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A weblog covering the San Diego Padres.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Let's Go Bowling...

I made it eight innings before the terror of what was happening on the field tonight hit me hard enough to actually abandon the game. Searching for an end to the horror landed me smack in the middle of the introduction of our first lady in Republican Gathering Land. Any port in a storm and so it went...

The idea of actually getting trounced by the four elements of the opponent that you knew were the major obstactles to winning, well, to really use up my vocabulary, sucks. This was no mystery, no outstanding performance by the unsung hero. There was no reserve second baseman with no major league experience out there bunting the cover off of the ball to lead the Cards to victory. No, this was the out there in your face kind of whip you silly with what we've got, go ahead and try to stop us kind of loss. It just pains me more because you knew what was on the table and what the stakes were, and we threw ourselves under the bus.

B. never really got it going against their offense and the brutality began. Jim Edmonds was just sitting at the plate and hacking for all his worth. The middle of the lineup that has concerned every team that has played the Cards this year, just dominated. I guess I was stupid enough to fool myself into thinking we might have a game plan to stop them. If we did, it wasn't apparent to anyone, especially the Cardinals big four.

So I don't come off as the ultimate naysayer, this was another road game. We haven' t won on the road in St. Louis in two years or some rainfall drought like that.
We are playing against arguably the best team in baseball, or at the very least the senior circuit.

That's all I have for positives, I tried my best. Really I did. Starting pitching failed us tonight, I know B. went completely on his own his last two tries, but it was on the line tonight and we got nothing. Somebody who belongs to the bullpen not named Linebrink or Otsuka needs to record some outs. Clutch hitting once again was out the window, two leadoff doubles by Khalil and Loretta with the score two nil, and we can come up with only one run. Sad.

We were never really in this game, totally overpowered and outmatched. This is not the kind of push we need in September to win this wild card or catch the Bums. Thankfully the Cubbies dumped to Les Expos. But the Bums won, as did the Bay Area guys and the Astros did too. We can drop no more, tough order. But if we lose ground now you might as well get the bowling shoes out so we can watch the playoffs somewhere.

Same time tomorrow.
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Monday, August 30, 2004

Weekend Roundup

Big wins for the Padres this weekend, paired up with the not so hot play of the Cubbies and the Giants makes for a wild card run, which we all know is the preferred path to the post season. What this team does on the road is just not conceivable, who plays this style of baseball but us? I don't quite understand the inner workings of this team that makes for the anemic home play, followed by the output on the road offensively.

These next few contests make for some interesting season ramifications. There is a definite measuring stick element about to take place in the St. Louis area. I think we will see how this team matches up to a true first place, real baseball team. There is no doubt that the Cardinals and their offense are the real deal, and any combination of Edmonds, Rolen, Pujols and Walker is nothing short of frightening.

On another note, Barry Bonds is crushing the baseball right now. He hit two shots last night that just made me cringe. Absolute bombs. I have never seen a baseball in Atlanta fly as far as the ones he was launching last night. Good thing he is heating up right before we have to finish out the season battling for the wild card with the Giants and the division leading Dodgers. We had better be careful in those dealings with the likes of Barry and Beltre.

Off day today, 5 p.m. tomorrow in St. Louis. Brian Lawrence faces Woody Williams. Should be a good one...
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Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Complete the Sweep...

At the beginning of this series a conversation ensued about this series. I thought to myself, 'We should maul the Mets like a monster pit bull would a lil' frenchy poodle.'. It's almost time for that little ball of curlies' last rights and burial.

Tuesday was Wellsy's night. Two singles in the first inning and then almost eight of absolute futility for the Mets. Not a one hit until there were two down in the ninth and most of the team was showered, on the buses headed for steak and martinis downtown. A double and a single later and Bochy started the turtle trot to the mound to get a substitute arm for Wellsy. Now with the way those substitutes have been putting on a save blowing clinic after David leaves the pile has been astounding all year long. It's like a teenager sale in Thailand the way they sell him out. When Trevor came a running out I couldn't help think that if he lets this one get away, somebody better get David some gloves and keep him away from any glass or sharp objects or he will be on the D.L. faster than a roided out olympic sprinter. Thank the Gods that Trevor was Trevor and Wellsy didn't chew off the tops of his fingers watching to the conclusion. Good win for us.

