Wednesday, August 29, 2012

2009 Reprise?

A quick thought ahead of the 1030 news conference with new ownership:

In 2009 the Padres went 39-35 after the All-Star Break, 37-25 after July 27. They carried that momentum into the 2010 season and to within a game of making the playoffs.  As play started on 29 August 09 they had gone 19-23 since the Break , and would win 20 of their next 33 games to close out the season.

In 2012 the Padres have gone 26-18 since the All-Star Break.  I'm not saying they'll play .606 ball the rest of the way like they did in 2009.  They are playing better ball already than that team did, and we know how the 2009 late season success carried into 2010.  Better play now has to portend to a brighter season in 2013, right?

Something to think about.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Game Reflections - Game 130 vs Braves

It's not very often the Padres have a seven-game winning streak.  It's not very often they come home riding a seven-game winning streak, which included 3 straight against a Wild Card contender.  But that's exactly where we find ourselves today.

Well - check that.  It's 8 straight now.

After a most satisfying 3-game sweep in the desert, the second 3-game sweep of the season in Phoenix (the last time San Diego swept the D-backs in AZ before this season was NEVER), the team returned home to face Atlanta, leaders in the NL Wild Card.  Today was a great day, because:

1.  Of the aforementioned 7-game winning streak,
2.  It was Padres Social night, which I was not aware of until I got to the ballpark (MAN I've been away a long time), and
3.  It marked the Major League Debut of Casey Kelly, that 'other' player we got from Boston for Adrian Gonzalez.  His father was in attendance - former major leaguer Pat Kelly, he of 7 ML at-bats in 1980 for the Toronto Blue Jays.  And, it was his father's birthday (check that link again).

A lot going on.  So let's get to it.

- Interesting tidbit - all the runs Atlanta starter Paul Maholm has allowed since becoming a Brave have scored via a home run.  When I read that, my sarcastic thought was 'well here comes the shutout!'.  Maybe with the May 2012 Padres.  Not the August 2012 Padres.  Yasmani Grandal took care of business with a laser of a 2-run HR in the second inning.

- The Kid Kelly pitched 6 effective innings.  He worked around a 2-out double from Jason Heyward to get out of the first inning.  He froze Paul Janish with a ridiculous curveball for the second out of the second, and straned two runners when Maholm flied to center.  After Michael Bourn was doubled off second on a busted hit and run (Martin Prado lined out to second), Kelly allowed only one more baserunner and no more hits.

- In fact, the next Brave hit after that Bourn single was Prado's base knock leading off the ninth.  Padres pitchers retired 16 of 18 hitters faced, the only two that reached were via walks, and one of those was erased thanks to a double play.

- That said, Dale Thayer made the eighth inning interesting.  Dan Uggla hit a 2-2 pitch to the 396 sign in CF before Cameron Maybin jumped and hauled it in.  Chase Headley had to sprawl behind the bag at third to snare Janish's ground ball for the second out of the inning, and Bourn drove Carlos Quentin to the track in LF with his drive.

- Uggla wasn't the only guy who got Petco'd tonight.  Quentin's drive in the fourth died just short of the 401 sign in LC, and Logan Forsythe drove Bourn into the wall just to the right of that spot with his blast in the eighth.

- Welcome back Jesus Guzman! Guzman enjoyed his second 2-hit game of this month in only his fourth start of the month.  I was feeling all warm inside about my guy ... then he got picked off to end the sixth.  Oh well.

Not much else to mention.  Maholm pitched well, his only mistake was to Grandal.  Tommy Layne came in and threw 6 strikes to retire the side in the seventh.  Luke Gregerson notched his second save and ran his scoreless inning streak to 23.  A crisply played game in 2:24.  3-0 Padres.

Here's something fun to ponder - the Padres only trail Arizona by 5 games on the loss side.  Let's make climbing into third a goal for the rest of this season, yes?  If we do that, we'll finish at .500, something unthinkable as even a possibility 6 weeks ago.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


How mad must the Pirates be?  They take 2 of 3 from the Cardinals in St Louis, then come here and drop the first 2.

