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A weblog covering the San Diego Padres.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Amusing

Via Frinklin, they're talking about Mark Kotsay's wife (I'm soon to get 1,000 visitors via Yahoo and Google for using that magic three word term) on Athletics and Mariners blogs. Baseball should have a photo day with his wife.

No, I don't have pics.

Yes, she's hot. We traded him but for the fans that saw her on the scoreboard at Qualcomm promoting something or other with the Padres' wives association they've never forgotten. She's a legend and she's not ours anymore so if you want pics/info, I don't have it.

Just thought I'd mention that.

Oh by the way (USC alum) Randy Johnson fanned eight Padres last night, meaning he has reached 4,000 K's. The answer is: Jeff Cirillo (another USC alum).

Pads win. The rookie has the best game he will ever pitch in his career, which means the Padres will get stupid and keep him with the big club instead of sending him right back once Peavy is activated.

Yes that has me annoyed.

Yes it's 6:30AM and I'm already not looking forward to my workday.

Yes Khalil Greene is now a living legend in San Diego. Spicoli has risen from the ashes.

Yes I'm done with this post.
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Monday, June 28, 2004

Holy Smokes We Have Offense

Ten runs, 17 hits. This sticks to my theory that the Padres either score under three runs or score over seven. Talk about manic.

Wells gets the win, the Padres finally jumped on a crappy pitcher (we've seen a lot of those lately) in Shane Reynolds. Good times all around. Six wins in seven games.

Now the test:
Tomorrow the recently acquired Sweeney takes the mound against revenge-minded Randy Johnson. I smell a 2-hitter.

6:35 PM PST, Channel 4. Arizona has that weird time zone thing. Yell at Victor, he goes to U of A.

* * * * *
I want to quickly point out that Michael at Citizens' Blog is doing some great work. He's really taken to Moneyball and has put out some amazing stuff on his site dealing with some of the more relevant statistical type things out there in the blog world.

I can also tell that it's getting close to election time, because Richard at Pearly Gates is getting more and more heated up at the innane stuff that's part of baseball. What a warrior, hehe.

Check out his bizarre story of fighting Star Wars characters (June 27 post). Only in California.

* * * * *
Link Time-Baseball America has a rundown of who each team has signed out of their draft class so far, and where applicable, their bonuses.

Here's the link for the Padres. Signed players in bold.

Known bonuses:
Matt Bush (likely to change, hehe)-$3,150,000
Billy Killian-$450,000

* * * * *
I've received several visitors from Random Fandom, a Diamondbacks fan blog that links to me. Thanks Random Fandom!

Be sure and take a look.

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This post sucked, I need more free time. Congrats again to Fullerton, can't stand Texas and their wannabe program, although Huston Street is awesome.

ByTheWay, if you've followed the CWS, you will be just as astounded as I am that Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics were miraculously able to select the following GREAT players that we all saw on television dominate:

Huston Street-Texas Reliever
Kurt Suzuki-Fullerton Catcher (I saw him hit three consecutive doubles against USC)
Jason Windsor-CWS MVP, Fullerton Starting Pitcher

Nevermind they also took Danny Putnam, Landon Powell and Richie Robnett! What an unreal draft class.
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For the Lindsay Soto Fans

If you've ever watched FoxSports' SoCal Sports Report or one of their HS sports shows, you recognize her. She's cute. And a good reporter. And a Trojan. Great combination.

Apparently she's guest hosting the Loose Cannons show on XTRA radio sometime this week, so if that's your thing, tune in. The show is on from I think noon-3 M-F. Anything beats listening to bRuin Steve Hartman anyway, hehe. Only kidding, UCLA fans.

More posting later this afternoon/tonight. Way to go Jeff Cirillo!
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Sunday, June 27, 2004

The Game, and Other Stuff

Pads lose. I didn't see it, was out of town sort of. In that California, travel long distances but can get back home in the same day kind of way. Moving along.

Heard it was bad.

* * * * *
You know how USC pitcherIan Kennedy is frequently mentioned here? Here's why:

*Freshman All American by Baseball America.

LOS ANGELES -- USC pitcher Ian Kennedy (Huntington Beach, Calif/La Quinta HS) was named today to the 2004 Baseball America Freshman All-America Team. Kennedy becomes the third straight Trojan in as many years to earn first team honors (Jeff Clement in 2003 and Joey Metropoulos in 2002).

This season as the first freshman No. 1 starter at USC since Randy Flores in 1994, Kennedy went 7-2 with a 2.91 ERA. In 92 2/3 innings, Kennedy allowed 86 hits while walking 31 and striking out 120 batters.


*Kennedy Starts, leads USA Baseball No-Hitter. First in Team USA History.

Believe the hype now?!

Check #19 just for assurance. After waiting for the .pdf to load, of course.



* * * * *
ByTheWay... congrats to Fullerton baseball for winning game one of the College World Series. Down with Texas. Gotta cheer for a California team not named Stanford.

College World Series Titles:
USC-12
Texas-5
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Friday, June 25, 2004

So Here Goes

Padres win a tight one tonight, 3-2. Death Rocker and Angel castoff Scott Spiezio kept the M's out of a shutout with a 2-run dinger. And the Pads needed some timely fielding by Greene and some others in ninth-inning action to close things out. Nothing like a heart attack in relaxing Seattle for Hoffman and the boys, if you ask me.

The win combined with the Halos' trouncing of L.A. pushes the Padres a half game ahead of the Blue Crew in the N.L. West and three back of the scorching hot Giants (or "The Hated Ones" if you listen to enough SoCal sports radio emanating from L.A.). The Pads are also 2.5 games back of Chicago and Cincinnati for the Wild Card.

A little off topic, but Jason Schmidt is the next Sandy Koufax. By that I mean he's going to have his arm fall off very soon. The guy defies everything I know right now and that makes me worried. What kind of man hurries back from elbow and shoulder injuries, and gets upwards of 140 pitches several times a season? Insane.

Anyone else noticing the Padres are swinging at a lot of first pitches lately? Is that advanced scouting or stupidity? Too many fast innings. C'mon guys, work those pitchers.

* * * * *
The Padres have promoted elite prospect Tim Stauffer to AAA. He's dominated in A and AA, so this is no surprise and keeps him on a smooth path to maybe start next year. That could be an interesting situation with the pitchers. Do the Pads sign Wells for another year? Or work with the young core of Peavy/Eaton/Lawrence/Tankersley/Stouffer and one other guy by free agency or trade?

That would mean the banishment of Wells, Valdez, Ashby and Hitchcock, among others. Pretty neat to have such a young staff. If you can't tell, Tankersley's stock is soaring in my book. I hope he continues to impress.

* * * * *
Check your local news stands for an article in ESPN The Magazine about Khalil Greene. I haven't read it yet, but I'll do so soon.

* * * * *
This series is a great time for the Padres to get a second chance at the disaster of the last month. They get to entertain the crappy (no offense, Frinklin) Mariners while the division rivals face up against powers Oakland and Anaheim. I think I said Seattle would be terrible sooner rather than later in my preseason picks. At least I got that one right.

* * * * *
A giant pooh on you goes out to the Anaheim Angels who did USC a disservice and signed Doug Reinhardt, a local hotshot HS player. I know the Angels need to do what's in their best interest, but c'mon, let the local college signees have a chance to choose their teams instead of drafting them. Of course kids are going to want to sign with the local pro team. But they can do that after playing three years for the local college team, right? Yeah I'm complaining. Sorry.

* * * * *
Frinklin, the avid M's fan and San Diego resident brings us some interesting stuff on the Padres.

He picked up on something I kind of alluded to, about crappy ("sieve") pitchers and the Padres not taking advantage of them. They're like that snake from Road Trip that won't eat the mouse right in front of him.

Posted by Frinklin at 10:01 PM
June 22, 2004
Padres win.. barely... again
Over the past 2 nights against Arizona, the Well-Liked Padres have faced the following pitchers: Casey Fossum, Scott Service, Brandon Villafuerte (2X), Steve Sparks, Randy Choate, and Mike Koplove. Of these six gentlemen, only one, Villafuerte, has an ERA under 4.63. The Padres scored a grand total of 5 runs. Tomorrow they take on the Unit.

The Padres seem to be turning into last year’s Dodgers. Right now only two SD hitters have OPS over .800, Brian Giles at .822 and Mark Loretta at .831. Before the season it would have inconceivable to think that between them Giles, Phil Nevin, Ryan Klesko and Jay Payton (the Pads 3-6 hitters) would have 24 homeruns combined, but that is the case. The Padres are obviously still freaked out by PETCO Park’s dimensions. At home, only Giles has an OPS over .800, and he’s at .806, barely making the mark. Nevin (.242/ .343 /.387) and Payton (.234/ .305 / .308) have been especially atrocious at home. And another thing, when everyone talks about Sean Burroughs, it’s always mentioned that his power will develop. Well, Sean will be 24 before the season is out, and he’s slugging .370, when is it going to show up?


He also links to the awesomely named "Arrive in the third, leave after seven" blog claiming the Pads are done.

* * * * *
I'll try and dig into the next draft pick pronto, I'll spend most of tomorrow in beautiful Hermosa (har har) Beach, so I can't get much work done then. I love SoCal.

* * * * *
Lastly, thanks again to Geoff the musician and blogger at Ducksnorts, who has now twice linked to us here at PetcoPadres (we're humbled). We appreciate the traffic and just want to let him know his blog is incredible and most informative.