Wednesday I was relegated to the radio, which makes the games all the more exciting because you are never really quite sure what the heck is going on. Sometimes I wonder if there is even a game being played between all the anecdotes and advertisements. Even if you can decipher the code that is the play by play, the score is usually more elusive than the military service records of politicians. I did catch Phil Nevin playing beat the ball as far as you can with Al Leiter's version of a fastball. Really, no one should pay any attention at all to the numbers that come after the Emergency Catcher's name of late. Just leave him alone, please. Loretta had another All-Star night and has the number up near .345. Brian Lawrence told himself that the bullpenners have seen enough of the field lately because he just wouldn't let them come out to play tonight. Complete games in his last two starts, and somebody tell the Mets that they hung a doughnut up on the board tonight. Nice work B.

Big game tomorrow. It's an a.m. start in N.Y. and this will complete the sweep. Combine tonight's win with the Dodgers dropped cookie to the Maryland Expos and we are headed back to the division tops. But really, the Dodgers can just keep winning. I want the wild card anyway and I know that the Padres do too. Who wants to have the comforts of the home field anyway? Surely not me, put us on a broken down bus and send us on the road like a poor college rock band. It's all the incentive we need.
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Monday, August 23, 2004

The Weekend...

This was a weekend of forgetables. Dropping two out of three to the Marlins. Two losing series now with this one and the oh so forgettable Braves. Losing two out of three at this point of the season is unacceptable. To do it twice in the span of a week makes for uphill climbs in August and September. Uphill climbs at this point in the season equals not good.

Saturday was an adventure. I was the recipient of four seats down at the Petco playland and was happier than teenager on prom night to find that they were within earshot of the visitor's bullpen. I might be the single worst person to put near an opponent's bench this side of Boston, but if the opportunity presents itself you run like Ricky and his smoking buddies off to Asia. What a blessing it turned out to be for the Marlins, riding the power surge of Juan Pierre who mashed his sky high total of home runs to three in 500 at bats. Nice. Can't hit home runs at Petco, yeah right. Needless to say the heckling of the bullpenners from the swamplands was light, only some fleeting comments under my breath about sore elbows and fish not having any arms. Family environment down there at the old Petco and all. The heartache became official when Julio Franco inspired Jeff Conine to lose a baseball that was worth three tallies in the run column and a big old fat "L" for us. Once again it was Adam out there with his schizophrenic, which pitcher is going to show up routine. Not good, but the beer was, and it was cold, and only the first game that the faithful had dropped with me in attendance.

Highlight of the night, while making our way around the park to the assigned seats, stopping in one of the left field areas for baseball watching, Khalil played Santa Claus early depositing a gift into the left field seats. At the time I had paused to catch his at bat and the present was sent just to the left of me. Thanks for the attempt kid, I wanted a homer ball, you just missed me by about a half a section.

Tonight was another grumbler of a game. Jumping out on the Mets early with Jake on the mound, this was one that should have been packed up early. Then it started to happen, Padres buying stock in bases. Suddenly the left on base total reached eight, the dagger just never dropped. Jake was out pitching a gem, one hit through five. But five is really only half a game and in the sixth, a double a walk and a souvenier made it a 5 -3 lead and operators in New York got busy connecting frantic phone calls to the bullpen. Enter the shut down crew and the fire was smothered quickly. The Emergency Catcher then put the dirty diaper in the dumpster for good with a half a six pack pop. Good start to a road trip, it just took a while to materialize. Can't wait for tomorrow...
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Thursday, August 19, 2004

Oh Boy. Oh no. No.

Tuesday night made being a Padre fan fun again. We were dealt walk after walk after walk, got some clutch hitting, namely a couple of long shots by the Emergency Catcher and Big Brother Giles, and put the Braves to bed early with no dinner and no dessert. Jake then did them in prison style and sent them home with an airplane baggy and a migrane.