In fairness, if San Diego was going to win any game in this series it was going to be Monday night's.  Pittsburgh had just survived a 19-inning game in St Louis which used every pitcher they had available, including 3 starting pitchers, and so were slightly undermanned in the bullpen.  San Diego jumped on Kevin Correia early and rode that 3-0 lead to the victory.

Pittsbgh figured to bounce back last night, and they did.  I didn't see much of this game (playoff softball); in fact, I saw exactly two pitches.  Chase Headley get caught looking at an AJ Burnett curveball, and Carlos Quentin bounce into a 5-4-3 DP.  Ugh.

Still, the Padres went into the ninth up 5-3.  Garrett Jones tied the game at 5 all and it looked like they could carry that momentum into an extra innings win.  Queue the music, right?  Nope.  Chase Headley took care of that with his game winning 2-run HR in the tenth.

So that makes 4 wins in 5 games against Pittsburgh this season.  The Pirates can thank the schedule maker for putting both their series with the Padres after the All-Star break, when San Diego began playing much better. In the heat of a playoff race, the last thing contending teams want to see is a team in the second division playing with nothing to lose. Note to Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and St Louis - look past the Padres at your own peril.

The Padres look to sweep today; it will be their first home sweep against the Pirates since 2010.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


There had been a flicker of hope, in some corners, about the Padres improved play since the All-Star break. In fact, since June 12th they had been the best team in the NL West - a game better than San Francisco.  And they had gone into Pittsburgh, taken 2 of 3 from the Wild Card contenders, then taken the first game of a 4-game set in Atlanta, the Wild Card leaders.

Then a Logan Forsythe home run was the only run they scored in the final 3 games against the Braves.  THEN they come home and get crushed by the Giants last night, 10-1.  Reality check.

One wonders how different the game would have been if Forsythe's throw to third had been more on-line and nailed Angel Pagan for the second out.  Marco Scutaro's bloop single might have been caught, and Ross Ohlendorf could have escaped down only 2-0.  They likely still would have lost - Matt Cain was tough last night, not allowing a hit until the fifth inning - but it could have remained competitive.  Who knows.

Watching Ohlendorf get hit around in the third inning made me wonder:  exactly why did they keep this guy and cut Kip Wells?

Wells was designated for assignment on 3 August.  Since that date Ohlendorf's been really bad - 3 total starts, 11 innings pitched, opponents OPS'ing almost 900 against him.  Including his 2 August start at Cincinnati he's failed to pitch into the fourth inning in 2 of his last 4 starts, and he got pulled in that inning during one of the two starts he did see the fourth.  Not real good, that.

Wells?  Well, he was knocked out in the fifth inning of 3 of his last 4 Padres starts, and two of those games were against the worst two teams in the NL (Colorado and Houston).  Not real good either.

Comparing the two, neither strikes out many and both walk a lot of guys (Wells 20 in his 37 innings, Ohlendorf 24 in his 48).  The league was hitting .287 on balls in play off Wells, .342 off Ohlendorf.  Both tended to give up HR.  The only statistic I could find where Ohlendorf had a measurable advantage over Wells was FIP.  Ross' FIP so far in 2012 is 4.90, including last night's shellacking.  Kip's was 5.85.  (xFIP they're actually much closer; 5.28 to 5.51)  It would be kind of interesting if the main reason the team kept Ohlendorf is because his advanced metrics were better than Wells.  Or, it could be as simple as Ohlendorf is 5 years younger than Wells and throws slightly harder.

I dunno.  I thought the Padres had a chance to win every time Wells took the ball.  It's not a matter of if Ohlendorf will give up a big inning, it's when.  Neither of these guys were going to be with the team in 2013; why not keep the guy who seemed to be doing a better job of keeping your team in the game.

(Hopefully I'll be posting more now.  My schedule seems to have settled down a bit, finally.)