Preaching Padre religion one post at time

Thursday, May 15, 2008

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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Saturday, May 10, 2008

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...

UPDATE:
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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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Wolf Wows Again

Randy Wolf had another fine outing, pacing the Padres to break out of their slump and post a 9-4 triumph over the Diamondbacks Sunday afternoon at Chase Field. During his 6 plus innings, Wold went toe-to-tow with Randy Johnson and struck out 7. Cla Meredith, Heath Bell and Glendon Rusch each posted scoreless outings in relief. The Friar offense was on fire with 4 doubles and a home run. Justin Huber got the nod in left with Scott Hairston sliding over to center and Callix Crabbe making his third consecutive start, this time in right. All three drove in runs, with Hairston picking a pair and Huber netting three on bomb off Johnson that went all the way to his hometown or Melborne, Australia. Khalil Greene had three hits, two of which were doubles. He also atoned from his error on Saturday with a couple slick plays, but none more so than a fantastic pickup behind second, 270 degree turn and laser to first to end the game. The replay clearly showed the runner was safe, but that didn't take away from the fabulous play.

Bell's velocity ticking up
We recently discussed that Bell's velocity had been down, but not affecting his results. Over his last couple of outings, more pitches have reached the 93 to 94 MPH range, moving back into the low end of his 2007 fastball range.

Crabbe to Start Four Straight?
Bud Black may opt to have Crabbe spell Kevin Kouzmanoff at third on Monday, which would also allow Crabbe a number of games to settle into MLB play. He's coming off a solid game, so now might be the best time.

On the Minute Maid
The Padres head to Houston for a quick 2 game series against the Astros, before heading back home to host San Fransisco and Arizona. Their next off day is Monday, April 28.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Padres Implode In Eighth

The Padres played it close Wednesday night, but a 7 run eighth frame put the Rockies ahead for good. Cla Meredith and Glendon Rusch were victimized for for four and three runs, respectively, for an eighth frame whose score San Diego fans more generally associate with an Antonio Cromartie interception return. This, and the Padres lacking offense, spoiled another strong Justin Germano quality start (7 innings of 3 runs ball) and hung him with a loss. Brian Giles was a one man wrecking crew with an RBI double and triple, the first a ground rule variety to left center and latter off Petco Park's scoreboard in right (for the second consecutive evening). Only Scott Hairston scratched out an additional Padre hit. The Friars will look to bounce back tomorrow behind the dominating Jake Peavy.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Young Quality Start Streak Ends

Yesterday, FF blogged about how the Padres were struggling to hit anything but singles. Facing Padre nemesis Derek Lowe, we didn't have real high expectation that Saturday would be provide the breakthrough the team needed. But Scotty Hairston, batting lead off in place of a resting Brian Giles, started the game on in style with a triple down the right field line at Dodger Stadium. Adrian Gonzalez followed up with a double that he, Vin Scully, Andre Ethier, and FF thought was gone. At the bottom of the first, the Friars looked nstrong and had already accounted from more extra base hits than they had average per game for the season (2 versus 1.8). With Chris Young taking the hill, the euphoria of fast start quickly faded with Young command noticeably off. He was raked for just two runs in the first inning, but the hit hard along the way. From that poit on, Lowe settled into his normal role as Padre punisher and the Dodgers warmed up their bat to force Young out of the game in the top of the 4th with nobody out and 7 runs on his line in the box score (6 earned as Young booted a come backer). The Padre offense would scratch out just two more hits, both singles, on the way to an 11-1 drubbing. Wil Ledezma and Glendon Rusch were tagged with 3 and 1 runs in as many innings, respectively.

PMac in Right Field
After grumblings about his shotty fielding skills in left last spring, Paul McAnulty got the start in right field. Both he and center fielder Jim Edmonds were burned on balls over their heads. Giles will be out of action on Sunday, as he gets extra rest in front of Monday's day off.

Barrett At Least Two Weeks Away
Vin Scully announced that Michael Barrett is at least two weeks away from being back from the DL, giving Colt Morton extra time with the big club. Morton spelled Josh Bard after the game got away from the Friars.

Quality Start Streak Ends
Effectively spanning the first 11 games of the season, the Friars' quality start steak ended with the loss against the Dodgers. It was also marked the first time this season that a starter was hung with a loss.

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Friday, April 4, 2008

Lefties, Walks Sink Padres

A trio of lefties took a strong start by Justin Germano (1 unearned run allowed over 6 innings) and turned it into a laugher. Step one in the three step path to defeat was lefty Joe Thatcher, who was clearly off his A-game after getting a ground out to kick off the seventh inning. He was allowed walk the bases loaded in a 1-1 game, with fellow lefty Bud Black standing by him to allow a 2 run single to 0-for-2008 Russell Martin. Black finally found his hook, bringing southpaw Glendon Rusch on to surrender a run scoring hit and collaborate with backstop Michael Barrett for a passed ball to plate another. A subsequent base knock by Padre nemesis Andrew Jones added the inning's umpteenth run. All told, Black under-managed the situation into a 6 run Dodger inning on just three hits. All of this following Brian Giles' game-tying jack over the Petco porch against a very sharp Hiroki Kuroda. FF generally thinks highly of Black, but is already flustered this season by his affinity for specific relievers (as we were in 2007). This is particularly unacceptable if the team is going to continue carrying 7 arms in the 'pen.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Estes Continues To Struggle, Rusch Stays Relevant

The Padres open audition for the 5th spot in their rotation remains a mystery. With the start of the season is rolling towards the Friars, it appears that one of the likely three hurlers is pitching himself not only out of consideration, but out of baseball. Lefty Shawn Estes continued his comeback attempt on Monday by lowering his ERA 5 points from 20.00 to 15.00; not good if you are trying to pitch your way onto a big league roster. Estes' struggles are being taken advantage of by other candidates Justin Germano (current front runner) and fellow come back lefty Glendon Rusch whose spring ERA is hovering close to a run per nine. Both Germano and Rusch have Major League experience in both starting roles as well as serving in a long reliever or swing man capacity. In FF's opinion, Shawn Estes is all but done pitching at the major league level.

