We ought not to get too euphoric, however. The Padres received significant help from a band of arsonists known as the Diamondback bullpen corps. To wit:
- Friday: Starter Edwin Jackson throws six shutout. Heilman, Howry, and Gutierrez combine to allow 6 runs in 2 2/3, with Gutierrez being tagged for 4.
- Saturday: Kevin Correia was nails, and the Padres led by 2 after six. Even with that, Norberto surrendered 3 more runs in 2/3 of an inning of work.
- Sunday: Padres trail 2-0 entering the seventh. Friday night Match Light brothers Heilman and Gutierrez combine to allow 5 runs in the inning and lose the game.
It is comforting, though, to know they have the ability to come back late if they need to.
Some other thoughts:
- David Eckstein's double on Friday night might be biggest hit of the year to date. Headley's HR 2 hitters later won the game, but Eckstein's hit set it up. Juan Gutierrez started the first hitter that inning, Nick Hundley, with a curveball, but he started Hairston and Cabrera with fastballs. Eckstein no doubt noticed that. Also, Gutierrez's pitches are recognizable right off the bat. The 'get it over' curveball, the straight as a string fastball, and the slider he can't throw for a strike. Having seen all Gutierrez's pitches, I think Eckstein was sitting dead red, and when he got it he whacked it. Awesome.
BTW, I saw Eckstein turn around an inside fastball much like the one he got from Gutierrez for a grand slam while he was playing for the Cardinals. No surprise he was able to do something similar on Friday.
- Headley got a fastball and hit it a looong way to win that game. Apologies to Adrian Gonzalez, but Chase Headley is the best hitter on this team right now.
- I like the move dropping Kyle Blanks to sixth, and moving Chase Headley to fourth in the order. I also liked moving Will Venable to fifth, even though he had a tough series this weekend.
- Paging Scott Hairston: Stop swinging at the high fastball when ahead in the count with runners on base. You lead the league in pop-ups with runners on base.
- Today Wade LeBlanc and Kris Benson combined for 15 full counts among the 43 hitters they faced. And people complain about the length of Yankees/Red Sox games. One hour and 40 minutes to play 5 innings. I would have either gouged my eyes out, or commenced drinking heavily, if I was sitting at Petco watching this nonsense.