* * * * *
One more item. I'll put up the Reagan pics tomorrow maybe, I just want them to have their own post not tied to a million other items. They're nothing too special, just a crowd shot and something unique. But I want to post them anyway because I keep talking about them.
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Post Coming Later Tonight

Hopefully.

I spent parts of my workday jotting down what I'd like to talk about in my next post. I'll try and get to those later.

I'll probably catch the game, chilling with Victor at Oggies and all their waitresses in the tight black and black combo, not that I'm paying attention, or anything.

Quick props to Geoff at Ducksnorts, linking to me twice in a week now. I feel so loved with all the extra traffic ;o). Good guy that Geoff. Great blogger.

Until later...
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Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Johnson Not Long Enough; Long Goes Deep

What a ballgame. Victor and I had to scrap for tickets among a huge crowd of walkups who guessed right that today's game would be a good one. Aging lefties David Wells and Randy Johnson both pitched brilliantly, handcuffing the others' offenses.

As usual, the Padres really couldn't find much offense, but it was a solid outing given that Johnson was on the mound. Today's game also marked the ML debut of catcher Humberto Quintero and he did not disappoint. He singled and doubled, the first coming in his first ML at bat against the imposing Johnson.

Quintero helped Wells to one of his best outings of the year and also made some dazzling Pudge-like throws to second base and first base, almost nailing a lazy runner on both. No wonder the guy's arm is so touted, he backed it up tonight. Especially heartening was the nerve and confidence needed to take such risky plays in a tight ballgame.

His bloop single to right was pure luck, but it plated two runners and escorted the Pads to a 3-1 lead before Otsuka again blew a save opportunity after Wells left the game.

That set up a dramatic top of the ninth where Arizona nearly scored twice, the first time stopped by a tremendous running catch and throw from Jay Payton that stunned the D-backs' runner on third and kept him from coming home. His second terrific throw nailed the would be lead runner at home and closed the inning to get the Padres into the bottom of the ninth tied at 3-3.

Terrance Long then slapped a sleepy homerun deep into the rightfield corner, striking the foul pole and the Padres into a victory. He made a celebratory gesture while rounding first and the Padres had swept the D-backs at home.

Notes:
-Brian Buchanan went 0-3 against Johnson with three strikouts. He had been 6-19 against the Big Unit, but I think he went down on nine pitches. Terrible performance, but he's back on the roster for the first time in what seems like a month.

-Wells picked off a runner at first early in the game.

-Quintero was thrown out at second on a failed hit and run, but he showed surprising speed and almost beat the tag after the batter had struck out.

-The Padres are now 2-2 in games Brian attends, both of which were won with walkoff hits (Payton against Colorado and Long against Arizona). Could be 0-4! Yikes. The late game heroics were fun though.

* * * * *
So you want to know my thoughts on Matt Bush? Well, charges are chages and in America that means innocent until proven guilty. That said, it's fair to say he probably snuck into the bar and had some kind of altercation with the bouncer.

This kid is a genius. Not.

What's funny is that site co-author Victor had sort of been on him for a while. He had heard the kid interviewed and kept telling me what an idiot he sounded like and how naive he was.

Then at the previously mentioned Fashion Valley sighting, Victor couldn't get over the fact he was wearing his own uniform. I didn't mind so much, but he saw it as unnecessary.

When the news broke, it kind of tied those things together.

A friend of mine once got tossed from LA's The Standard, after calling the bouncer a "certified a**hole" or something like that, but at least the said friend was a)a legal age and b)not into the idea of an altercation.

This goes far beyond that. Bush has a lot to learn, and although people are piling on and it sounds like I am too, there's just such blatant stupidity here that it's hard not to talk about what happened. I doubt it's much of a lesson for him.
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Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Well...

Matt Bush is a big freaking idiot.

The Padres are big freaking winners.

More tomorrow...

2-game win streak=hooray! Still no offense, but isn't that kind of the norm?

Tomorrow it's old, aging, but good lefties in Johnson (USC) against David Wells. Should be a good one and if you are thinking about attending... do so.

I've got a Matt Bush rant saved, and a related incident to tell, but that's for tomorrow.
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Monday, June 21, 2004

The Prior Feature

First off, please read Matt's post about Tankersley, it's a really different take that I hadn't thought of concerning his situation.

I'll add the Reagan photos soon, but as promised here is my Mark Prior "feature". As you know Mark Prior is a USC Trojan now playing with my beloved Cubs.

What you don't know is that my old roommate bought me a really cool Mark Prior action figure for Christmas. It's pretty realistic. The wrist moves, the head moves, you can take him on and off the mound. There's a removeable baseball that remarkably wasn't lost a long time ago. Just a really neat gift.

When Prior started having injury issues before the season, I jokingly grabbed some band-aids and applied them to his ankle (injury one) and elbow (injury two). Those remained on Mr. Prior until literally yesterday. Since his return from the disabled list I've wanted to show off the action figure to my readers and also have some fun with his outings.

When Mark Prior has a good outing from now on, if I notice/remember, we will see this figure on the blog:




When Mark Prior has a bad outing, and people attribute it to him adjusting to the injuries and not having gone through Spring Training, etc. you will see this image:




Try not to laugh too hard.

If you haven't already noticed, the baseball is gone. I don't know where it is. It could be in the sewers for all I know, I haven't seen it since moving back to San Diego. It could be in a box, and I'm hoping to go through some boxes soon, so maybe I'll find it. Mark needs his baseball. Warren from There Something About Mary needs his baseball.

Have you seen my baseball?

Exactly.

More on tonight's game... tomorrow.
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The Tankersley Theory


Tank to the minors? After posting a 3.20 ERA and striking out 22 big league hitters in just over 25 innings? Is something in Kevin Towers’ drinking water?

There haven’t been any confirmed reports of unsafe drinking water in San Diego, but there has been a noticeable theme about the Padres’ management of their minor leaguers: The Future.

Taking a quick look at the schedule (both of Padres games and of Jake Peavy’s rehab), it quickly becomes evident where Towers train of thought is derived from. Tankersley last pitched on the 19th of June, meaning his next scheduled start would come on the 24th, an off day for the Padres. He would be off for ten days, then pitch again on the 29th, only to have Peavy come off the DL on July 2nd. Peavy comes back, Izzy becomes the 5th starter again, and Tankersley finds himself as a man without a starting spot.

So why not have him work out of the bullpen and send one of the other schmucks down to the minors since Tank is pitching so well? After all, when he was first called up, he started working out of the ‘pen, why not just put him back there?

The answer to that question might be pretty revealing. Most would agree that Tankersley was most impressive in his starts. This is a man who was extremely close to being traded, and had seemingly fallen from his perch as a top pitching prospect. The Padres seemed ready to give up on him until Darren Balsley took over and decided to give Tank another look.

But now, after some impressive performances, the Padres seem to have a renewed faith in him. They envision him as a future anchor in their up and coming rotation, and have no desire to send him to the bullpen. Even though it’s possible Tankersley could be effective out of the bullpen in what could potentially be a very tight pennant race, Kevin Towers decided that it is more important to let Tankersley get his starts in, even if that means a trip back to Portland, even if that means letting a crucial game slide, even if that means keeping what’s-his-shmuck on the roster. David Wells isn’t getting any younger. Rest assured, Tank will get his chance…in the future.
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Sunday, June 20, 2004

Rock Bottom

Padres lose 3-0 today. Yup.

As usual Ducksnorts has me beat. I'll just quote him:

- don't understand why the Padres always have to carry one useless position player on the roster and let him waste at-bats better given to more productive players. And we can't even blame this one on the Rule V draft.

On the pitching side, roster management is just as baffling. Ricky Stone, who was doing nothing with the Astros, is picked up off waivers and added to the big-league staff. Brian Sweeney is hanging around but still hasn't made his Padre debut. Rod Beck, great story that he was last year, has nothing left. And the guy who gets sent down to make room for Ramon Vazquez is Dennis Tankersley, who has been nothing less than terrific since moving into the rotation? What the heck is going on here?


I cannot believe we sent Tankersley down.

You know how people think of Kevin Towers as a savant of sorts? He is, a lot of the time. But sometimes he just goes off the deep end. I thought so for much of last year. But he's also someone who can catch lightning in a bottle and get things going. Frustrating, but in general I have a very high opinion of the guy.

But days and times like these make little sense. Geoff touches a lot of it above. I'm beginning to think that part of baseball and pro sports is this human side of business. Well, actually, that's a no duh. Put it this way, sometimes the people in charge will make very stupid decisions on marginal stuff because it's a nice thing to do.

Maybe Ramon Vazquez is a heck of a guy, a clubhouse person, and Towers would feel disloyal and inhuman by keeping him in the minors past rehab. So he shuttles down one of the kids who isn't as well known and is just getting started and would not feel too bad at being shipped down. Someone like Tankersley.

I don't know.

What I do know is that it's back to .500 for the Padres. If there's one very good blessing this year it has been the pitching, and since I'm sounding so negative lately let's give strong praise now to that positive. It's fun looking at some of the ERA's right now.

1.10 Otsuka
1.80 Neal
2.01 Peavy
2.34 Witasick
2.35 Hoffman
2.54 Linebrink
3.06 Wells
3.20 Tankersley
3.95 Lawrence
4.12 Osuna

Awesome.

