A weblog covering the San Diego Padres.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Mini Bad Swing

So the Padres are in the midst of a 4-game losing streak. They will win tonight because that's what they do. They win a few in a row, they lose a few.

I'm not sure, but I think they are the only team in the MLB not to have a major streak either way. I thought they'd be good and not suffer any bad swings this year, but I didn't realize they wouldn't enjoy and good ones either.

Every team tends to go on a losing or winning binge, but not this team. I don't know whether this is good or bad, but it is unusual. It's like they are flirting with either being very average or maybe going on a big run.

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As noted earlier, I was in attendance for the Clemens game. Pretty cool experience.

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I don't have the numbers to back this up, but I think the Padres are starting to hit better at Petco. Watching the games it looks like more balls are being hit into the soft spots of the field, especially to center and right, and some other balls are simply dropping for hits instead of being fly outs.

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Humberto Quintero=Yay. What an excellent addition to this club. I guess they want him to play regularly and may send him down to AAA to get that, but he may just be a better player than many of the NL catchers. Time will tell.

I like that he has power, is an aggressive hitter, can run a little, catches an excellent game and has earned the respect of the pitchers. His bat won't always be this hot, but he makes great contact, a trait all good hitters have.

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Well, the NL West race is officially the best in baseball. This division isn't very high on the national attention scale, but having three teams so close and likely to stay that way all season means people will begin paying attention and making guesses at who will emerge. Quotes from players on all three teams this week basically support that.

Get ready for some excitement.

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This is merely an observation, but the Padres' pitching has been reminiscent of 1998, the World Series year with Kevin Brown, Andy Ashby and Sterling Hitchcock. The bullpen is terrific if a bit overused, and the starters 1-4 have not disappointed. If only they would call up Dennis Tankersley.

On the other hand, the hitters remind me of last year's squad. They are scoring significantly more runs, but it's a lot of the same, double plays, too many groundouts and fly outs, not a whole lot of power or contact. Plate discipline is up as the Padres are doing well in the on base department, but other than that they don't really have much of an offensive push. This is very surprising given the roster.

A lot of teams that exceed expectations tend to have several players go through career years (Angels World Series squad, for example), but it's almost the exact opposite with this team, as nearly every player is experiencing a visible dip from the previous year's numbers. Maybe next year really is the year they make the big push, because two bad years in a row doesn't happen often with professional hitters, Jeff Cirillo funk excluded.

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Jim Rome earlier this week was talking about Tony Gwynn. He's worried. I've had a similar discussion with co-author Victor about this, and the talk boils down to this: Tony Gwynn doesn't look healthy.

In fact, he looks like he is pushing 350 pounds. That cannot be good for him. Remember he was once a gold glove outfielder who could steal bases. I'm going to ignore all the food jokes, but say I also hope he can get in better shape, he's an ambassador for the team and it's not good to see someone undergo that kind of transformation.

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Mark Loretta is an All Star, a well deserved honor. He's been a vital addition to the roster. The guy simply works and plays excellent defense (leading the NL in defensive win shares!). Enjoy the trip Mark!

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I'm going to stop here, I still have a lot of things to go over and a few days off with the All Star break to talk about them.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

I Just Fell Out Of My Chair Laughing

Apologies for the extra post tonight, but right before bed I came across this, from the ever-energized Richard at Pearly Gates:

Who needs boxscores? If you want to know how Mark Prior did last night just go check out Brian's "Prior-o-meter" over at Petco Padres. It must really suck to be stuck in a perpetual throwing motion with nothing to throw. It's like something out of Greek mythology."


Good stuff...

I hope I'll find that baseball someday. Then again, maybe not. I'd drive you guys nuts on here with triumphant rantings about Mark finding his baseball in my best Warren impersonation. You don't want that.


Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Midway Point of Season

As usual I'm really busy, and I've got a lot saved up to post so when I eventually do those things this will be terrific to stop by and read. In the meantime, check out Mike at Citizens' blog for a post a few days back talking about teams he fears most in the playoffs.

Your San Diego Padres are mentioned. Mike's pretty spot on. One thing I'll comment more on when I get there is just how exceptional the Padres' pitching has been this year (a little too good, perhaps) and they are 4th in the N.L. in Zone Rating, a creative little statistic that measures a player or team's ability realized range, or their ability to get to a ball. Something like that.

ByTheWay, I was at the recent Padres/Astros game the Padres won (The Padres are now 3-2 in games I've attended, including improbable late, teeth-clenching wins against Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens). For those who haven't made it to Petco, you really have to see Khalil Greene play to understand the phenomena.

He is by far the most popular player in team introductions and he's been in what, 90 total games in a Padre uniform. Unreal. Anyway, the things he does on the field are better seen up close than on TV, the tube just doesn't do them justice. He's made at least three great player in each of the five games I've been to this year. It's nice knowing the Padres have a real shortstop for once, since at least when I became a fan when I moved here in 1996.

Anyone want to name off the laundry list of nobodies to play short here? You really cannot appreciate a good shortstop until you've gone through so many terrible ones. Khalil I love you, man. Haha.

I think the most funny thing is the whole "Spicoli" phenomena with Khalil. I know somebody reached this blog a few weeks ago with the google search "Khalil + Greene + Is + A + Woman", because of the long blond locks, but in reality he's more like Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgement High.

Well, I knew things have gone bigtime because a fan with a custom Padres home jersey made the jumbotron Monday night with a Greene uni and "Spicoli" embroidered on the back.


