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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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Will The Real Scott Hairston Please Standup?

The Scott Hairston dichotomy is one of our real frustrations. He has games where he is nothing short of a world-beater, like Friday night's performance where he robbed a go-ahead homer in the top half of the 8th inning, then hits a 3 run bomb of his own to put the club up for good. Then he has other nights where he runs the bases poorly and looks lost at the plate. We'd love to see Hairston harness his inner Steve Finley, but we've jumped on the Scotty H bandwagon too many times to do it again without prolonged success (i.e., more than a consecutive week of solid play). Imagine if one could combine the omnipresent heady play of David Eckstein with the raw potential of Hairston...

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Friars Top Nevin Look-alikes

The Friars scratched their way to a rare victory, toping the Bucs 6-5 in a game full of oddities. For starters, former Padre super-prospect Xavier Nady, ostensibly exiled by former Padre manager Bruce Bochy for not being a veteran, was traded from the Nevins to the hated Yankees after one at-bat, vacating the 5-hole in the process. Additionally, despite a horrible tag by rusty Josh Bard,who collected a pair of hits, a Brian Giles to Edgar Gonzalez to Bard combination erased a runner at the plate. This out proved to be crucial as Heath Bell would eventually have a bad outing, continuing his recent streak. The Friars also collected a double play at third and second, taking advantage of overly aggressive Pirate baserunners. To extend the oddities, Trevor Hoffman looked like his old self. FF has to say that this is the first game in some time that has kept our attention. Let's all hope for a few more like this one.

Friar Factoids:
  • With just 2 more wins, the Padres will ensure that win at least 25% of their games this season.
  • Scott Hairston's hot streak is very officially over - he earned the golden sombrero batting leadoff. That said, his hard baserunning prevented a double play, so we still give Scotty a thumbs up for the evening. He also made a good catch in the eighth to save Heath Bell from accumulating addtional earned runs.

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Headley Finally Arrives

The Padres front office has finally pulled the trigger on Chase Headley's promotion. He will presumably take over left field from a revolving case of the following characters: Scotty Hairston, Paul McAnulty, and Justin Huber. Kevin Towers has also indicated the Headley may be used to spell Kevin Kouzmanoff at third. He was quoted as saying,
I think the environment is much better than it was three weeks ago. We have got a lot of guys contributing offensively. When he gets here, he shouldn't have to feel like he's got to carry this ballclub. We're playing good baseball now... To me, now is kind of the right time to have him here, when things are going well.
This move has been alluded to for some time, though it appears that Headley may not see action until the Yankees series starts. A corresponding roster move has yet to have been made, but Scott Hairston's hyperextended elbow could move him to the DL, providing extra time for the front office to make a move.

FF is relieved to finally see the club's top prospect leveraged. We firmly disagree with the mantra of the "bad environment" that Towers has been spouting recently. The bottom line is that struggling club is great way to offer some low-pressure playing time for a prospect to get comfortable. Given the club's general lack of success in bringing prospects on board, we recommend the Friars completely retool this process. Everyone in baseball - and sports in general - knows the story: play well or someone else will get your opportunity. This is another opportunity for KT to learn from AJ.

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Saturday, June 7, 2008

Hairston, Padres Walk Off To 4th Straight 2-1 Win

Scott Hairston hits another huge game winning bomb. The latest Hairston shot, leading off the 10th frame, propelled the Friars to their forth consecutive 2-1 victory (new MLB record). If it seems like Scotty Hairston only hits homers when his club needs it the most, its because he does; all 9 of his long balls have come with the Padres either trailing or tied. Bryan Corey threw 2 impressive innings before Mike Adams tossed a scoreless inning to pick up his first win of the season.

Pads Points
  • Jake Peavy threw over 60 pitches in a simulated game Saturday afternoon and reported no pain. It appears as through Jake was throwing smoothly and getting close to returning.

  • Michael Barrett hit his first home run as a Padre with a game tying solo shot in Saturday night's win.