You cannot ask for much better. On paper if you cover the ERA's I don't think a lot of GMs would bother assembling that for a pitching roster. But it's working.

* * * * *
Alright, time to present the research on the Padres' #6 draft selection in our ongoing Draft Review series.

Richard Steik
RHP-Golden West College (Junior)
6'3"/210
L/R



MLB.com has some video of him and this short writeup:

TALL, LARGE FRAME. BROAD BACK, SHOULDERS. SOFT THROUGH MIDDLE. STRONG, STURDY LEGS. LONG, LOOSE MUSCLES. LOST 15 LBS. NO WINDUP, 3/4 ARM. HIGH LEG LIFT. LOOSE, EASY ARM ACTION W/ OCCAISIONAL ML FB, TAILING, SINKING MOVEMENT. GOOD MOTION ON SINKING CHANGEUP. EFFECTIVE CB WHEN STAYS ON TOP & PITCH IS DOWN IN ZONE. THROW K'S W/ ALL PITCHES. CHANCE TO BE EFFECTIVE SINKER BALL PITCHER.

Like Rob Neyer, I find most of those writeups to be gibberish and can't distinguish anything from them. But there it is just in case you're curious.

At BaseballThinkFactory, a thread about Neyer's Column complaining about the above writeups has mention of Steik. This from user aaronkc7:

-Ricky Steik, below, struck out Scott Moore, 1st round pick of the Tigers in 2002, on nasty pitches in a huge situation that led to the Kennedy Fighting Irish (Alan Bannister) defeating the Cypress Centurions (Troy O'leary) to make the play-offs.

That's right, Ricky. Initially I found very little on young Mr. Steik, but then I came across Golden West College's athletics site and they were listing him as Ricky. I re-did my google search and sure enough, there was more on him after trying Ricky instead of Richard. Go figure.

Steik came to Golden West college out of John F. Kennedy HS in Buena Park. The mets originally drafted him in the 27th round of the 2002 Amateur Draft. He went the college route and is now the property of the Padres for a little under a year, having been selected in the 7th round as the #192 overall selection. So, to recap, he went from the #807 selection to the #192. Tremendous improvement, at least in draft standing.

Here's why:

13G/13Starts/1CG
2.93 ERA
.227 BAA
12-0 Record
89.0 IP
80 H
34 R/29 ER
80 K/34 BB
5 HR
4 Sac
6 HB
2 Bk
0 WP

What did that earn him? Why, Pitcher Of The Year honors in the All-Orange Empire Conference. For his career, he is tied for 7th in all time victories in the conference with 11. Why is that notable? Because ML-er Steve Trachsel is tied for 10th with 10 wins. Solid company if you ignore all the other no-names on the list.

He also made preseason All-OEC honors.

Our last item on Mr. Steik is this clipping from the Los Angeles Times preps section, about one of his good outings back in the day:

-La Palma Kennedy 9, Katella 0
Rick Steik pitched a three-hitter with 11 strikeouts to get the win and also had three hits and two RBIs for visiting Kennedy (5-3, 2-0). Katella is now 6-3, 1-1.


So it sounds like Richard, or Ricky, Steik, is a good find out of the California junior college circuit. He has pretty good control, keeps the hits down, can strike guys out, and has succeeded in spots in one of the toughest prep baseball regions in the country. Winning Pitcher of the Year honors is also a very nice accomplishment and may be signs of better things to come.

* * * * *
One quick link I just found, because I like links.

Lions Baseball Tournament list of Major Leaguers who have participated. It's a who's who of San Diego prep baseballers. Eric Anthony, Mark Prior, Phil Plantier, interesting names both big and small.

* * * * *
I've gotten tired and lazy, so Mark Prior will have to wait at least one more day.

* * * * *
Tomorrow's Game:
Padres vs. Diamondbacks
Casey Fossum (1-5, 6.62 ERA) against "Izzy" Valdez (5-3, 4.85)
7:05 PM PST, Channel 4

Another sieve of a pitcher, which means the Padres are likely to once again be shut out or something close to it. I was about to rant again, but I'll save it. Just know that pitchers 70 games into the season with 6+ ERA's are roadkill. They shouldn't look like Cy Young out there.

Beat the Diamondbacks!



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Pads Win...Finally

And doesn't it feel good to come against Toronto? I mean, what's the best kind of streak breaker but one against a team from the A.L. East. A team from Canada, no less. You can just feel the excitement.

Note the sarcasm.

Anyway, I missed the game, but co-author Matt informed me it was won on a bad bad bad bad bad bad bad infiniti play by Greg Zaun where apparently Giles was out by a mile at home but the catcher inexplicably dropped the ball sans contact.

Strange, but I'll take it.

To nobody's surprise, the anemic offense pounded out an impressive three runs, giving Dennis Tankersley all kinds of support.

I'm starting to come around on Tank, he's pitched well and has really given the squad some consistency (albeit in a brief amount of time) at that fifth starter spot.

Anyway, a win is a win, and the Pads push to a game above .500. Hooray!

* * * * *
With the newfound cash that comes from having a virgin ballpark, it was expected before the season that Trader Towers would make some trades if he thought the team was contending. Well, despite the recent slide, the division can be had because nobody else is playing particularly well.

With that nice transition, I would like to ask my readers, all two of you (joking...), who you would like to see as trade candidates? Name anyone, just post below. I doubt Carlos Beltran is a serious candidate, but how about someone like Carl Everett on loan? I'm just throwing that name out there, but let's start some rumors here!

* * * * *
I'll try and get up what I've found about the Padres' #6 selection, Richard Steik, tomorrow. It might be best to just do these as I come across them, as the #7 pick has a ton of stuff to sort through and digest before putting on here, for example.

Steik's interesting, California kid tucked away at a tiny but relevant baseball J.C./C.C.

* * * * *
I also want to add my Mark Prior feature, since he pitched today, but I needed to use my digital cam and it's now 2 a.m. and indoor lighting is bad. Maybe tomorrow.

* * * * *
Tomorrow's game pits Batista (4-5, 4.32 ERA) against Lawrence (8-4, 4.12 ERA). 1:05 PST start, Channel 4.
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Saturday, June 19, 2004

Slip and Slide

Little did we know Tampa would catch fire just in time to head west, but a three game home sweep is a three game home sweep. Playing Boston and New York back-to-back is murder, but who knew the real bludgeoning comes from playing Boston-New York-Tampa Bay?!

So with this fancy swoon, capped by tonight's series opening loss to the Blue Jays, the Padres are now 2-8 in their last ten games. Yup yup yup.

The record? A classically average 33-33. The Padres are now third in the N.L. West. I know I've done this before, but... sigh.

Petco just isn't a fun place to play right now, and the papers, via Bochy, allege it's because the Pads aren't getting clutch hits.

Clutch hits?!

How about scoring some runs! The pitching continues to dazzle outside the recent bullpen collapse, but we knew that was coming. Most of the Padres' money this offseason was spent on the bats (ahem, Ramon Hernandez, Jay Payton), so where are the runs? I really don't know, but I think it has something to do with the fact this team doesn't have much of a power mentality.

Look at the slugging and isolated power numbers, they're very low (check The Hardball Times for a wealth of that data). This is a team with a fairly solid ability to get on base but they don't drive anyone in. It's almost like the Moneyball on base thing gone terribly wrong, with a bunch of guys who get on base and nobody who can hit them home.

I know this sounds crazy, but maybe it's time to shift the playing style a bit. The power guys like Nevin and Klesko are struggling to even hit doubles right now, so maybe it's time to play a bit of the annoying baseball Anaheim loves. You know, lucky single, stolen base at second, infield dribbler advances runner to third while quick batter forces hurried throw and error, scoring the man at third and advancing the original runner to second. That kind of stuff.

Then again, it drives me nuts and requires a lot of luck the Padres frankly have not had the benefit of.

Have you ever gone fishing in a pond or lake that's just stagnant, where all the pond scum has built layer upon layer of itself halfway to the middle of the lake? You try casting your reel, but you have to give your all just to get the bait into the water, and pulling it back after a tug or need for recast means dragging it through all the slop again.

The Padres' offense is kind of like that right now.

So maybe Bochy was onto something with the Kerry Robinson at leadoff experiment the other night. Of course, it didn't do any good, and the following night Jay Payton got on base twice only to see the offense score just once. That's just bad luck getting two notoriously bad leadoff hitters on good nights with spot starts and scoring so few runs.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers are starting to right their ship (talk about a manic team), and San Francisco has coasted through an easy stretch of the schedule to climb right back into the division race. Talk about a wasted opportunity for the Padres.

* * * * *
I keep wanting to do some end of series thoughts for here, but everytime I stop by Ducksnorts, Geoff has done some fabulous thinking and posting and I lose the motivation. He's an excellent resource and Padre fans are lucky to be able to read his work, especially on things he's very good at like series recaps. Please continue to frequent this blog, but you have my permission to wander over there every once in a while.

* * * * *
Saturday's game will match the suddenly resurgent Dennis Tankersley (I guess Darren Balsley was right in "keeping the faith" in Tank when Kevin Towers almost dumped him for Ryan Freel) against human sieve Josh Towers. This game is like setting up the pins for the Padre offense, just roll the ball down that lane and hit some!

Start time 7:05 PM PST, Channel 4.

* * * * *
Remember all my posts about "freeing" Morgan Ensberg. Well, Houston got smart and "freed" another one of their players.