Spring Rolls:
Callix Crabbe is inching closer to punching his MLB ticket as he had three more knocks Monday while showing his defensive versatility by playing the hot corner flawlessly.

Young star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is seeing his older brother Edgar's chances of making the team become more slim as Edgar's defensive consistency has been questionable, highlighted by an error on Monday.

Paul McAnulty struck out in both plate appearances Monday to see his batting average dip to .300; PMac still holds high hopes in making the opening day roster partly due to the fact that he is out of minor league options. The Padres (and FF) doubt the talented offensive player would pass through waivers.

Jody Gerut continues his push to make the squad as he powered up for the 3rd time this spring and deposited a ball into the RF bullpen.

Brian Giles saw his first spring action in a big league game while getting two at bats (no hits) and logging time in right.

Chase Headley adds another hit and continues to show that he has nothing to prove in the minor leagues.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Busy Day For NL West Arms, OF Answers Soon

Friday proved to be a busy day for hurlers coming and going in the NL West, as the Arizona Diamondbacks acquired All Star pitcher Dan Haren from the A's and shipped last 2007 NL saves leader Jose Valverde to the Houston Astros.

While the reigning NL West champions were busy making moves involving big names, the Padres inked 2 veteran LHP, in Shawn Estes and Glendon Rusch. These moves solidify depth for the back end of the Friars rotation that (after Peavy, Young, & Maddux) features many seasoned lefties coming off of injury in Randy Wolf, Estes, and Rusch. The 2 signings Friday reduce the probability that San Diego will bring in native Mark Prior, or Josh Towers who was non tendered by Toronto earlier this week.

OF Answers Soon

After missing out on Fukudome, and Bradley the Padres are drawing nearer to hearing back on their final offers to Mike Cameron, and Geoff Jenkins. It seems that the Pads and Cameron's agent have agreed on the length (2 years) of a deal but remain far apart in dollars. The Geoff Jenkins sweepstakes (if you can call it that) has come down to the Padres and the Phillies, in both destinations the left handed slugger would be in a platoon role.

The Padres remain desperate for a CF, and if they bring Cameron back he will miss the first 25 games of the season as a result of testing positive for a banned substance. In that case (as the roster stands right now) Scott Hairston would slip into center with corner outfield possibilities that include: Chase Headley, Brian Giles, Geoff Jenkins,and rumored ex Pad Xavier Nady. The Pads outfield questions remain as vast as the the actual outfield at Petco.

For a little fun lets take a look at a very plausible scenario ~(The Pads sign Cameron and Jenkins, Brian Giles starts the season on the DL after knee surgery)... The Padres would have to trot Scott Hairston out in CF flanked by Geoff Jenkins in RF, and rookie Chase Headley in LF. So, how would that work out for a team built around pitching and defense, not very well! Hairston is not a true CF and with the spacious outfields throughout the division it might just remind Friar fans of the "defense" played by Brady Clark in the 1 game playoff against the Rockies. Jenkins has below average foot speed and is much better suited as a left fielder (especially at Petco), but with Chase Headley having never play outfield Jenkins would be the lesser of the evils.

Who knows how the rest of the offseason will play out, but as it stands now GM Kevin Towers must not be sleeping very well. For a franchise that puts such an emphasis on pitching, it becomes extremely important to catch the ball. We continue to hear that there is a plan and that the Pads will look to bring in young players with speed, great plan! The only problem is the Padres perpetually sign players who are past their prime (if they ever had a prime)...frustrating, scary, and ridiculous all wrapped up into 1. This is a recipe for disaster.


UPDATE

Since the post was written, Mike Cameron has broken off talks with the San Diego Padres. The Friars are, amongst others, discussing the possibility of bringing in two more aging players in St Louis' Jim Edmonds, and Kenny Lofton to fill their huge hole in center.

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Sunday, December 9, 2007

Can KT Learn From AJ?

San Diego sports fans know about the promise of big names and bold moves. We've heard it all many times and have even experienced it a time or two. But watching the Padres operate this offseason has been painful. I can't actually believe I'm saying this - but I am: Why can't KT be more like AJ? KT is, of course, the esteemed General Manager of the San Diego Padres; AJ the corollary with the San Diego Chargers. FF has a great deal of respect for both. KT is much more open about his plans while AJ is as closed as (ironically) a Marty Shottenheimer practice. I can't quite understand why the Friar front office is making such a big, public deal out of everything this offseason. I'm not big into conspiracy theories and this isn't meant to be one itself, but there is so much telegraphing of moves going on that it makes one feel like they want everyone to know they tried, should they eventually fail. We saw the reports that Milton Bradley, Brett Tomko, and even Glendon Rusch were all but done deals; none of these players has signed (and perhaps that's a good thing). Sandy Alderson even got into the act in regard to Bradley and Kosuke Fukudome (audio clip). I think the Friar's front office is fantastic on the whole - but agents and other teams don't need any help. AJ keeps everything close to the vest and nobody really knows what he'll will do at any given time. In the giant game of chicken that is a pro sports personnel management, it makes sense to keep the rest of field wondering.

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