  • The Padres 4th straight victory is the longest winning streak of the season, the fact that they have won them all 2-1 is a nice piece of baseball trivia.

  • Scott Hairston hit his 3rd walk off home run with the Padres in less than a season.

  • The entire NL West has won their last 2 contests, the Padres remain 8 games off the pace in 4th place.

Hey, Bud
FF questioned the move Black made in the 6th when he choose to use Tony Clark in Huber's spot with the bases loaded and 1 out. Clark ended up grounding into a fielders choice that forced Brian Giles at the plate. FF would have preferred using Jody Gerut for many reasons that include, speed, ability, and AB's. We think that Black wanted to keep Gerut to double switch into the 9 spot to extend the top of his line up and bury the pitchers spot for the next time around, but there was an opportunity to put up some runs. In addition, Paul McAnulty should be the #1 left handed option off the bench until Tony Clark starts hitting.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Kouz Pumps Up Pads

Kevin Kouzmanoff cashed in a very strong Greg Maddux outing in the bottom of the eighth inning, with a go ahead sacrifice fly to plate Brian Giles. Trevor Hoffman would strike out three in the ninth to save the 2-1 win, ending the Cubbies 9 game winning streak (the longest in MLB for 2008). Maddux allowed just 3 hits over 7 innings, with Heath Bell tacking on a scoreless eighth inning to notch the win. Scotty Hairston flexed his muscle to lead off the game for the Friars, knocking home run number 8 on the season. The Frairs would squander men in scoring position with zero or one out in the sixth and seventh before Giles led off the eighth frame with an opposite field double. Giles then took third on a relatively shallow fly to left center, taking advantage of Alfonso Soriano's weak arm. This heady base running would prove to be the difference in the game, as Kouzmanoff launched a fly ball to deep center, allowing Giles to easily beat former Friar Jim Edmonds' throw to the plate.

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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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Saturday, May 3, 2008

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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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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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Young Strong, Hitters Not

Chris Young bounced back from recent outings with a very strong 7 inning, 121 pitch performance at Petco Park Thursday night. He fanned 10 while allowing a pair of hits, including a home run, the only blotch on his excellent line. Unfortunately, that single run represented more than the popless Friars could muster, tagging Young with a 1-0 loss. This despite the Padres finishing with 5 hits and 6 walks versus the Giants 3 and 3, respectively. Paul McAnulty once again started for Scott Hairston in the second spot in the batting order. Stalwart Adrian Gonzalez had a rough night in taking a trio or strikeouts, a microcosm of the over Friar offensive attack.

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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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Friday, April 18, 2008

Help Wanted

FF is officially disgusted by the way that the Padres are swinging the bat. It has been over 90 innings and more than a week since the Friars have hit a homer, and extra base hits are so rare that when they do occur the base runner gets confused and keeps running (sorry, PMac). The fact is that when this team hits, they are moving 90 feet at a time. If you are going to play small ball, please acquire some speed to go first to third on the back end of two singles.

Something needs to happen with this team, and fast. Rumor has it that the Padres have some sort of offensive stud playing in Portland. The time has come for Chase Headley to be up with the big boys. Though Scott Hairston maybe more comfortable in left field, his one handed haymaker swings seem to be the reason that he has never been an everyday player in this league.

Kevin Towers should have a ridiculously high phone bill right now, and a move for the Matt Murton's of the world is not going to cut it. I know the franchise philosophy is to build around young players and fill the gaps with average and declining veterans, but something has to be done to reduce this drowning offense. With the outstanding pitching the Padres possess, it would be a shame not to field a quality lineup behind them to make a mark this season. The farm system is built up a bit ~ put some chips in play in hopes to push some runs across the plate.