They traded baseball's version of the s-wave, Richard Hidalgo, to the Mets with cash for some relievers, in an apparent promotion for outfielder Jason Lane, another Trojan I am very proud of.

For his part, Ensberg is still struggling, but his at bats are close to those of his fellow Astro starters, so I'm not terribly upset at the moment. Besides, the Hidalgo trade is probably a great move, promoting a very cheap, adequate replacement in Lane, and I'm sure the BP'ers and SABR types are rejoicing in knowing that a classic replacement level player has emerged past a player with a massive contract. Scratch that, Lane's slightly better than replacement level, but the idea holds.

Salaries:
Richard Hidalgo-$8 million ($12 million in 2005)
Jason Lane-$310,000

2004 G.P.A.
Richard Hidalgo- 0.242
Jason Lane- 0.262

* * * * *
I still haven't moved on my plan to get to the next round of Padres' draft picks, but Sunday I'll hopefully sit down and start to scratch that out and get that to you, my reader, as soon as possible.

I've also got some Reagan Library pics to load, and hopefully a fun new feature thing related to Mark Prior.

And I also hope to talk more about the Padres' (lack of) power hitting, and compare it to recent seasons.

So those are the things on my mind right now, hopefully I get around to them. Feel free to send suggestions or comments, the email inbox is always open.
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Thursday, June 17, 2004

COMPLETELY Forgot to Mention...

I saw Padres' first round draft selection Matt Bush yesterday at the Fashion Valley Mall. He wouldn't have stood out, except he was wearing a road Padre uni with the name "Bush" on the back.

The USC fan I was, I thought, hey does he know Reggie Bush?

Nahhh...

Wait, maybe its just custom and it's his last name... oh wait, that's Matt Bush.

So there's my minor celeb sighting for the day, and a relevant one for this blog.
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Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Hiatus

Apologies for going on leave, sort of. Had some pressing things I'd been tending to. Anyway...

What a weird stretch of games, losing four out of six back east, and two straight to the D-Rays. I went to tonight's game, got free tickets, so my greatest appreciation goes out to the random Padres fan who offered two tickets to myself and co-author Victor.

The game was very disappointing and I came away with a greater understanding for Ducksnorts' frustration and ranting about Kerry Robinson. For unknown reasons the Padres led him off tonight and let him play center field.

Three Tampa triples and a few bad at bats later, I understood.

I've got a lot more, but still kinda busy. I am really hoping to dig into the next five draft picks the Padres made, so I'll try to hack into that jungle this weekend if possible.

Thanks go out to loyal reader Joe who let us know Padre minor leaguer Pete Stonard quit baseball earlier this week. A weird situation, really. I really appreciate those of you who email and keep me in check, so cheers to you, Joe!

I really left ya guys hanging this week and I apologize, I gotta get crankin' on some more material.

Last note, don't look now but the Padres are in third place in the N.L. West. Remember when I said a few weeks ago this last month or so would be a great time to really make a jump on the division, and get the team's act together?

WHOOOOOOOOPPPPPSSSSS.

I still think this squad is the best team in the N.L. West but their margin only narrows when they do things like lose five straight at home, fail to split with Boston and New York (Trevor Hoffman, what's the deal?!), and drop two in a row to the Devil Rays.

Yikes.

At least they have the new ballpark.
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Saturday, June 12, 2004

Matt's Back!

Last time he wrote something here, it was about the Marlins' formula for success, and how the Padres may be on a similar path. This time around, Adam Eaton comes into focus. Check it out.

* * * * *
Adam Eaton finally seems to be getting back on track after a horrendous month of May, in which he went 0-5 with an ERA of 8.16. His last two outings have both been solid starts which led to Padres victories. However, one segment of the game that is still troubling Eaton is the first inning.

Throughout his career, for reasons largely unknown, Eaton has consistently picked up velocity as a game wears on. This season in particular it has also been evident that Eaton tends to pitch up in the strike zone in the early goings, as if he is struggling with his release point. The numbers bear out these observations, as his first inning numbers pale in comparison to his later inning performances.

In the first inning alone, Eaton has allowed opposing hitters a .346 average. Opposing teams have hit 3 home runs and scored 12 runs, aided in part by 4 first inning walks. In the second and third innings COMBINED, the opponent’s batting average drops to .279, with Eaton yielding another 12 runs to go along with 4 home runs and 5 walks.

The first inning sees opponents hit 50% more home runs and score 50% more runs per inning than the second and third innings. The results are even more apparent when looking at the 4th-6th innings.

It would seem that there must be a solution to this problem. Maybe Eaton could simply warm up a little longer before each game to hone in his release point and allow his arm to fully loosen. However, if asked to throw even more warm up pitches, the other segment of the game where Eaton struggles could come into play even sooner. From the 76th pitch to the 90th, Eaton allows opposing hitters a batting average of .346. If this is due to fatigue, then throwing even more warm up pitches would seem to encourage such an onset earlier in the game.

Of course, it could be that as the game progresses and hitters get around to their 3rd or 4th at bats against Adam, they begin to figure him out, in which case fatigue isn’t the overt cause of his high pitch count struggles. In all likelihood, it is a combination of hitters figuring him out and fatigue.

Even in Adam’s good starts, he still tends to make a mistake or two in the early parts of ballgames. Take yesterday’s game against the Yankees. All things considered, it was a very good outing. His one real mistake was the homerun by Pay-Rod in the first.

If Eaton gets the first inning figured out, he could very well end up being the ace of the staff after the all star break.


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Thursday, June 10, 2004

As Promised

Let's get down to this...

Padres' Draft-By The Numbers
High School: 13
Junior College or Community College: 13
College: 23

By Position
First Base: 5
Second Base: 0
Shortstop: 4
Third Base: 4
Catcher: 1
Right Field: 2
Center Field: 4
Left Field: 2

Right Hand Pitcher: 22
Left Hand Pitcher: 5

Canadians
1299-Omar Kadir
1386-Sean Cunningham

Puerto Ricans
702-Jodam Rivera
762-Kelvin Vazquez

I think it's interesting they only took one catcher. Perhaps they are satisfied with the catchers in the system, or they might have loaded up in last year's draft or through little noticed trades. William Killian was selected number 72 overall out of Chippewa Hills School. Maybe they have great hopes for him, especially because he was the second selection made by the Padres.

* * * * *
I will try and find as much information as possible on the Padres' draft picks over the coming days or weeks, but today is devoted to the Padres' first five selections. I admire all the bloggers out there who have been able to find information about the various selections their teams have made. There isn't always a lot to work with on the internet, even for a guy like Matt Bush, so there's a great deal of work involved in the research and then presentation. I hope I have made an adequate attempt to present my findings here.

#1-Matthew Bush (First Overall)
Shortstop-Mission Bay H.S.
5'10"/170LB
R/R

Matt was drafted as a shortstop, but he was also a fine pitcher for Mission Bay. Scouts say he isn't particularly fast, but has good instincts and a solid first step as well as good range and a terrific arm. In the days after the draft, the media began to call him a signability pick, and that may be true as he received a relatively small $3.15 million signing bonus.

The good thing is he is a local kid who by most accounts wanted to be a Padre and will not have a lot of pressure to rocket through the system with Khalil Greene more or less entrenched at shortstop for a few years. Matt provides the Padres an excellent shortstop prospect in their system for the first time in many years if you ignore the 1-year stint Greene had in the minors.

At the prestigious Area Code Games, a meeting place for top high school baseball talent from around America, Matt received top honors and came away with a few top rankings among the prospects. Those rankings included:

-#2 Best Pure Hitter
-#1 Best Defensive Infielder
-#1 Best Infield Arm Strength
-#4 Best Athlete
-#2 Best 2-Way Prospect
-#2 Best Fastball
-#1 Best Curveball
-#1 Best Slider

Mission Bay let him pitch just one game a week, keeping his arm fresh and his competitive juices flowing. He responded with some excellent stats from both positions.

Hitting
Average: .417
AB: 115
Hits: 48
Runs: 40
Doubles: 11
Triples: 1
Homeruns: 10
RBI: 32
Stole Bases: 15

Pitching
Record: 8-1
ERA: 0.46
Games: 12
Saves: 3
Innings Pitched: 59
Hits: 32
Strikeouts/Walks: 88/11

As noted yesterday, Geoff over at Ducksnorts has a terrific look at the feasability of signing high school shortstops in the first round, a problem the Padres are already well aware of after drafting Matt Halloran, who couldn't hack in the minors and is now out of baseball.

#2-William Killian (#72 Overall)
Catcher-Chippewa Hills School
6'1"/190LB
L/R

I found absolutely nothing on Mr. Killian. He is intriguing as a lefthanded hitting catcher, with solid size. The Padres will likely take their time with him now that they have Ramon Hernandez and Miggy Ojeda doing solid work for the big club. He was drafted pretty high, so there will be expectations on him to do well once he signs.

#3-Daryl Jones (#102 Overall)
First Base-Westchester H.S.
6'4"/205LB
R/R

Daryl Jones is a big first base prospect with excellent power potential and a very high ceiling. He played at Los Angeles' famous Westchester H.S., a top basketball breeding ground.