Anyway, I've run way too long and I've got a lot more to talk about, I hope to read some of your blogs very soon to my friends who continue to stop by and also run baseball blogs, and in the meantime, Go (first place!) Padres!

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Eaton's Good Eatin', and Lots of Stuff

Well, Adam Eaton threw a no-no through I think 7 1/3 tonight. The Petco record crowd (something like 43k or 45k attendance) fired up for fireworks got to see Eaton mow through the Royal for ten strikeouts and no hits until back to back doubles sandwiching a passed ball that nailed the ump in the head.

Aki Otsuka then blew the lead, surrendering a HR to Tony Graffanino, and Witasick and Hoffman came in to save the day after the Padres scored the winning run in the bottom of the eighth after a throw to home nailed the unsuspecting Ken Harvey in the side. He was trying to watch the play at the plate and had ducked to let the throw get by him but it came in low and made Harvey Channel 4's highlight reel victim.

Pads win 5-4.

The Padres have now taken the first two from the Royals and are a healthy 43-37, 1.5 games back of San Francisco for first place in the N.L. West.

Los Angeles finally demoted the ineffective Hideo Nomo, and could recover. The Padres have snuck back into this thing playing some bad ballclubs while L.A./S.F. had an eight game mess against each other and then Frisco went off to play Oakland. Talk about an opening from the heavens.

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I've been negligent in researching more of the Padres' draftees, and you have my apologies. I'll try again this week, it's fun but time-consuming.

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As promised a week or so ago, the site has a new feature I'll try and keep up on. If you see Mark Prior without band-aids below, he had a win or a good outing. If there are bandages, he had a loss or a bad outing.

Check below to see what happened:

Prior went up against Houston on Thursday and got the no decision. He pitched 7.1 innings, giving up 5 hits, 3 runs, 3 earned runs, a homer, three walks and four strikeouts over 96 pitches. Kind of an average outing for him, but the Cubs won. His ERA stands at 3.38.

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I don't like seeing stories like this one. Jason Bay had a 9-RBI game and statistically is playing better than Brian Giles so far. Giles has a run-suppressing park for half his games, but Bay's having a nice little season. Now if only he were ever healthy.

It also mentions that Oliver Perez (4-4, 3.22ERA) has righted his ship. I really liked Bay, so it's disheartening to see Giles not set the world on fire. Mind you he's been a very good baseball player this year, but it would be nice to have just a little bit extra. Maybe that will come after the break.

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Free Morgan Ensberg!

Ensberg had his first homerun this season. Finally! He set a club record for third basemen with 25 dingers last year in less than fulltime action, so it's been a surprise to see his power disappear. He's starting to hit again (knew he would) so we'll keep an eye on his progress.

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Here's some San Diego news for you. Del Mar racing season is almost upon us. I've made more than a few consecutive opening days and hope to continue my streak this year.

As part of their promotional schedule, Del Mar has cooperated with local alternative radio station 91X to create "4-O-Clock Fridays". Races start at 4PM and afterwards there are free concerts at the entrance featuring various bands. In the past they've had Jack Johnson and some other good names I've since forgotten, but below is this year's slate, a pretty impressive group if you ask me for a racetrack.

July 23: Jet
July 30: Switchfoot
August 6: Rugburns
August 13: Pete Yorn (About as good of a musician that isn't mainstream as you can get)
August 20: Donovan Frankenreiter
August 27: Super Diamond
September 3: Violent Femmes (Huuuuuuuuge)

This one I can't believe. They also will have an infield microbrew festival (done that before) that will feature one of my alltime favorite bands, Cake. See more at the link here. That's way cool. Saturday August 7 for those with calendars nearby.

Here is the rest of the Del Mar events page, I highly reccommend the DayBreak at Del Mar. I went there a few times with my parents, it's kind of early, but you get to sit down and eat breakfast if you want, and can walk around the track watching the horses warm up. It's a great thrill and you don't have to wait 30-35 minutes to see another horse go by. It's very relaxed and very California. Afterwards you have the rest of the day and you're already in the Del Mar area and can do a lot of fun things there.

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Jake Peavy is back, forgot to mention that a few days ago. Big news for the Padres if you ask me. He was pretty average but the team won, so hey.

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Trevor Hoffman was on the Jim Rome show Friday. He didn't have a whole lot to say, but Rome really likes him. He did say that he is pitching better this year, been able to gain some velocity (just a touch) as he's still doing the 89MPH fastball/74MPH change thing. He praised Eric Gagne a lot and also was asked about the Hall of Fame. He said that would be nice, and Rome said there's no way Trevor doesn't make it. We shall see.

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Roberto Alomar hit a grand slam to help defeat the Padres the other night. What's wrong with that picture? I forgot he was a)playing ball and b)any good. Why did he save that for the Padres? I hate when that happens.

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One more USC related item. Chad Moeller hit a grand slam a few days ago. He also hit for the cycle earlier this season. Those are two of his four homeruns, quite a way to do them. Anyway, I'm guessing he's one of, if not, THE only player to hit for the cycle and hit a grand slam in the same season. If you find out if that's true or not, let me know in email or the comment forum below. Either way that's amazing. Way to go Chad!

More to come during the week, hopefully I can get into some commentary on the difficulty of the Padres trying to make trades this year. It may not be very easy and it's our fault. If I get to it you'll see why.

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