the Padres to have an all right handed bullpen with only the Eddie Oropesa's of the world tossing with the left hand. The Bud Black era has seen an incredible shift in the make up of the pen with 5 southpaws and just 3 right handers. The list here includes Sean Henn and not Germano. The lefty list could grow when Justin Hampson is healthy enough to come off the DL. FF could care less about the the arm throwing as long as the balls being tossed are for strikes and outs.

Carlin Called Up; Morton To AA

In a much anticipated and reported move the Padres have purchased Luke Carlin's contract from Portland and sent Colt Morton down to AA to get some playing time. FF is happy on multiple accounts with this move:
1). It finally happened
2). Colt Morton finally got a MLB base knock
3). Maybe Carlin will provide a manager Bud Black a back up backstop that he will actually place in the line up...thus provided Josh Bard an inning or 2 off every 3 weeks.

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Edmonds Jettisoned

Jim Edmonds has been jettisoned from the Friars, marking the first of will likely be many moved intended to right a listing ship. The Padres front office had hoped that Edmonds would be a stop gap in center field for the 2008 season, so much so they agreed to take on his $6M salary, which they must now eat. In 103 plate appearances, Edmonds managed an on base percentage of just .265, lower than several teammate's batting average. His shoddy play in center proved a major liability for a team relying on its pitching to keep games close. In particular, his tendency to drift after catchable balls rather than rely on sound fundamental outfielding led to several catchable balls falling in for extra bases.

Replacing Edmonds will be Jody Gerut, who broke the season with the big club before being sent down to make room for Edmonds, who was coming off the disabled list. At eight years younger than Edmonds, Gerut offers a fresh set of legs (even though he is rebounding from knee surgery himself). He has posted a .952 OPS at AAA Portland with 4 stolen bases in 5 attempts, while mostly manning right field, with a few games in center under his belt. It is unclear how Bud Black intends to leverage Gerut, but one would have to assume that center or left field will become his position to lose.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Another Lackluster Loss

The San Diego Padres continue to be outclassed by all opponents this season as they fall to the scorching Atlanta Braves 5-2 on Wednesday night. The Padres scored the first run of the game in the second inning on a balk by Braves righty Tim Hudson. The second and final Padre run tied the game in the sixth as a run scored on a Kevin Kouzmanoff double play ball. Randy Wolf escaped multiple jams by inducing 4 twin killings before leaving with the bases loaded in the 7th of a tie game. Bubby Black handed the ball to Joe Thatcher who promptly coughed up the 3 runs that closed out the Atlanta victory.

FF wishes that just once or twice a week the storyline and game type would be different. Unfortunatley we are all finding out that this is a bad baseball team, with the majority of the season to determone how bad. The Union Tribune pointed out that this 08 Padres squad is on pace for over 100 defeats, buckle in for the rest of this long bumpy ride.

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Estes Replaces Cameron on Roster

As expected, the Padres have called Shawn Estes up from AAA Portland while moving Kevin Cameron to the Disabled List. Cameron suffered a sprained ulnar collateral ligament after four pitches on Tuesday night. This is the same ligament that is repaired in Tommy John surgery, though Cameron's injury is not considered serious. FF foresees Estes moving into the rotation after Wil Ledezma's spot start on Thursday.

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UPDATE II: Catcher Carlin to the Friars

UPDATE II: has updated their original article (link below) to note that this move will likely take place after Thursday's game.

UPDATE: It appears that news of Luke Carlin joining the Friars was not accurate, as the article has disappeared (see the first link below) and no news of this move has come from additional sources. is reporting that Luke Carlin's contract has been purchased by the Padres. This presumably means that Kevin Towers has decided to try a new tactic to prevent Josh Bard from wearing down to nothing. The prior attempt, adding Colt Morton from AA ball to the MLB roster, has been a non-factor. Manager Bud Black has sparingly used Morton while Josh Bard has struggled through the stress of catching every day. Since Michael Barrett went down with an elbow injury on April 8th, Bard has started 22 contests to Morton's 3.

Bard's batting average over time
Graph from

Friar fans witnessed first hand former catcher and manager Bruce Bochy's approach of giving catchers constant and regular rest. After entering the game in which Barrett was injured, Bard produced well, increasing his batting average from .278 to .324 (7 games). However, from game 8 on, he has seen a near constant decline to .216, highlighting Bochy's concern over the ware and tear of baseball's most strenuous position. FF understands that Black was likely trying to keep his best overall catcher in the game during the club's struggles, but this work load likely contributed to Bard's rough month. Hopefully, the addition of Carlin will boost Black confidence, helping the club and Bard to right themselves. Like Bard, Carlin is a switch hitter. Carlin is well regarded for his defensive skills (tossed 36% of running in 2006). While off to a solid offensive start this season, he has a .245 career minor league average. Nonetheless, this is an example of some attempt to mix things up, so FF fully supports it. We'd also rather see Morton play somewhere that will result in regular playing time.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Germano Out, Estes In? has reported that Friar manager Bud Black has removed Justin Germano from the starting rotation. In the short run, Black will insert Wil Ledezma into the rotation's 5th spot. This is not necessarily indicative of long run change, as Black is not committing to who will fill the 5th spot during the next pass through the rotation. There has been long running speculation that Shawn Estes will eventaully assume the spot. The article notes that Estes has an opt-out clause in his contract and that he has indicated that he intends to execute it if he isn't called up by May 15.

