Preaching Padre religion one post at time

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Giles Rests, Friar Bats Follow Suit

Harry "Bud" Black finally gave Brian Giles most of the night off (who did earn a walk in the 8th, staying the game after pinch hitting), giving a nod to rarely utilized reserve Edgar Gonzalez. Reminiscent of the 2008 campaign, Edgar made the most of his opportunity, swatting a bomb off former Padre Randy Wolf, staking the Padres to a 1 run lead in the top of the first. Unfortunately, the Padre bats were otherwise quiet, and Chris Young, who allowed one run in 7 innings vice 5 punch outs, was just short of the perfect pitcher he had to be in order to capitalize on the offense his club would contribute for the night. After giving way to Edwin Moreno and Cla Meredith, who both posted zeros on the board, Luke Gregerson allowed 3 hits and run without recording an out, giving the Dodgers their second walk off win in as many nights.

Run Bud Run?
After reaching first on a fielding error in the 4th, Edgar Gonzalez (leading off the inning while batting second) was erased attempting to swipe second base. Scott Hairston, hitting third, then fouled out for the second out, bringing up cleanup hitter Adrian Gonzelez with nobody on base. FF understands that a struggling team needs to shake things up at times to score a few runs, but we'd also love to see a station-to-station approach with the Adrian, who is the only hitter on the team that strikes consistent fear in opposing pitchers. It may very well be that this was a calculated approach with Adrian facing a lefty in Wolf, but he is still the club's finest, most consistent batting threat.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Stovetop On High

The latest team to express interest in Padres lefty Randy Wolf is the Houston Astros. Although the Astros are stuck behind the Cubs, Brewers and Cards in a tough NL Central, they are rumored to be in serious talks with San Diego. The Astros were forced to place staff ace, Roy Oswalt, on the 15 day DL and must feel they need to add to their rotation to keep pace in the Central.

Padres switch hitting catcher, Josh Bard, is due to come off the DL as early as this weekend and is said to be immediately placed on the trading block. The Friars brass finally seems feed up with Bard's inability to throw runners out. FF feels that the remainder of '08 should be used, in part, to evaluate younger players including Luke Carlin and Nick Hundley, who are both struggling at the plate while improving the defense at the position.

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Kouz Error, Typical Play Sink Friars

The Padres, who have now won only 6 of their last 28 contests, lost again Saturday night. The 6-5 downfall came as Randy Wolf hit the wall and then was pushed off the wall by a Kevin Kouzmanoff error that eventually accounted for a pair of runs, representing the margin of victory for the Cardinals. The major offensive highlight of the night was a three run bomb by the continuously hot Edgar Gonzalez. Six other Padres had one hit each, with Kouzmanoff and Adrian Gonzalez each adding an RBI of their own. Randy Wolf allowed 6 runs (4 earned) over 5.2 innings, not exactly helping out his trade value. We at FF look forward to the July 31 trade deadline. Who should go? FF will be posting on the topic shortly...

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Diamondbacks Reacquire Tony Clark

The Padres and division rival Arizona agreed on a long rumored deal that ships pinch hitter Tony Clark to his former team in exchange for farmhand hurler, Evan Scribner. Scribner, 22, is 2-4 with a 1.64 ERA and 9 saves. The switch hitting Clark should see much more playing time at first in addition to his role of the bench. The deal was finalized after Clark agreed to waive the $500,000 assignment bonus that would have been paid by the Padres. Although Clark grew up in San Diego, it could be said the the switch hitter is going home. Clark makes his year round home in the valley and was with the DBacks for the past 3 seasons. The departure of Clark means more pinch hitting opportunities for Brian Myrow, who matched Clark's number of homers in his first AB of the season.

The last time the Friars and Snakes matched up on a deal was last July when the Padres plucked Scott Hairston form the desert. FF anticipates more deals to get younger and more athletic are in the near future; paging Randy Wolf.

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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Pads Plan Giles Retention

The Padres reportedly plan to retain the services of Brian Giles for the 2009 season, given doubts over a better replacement. This makes a lot of sense for the Friars, based on Giles' excellent season on his rejuvenated knee. Club's complete inability to upgrade center or left field in the 2007 offseason suggests that Friar fans can only hope this report is true. FF continues to find it baffling that a club that has repeatably worried about Paul McAnulty's fielding skills will trot him out in right field to spell Giles.

