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.

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