While not a major positive change, it's nice to see the Friars shake things up a bit. FF is skeptical of band aids on the club's already gory situation, but something is better than the "stay the course" approach embraced by the front office to date.

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Jones Headed Back to San Diego?

News of Jacque Jones' release from the Tigers causes concern at FF. This is exactly the kind of player that Kevin Towers can't resist - from San Diego, plays multiple outfield positions, strikes out too much, and bats left handed. He is also on the cheap as the Cubs are paying $2M of his $5M contract. We don't see this as a solution, but always take pause of a potential move when a San Diegan hits the market.

As predicted, reports that the Padres have interest in Jacque Jones.


Monday, May 5, 2008

No Changes

After being away from Padres baseball for almost 2 weeks I have found that absolutely nothing has changed; the deficiencies on the roster and in the lineup are the exact same. With a rotation that includes Jake Peavy, Chris Young, Greg Maddux, and a very solid Randy Wolf the Padres offense would have to be terrible to be 10 games back the first week of May...and they are! The Padres have the worst offense in baseball, and they are wasting a solid rotation. According to ESPN, the Padres not only sit at the bottom of the NL West, but reside in the cellar in the entire Major Leagues.

The FriarForum Founding Fathers had severe reservations about the weary this 2008 Padres team was constructed, and our greatest fears have come true: the team that looked old, slow, and without power is in fact all three of those and much...less!

Its a long season, and the Friars typically have put together strong May records, but its tough to get excited about this particular team taking the field; let Chase Headley get a free looksie at a seasons worth of how big leaguers are going to pitch to him. Towers, , give us something; what's the worst that can happen?

Friar First's:

As previously noted FF has welcomed in the newest Padres fan, Derek Tyler to FF. The results are in and D. Tyler has become the cutest Padre fan in the world. This voting was started and completed by Tyler's Uncle Scotty!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Rotation Roundup 5 & 6: Starts 21-30

The rotation has consistently improved over the last two turns - even Justin Germano (relatively speaking). The root problem remains that this season isn't about the starting rotation's performance at the moment, but rather pinned to the performance of the offense. As we've previously discussed, one should expect to win a little more than 2/3 of quality starts (QS). Over these passes through the rotation, the starters posted 6 QS, but managed just 2 wins, half of what one might expect. In fact, Jake Peavy, Greg Maddux, and Chris Young have all been stung with a loss while posting a QS.

There is much talk of Germano losing his spot in the rotation, possibly to Shaun Estes or Wil Ledezma. His continued poor outings, coupled with the razor thin margin the team has required to posts wins, supports this decision in the very short run.

UPDATE: reports Bud Black saying that if Germano is replaced, it will likely be with someone already on the big club. Reading between the lines, this almost certainly points to Wil Ledezma, who has been pitching fantastically thus far in the 2008 campaign.

Starts 21-25

Starts 26-30

Key Indicators per Rotation Pass

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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Peavy Paces Padre Victory

Jake Peavy was the stopper for San Diego, despite allowing a two run homer in the first to put the Padres down by 1. In recent weeks, this would have been enough to sink the Friars, but Peavy buckled down and the offensive showed signs of life on the way to defeating the Fish Saturday evening at Dolphin Stadium 7-2. The 2, 3, 4 and 5 hitters, Tadihito Iguchi, Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Jim Edmonds, respectively, all managed at least two hits to lead the barrage. To cap off the scoring, Gonzalez notched his third hit with an opposite field bomb (putting him on pace for 35 on the season). Every position player had a hit on the evening; this includes Callix Crabbe, who came in for Khalil Greene in the 7th to play shortstop. Greene's injury has is reported by to be an irritated left eye, with no word on when he is likely to return to the lineup.

Peavy went 5 2/3 innings with 8 punchouts, but should have completed 6 if not for a missed strike three call by the home plate umpire on a back door slider. Cla Meredith and Heath Bell were brought and performed inline with traditional bullpen expectations. Bud Black finally found an comfortable inning for Joe Thatcher to work out the kinks in the ninth. After appearing a bit erratic, the now cut-fastball avoiding sidewinding southpaw, induced a double play and slick play from Kouz to end the game.

Crabbe Slick at Short
Crabbe did his best Khalil impression in the ninth with a nifty turn to complete a double play on the a feed from Iguchi. Earlier, Edmonds was easily tossed a second base on an apparent missed run and hit with Crabbe at the plate.

Marlins Announcing Crew
These guys don't call the best game in the league, but FF gives them credit for being one of the few opposing duos that call it fair enough that we don't have to break out the mute button.