Unfortunately, we had to play that rubber match. The kind that makes you feel like your buddy jumped off the back of the couch, top rope style on to your chest after he had too many jaeger shots. This was one of those nights, fall behind, the Lorettall-Star decides he has had enough and starts intentionally trying to injure fans in the outfield, calling it a souvenier. Followed by Bigger Giles doing the same. The lead is ours. Wellsy gets back to work. Pitching out of a couple tough spots, getting squeezed, having a mild Chernobyl style meltdown and then getting out of a sacks full of Mildly Braves by having blue give "the" J.D. Drew a lecture about the number three before banishing him to the bench.

Cue AC/DC and let's go home, heh. Hoff misses with a couple fast balls and falls behind. Location is off tonight, it's o.k. , he'll make up for it. Guy reaches first. It's o.k., Andruw Jones is up. Camera two clips to Smoltz in the cow pasture stretching out his rock chucker. Hey, somebody get the Braves bench on the line and let them know that the Padres are up one and Trevor Hoffmann is on the mou... oh boy. Oh no. No.

Hey Blue, Trevor is going to need another baseball because Andruw Jones just lost the one we were using. 6 to 5 Mildly Braves.

Let's just go quick don't make this painful, let's just go quick. One quick out, then two. All-Star holds up swinging at ball four with Bigger Giles coming up. The announcers are talking about how Smoltz says he has no idea what to throw B.G. That's not the right one Smoltz, cause he just took you for a spin around the corner near Petco Porch, All-Star is on his race horse and he will tie this game. It's about then when "the" J.D. Drew, finds the potato, it's hot so he fires it to little giles, it's still a little too warm for his liking so he gives it to Eddie Perez who mashes it and headbutts All-Star probably busting his nose. Oh boy. Oh no. No.

You know that feeling when you see a guy fall down, and when he lands on his can, his head whiplashes into the ground so hard that it makes your stomach hurt?

I don't know who hates me more, the baseball gods, or my team.

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Monday, August 16, 2004

So Frustrating...

Sometimes I want to quit being a Padres fan. I want to like the Yankees or whoever, just not the Padres. Being a Padre fan is like having a nest full of hornets in your shorts. The buzzing feels kind of all right for a while, you might even enjoy it for a bit. But then the stinging sets in and you realize how painful it really is and you just want it to stop with all of your might. That's kind of how tonight's game felt. The stinging part at least...

I don't know what to think of Hitch. The guy is out there tossing around all kinds of junk, rarely topping 85 M.P.H. The team hasn't managed to put together a win in his first two starts and he seems to get hit pretty hard. For a team that isn't really scoring at home this could become an issue.

Now I am all for a junkballer throwing any puss he has at all kinds of major leaguers, but tonight the Braves were taking him to task. Who says you can't hit the long ball at Petco? Hitch managed to hold an extended batting practice session through the first four innings, as if a guy like "Chipper" needs to practice his home run trot for the 300th time. This was after the other Jones, Andru dropped a ball in the bullpen in the 2nd. Even Hampton banged one off of the wall for an R.B.I double. Finally J.D. Drew, Mr. Philadelphia, left the yard with the bullpen in charge, way to jinx those guys Chris. Let the bee stings begin...

Tough as they are the kids fought back against John Smoltz. A 5-1 deficit was erased and with two outs in the ninth the tying run was on first in the form of Khalil. After a battle to get back to 5-4, Rich Aurilia just got overmatched by Smoltz and the agony was finally over. Not a fun game to watch at all, just not fun. Two more games with the Braves and they are both must wins. There is to be no losing series in August or September. I am off to go sit on a block of ice now...
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Coming Home...

Well, a successful roadtrip is finished and there should be some awards handed out to individual Padres for their play over the weekend. First, to Phil Nevin, who squatted for four innings on that sore knee after not catching since 1999. With Miguel Ojeda taking a shot off the arm and Ramon Hernandez in San Diego for the birth of his son, Phil stepped in and played the emergency catcher role and caught four shutout innings. Nice work Phil.