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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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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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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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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Peavy Off, But Singles Lead the Way


Jake Peavy
Creative Commons License

Jake Peavy clearly didn't have his best pitches Friday night, but his mindset pushed him through his third quality start - and win - of the season. The offense picked up Peavy with a barrage of singles and a lone double to plate seven runs. Six Friars amassed multiple hit games with Kevin Kouzmanoff leading the way with a trio out of the cleanup spot. Callix Crabbe showed his impact in the eighth innings while pinch running for the ever-reliable Tony Clark. He easily stole second, then scored on Tad Iguchi's dribbler through the 3.5 hole. Given the continued struggles of future hall of famer Trevor Hoffman, who was again touched up for a run, despite earning a save, these kinds of insurance runs cannot be understated. The bullpen's other slow starter, Joe Thatcher also coughed up another run.

Tossed
Scotty Hairston threw a strike to Josh Bard to erase Dodger Russell Martin, who came into the plate with a half-hearted shoulder. Bard and Martin exchanged pats on their midsection and butt, respectively, to show no ill will.

Coach Hill Would Be Proud
Iguchi continues to impress FF by playing ball the right way (for you PLHS alumni out there, that means Coach Hill's way). On a run-and-hit, Iguchi practically threw his bat to protect flat-of-foot Brian Giles at second.

The Ghost of Bruce Bochey
Bud Black was momentarily possessed by Bruce Bochey at Dodger Stadium, instructing Jake Peavy to forgo a sacrifice bunt attempt to instead ground into an inning ending double play in the second.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Bud Black is a Fricking Genius

Just before Scott Hairston's two run blast Tuesday night, we at FF were pondering why Hairston is batting in the 5 hole ahead of Khalil Greene (27 HR, 97 RBI in '07). Then Hairston put the Friars up with a single swing, so we have now embraced it whole heartedly. After tonight's bomb, we have officially declared Harry Ralston "Bud" Black a fricking genius - again.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Hairston Launch Humbles Houston

The Padres have begun the 2008 season with two straight victories over the Houston Astros. The offense wasn't clicking on all cylinders as it was on opening night, but the Friars found Scott Hairston's 2 run blast enough to hold off Houston 2-1. The Padres had 2007 All Star, Chris Young, toeing the rubber on Tuesday and he battled through some control problems (5 walks in 5 2/3) to earn his first victory of the year. Young loaded the bases full of 'Stros after a base hit and 2 walks in the 6th. Skipper Bud Black turned the ball over to Joe Thatcher who got out of the jam after walking in the only Astro run of the game (and season). The lefty Thatcher retired the first batter of the 7th inning before giving way to side-winder Cla Meredith who cruised through the 2 batters he faced. Heath Bell worked a perfect 8th inning to set up baseball's all time saves leader in the top half of the 9th. Trevor Hoffman took his first steps into game action this year to the familiar sound of AC/DC's "Hells Bells". The Padres closer struck out the first and last batter he faced while working around a two out infield single.

Padres Points:

The Padres hand the ball to future Hall Of Fame hurler Greg Maddux on Wednesday night, the crafty right hander will attempt to keep pace with the top 2 pitchers in the Friar rotation.

Khalil Greene and Josh Bard each had multiple hit games with the Friar shortstop collecting 3, while the Padre backstop had 2. Brian Giles remains the only Padres regular without a hit through 2 games.

The Padres team ERA jumped all the way to 0.50 to kickoff the new year, Tuesday's 2-1 victory will be one of many close, low scoring affairs in 2008.

The Padres had a chance to extend their lead in the bottom half of the 8th (against former Friar Doug Brocail) after a 2 out Bard single sent Scott Hairston to second, an infield single by Paul McAnulty would have loaded the bases for a pinch hitter (presumably Tony Clark). Unfortunately, Scott Hairston got caught venturing too far off third after appearing to assume that P Mac would be called out at 1st.

Padres figure to start newly acquired Justin Huber in left tomorrow as the Astros will start a southpaw on the hill. Pads fans also figure to get their first view of the year of catcher Michael Barrett.

All time saves leader Trevor Hoffman is fashioning a longer hair style than in years past, reports out of spring training were that Mrs. Hoffman likes the longer locks.