The report also suggests that both Randy Wolf and Greg Maddux remain on the block.

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Atrocious; What's Next?

Even Jake Peavy can't cure the Padres' current ills. The staff ace allowed three runs over six innings with six punch outs to take a 9-2 loss against the Mariners. The club has not won a game in over a week (6/20) and one has to go back more than two weeks to find a second win (6/14). If everyone is being honest with themselves, there is no reason to continue on in their current incarnation. Even if they hit a major hot streak and win the horrid NL West, they would be trounced in the playoffs. After reportedly still standing on the fence 10 days ago, the likelihood of front office mailing in a veteran-lead comeback is increasing. For instance, the Union-Tribune yesterday suggested that there is too much financial benefit to dump contracts, such as Randy Wolf's:
The Padres stand to save $1.6 million in salary, plus an additional $175,000 per start if they deal Wolf in late July. With the club preparing to spend several million dollars on foreign amateurs by Wednesday, future savings might be welcomed.
FF would welcome this change of pace. In fact, we see as much or more upside to the strategy - both in terms of current and future success. Outside of one or two guys, it's quite possible that lessor known players will provide as much or more upside compared to current Padre regulars. For instance, we don't see Tad Iguchi unseating Edgar Gonzalez anytime soon. Little-big brother Gonzalez is providing better returns than Iguchi this season, and would seem to be a cheap, effective alternative to pushing Matt Antonelli for 2009. Expect Kevin Towers to to wait until the trading deadline draws near to maximize his leverage. In the meantime, any chance we can find more Gonzalez brothers?

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Yanks Blank Friars

The New York Yankees played longball en route to their 8-0 victory to open a 3 game set against the visiting Padres Tuesday night. Randy Wolf missed with location through the night and the Friars played some sloppy defense behind him, but it was the New York pitchers lead by Andy Pettitte that controlled the ballgame. Padres Chase Headley collected a couple of singles in his 2008 debut and slid up to the 6th slot in the order after Kevin Kouzmanoff was a late scratch due to a balky back (Kouz is day to day at this point). The Friars send Jake Peavy to the hill in Wednesday's contest to try to even the series.

FF Facts:

The Padres had 7 hits Tuesday, all singles.

A foul ball into the seats Tuesday caught a group of Padres fans who included FF contributor, Todd Clark, and his brother Timmy. With the exception of Headley making his debut with a couple knocks, seeing frequent FF readers on camera was the highlight!

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wolf, Friars Beat L.A.

Randy Wolf paced the Padres with an excellent outing to a 4-1 win - holding the hated Dodgers to just one run over seven innings against nine punch outs. Heath Bell and Trevor Hoffman each tossed scoreless innings, earning a hold and save, respectively. Each of the hermanos Gonzales notched an RBI, with the older, slimmer version (Edgar) knocking a first inning bomb out to deep left center. Khalil Greene added a bomb into the Petco sandbox, with Jody Gerut knocking in an always important insurance run in the bottom of the eighth, while facing a lefty with a 0-2 count. All together, things have begun to look up to for the Friars, who regain staff ace, Jake Peavy, in Thursday afternoon's contest. FF is mildly optimistic - but still questions Chase Headley's absence from left field. Of course, in a couple of years his lessor amount of MLB service time will play in the club's favor (and we can only assume that this is the reason for his extended stay in AAA Portland).

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Saturday, June 7, 2008

WWW: Friars Win 3rd Straight

Randy Wolf and Padres capitalized on their opportunities Friday night, claiming their third consecutive wins - this time a 2-1 final at the expense of perennial Cy Young award winning Johan Santana. Timely RBI singles by Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Kouzmanoff in the sixth blunted the Met's lone run scored in the top half of the same frame. Randy Wolf's 7 solid innings were complemented perfectly by Heath Bell and Trevor Hoffman, accounting for a win, hold and save, respectably. The trio of consecutive wins marks just the second time in the 2008 campaign that the Padres have strung together more than two wins.