Second award to Adam Eaton, six innings, two runs, one walk. After finding himself in some jams early he was able to strike out Adam Dunn and Wily Mo Pena consecutively to work his way out of what might have been some pretty damaging situations. Oh, he did this twice. Speaking of twice, nice two double performance at the plate, complete with head first Charlie Hustle like dive into home plate to score early in the game, giving him a lead that neither he nor the bullpen would relinquish.

Third goes to the Bullpen. Again, these guys are going out there and getting the job done regularly. It is starting to look easy for those guys...

Lastly, Mark Loretta and Khalil Greene. Khalil had a monster Friday with a couple of home runs and more of that defense that he keeps showing us. Not to mention it seems like every time Loretta comes to the plate he is absolutely smoking a ball down the line for a double. Pretty strong in the field these two are, making the Pads middle infield rival the best in baseball. They are pretty fun to watch.

Home now for the Braves and the Marlins. Pretty big series' for us if we want to stay within that uncomfortable 6.5 of the Dodgers, and the more realistic 1 of the Cubbies. Hampton against Hitchcock tonight. More later...
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Friday, August 13, 2004

Stranded...

O.K. so they really left 18 guys on base, but the last two came in the 11th after Greene's single to put us ahead, so they don't really count...

18 guys left on base, why don't we score 10 runs per game?

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They Battled...

Despite leaving sixteen guys on base yesterday, yeah sixteen, the kids battled to win the extra inning fiasco taking 2 out of 3 from the cubbies. Nice work, one game back of those same cubbies in the wild card run.

Khalil, nice 3 for 7, 2 RBI day. The kid clutched up in the 11th with a two out single that put the Pads ahead for good. Cue Trevor, after a bit of a nailbiter on Tuesday, he got Garciaparra and Alou yesterday to close out the series at Wrigley and get save number 31. Let's go to Cincy and get some wins before we come home.

Hey, how about that Loretta guy, .339? .339?!? If not for guys like Pujols and Bonds, he might have a shot at a batting title. We should think about moving this guy to the three hole at home. Yeah, I know, that's dumb, but without the long ball at Petco he could be an RBI machine. Not to mention his power numbers rival anyone else's in the lineup.

Tonight is Wells against Wilson, 4 p.m. local time. Cut work early and catch this with happy hour fun.
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Thursday, August 12, 2004

Sorry, bottom of the 5th.
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Timely Hitting?

Situation: Bases loaded full of Padres one out, rain delay. We score no runs with one out and bags juiced by Balco.

Matt Clement has five walks, the Padres have three hits. We have no runs...

Cubs 2 Padres 0, top of the 6th...

Stay tuned...
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2 out of 3?

Well, I just want to thank the folks over at ESPN.com for having the wrong pitching match-ups posted on their baseball site yesterday. First post here, first mistake. Thanks guys.

Last night was trouble from the start. Hitch against Zambrano is a total mismatch, that is a number five starter at best in Hitch, going against what could possibly be argued the Cubs number one. Zambrano is having a fine year and has just amazing stuff sometimes. Not to mention that he throws it pretty hard with loads of movement. Not the best matchup for the Padres. But Hitch hung tough, I caught the first couple of innings on t.v., then was forced to the radio for the middle innings. Hitch had his good junk working early, got a couple of strikeouts and started relatively strong. Down three runs through five innings, I wasn't that concerned, and was pretty proud of Hitch for hanging so tough.

The offense struggled against Zambrano at times. We got some guys on early and just couldn't make the push to score. It always comes down to timely hitting and that is something we just aren't getting. We left six on base again, combined with our six hits and only manufactured one silly little run on a past ball. After Loretta's double, Sutcliffe and Grant were pleading with the microphones and anyone else who would listen that we needed a long ball to get us back in the thing. Didn't happen. One run on six hits, not good, not good. Compared to the Cubbies who got five runs on eight hits. Something tells me that our average with runners in scoring postition is not so hot.

