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A weblog covering the San Diego Padres.

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.

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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

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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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