Graphical depiction of the game
Graph from FanGraphs.com

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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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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:
Padres.com 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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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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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Rotation Roundup 4: Starts 16-20

The fourth pass through the rotation wasn't pretty. A pair of quality starts (QS) in games 16 and 18 were squandered by the offense and turned into losses. In fact, game 16 went 22 innings, forcing Greg Maddux to save the bullpen despite being tagged for 9 runs early in the game 17. While this certainly increased the level of admiration the team and fans have for Maddux, it isn't exactly a situation anyone wants to see repeated. This 113 pitch outing marked the first time Maddux had eclipsed the 100 pitch barrier since July 19, 2006, with 102 tosses that day. To find and outing with a greater than or equal number of pitches for Maddux, one has to reach back into August of the 2005 season. Randy Wolf turned in a respectable outing for the only win in the rotation of the bullpen during this five game strech. The real story here is the Padres ability to capitalize only once in three very winnable performances turned out by their starters. We also have to show real concern for the position that Maddux was put into - hopefully he will rebound without additional wear and tear on his arm based on the extraordinary performance in game 17.



Key Indicators per Rotation Pass

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Friday, April 25, 2008

5 Run 3rd Sinks Friars Again

San Deigo was felled for the fifth consecutive game and ninth time in ten contests Saturday night, this time by the division leading Diamondbacks. Arizona now boasts an 8.5 game lead over the Friars in the NL West with their 5-1 vistory. All the damage came against Randy Wolf in the third, with five runs on a single, sacrifice bunt, double, single, error, and home run. The home run had enough gusto to clear dead center at Petco Park, just over a leaping Scott Hairton. The Padres would later manage to plate just one run with bases loaded in fourth and one out, on a Callix Crabbe single with two out. All told, the Friar attack would manage just 3 hits, including their first extra base hit at Petco since April 17. They struck out one out every three of their 30 trips to the dish.

Bullpen Reborn?
On a positive note, the bullpen performed excellently when called upon to finish the final five innings of the game. Wil Ledezma went 3 innings, allowing a one hit while punching out five. Recent workhorse Kevin Cameron finished off the final pair of innings without incident.

Bard to get Rest
Josh Bard will get the night off Saturday. The U-T reports that he is batting just .193 since Michael Barrett's injury. This will mark Colt Morton's second start over that time.

Pop Gun Offense
The Friars have scored the second fewest runs in the Majors this season. Their 75 touches of home plate are just one more than the lowly Giants - who have allowed six fewer runs that Padres and are in second place in the NL West.

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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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Rotation Roundup 3: Starts 11-15

The third pass through the rotation finally saw Padre starters come down to earth a bit. Start 12 marked the first non-quality start of the season for the quintet (Chris Young) and game 15 saw the first quality start where the starter was tagged with the loss (Justin Germano). In all, the rotation was pedestrian with a 3.86 ERA and 1.41 WHIP, though these numbers a largely skewed by Chris Young's disastrous outing. Randy Wolf tossed a 1 hitter through 7 innings in his turn and Greg Maddux turned in 5 fantastic innings in 95 degree heat. In summary, the starters still provided the Padres 4 quality opportunities to win, of which 3 were converted. This group continues to the be lone bright spot in the '08 campaign. While round 3 might not have been hyper productive, FF and any other club in baseball would certainly take it as their average pass through the starting 5. Kudos to PYMW&G once again.



Key Indicators per Rotation Pass

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Randy Rocks Rox

San Diego southpaw starter, Randy Wolf, was brilliant in his 3rd start as a Friar. Wolf dominated a struggling Colorado lineup for 7 innings of one hit 9 strike out ball en route to his first Padres victory. The Friars bats were making double time in the 5th as Brian Giles, Kevin Kouzmanoff, and Jim Edmonds all delivered 2 run two baggers in the 6 run frame that accounted for all the games runs. Newly reinstated Kevin Cameron recorded the final six outs surrendering a harmless single in the 9th.

San Diego Short Hops:

The Padres 6-0 victory Tuesday night at Petco Park comes on the heals of a 1-0 shutout on Sunday, proving that its hard to lose when your pitching is ridiculously sharp.

Scott Hairston seems due a day off as his average is dropping while his poor at bats are accumulating, with back to back lefties to close out the Colorado series FF expects to see Justin Huber get at least 1 start in place of the Pads starting LF.