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Monday, March 31, 2008

Peavy & Mates Blank 'Stros In Opener

The 2008 Padres campaign opened with a familiar sight as the Friars cruise to a 4-0 shutout victory over the visiting Houston Astros. The season opener is always a special occasion, however, with good friends and great hurlers Jake Peavy and Roy Oswalt squaring off there was more allure around game 1 of 162. The reigning NL Cy Young award winner found himself in his tightest spot in the first inning after a leadoff single (and stolen base, who knew), and an one out walk; a couple of harmless infield pop-ups later the Friars were in their dugout taking their cuts versus Houston ace Roy Oswalt.

From that point forward Padres ace Jake Peavy took control of the game with his electric right arm and his bat. After the Friars wasted a 1 out double by new 2nd sacker Taditho Iguchi and a Kouzmanoff laser off Oswalt's hip in the first, the Pads took a 1-0 lead in the second inning via a Peavy sacrifice fly to left. San Diego's second run came courtesy a line drive single over the head of Astro shortstop Miguel Tejada by, you guessed it, Jake Peavy.

The Friars ace tossed 7 shut out innings while surrendering only 3 hits and striking out 4 on his way to his first win of the '08 season. From there, the Padres pen took care of the rest with Heath Bell working the 8th and Cla Meredith facing the minimum thanks to a great Scott Hairston throw nailing an over aggressive Tejada trying to stretch a single into a double to leadoff the 9th. All said and done, the Padres totaled 14 basehits in route to a typical 4-0 victory to begin the 2008 season.

San Diego Short Hops:

5 Padre hitters had a 2 or more knocks; Adrian Gonzalez, Khalil Greene, Josh Bard, and Paul McAnulty collected two hits apiece while Tad Iguchi swatted two doubles and a single to endear himself to the San Diego crowd early in the season.

The Padres played flawless defense after a questionable spring scattered with errors. It was a pleasant surprise for FF and Pads fans worldwide.

San Diego native and Aztec alum, Tony Clark, wasted little time getting in the Padres scorebook as he smashed the first pitch he saw in Padres colors for a RBI single.

Tuesday night features All Star starter Chris Young after his offseason workouts that centered around his larger midsection.



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Saturday, March 22, 2008

ChAAAse HeAAAdley

It would appear that Padres top prospect, Chase Headley, will start the season in AAA Portland. The move will allow Headley to continue to learn his new position by logging as many innings as possible in left field. The switch hitter has proved himself to be MLB ready but finds himself in a log jam in the Padres outfield picture.

As FF has previously noted, Jody Gerut has not only played himself onto the opening day roster, but he is penciled in as the starter in left. Scott Hairston is expected to fill the shoes of Jim Edmonds in CF until the balky calf of Edmonds properly heals. With the extra spot for an outfielder (assuming Edmonds begins the season on the DL) the Padres are expected to break camp with Paul McAnulty for the 2nd consecutive year. PMac is out of options and can flat out swing the bat. Brian Giles continues to improve from his offseason micro fracture surgery and will start his final season in a Padres uniform in right (KT holds an option for 2009). Bud Black is expected to give the veteran more days off during the long 162 game schedule, and this year it appears that he will have the bodies to fill the spot (no Sledge types on this roster). The Padres will shock FF if they leave Arizona without Callix Crabbe, the speedy and versatile Rule V draftee who has had a great spring and can play both infield and outfield positions.

As the the sand begins to settle on another March in the desert, it appears the Friars roster is coming together and at this point it will not include their stud prospect Headley. The Padres will see him at some point this season roaming the Petco Park outfield, and his tenure as a full time starter is, at most, a season away (with the likely departure of the second Giles in 2 years). The larger question at this point circles around the health of Jim Edmonds, and what to do with the pure hitting Paul McAnulty when Edmonds is healthy.

FF wouldn't be surprised to see the Padres deal McAnulty to an American League team, simply because they do not have a position for him. With the Pads and Peoria Sports Complex roommate, Seattle Mariners, discussing a possible deal for CF Jeremy Reed, it is possible to see PMac in Peoria again next season; this time in the Mariners clubhouse.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Gerut a Go?

FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal is reporting that Jody Gerut is likely to get the starting nod in left field in the likely event that Jim Edmonds not be available on Opening Day. Additionally, the article suggests that Gerut may be platooning with Scott Hairston should Edmonds be return to the lineup. Rosenthal goes on to link Seattle Mariner Jeremy Reed as a candidate to roam Petco's spacious center field, if needed.

This would mean that Chase Headley is headed to Portland to hone his defensive skills in left field, despite doing as much as anyone could possibly expect to push his bat into the lineup. The cautious road is probably the best bet for Chase. One has to wonder if Bud Black would be as tolerant of a Klesko-esque left fielder (could Headley even be that bad?) as he was of Kevin Koozmanoff's cold start at the plate in 2007. The Moneyball approach says yes, but Black may say no.

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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Trade Front And Center For Padres

The Padres couldn't or wouldn't come to an agreement to retain their free agent center fielder Mike Cameron this offseason and instead turned the position over to former All Star and Gold Glove winner Jim Edmonds, who was acquired in a trade with the Cards. Immediately following this trade, questions regarding the age and health of the Friars CF (Edmonds) and RF(Brian Giles) accompanied the questions about the lack of a starting left fielder. Through the first week of Cactus League play the Padres Edmonds and Giles have combined for 1 base hit, granted Brian Giles has yet to lace up his spikes due to his recovery from offseason knee surgery ~ but then again, that in itself is a problem. Edmonds is now on the shelf for 2-3 weeks due to a calf strain he suffered while in the batters box in a game this week.

The only left field clarification to date is that Jody Gerut , Chase Headley, and even Paul McAnulty have all proved that they can hit enough to compete for playing time with incumbent Scott Hairston, who himself has never been an everyday major league starter. So, lets toss in the huge hole in center created by Edmonds' calf muscle and the Padres have a tough situation with few in house fixes.

On Friday Kevin Towers reported that he had talked with the Boston Red Sox regarding Coco Crisp, it is suspected that the Sox would want top prospects Chase Headley or Matt Antonelli ~ and the Pads are not giving those 2 away for almost anyone at this point. So, may the Friars see yet another aging player passed their prime sporting the sand and navy in FA Kenny Lofton? Or would the Pads give up top talent to bring Tony Gywnn, Jr. back home from the Brewers? Something will have to happen, because the season is drawing ever closer and the Pads outfield is getting older each inning that passes.

Look for the Pads to also speak to the Angels, who have too many bodies in their outfield - some who are out of minor league options. FF believes (or wants to believe) that the Friars will find a way to get younger, healthier, and faster in the outfield prior to the March 31st opener.

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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Edmonds Leaves Game With Leg Injury

That sound you hear is the San Diego Padres front office holding their collective breathes. Newly acquired, and well seasoned Jim Edmonds was taken out of the Padres 10-3 win over the reigning NL champion Colorado Rockies. The 37 year old center fielder is disappointed and stated that his calf felt very tight.

It would be nice if FF could say that this wasn't expected, I, for one had accepted my chilled glass of Kool Aid and was gulping it down when hearing of Edmonds' feverish off season workouts led by a SWAT officer. The ex-Cardinal center fielder was said to be in great shape and prime for a career renaissance. The scariest part is - the reason the Friars brought Edmonds in was because there were no in house solutions to the vast grounds at Petco. If, in fact, this injury is a sign of more to come from the experienced legs of Edmonds and right fielder, Brian Giles, then the Padres might be in for a very long season.

Jump The Gun

This calf injury will most likely prove to be nothing more than a strain, however, if it leads to a long absence of a CF where would the Friars turn? FF sees few (neither solid) options already in the Peoria clubhouse being Scott Hairston, and Callix Crabbe. Neither has logged many innings in center and let us not forget where the Pads play 81 of their games...Players available in the trade market or free agency are either old or expensive ~ a few examples would be the 40 year old Kenny Lofton (who is still looking for a job, and playing for the Padres would, unofficially, be his 75th team), or the Dodgers Juan Pierre who signed a ridiculous contract last year and is expendable with LA's signing of Andruw Jones, and young Andre Ethier fighting for more AB's.