The Statistics:

Batting Average/OBP %/SLG %: .453/.577/1.040
At Bats/Hits/Runs: 75/34/38
Doubles/Triples/Homeruns: 7/5/9
Runs Batted In: 33
Walks/Strikeouts: 20/8
Stolen Bases: 18
Errors: 8

#4 Sean Kazmar (#132 Overall)
Shortstop-Community College of Southern Nevada
6'0"/190LB
R/R



Sean Kazmar is a talented shortstop with an excellent glove, an ok arm, and a decent bat. From the reports he sounds to me like a Jack Wilson, a guy who is a slick and hardworking fielder who should also be able to work his way into a decent hitter at the Major League level. The Oakland Athletics selected him in the 37th round of last year's draft and the Saint Louis Cardinals selected him in the 32nd round in 2002 out of Las Vegas High School.

There may be a signability issue here as Sean is the second shortstop drafted by the Padres in their first four picks, and also was an early verbal to the Georgia Bulldogs. By drafting him so high the Padres may be sending a message that they are serious about having him as a member of the ballclub.

Some quotes:

"Best defensive player in the state(of Nevada)."

"I love fielding the ball, especially when it's not hit right at me"

"I definitely have pro dreams, but mainly I want to go to college and get a little bit stronger and learn the game a little more," he said. "I want to mature, get bigger and hopefully play pro ball and go from there."

Kazmar batted .419 his senior year, hitting nine homeruns, driving in 50 runners and also netting 13 errors in 122 fielding chances. His play earned him major honors as the Sunrise Region's Most Valuable Player.

He then went to Community College of Southern Nevada where he won a national championship in the Junior College World Series. He signed with them over the interest of national powers LSU and Texas. What is interesting is that CCSN is a member of the Scenic West Athletic Conference, one of the rare baseball conferences that use wooden bats.

The Statistics:

Batting Average: .359
Hits: 88 (SWAC League High)
Homeruns: 2
RBI: 52

Batting Average in League Games: .350

He also participated in American Legion summer baseball, and experienced thrived with the aluminum bat, bashing an amazing 19 homeruns in 30 games.

""Sean is one of the premier junior college shortstops in the country, and we're very fortunate to land him because he might be one the best defensive shortstops we've ever signed," said (Bulldog head Coach David) Perno. "He plays with a ton of energy and has plenty of offensive skills to compliment his defense."

#5 Jonathon Ellis (#132 Overall)
Righthanded Pitcher-The Citadel
6'0"/190LB
R/R

Ellis is a very good righthanded college pitcher, ranked by the Hardball Times as the #14 pitcher in all of College Baseball(.pdf file). If true, he's a steal as the Padres' fifth selection.

Citadel Profile-Jonathon Ellis.

His sophomore-season ERA was 4.79, so he's very much an improving pitcher.

The statistics:

ERA: 2.18
Record: 12-3
Games/Starts: 18/18
Complete Games: 9
Shutouts: 2
Innings Pitched: 136.1
Hits/Runs/Earned Runs: 112/42/33
Strikeouts/Walks: 131/39
Doubles: 10
Triples: 1
Homeruns: 7
Opponent At Bats: 505
Opponent Batting Average Against: .222
Wild Pitches: 3
Hit By Pitch: 5
Pickoffs: 4
Stolen Bases/Stolen Base Attempts: 2/5
Fielding Percentage: .978
Batters Struck Out Looking: 39

Ellis does some marginal things very well, like picking off runners and keeping the same runners from stealing. Despite being right-handed, runners attempted just five steals off of him in over 130 innings pitched. I'm guessing he is VERY fast from the mound to home.

He can also fool many hitters, with an excellent 39 struck out looking and .222 opponent batting average against.

So there are todays first five Padre draft selections. They are an interesting group, and I'm really intrigued by Ellis, who could work quickly through the minors, and Kazmar, who if he signs could add great middle infield depth for the Padres' minors squads. He comes with high praise from every level he's played at, and his statistics reveal an ability to really hit the ball and even drive it for homerun power.

* * * * *
I said yesterday I'd reveal the names of incoming USC baseball recruits, and I will deliver.

Here they are:

Mark Trumbo - RHP - Villa Park HS
Anthony Encinas - RHP - Sante Fe HS
Matt Cusick - SS - Rancho Santa Margarita HS
Doug Reinhardt - 3B - Rancho Santa Margarita HS
Todd Macklin - RHP - Corona del Mar HS
Lucas Duda - 1B - Arlington HS
Roberto Lopez - 3B - Rancho Bernardo HS
Trevor Plouffe - RHP - Crespi HS
Nate Smith - 1B/P - Clovis HS

That's an exciting group, and a surprisingly large one at that.

Trumbo actually pitched a 4-0 shutout against Matt Bush in a meeting between their schools earlier this year.

The two "top" recruits among the bunch are Plouffe and Trumbo. Plouffe was taken number 20 in the first round by the Minnesota Twins and Trumbo was taken #533 (round #18) by the hometown Angels. Baseball America says he needs to be blown away by what a team offers because his old man is a big USC honk and wants him to be a Trojan. Plouffe, on the other hand, appears to be gone, much like another high school shortstop USC signed just two seasons ago, Sergio Santos who went #27 to the Diamondbacks and is now their #2 prospect.

Some of the USC signees played in the prestigious area code games mentioned in an earlier post and appeared on the "best tools" list. Here they are:

Trumbo:
#4 Best Fastball
#5 Best Curveball

Duda:
#1 Best Raw Power

Plouffe:
#5 Best Infield Arm Strength

I am also curious about Roberto Lopez, because he played at my high school alma mater, San Diego powerhouse Rancho Bernardo. Rancho Bernardo High School is a well known academic and athletic school in San Diego county, and if you've read Moneyball, you know very well who coach Sam Blalock is, and what the program has done. In fact, I've mentioned him on here before.

Just off the top of my head R.B. High has produced first rounders Jaime Jones (d'oh), Scott Heard (d'oh), Matt Wheatland (injury d'oh), Cole Hamels (yay) and third rounder Hank Blalock (big yay), among many others.

This is a healthy transition to my next section of this post-Rancho Bernardo H.S. players selected in the draft.

P.S.-I'll have more on the USC players very soon, talking about where they were drafted (if at all) and what I've found out about their abilities and statistics. Stay tuned.

* * * * *

Two former R.B. High players were selected in this year's M.L.B. first year player draft. They were:

Tom Caple


and

Hass Pratt


Caple was selected #1380 (46th round) by the Boston Red Sox, the second year in a row they have picked him. He was a two-time CalHiSports player of the year (I believe) while at R.B. He was an absolutely dominating hitter and pitcher, and signed with Texas before having some personality issues with legendary Texas coach Auggie Garrido. He then transferred to USD where he has quietly put together a solid but unspectacular career, earning first-team all WCC honors three years in a row. He is listed as an outfielder, but still has some pitching potential.

He definitely hasn't lived up to his billing and potential, but he did a lot of great things for R.B. Baseball and continues to be a pretty good baseball player.

He hit .345/.498/.495. He hit three homeruns, drove in 36 runners, and smacked 16 doubles and three triples. Caple also drew an impressive 55 walks to just 28 strikeouts and also was hit by a pitch nine times.

As a pitcher he was an unimpressive 1-8 with a 7.31 ERA in 13 games (3 starts). He surrendered an ugly 11 homeruns in just 28 innings pitched, but had a decent K/BB ratio of 21/9.

As a hitter Caple ranked #179 in the NCAA according to The Hardball Times and as a pitcher he ranked #1374.

Pratt was in the same college signing class as first rounders Wheatland and Heard, but ended up going the college route to the Miami Hurricanes over his selection by the Red Sox. He didn't do much his freshman year, but played decently his sophomore season before transferring to the Arkansas Razorbacks. He again had another solid season for the Razorbacks and was selected as a fourth-year senior in the thirtieth round (# 907 overall) by the Oakland Athletics. He started out as a third baseman, but has now shifted to first base.

Pratt hit .321/.397/.473 for the Razorbacks this season, tying for the team lead with eight homeruns. He drove in a team best 52 runners and smacked 13 doubles, walking 31 times and striking out 40.

Pratt ranks as the #646 hitter in the NCAA according to the Hardball Times.

* * * * *
I think I'll call it a day for now, as the Padres are taking a beating from Boston right now (it's 8-1 in the 6th and Schilling is doing pretty well).

I have two pictures from the Reagan event I'd like to add soon, so maybe later today or tomorrow on those. Please continue to stop by.

* * * * *
As I speak Jay Payton missed a homerun by about two feet off the Green Monster, doubling and moving Nevin to third. Terrance Long then grounded to short for the fielders choice RBI, making the game 8-2.

Boston's lineup is just nasty with Ramirez/Ortiz/Garciaparra.
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Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Don't wash away a Padre win today...

Despite a two and a half hour rain delay, the Padres got the best of the Bosox today/tonight. Bronson Arroyo pitched like himself, Brian Lawrence didn't, and the Pads cruised to an easy 8-1 win on Nomahhhhhh's 2004 debut.

Khalil Greene went two for two with a walk, a run, and an RBI, and Nevin hit a happy little homerun over the Green Monster in left to give the Boston faithful something to ponder during the loss.

The rain did not, apparently, stop the beer from flowing. Mark and Matt felt the fans' standing up and surprising energy at the game's restart point had to do with the supposed greatness of the BoSox fan base. What it really had to do with was 1)the seats were wet, 2)a lot of the fans probably wanted to get up and go pee and 3)most of the fans probably imbibed anywhere from two to five beers during the delay, upping the noise and energy factor for all those who decided to stick around.