Josh Bard seemed to switch the bat he had been using (a light Ash to a darker stick) after he broke enough bats over the weekend in LA to raise a red flag in Boulder or Berkley

Through 14 games not a single starting infielder has received a day off, with Callix Crabbe the only reserve at second, short, and third FF expects to see Crabbe get a couple of spot starts for Tad Iguhci and Khalil Greene over the next 10 or so ballgames.

Speaking of Callix Crabbe, he joined teammates Scott Hairston and Tony Clark in wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson breaking MLB's color barrier on this date in 1947.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Friar Rotation Round Up 2: Starts 6-10

The starting rotation continued their torrid pace during the second pass though the quintet, posting an astonishing 1.50 ERA, 0.75 WHIP and 5 quality starts. Tough to complain about that kind of production from the pitchers that shoulder the load for the entire staff. That said, while the winning percentage in quality starts from 1984 to 1991 was .674, the Friars posted a .400 over their last five games and just .500 for the 10 quality starts in 2008 (effectively). A starter has yet to produce a non-quality start, yet the team has just 5 wins to show for it. Nobody should get their underwear in a bunch at this juncture, but it certainly isn't encouraging.



While many expected the team to struggle at bat, not too many could have foreseen the perennially solid bullpen's swoon. Expected to the heart of the relief corps, Trevor Hoffman, Heath Bell, Cla Meredith and Joe Thatcher have taken all 5 team losses to go with a 5.59 ERA. In fact, both Thatcher and Hoffman has allowed more earned runs in 4 and 3 2/3 innings, respectively, than Greg Maddux has in 13. FF expects the pen to right its ship and the rotation to fall a little bit from its near perfect performance. The real question will be if the offense can provide enough run support to make the stellar staff's stuff stick.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

No Extra Bases In Extra Innings

Benji Molina's walk off homer (second of the game) in the bottom of the 11th capped a frustrating night by the bay for the Friars, the Giants even the series with the 3-2 win. San Diego's offense produced 13 hits, for just 13 total bases. Without the stellar pitching by the Padres, this team's lack of punch would be even more glaring. Cla Meredith took the loss while working in his second inning of relief and watched a down and in slider pulled over the left field wall by the Giants slugging catcher.

Randy Wolf threw well for the second time in two San Diego outings, however the southpaw didn't factor into the decision in either game. The pen kept the station to station Friars in the game until the 9th when a lead off walk issued to Josh Bard hurt San Francisco after a line drive down the left field line by pinch hitter Tony Clark and a sacrifice fly scored the Padres catcher. Besides the lack of extra base knocks the Padres ran into another out on the bases that cost them a chance at a huge inning. With the bases juiced and no outs Khalil Greene, put a charge into a ball to left that hit off the fielders glove; what seemed like a break for San Diego ended up costing them when the runner on 2nd (Kouzmanoff) thought the ball was caught and returned to second only to be forced out at 3rd.

You Can Hang Star...
In one of the best defensive plays you will ever see by a first baseman, Adrian Gonzalez snared a ground ball on his way to tapping the first base bag before throwing a strike across the diamond to force the runner at 3rd. Making that double play more impressive was that it came with no outs in the bottom of the 10th to help Cla Meredith side step a lead off single and stolen base. Kouzmanoff deserves credit as well by blocking the bag to assist in the twin killing.

Firsts
Callix Crabbe collect his first big league knock, a line drive single with 2 outs in the top of the 10th at AT&T Park.

Scott Hairston became the first Padre to be ejected this season, the home plate umpire gave the left fielder a quick thumb while arguing a check swing strike three.

Padres used all of their position players and even dipped into their starting staff when they used Jake Peavy as a pinch runner in the 9th inning.

Four!
A night after Adrian Gonzalez picked up 4 base hits, Brian Giles added 4 singles to his stat sheet

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Sunday, April 6, 2008

Friar Rotation Round Up 1: Starts 1-5

Conventional wisdom for the 2008 season predicts that the Friars will only go as far as their pitching staff takes them. More to the point, the team's strength is supposed to be in its starting pitching staff. As such, we at FF thought it would be interesting to track each pass through the rotation to see how their performance is affecting the bottom line. This will be the first installment of 32.4 passes through the fab five.