Hold your breath Padres fans, our outfield is huge and the legs roaming it are close to expiration!

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Monday, March 3, 2008

Headley & Gerut Continue To Pound Pitching

The main storyline in Padres camp this spring is, has and will continue to be their left field situation. Two of the three prime candidates continue their torrid offensive attack on Monday against the Brewers. Jody Gerut and Chase Headley each collected 2 more hits while avoiding any defensive miscues. Paul McAnulty, whose name resides further down the depth chart came into camp in great shape, after shedding some 20 pounds, circled the bases after drilling a 3 run homer in a 6 run Padres outburst.

Scott Hairston is still the safest bet to assume the starting position, but the gap may be closing with each base knock by Gerut and each 440 foot bomb that exploded of Headley's lumber. This battle is heating up with the Phoenix heat index, and doesn't figure to be decided anytime soon. FF hopes that this is not the most exciting aspect of the Padres season!

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Jody Gerut Hot In Spring

Non roster invitee, Jody Gerut, has been swinging a hot stick early in the Padres camp. San Diego does not have an every day left fielder penned into LF and needs a reserve who has the ability to play all three OF positions with the aging Brian Giles and Jim Edmonds as their starters in right and center. As camp opens the Friars have Scott Hairston penciled in to left as the opening day starter, but that position is definitely up for grabs.

Gerut who has not played in MLB over the last 2 seasons due to knee injuries, rejuvenated his once bright career while hitting an impressive, league leading, .390 in Venezuelan winter ball. He has continued his tear by slapping a double yesterday and singling twice this afternoon in an annual charity game between Peoria Sports Complex residents, Pads and Seattle Mariners. The Mariners took the exhibition game tilt by a score of 10-3. With Cactus League play officially commencing tomorrow afternoon, the Padres staff has certainly taken notice of the strides that Jody Gerut is making. It remains to be the hot topic of the Padres camp and between the founding fathers of Friar Forum. Will it be the slight favorite in Hairston, the Padres top prospect Chase Headley, or the white hot Jody Gerut? Competition brings out the best in athletes and we at FF are exciting to see how it all plays out.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Murton Rumors Still Alive

Matt Murton to the Padres rumors remain persistent, as reported by mlbtraderumors.com. FF doesn't expect any trades to go down soon, as Kevin Towers will likely see how Scott Hairston and Chase Headley look in Peoria. Even so, Murton isn't exactly the right handed power hitter the Padres covet. Nonetheless, The Bill James Handbook 2008 projects Murton to post a respectable .841 OPS in 2008. In comparison, James predicts a .932 clip from Headley with a .839 showing from Hairston (see OBP graph below). With these numbers, its hard to see a ton of upside in executing this trade, outside of a bench depth to offset an aging outfield.

OPS Comparison
Graph from FanGraphs.com

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sayonara Kosuke Fukudome

Kosuke Fukudome has chosen to accept an offer from the Cubs, reportedly around $50M for 4 years. While it remains to be seen what the Frairs actually offered Fukudome, it is widely rumored to be over $10M/year for at least 3 years. Otherwise put, the likely difference between the two clubs was about one veteran bench player/year. While the Padres will surely point to Jake Peavy's signing as a major commitment this offseason, the reality is that the farm system will have to do better for the Padres to sport hitting talent (which won't be brought in via free agency - ever). Whatever the excuse is today (we think it is TV revenue these days), the club seemingly was close enough to make this click and is in dire need of an outfielder(s). Considering that Giles will likely start the season on the DL, Cameron will be gone or suspended and Milton Bradley has already bolted, the spacious outfield is looking more so these days. We're fine with Scott Hairston getting a shot, but that still leaves the team an outfielder short. Please KT, don't make that extra outfielder Todd Walker.

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