I was surprised by the turnout of Padre faithful. The cameras kept showing the crowd and there were many Padre fans sitting together and doing the usual back and forth with the East Coasters. Way to go Padre fans!

Tomorrow's game is the series finale, and Curt "Commissioner of Baseball" Schilling will face off against Ismael "I Just Threw A Nine Inning Shutouts Against The Brewers Neener Neener Neener" Valdez.

* * * * *

I've got a game plan to go over the draft stuff now. Well, at least a plan for one to two more days of coverage, should be interesting at least during that time period. You'll see tomorrow.

I've also found the names of the players USC has signed and I'll update on their draft status, but those names will be revealed tomorrow.

I also found two former Rancho Bernardo High School baseball players who were selected, and I'll also reveal those names tomorrow.

* * * * *
Geoff over at Ducksnorts has a good write-up on the problems of drafting high school shortstops, at least in the first round. It's reccomended reading, so high tail it over there, June 9 entry I believe.

I also reccomend stopping by Aaron's site and the Hardball Times and looking at their reviews of the draft. Excellent write-ups both.

Stop by tomorrow, I'll have some good things up.
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Another big Post

I was not around yesterday because I went up to Los Angeles, Simi Valley, to be specific, to pay my respects to former President Ronald Reagan.

"This is part of our civic religion"
-Just overheard on C-SPAN, Richard Norton Smith, former Director of Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

Yesterday was a rare opportunity for me, because there are so few American Presidents, and very few from California. The day itself was long, starting at seven a.m. and ending around 1 p.m., but it was great to see so many people making that kind of sacrifice of time and frustration to pay just a few seconds of respect.

Seeing the honor guard and the casket was moving, and meant a lot to me. I am glad they extended the hours yesterday to allow Californians and people from around the Western United States to get a chance to visit him one last time.

Mr. Reagan is just now touching down in Maryland for the national part of his funeral. I hope some of my readers had an opportunity to stop by in California or maybe in the nation's capital in the coming days.

* * * * *
Bosox-1
Padres-0

Tough loss for the Padres. Pedro Martinez, with his typical bad timing, chose to pitch like Pedro once he faces the Padres. It's not fun getting two-hit, and I hope the Padres got that out of their system.

Credit goes to the Padres pitchers, who kept a good Boston offense in check, but they needed a perfect game and didn't get it.

David Wells has some nasty breaking balls working, but Pedro just kept coming back with the fastballs.

* * * * *
The Padres' day two draft was rather boring, but they picked up a bunch of junior college guys and draft-and-follow types. I wish I knew something about each of the drafted players, but for now I don't and just hope that some of them turn into really good baseball players.

I'll run down some of the draft numbers tomorrow, but since I've been out I won't try and get ahead of myself here.

* * * * *
One more USC player was selected, this time little-used relief pitcher and backup quarterback/tight end on the football team, Matt Cassel.

Guess who selected him?

The Oakland Athletics. His stock just rose dramatically in my mind after I heard that.

Thanks to loyal reader Joe and some cunning research, I've found the last names of a few of the Trojans' signees. They include Plouffe (a first-rounder), Trumbo (supposedly a great pitcher), Duda, Reinhart and Lopez.

I'll relate what I know about them as soon as I come across something.

* * * * *
This post was shortened because I am a bit distracted. The Padres face off against Boston again tonight at 4:05 P.M. PST, and it will be televised on Channel 4 locally and ESPN nationally.

Brian Lawrence matches up with Bronson Arroyo.

* * * * *
I will very soon add the two pictures I took yesterday from the Reagan viewing. Cameras and basically anything that didn't belong to one's immediate body were prohibited so that's the story and I'm sticking to it.
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Monday, June 07, 2004

Big Post

First off, my belated respects to Ronald Reagan and condolences to his family. Like Ronald, I was also born in Illinois and am a native Californian. Beyond that, he has achieved far more than many of us can dream of.

Blessings to Mr. Reagan.


Ronald Wilson Reagan
1911-2004

* * * * *
Sunday's Padre game was exactly the kind of baseball game I like to see. A good, not great outing from Eaton, and lots of exciting plays all around the field. Hernandez and Nevin both smashed homeruns, Nevin's building the lead from 5-3 to 8-3 that was hopefully the monkey off the back the team needed in finally winning two consecutive home games and scoring some runs right before the off day and the much anticipated East Coast swing into Boston and New York.

* * * * *
Draft Update

The Padres in a mild surprise have selected Mission Bay H.S. Shortstop and Pitcher Matt Bush. He recently won a section title with his team, and obviously is of high regard among outgoing high schoolers.



There's just a wealth of things to talk about and point out about the draft, but I'll try to spread that out over the coming days instead of in one gigantic post (ahem, Aaron Gleeman).

Of note, the Padres just selected USC infielder Michael Moon in one of their later first day rounds. I'm not the highest on Moon, as I think he's regressed a bit, but time will tell.

Here are the Padres' Picks so far.

Ever since Moneyball, I've been curious to watch the A's drafts, but now with J.P. Ricciardi in Toronto, Boston's G.M. whose name I've momentarily forgot, and now Paul DePodesta with the Dodgers, it is intriguing to watch what these teams do in their drafts.

Site co-author Victor just called to tell me the A's selected Danny Putnam in the supplemental round. I read earlier in the week somewhere that Putnam would be a classic A's choice as a very solid college hitter who is "too short" to play one of those corner outfield spots.

What's little known is that he came to the Cardinal as a centerfielder and could not wrestle the job from 4-year starter Sam Fuld, another highly recruited athletic CF from a high school in New Hampshire.

Putnam's teammate, David O'Hagan, a pitcher, was taken by the Padres in one of the earlier rounds.

So far:
5 high school selections (including the first three picks)
9 fourth-year college players
3 college juniors (two from community colleges)

9 right handed pitchers
2 left handed pitchers
5 infielders
1 outfielder

* * * * *
Whoah. Ok, well, I just checked the A's draft. They've won. At least from what I see, hehe.

Some of the best players out there are the 1-year property of Oakland:

Landon Powell- Catcher, South Carolina
Danny Putnam- CF, Stanford
Huston Street- RHP, Texas
Kurt Suzuki- C, Fullerton

Bonanza. I've liked all of those guys for a good amount of time, and the A's hauled them all in with their early picks. Great job, Billy Beane.

I cannot believe Suzuki could be found with the 67th pick, the guy's the best hitting catcher in college baseball, a veritable doubles machine and someone who should skyrocket through the minors. Dang.

I don't recognize many names from Boston's or L.A.'s draft so far, but I do notice Boston is taking far less regional/local kids as the previous regime (smart), and they did take ASU's Dustin Pedroia, one of college baseball's finest hitters who also happens to be a middle infielder.

Toronto had two solid early choices back to back in USC's Joey Metropoulos and Stanford's Brian Hall. Both are infielders who are patient hitters with some pop (well, lots of pop in Metro's case) in their bats.

More to come...

* * * * *
The Manager's Scorecard.

The Hardball Times has this fun examination about Managers' decisions and restraint. Bruce Bochy appears to be one of the most restrained in all of the Majors. This is important because as THT contends and I more or less agree, the more managers try to do to influence games, either the worse their team is or the more they're hurting their teams.

No surprise, but Tony LaRussa looks like Chief Meddler, along with Lloyd McClendon in the National League. Maybe that's why they got suspended recently for their altercation?

Chief Meddler... I like that.
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Sunday, June 06, 2004

A Sunday Request

How's this blog doing? Have any suggestions, ideas, comments? Let me know what you think by emailing or commenting below.

* * * * *
I'll probably be out tomorrow most of the day (if I'm smart) doing things and stuff. The Pads play at 2, Lakers I don't know when, so it should be a very cool sports day.

Geoff off at Ducksnorts is gone until Monday doing his very cool tour of the California League, I forget what stop he's making now. Should be an interesting read so stop by Monday and see what he's had to say.

* * * * *
Just found an interesting Morgan Ensberg fan page. It's on Angefire, but it's surprisingly well done. No way to email the owner though, unless I'm blind and just overlooked it.

Free Morgan Ensberg!

* * * * *

Last item is a funny bit from Josh's Baseball Blog.

He found this in an internet story about one of the recent Padre/Rockie games:

-"He even had a little fun with the crowd. In the sixth inning, a balloon floated over the field and landed near the pitching mound. Cook stomped it with his spikes, eliciting loud boos from the crowd. It was symbolic of the way Cook burst the Padres' bubble. "

His response:

-Just to let you know that was a blown up condom, not a balloon

Funny stuff.
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Saturday, June 05, 2004

Have A Brew On The Brewers

Well, tonight's game, a 4-0 Padre win, was a relaxing one. Ismael Valdez pitched effortlessly, working a complete game shutout. He allowed just four hits and wasted few pitches and less time. He allowed only four Brewer hits, and it was the second solid pitching night for the Padres.

In fact, that might make the ESPN.com list for best pitching outings, look at the line:

9.0IP
4H
0R/0ER
4K/0BB

Mind you, the Brewer offense is near the league bottom, but this was nice to see.

Valdez is now 5-2 with a 4.33 ERA. Just when I thought he was losing it he pulls this off.