It's hard to imagine the starters putting the club in a better position to win than it did during the initial pass through the rotation. Technically, 4 of 5 times the group toed the rubber they posted quality starts (QS). In reality, Chris Young was just one out shy of a QS himself, so FF will go ahead and round that up to a perfect five-for-five. A sub 1.50 ERA to go with an excellent WHIP of 1.08 and nearly two of three pitches finding the strike zone seems to support conventional wisdom. In fact, the Friars only posted three wins in these five games. If this doesn't correspond to FF's projections that the rotation would be compromised by a weak lineup, we aren't sure what does. Still, this pace would put the Friars in for a 97 win season, so we can't complain too much. Nice job fab five - let's hope to see these trends continue. We'd ask for a higher strikeout-to-walk ratio, but with the rotation averaging just short of 6 innings a start, that may be too much.

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Friars Take 3 Of 4 From Houston

The San Diego Padres opened the season winning their first series taking 3 of 4 from the Astros. Randy Wolf made his Padres debut and showed well, tossing 6 innings allowing just 1 run on 4 hits while striking out 5. Wolf left with a 2-1 lead courtesy of a first inning, 2 run blast off the bat of Kevin Kouzmanoff. Enrique Gonzalez surrendered the tying run in the 7th, but the Padres' Scott Hairston started a rally with his third hit of the game, a triple past Astros center fielder Jose Cruz. He was immediately picked up by Tad Iguchi for the go ahead and winning run. Trevor Hoffman was aggressive in retiring the Astros in order on just 8 pitches, coaxing 3 groundouts.

Pads Points:

The Pads welcome in the LA Dodgers for a weekend series beginning tomorrow with Justin Germano taking the hill on Friday.

The premier matchup this weekend will be a Saturday afternoon tilt featuring staff aces Jake Peavy and Brad Penny.

Scott Hairston hit out of the leadoff spot Thursday and responded by getting on base all 4 plate appearances by walking and falling a homer shy of the Padres first ever cycle.

Keving Kouzmanoff added 2 hits as he was slotted in the cleanup spot for the first time this season with Gonzalez flip-flipping with him.

Callix Crabbe made his MLB debut flying out to left in the 8th.

Jody Gerut started in RF giving Brian Giles an extended rest for his surgically repaired right knee.

Tadihito Iguchi and Heath Bell teamed up for a nice play to end the 8th; with Adrian Gonzalez diving after the ball, Iguchi calmly fielded the ball on the outfield grass and delivered a strike to Bell who was covering the bag.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Germano in Rotation for a Change

Big league pitchers need 3 solid pitches to be successful over the long run. In 2007, Justin Germano had a fantastic May, posting a 1.08 ERA, a 3-0 record and allowed a merger .515 OPS. He had two pitches and won just 4 games for the remainder of the season while posting 10 losses over that time. This spring, Germano has further developed his change up and has been inserted in the 5-hole of the rotation as a result. The development of this third pitch should go a long way towards keeping hitters honest - particularly given that it is a change up, thereby enhancing his fastball's effectiveness. Genmano's success may play a critical role in the 2008 campaign as the Friars boast a solid, but potentially fragile rotation, given the number of recovering and aging pitchers on the staff. With Randy Wolf and Mark Prior coming back from injuries and Greg Maddux not getting any younger, Germano may find himself bouncing throughout the rotation over the coarse of the year.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Padres Are Not Crying Wolf

Randy Wolf, the free agent pick up and likely #4 starter in the San Diego rotation this season had his second straight rough outing this spring. The southpaw recording only 2 outs while giving up four runs in both his Cactus League outings. The veteran is not panicking as he exclaims that this has been typical throughout his career. With the first 3 spots ironed out for the Friars heading into the 2008 season (Peavy, Young, and Maddux) the club is expecting Wolf to give them quality innings in the 4th slot and have a stop gap type hurler to keep the recovering Mark Prior's seat warm for the final spot in the rotation.