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Crasnick Pegs Pads Perfectly

Jerry Crasnick's column today on the Padres hits the nail on the head; the Padres can't hit - regardless of venue. He quotes Bud Black as saying,
"In any given lineup, when things are going well and you're scoring runs and the offense is clicking, you might have five, six or seven guys really swinging the bat well... When things are going along as normal -- win a couple of games, lose a couple -- you have three or four guys in the lineup swinging well. What we have going now, on a given night, is maybe one or two guys swinging well.

I think we're going to get out of it, and we'll reach the level of what our guys have done in their careers. Over the course of six months, it's never smooth sailing. But this storm has hit early and it's hit hard."
Of course the real question here is how much career norms will help. FF (unfortunately) sees it as something like this:

1. Brian Giles - Good for 30 doubles, .400 OBP, and 60 pop outs short of third base
2. Tad Iguchi - A solid hitter likely to match his career average of about .274
3. Adrian Gonzalez - Solid #3 hitter on most clubs
4. Kevin Kouzmanoff - Should quietly hit about .300 with 35 doubles, but not a classic 4 hitter
5. Jim Edmonds - This season's Vinny Castilla - great clubhouse guy, but it's likely the end of the road
6. Khalil Green - Will hit .250 with about 25 bombs, but it on fire or not
7. Josh Bard - Seems gassed already, but should fight back to about .280
8. Scott Hairston - The reason he hasn't been a regular has become apparent

Not exactly a fear inducing lineup. We honestly like Jake Peavy's at bats more than many of the team's fielders. We'd love to be wrong about this and hope the Friars catch on fire, but two thirds of the outfield doesn't seem likely to play at an average pace as the season continues, putting the club at a severe disadvantage.

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Friday, May 2, 2008

Friars Claim MLB Basement

The Padres lost yet again, staking the claim to Major League Baseball's worst record at 11-19. Such a statement isn't exactly the way I had hoped to welcome my son to world and world of Friar fan-hood. Then again, this is perhaps the proper introduction to San Diego sports, as we have all had to learn how expect the worst to stay sane. But I digress - back to more of the same for this season of discontent. Justin Germano continued his streak of poor outings, allowing 5 earned runs in 5 2/3 innings of work. Most of the damage came by way of the long ball. The Marlins managed 3 bombs, accounting for 5 of the 6 overall runs the plated. Kevin Cameron (3.72 ERA in 8 outings) and Wil Ledezma (1.08 ERA in 16+ innings) both posted perfect relief outings and should be considered by Bud Black for promotions in the bullpen's world order. Offensively, the Padres collected just 7 hits across 4 batters; Kevin Kouzmanoff did his best T. Gwynn impression with a 4-4 nights, including one double. Khalil Greene finally belted his first home run to give the Friars half of their runs in the 6-4 loss at Dolphin Stadium on Friday night. Colt Morton spelled Josh Bard, but has yet to claim his first knock of the season.

Mendoza Line Watch
The following players are currently at or approaching the infamous Mendoza Line, with nearly 1/5 of the season gone:
  • Paul McAnulty - .222

  • Khalil Greene - .217

  • Josh Bard - .209

  • Tony Clark - .208

  • Justin Huber - .200

  • Scott Hairston - .198

  • Callix Crabbe - .160

  • Jim Edmonds - .160

  • Colt Morton - .000

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Padres Bullpen Once Again Falters

Another strong Randy Wolf start was spoiled by the bullpen and shaky Padres offense - this time a 6 inning, 9 strikeout effort that kept the team in the game. The 3-2 loss at Citizens Bank Park saw Joe Thatcher allow a go ahead home run to Ryan Howard in the 8th. For the 2008 campaign, Thatcher has allowed a run in 6 of 13 outings and has yet to make a single appearance without allowing at least one hit or walk. By comparison, Thatcher allowed just 3 earned runs in 22 appearances for Bud Black in the 2007 season. He also posted perfect appearances (no walks or hits) in 9 of those 2007 outings. A big question for Padre fans has to be why Black continues to trot an ice cold Thatcher to the hill in critical situations. Should the Padres offense have the ability to plate more than a run or two game, the lack of conversion by the 'pen might not be as noticeable. The lineup boasts just a single hitter batting over .260 at the moment, Adrian Gonzalez (2-4, 2B, HR), and only 4 of those hitters managed knocks on Thursday. Streakiness is certainly part of baseball, but at some point the patchwork outfield must begin to draw some attention for possible upgrades. One has to start thinking that a strategy that requires multiple players to have career years in order to be competitive in one of baseball's toughest divisions (if not the toughest) begs revisiting.

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FF Back - Newest Friar Fan Added

Friar Forum is back online after a brief break to add the team's newest fan, Tyler, to the world on 4/27. He weighed in at 7 pounds 4 onces and was 21 inches long (it had to be 19 or 21). Mother and child are doing great.
Newest Friar Fan

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