As for the Padre offense... it did better. Jay Payton had a nice game, creatively lining some singles, and Sean Burroughs was back from his stomach virus to extend his hitting streak to 15 games. All ten hits were singles, so they still don't have that pop, but it's nice to see some balls getting out of the infield.

It was still frustrating to watch, because there were a lot of first and second pitch swings against a young pitcher. Those are games to take advantage and work counts and chase a guy into the bullpen. It's the veterans whose arms aren't hot commodities and can throw 110-120 if needed (a guy like Valdez, for example) where working the count is less a significant part of strategy.

Valdez also had a two-out, bases loaded walk to get an RBI in one of the most unusual acts of stupidity I've seen this year (stupidity by the Brewers pitcher).

Nevin and Payton recorded two hits, Khalil Greene had a hit and two walks. There were some lucky hits in the game, but it was nice to be on the receiving end this time.

Tomorrow the series concludes at 2 PM PST on Channel 4.
* * * * *
I mistakenly said the Lakers game was on today. It is on Sunday. My apologies.
* * * * *
Smarty Jones was oh so close to winning the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown today, but fell just a little short. I have to say, that is one heck of a long track. I was surprised to see other owners and racers so deferential, as they felt Smarty had really done something for horseracing.



Hopefully the sport will pick up in popularity, I personally enjoy it a lot, and cannot wait for the Del Mar season to begin. I've attended six straight Opening Day's there, and hope this year will be my seventh.

Back to Smarty. I was disappointed to see him lose today, but it was a heck of a finish and he was in it until the last. It reminded me of most of the recent Belmont's, as the favorite except for maybe one race, has been very close to the finish.

My personal favorite horse of recent lore is War Emblem, the horse who stumbled out of the game and never quite recovered. His Derby win was breathtaking and was better suited to shorter, sprint type races. Charismatic probably should have been a Triple Crown winner but broke his leg just yards from the finish line, an injury that most likely cost him a win as he was neck and neck for the lead just a few trots from the finish.


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Friday, June 04, 2004

Setting the Table

Padres lose tonight, 3-1. Just no offense happening at Petco. Jay Payton's hitting streak was also snapped.

Division rivals Giants and Dodgers also won tonight, so the big squeeze is happening in the N.L. West. The Padres have basically squandered an opportunity to grab a nice division lead and not must scrap through a tough stretch of the schedule.

Good luck guys.

Tomorrow night they play Milwaukee again, 7 PM, Valdes and Obermueller go head to head.

Smarty Jones goes for the Triple Crown tomorrow, 3:38 PM PST (NBC), America will be watching, so should you. And the Lakers go for four tomorrow, 6 PST (ABC).

The chat function hopefully improves, maybe I'll make some announcements ahead of time if I do that again, I think we had five visitors during the span of the game, and nobody posted. Oh well.
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Live Game Chat

Ok, we're going to try this for the first time. Other blogs do the "chat" by just having readers post in the comments section. We'll try that here. If you're watching the game, just type in the comments section.

I'll try and stick around for the whole game. I know my readership is small and there's the chance that nobody will even stop by in the time period that the game is going on, but it's worth the try, right?

Type away!
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Making Broadcast History Atop the Historic Western Metals Building

Vasgergian's already at top form. Of course he was sarcastic.


Mark and Matt...Up High
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Mark Prior

6.0 IP
8K/0BB
2 Hits
0 Runs
85 Pitches

Not bad, no?
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Heeeeeeee's Baaaaaaaaaack

Tune to WGN approximately... NOW.

Mark Prior has a perfect game through four. He's on a strict pitch count (which I agree with), but I took some pics of my TV in case you don't get WGN. Prior now generates that same crazy energy Kerry Wood did before he did bad things to his arm in the name of the greatest curveball ever thrown.


The Man


Prior Gets Redman Chasing
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Testing New Image Hosting Site

Let me know what you think. I've got some more PetcoPark pics, if this works I'll be a happy man.


Right/Centerfield and Skyline
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Got Google?

Just found a cool link with lots of google search tips. Many things I had not known I could use.

* Padres

Petco *

Tony Gwynn Weighs * Pounds
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Countdown to Preakness: 1 Day

Smarty Jones is going for it all Saturday (3:38 PST, NBC), be there to witness (potentially) history, live.

How cool!

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Thursday, June 03, 2004

Milwaukee Series

The Padres begin a three game home series against the Brewers today.

Friday
7:05 PM PST
Tankersley vs. Santos

Saturday
7:05 PM PST

Sunday
2:00 PM PST

There's a promotional Padre hat giveaway for Friday's game and Sunday's game the giveaway is a Padre Hotwheels car and Kids Run The Bases Day.



The series will be a USC reunion of sorts, as three Trojans are on the teams. Jeff Cirillo plays for the Pads and Geoff Jenkins (a Brett Favre clone) and Chad Moeller play for the visiting Brewers.



The Brewers are a surprising 26-25 in the N.L. Central, just a half game back of the beloved Cubs for rights to third place.

* * * * *
ESPN.com's Alan Schwarz has a cool piece about anonymous scouts' thoughts on prospects from back in the day.

A-Rod's is the standout, but Trojans Randy Johnson, Mark McGwire and Tom Seaver are also mentioned.
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Updated All Star Voting

The totals.

Not a single Padre to be found. But look! Morgan Ensberg is third among N.L. third basemen and is not even a full time starter.

He wants to be FREEd.

PetcoPadres wants him FREEd.

Now the people want him FREEd.

Houston, we have a problem.
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The Padres' Big Day Off

They could sure use one. I talked a few weeks back that this time period is crucial towards seeing where the team is at and their positioning for a postseason run. Well, after a nice road trip, the longest of the season, they lost five straight home games against a skeleton Cubs squad and the visiting Rockies before salaving last night's game. Not good.

The next six games after the Milwaukee series are on the road against Boston and New York, two of the better teams in either league. These games could be huge, as the Padres don't want to drop four of six or get swept in either, a strong possibility. Luckily, the series means much for San Diego and not much for the East Coast powers. Hopefully the players don't get intimidated by the settings and find a way to steal a few. It's baseball, so anything can happen, but they really goofed by wasting two relatively easy home series before this ten on a scale of ten difficulty road swing.

It would be nice to see the Pads sweep Milwaukee at home before the toughies.

For anyone who cares, the Padres are now 1-1 at games I attend this season. I remember my first few Padre games years ago they just couldn't win. I think they were 1-12 in games I attended at one point. So maybe some of that bad luck's broken.

Back to PetcoPark. There has been talk that the it is suppressing the Padres' offense, and after watching a few Padre home games I think it's pretty true. Some of this may just be the players, because they look a lot less patient at home, swinging at first pitches, hitting a lot of pop outs, slow grounders, jam shots, and so forth. They really are struggling to drive the ball at home, let alone get it to the wall.

Here's some quick stats

Home:
.235/.319/.338
.228 GPA
3.56 Runs/Game
34 2B
8 3B
11 HR

Road:
.296/.358/.427
.268 GPA
5.11 Runs/Game
56 2B
4 3B
23 HR

Well, that looks like confirmation. I don't have any further comment, I just hope it gets better.

That team two hours to the North is doing its best to hand away the division, although they have a .002% lead right now. Annoying. But they are fortunate to have one of the best bloggers out there watching their back, in the form of Jon Weisman at DodgerThoughts. Jon's a busy guy, so real life robs him of daily brilliance, but take a look at his recent piece on Milton Bradley's tirade and ejection.

I admire Weisman because he can be a partisan but also step outside a situation and grasp some of the complex things happening on all sides and give a lot of context to what is going on. He writes in clear prose, and patiently can craft his arguments and take a different look at things. Too often our media manage to grab something complex, and oversimplify. This leads to shouting matches and polarization, the byproduct being shows like Around The Horn and Crossfire.

I don't like reading 10,000 word pieces on an issue, but there are people like Weisman out there who can be fairly good substitutes for that route, and also make what they write interesting. I should despise the guy as a Dodger fan and Stanford alum, but he's a heck of a blogger and also a good person.

Anyway, here's his recent piece:

“Like rice at a wedding, Milton Bradley is throwing baseballs onto the field.”

- Vin Scully, 9 p.m.

Who started it? Depends on your definition of the term, but unless umpire Terry Craft’s statements that Bradley had been riding him are completely inaccurate, you might have to point the finger at Bradley.

“He was arguing a pitch I called against him earlier and he had argued a pitch on another batter from the dugout,” said Craft on Dodgers.com. “When he came to the plate, I told him he had better think twice before yelling at me from the dugout. Then he went off on me and I ejected him.”

The reports indicate that Craft and second-base umpire Joe West were particularly proactive in trying to keep Bradley quiet, and who knows if they’re gifted and sensitive communicators or not.

Anyway, in Craft’s opinion, Bradley had given him just about enough. Craft gave Bradley a warning, and the warning itself ignited Bradley. Unless the warning was more than a warning - unless it was truly incendiary - the idea that Bradley was provoked, as Jim Tracy said after the game, is questionable.

I’m capable of a level of anger that sometimes surprises myself, so I can relate to that feeling of injustice Bradley must have had. Even if he was provoked - and I say this dispassionately - he should find a way to handle it better.

“I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t lose it when provoked,” Tracy said. Sure enough - but it’s how you lose it that is worth examining.

Perhaps, in his mind, Bradley’s anger was a display of civil disobedience against an entity abusing its power.