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Saturday, March 1, 2008

Predicted Padres Pitching Prowess

The Friars are keeping the faith that their vaunted pitching staff can carry the team. That said, we thought it would be interesting to check out how the Bill James Handbook 2008 projects the staff to perform. For the club's presumed optimal starting rotation, the Handbook breaks it down as follows (Pitcher - W/L/ERA/IP/WHIP/K):
  • Jake Peavy - 15 8 3.23 212 1.17 217

  • Chris Young - 13 8 3.34 186 1.18 166

  • Greg Maddux - 13 9 3.60 200 1.20 121

  • Randy Wolf - 5 6 4.32 100 1.37 81

  • Mark Prior - 5 4 3.60 75 1.23 85

Immediately striking is the similarity that the projections have in rotation spots one through three. Nobody appreciates Maddux's low walk rate more than FF, and we don't want to take anything away from him, but he hasn't posted a sub-4.00 ERA since the 2003 season. Peavy's numbers seem overly skewed by his injury-marred 2006 campaign while the projection ignores Chris Young's iterative, season-by-season improvement trend (see graph below). Friar fans will have to hope for better returns than those suggested by the Handbook if they are to remain competitive in the NL West.

ERA Comparison
Graph from FanGraphs.com

A big part of the team's success will likely depend on the performance of the bullpen. Nobody puts together a better 'pen than Kevin Towers (if only he could do the same for right-handed power hitters, but I digress). Once again the projections seem a little high, this time looking at player - ERA/S/IP/WHIP/K per 9:
  • Trevor Hoffman - 2.80 39 61 1.07 8.26

  • Heath Bell - 3.10 1 83 1.16 9.70

  • Cla Meredith - 3.51 0 82 1.22 6.91

  • Kevin Cameron - 3.90 0 60 1.47 7.65

  • Joe Thatcher - No Handbook project listed

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Friar Offseason a B?

Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman has graded the Padres' offseason maneuvering at a B level (above average!). Really? Of Kevin Tower's moves, Heyman says,
11. Padres. No one makes more worthwhile low-budget pickups than San Diego(Mark Prior, Randy Wolf, Tony Clark this winter). Maybe it's the lure of San Diego, I'm not sure. Jim Edmonds may have a resurgence back home in Southern California, too. But I still can't help but feel Barry Bonds could turn it into a dynamo. B
IF KT's low monetary bets on Prior and Wolf pay off, then this offseason will be at best above average. While FF likes these moves, the reality is that the bar has been raised by the competition the already hyper-competitive National League West. These moves may not expose the Padres to much payroll risk, but they certainly expose them to a tremendous amount of performance risk. Should either pitcher falter, KT will have to start from scratch.

Tony Clark is a good pickup for the clubhouse and to spell Adrian Gonzalez, but this a bit of reach in the above average classification. AJ Smith could argue that keeping a backup in Michael Turner was a major offseason move, but he didn't have have to plug six spots in the starting lineup (LF, CF, 2B, C, SP4, SP5). Speaking of these positions, LF remains wide open. FF likes Scott Hairston and would love to see Chase Headley emerge, but when the team can't anoint a green player as the presumptive starter, it's hard to argue the void is filled. Mike Cameron for Jim Edmonds is a wash in center at best. Tadahito Iguchi is clearly an upgrade over the 2007 2B platoon. FF continues to be be disturbed by apparently satisfaction with the unchanged backstops.

Some positive things did happen over the offseason: Jake Peavy was signed to a contract extension, Greg Maddux was brought back, the Terrmel Sledge experiment ended, not to mention some potential pitching and bench depth was added. Guess FF must have forgotten when treading water became an above average effort. Either Milton Bradley or Kosuke Fukudome could have made the grade a B+ or better; a pre- or in-season move could still push the Friars to the next level, but FF thinks KT will stay the course until he has a better feel for Hairston and Headley.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Prior A Friar

Mark Prior has officially joined the San Diego Padres Baseball Club. It is a bit unclear when he will be healthy enough to join the rotation, but the Padres could have a lights-out staff of starters once he does. The current rotation figures to be:
  1. Jake Peavy
  2. Chris Young
  3. Greg Maddux
  4. Randy Wolf
  5. Mark Prior/??? (until Prior is ready to pitch)
While the offensive side of the offseason has been a drag, Kevin Towers has done an excellent job of targeting rebounding pitchers with Petco Park's pitching allure. The exact terms of Priors deal are not yet know, but are likely to include a heavy dose of incentives.

UPDATE:
The AP is reporting that Prior signed a 1 year deal for $1M, with another $4.5M that could be tacked on based on performance milestones.

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