I can find no such explanation for the behavior of some fans after the ejection. I’d like any of those who threw something on the field Tuesday night to explain to me a possible justification for doing so. Really - I just want to understand, because it utterly perplexes me.


So both sides are wrong and both are right, sort of. But too often our writers and reporters cannot demonstrate that. End behaviors are scrutinized instead of the context.

Moving along to some links I have saved:

Easygoing Drew Focused on Draft.

As noted before, the Padres may have narrowed down their draft choice to FSU shortstop Stephen Drew. He sounds like a very versatile player who can be shuttled quickly through the minors, much like Khalil Greene. I love his high slugging percentage.

Danny Putnam Putting Himself in the Forefront.

I've been told recently I should keep this blog more focused on the Padres, and I've tried doing that more the last few days and hope to keep that up. But I also have a love for USC sports, USC baseball, and love to talk about things I know, and in this instance, I know a bit about Rancho Bernardo baseball.

Danny Putnam played at RB high (my old high school) and attends Stanford. I remember a few years ago the papers were talking about how he might be a first round pick after setting California records for homeruns in a season (19) and career (52 I think). I laughed after he wasn't even drafted.

Well, now he's once again considered by the media a top draft prospect, but it may be more realistic this time. His main problem may be height, as he's just 5-10 (if that), but the kid can run and has good pop in his bat. I attended the RB/Poway CIF championship baseball game at Tony Gwynn Stadium at SDSU a few years ago, and Danny nearly had three home runs in the game. He hit three balls to the wall in centerfield, two caught by a leaping centerfielder. If the game had been played at RB's home stadium instead of a college stadium, those would have been out. Needless to say that was impressive, nevermind that they were three outs just the same.

We'll see how Danny ends up, but there's some more links coming right up that relate to him and other players.

MLB.com Draft Tracker: USC.

Yes, USC again. Michael Moon and Joey Metropoulos are profiled, and there's some video on Metro. We've talked about Metro before on here. He posesses prodigal power, although his statistics don't reveal that. I'd love to see him back at USC, but I wish him well if drafted. Moon's just a tenacious, pudgy guy who has played all over the field and is a 4-year starter. Cocky kid, but he's had some magic moments.

The draft tracker is really neat, so play around in there if you get the chance. Here's the link. You can watch video and read scouting reports. You can sort by name and school, so you can see who is coming out of your alma mater and if they're any good. Have fun.

NCAA Adjusted Statistics.

The Hardball Times updates their college player rankings. I LOVE this stuff. Most of it is now .pdf, but they've expanded the number of players listed.

Notable hitters:
4-Kurt Suzuki (I saw him play USC, very good hitter)
12-Stephen Drew (moving up fast, potential Padre draftee)
16-Danny Putnam (mentioned above)

USC Players:
261-Joey Metropoulos
339-Jeff Clement
626-Billy Hart
665-Cyle Hankerd
733-Baron Frost
1066-Blake Sharpe
1148-Michael Moon
1331-Jon Brewster
1412-Daniel Perales

Notable Pitchers:
1-Jered Weaver (potential draftee)
5-J.P. Howell (former Trojan)
19-Ian Kennedy (Trojan)

USC Players:
19-Ian Kennedy
341-Clayton Wentworth
638-Michael Friedman
891-Josh Rummonds
901-Austin Miller
951-Bret Butler
1410-Jon Williams
1441-Bobby Paschal

Clement, Kennedy Earn Pac-10 Honors

Deserving award for both.
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Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Jay Payton Wins It

Well, I went to today's Padre game against the Rockies. It was the first weekday day game at Petco Park, so the local news was all over the potential traffic and parking issues as well as effects on Gaslamp businesses. From my experience traffic and parking weren't issues at all, but I didn't stick around after to see how the businesses were doing.

As for the game, it taught me there's something wrong with the Padre offense at Petco. The starting pitchers were awesome and made me look stupid. To quote myself from yesterday:

"Tomorrow's game pits sieves Shawn Estes and Brian Lawrence against each other..."

Oops.

Estes went 6, giving up 5 hits, a run, walked 6 and struck 6 out.
Lawrence went 7 1/3, surrendering 5 hits, a run, no walks and one strikeout.

This sucker went ten innings, with the soon to be overworked Otsuka (27 pitches) recording 4 strikeouts in 1 2/3 and Hoffman recording the win.

X. Nady was called up before the game and left five batters stranded, while Brian Giles grounded into two double plays and lined into another. Talk about bad days.

Of course, our hero Jay Payton came through in the ninth, winning it with a liner through a gap at second base with two strikes.

He went two for three, with two walks (.800 OBP), continuing his May hot streak into June.

The Padres are now 29-24 and in first pending tonight's Dodger game.

In other news, Jennie Finch and the U.S. Women's Olympic Softball team attended the game and sang a terrible seventh inning stretch.

Last week's author Victor will be in New York this week to witness the Belmont Stakes and a potential Triple Crown winner. I hope all of you are glued to your televisions to see the race and possibly history.
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Rob Neyer

First off, he's about to become premium content on ESPN.com, part of their ESPN Insider thing. Yuck.

What's cool is that Dodger Thoughts' Jon Weisman (who I have interviewed) grabbed Neyer for a few moments to ask him about the change.

The story is here. Jon's got some good thoughts about Rob's role in the ESPN universe and baseball writing. So yes, folks, journalism can extend beyond the TV and newspapers.
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Tim Stauffer

Baseball America has a brief bit on his "$2 million" decision. It's a standup thing, should be done more often, but it's time to leave the kid alone. Check the June 1, 2004 entry.

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World Series Of Blogs

There's some voting going on for best baseball blogs. Check the link but Ducksnorts and Jon's Dodger Thoughts make the list for N.L. West. Just hit refresh to summon the various divisions and VOTE!

We're not on it, sadly (although we don't really deserve to be). Still, support the other bloggers, I'm curious who wins out.
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Disaster

Tonight, two mediocre pitchers faced off in a game expected to generate some runs.

One pitcher came through.

Former reliever Aaron Cook won the battle of Cook/Germano, thanks in no small part to impatient Padre batters. Too many first-pitch outs and double plays did the Padres in, and they also let Charles Johnson pull a one-night Bonds on them, doubling all over the place with three on the night.

The final score was 7-1 Rockies with Germano lasting just 2 2/3 and Jay Witasick working 4.1 innings of relief. Ducksnorts has talked this week about the overworked arms of Padre relievers, so this recent Witasick incident has to be called into question.

Certainly it makes sense to yank Germano and save some of his confidence, but he really could have helped the team by working another inning or two and saving the relievers, it's not like the Padres expect him to make their rotation anytime soon other than to spot start. Pitchers are competitors, unless they're basket cases give them the ball if it's still really early in the game and let them just throw the ball around, after seven runs it's not like Germano's confidence would drop any further with another two to three runs.

The Dodgers also lost tonight (noticing a pattern?) so the Padres are still a hair back in the division race.

Tomorrow's game pits sieves Shawn Estes and Brian Lawrence against each other, as the Padres hope to snap a 5-game home losing streak and grab a game from the Rockies before they leave town.

For those who care there is no Padre game scheduled Thursday.
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Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Nevermind

I'll go to tomorrow's game, supposedly. The local news is all over the frustration about a midweek day game affecting parking and the games in general scaring away customers from the high end restaurants in Gaslamp. It's something to watch, but it also disproves my theory that the park would lure younger, wealthier patrons. It looks like fans just want to eat at the game and maybe grab some grub at Dick's Last Resort over Acqua Al 2.

Tonight is also my first time seeing Matt Vasgergian call the game. He's another USC grad and despite some taunts, is really a hell of a broadcaster. He's really livened up the already interesting Mark Grant, knows his stuff, and has made some of the most exciting end of game calls I've ever witnessed.

So, props to Matt, and the game is just moments away from starting, we'll see if I update or not. Last week's author Victor just hooked up the wireless internet on my new laptop (Sony Vaio V505EXP) so I can now move around anywhere and do the whole internet thing. Exciting times, man.
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Enough USC

Hopefully I can give it a rest for a day ;o).

I'll get to the game in a moment, but first, this from Baseball America.

The Padres have their eyes set on FSU shortstop Stephen Drew, brother of J.D. Drew and Tim Drew.

There's still some talk of Long Beach star Jered Weaver and giant rice pitcher Jeff Niemann. We'll see what shakes out in just a few days (Monday June 7 and Tuesday June 8).



Here's some more on Stephen Drew:
FSU Athletics Profile
Stephen Drew, the #43 rated hitter in College Baseball (Hardball Times)

His current statistics:
.353BA/201AB
62R/71H
38K/41BB
14 2B
6 3B
14 HR
52 RBI
.469 OBP
.692 SLG
.384 G.P.A.

So that's the draft news.

One quick item, Hardball Times is taking a look at how the new ballparks (Philly, San Diego) have fared so far. Here's a look at Citizens' Bank Park, and they will soon talk about Petco, so stay tuned for their thoughts on the gameplay of the home ballpark. Both parks have been opposites, as Citizens' is turning into Coors Light (har, har) while Petco is playing like Safeco. I honestly don't think of these stupid puns, they just happen, but moving along.

I'd have more on last night's game, but I was interrupted in the middle of this post and didn't get back to it until now (4:32 PM PST) and am leaving soon to attend tonight's game.

It will pit rookie Justin Germano against some guy named Cook, in game two of this homestand against the Rockies.

Stay tuned...
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