Highlight or lowlight of the night depending on how you see it, was Sutcliffe's version of Harry's favorite old tune during stretch time. I caught the replay of this on the radio this morning and it was worse the second time around. Sutt told the crowd they had better sing loud cause he was bad, and for whatever reason, be it spite or a case of long beer lines, not a note was heard in Wrigley. Sutt was on his own and wishing for a happy place as he waved the microphone around in vain. Good stuff and incredibly painful to sit through at the same time. I haven't laughed so hard at someone else's misery in a long time. Sorry Sutt, but that was darned funny.

No channel 4 today, but the WGN feed should carry the day game. 11:20 ish start. Jake against Clement today, this I am sure of. No, really I am. Big game today, we need to win these series' not lose them as the Dodgers just continue to beat up on the quickly fading Reds. Quickly fading Reds? Did I really just say that, the Reds have been done for quite a while now. Not to mention that with Florida and Atlanta next, things aren't getting any easier. Come on Jake, and hey, can we get some runs today? Please?

I can't update the running totals that Brian was keeping so I am going to start my own running total. Padres home runs of late equal zero. Zero. Better start getting more doubles guys, run fast.

More later when the game starts.
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Wednesday, August 11, 2004

The Race...

Oh yeah, the playoff chase. Dodgers win again. Yeah, yeah. The have to come back to the division soon, they are the Dodgers. With that deadline garbage they moved they can't sustain this level of play, they can't, so help me...

Wild Card status is one game behind said Cubbies. Needless to say that makes these next two games, umm, well very important to the Padres. Let's go Jake...

I am off to get my Milton Bradley and Adrian Beltre voodoo dolls now.
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Surviving the Long Ball...

At least they were solo shots. Rationalize the long ball any way you like, but to allow five taters in one game and still get a win, thank you baseball Gods. I know that the wind was blowing out at Wrigley and in those conditions Klesko should even be able to muscle one out. But the main problem hasn't changed and it's August. Adam Eaton can't locate his fastball. Guys like Sosa, Alou and Garciaparra will take you out of any park, wind aided or not if you heave your fastball right across the dish. You don't get too many opportunities to win a game when your pitching gives up five home runs, thank you Padre offense, Eaton should be taking those guys out to dinner.

We took up residence in Wrigley's infield last night, twelve hits and Padres on base all night long. Adam helped his cause with a two out single that scored two, he was behind in the count at the time to the hard throwing Prior. The offense looks alright, they are still leaving a lot of guys on base that they need to start picking up if they want to get into the playoffs, but Ramon Hernandez and Terrance Long did the job and with Eaton's contribution, eight runs should be good enough to win almost every night.

Most padre fans shouldn't recognize what is going on. We actually have a bullpen. No really it's true. Blaine Neal came in and shut the door last night for Adam in what was a very crucial situation in the sixth. Nice work by Bochy to get the backup for Adam early, I half expected him to give him another batter, but was ecstatic to seem him at full turtle speed to the mound after Adam fell off a bit. Then the three headed monster finished the job, with a little excitement in the ninth, just to get us flexing muscles that don't normally get used. I am still not used to the 84 M.P.H fastball Trevor keeps showing us and it makes me really uneasy at times, but he is still locating it on the corners. I don't really care how hard you throw it, but keep it on the corners and you can have some success. Ask Greg Maddux, or Tom Glavine, well don't ask Glavine until next week, I understand he lost some teeth yesterday.

Tonight should be fun, Jake against former frustrating Padre, Matt Clement. I know I am guilty of this, but doesn't it make your skin crawl knowing that Derek Lee, Matt Clement, Jason Bey, and shoot even Mark Kotsay are all achieving success now that they are out of Padreland? Needless to say, I wasn't disappointed to see any of those guys go, but man, it sure does bother me that everyone gets better when they leave San Diego. Oh yeah, there was that Rivera guy? Whatever happened to him? Hey, where's my baseball glove?

More tonight after the game...
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The Handoff...

Well it looks as though the handoff is complete, although it is still in it's infant stages. Thanks to Brian for making it as painless as possible and allowing me to contribute to his site while he is occupied with other things. I promise not to try not to mangle the site beyond recognition while he is away. I did say try...

On to other things, I am just your average Padre fan that has been following the team for as long as I can remember. I have been there in the few good years that this team has shown us, as well as the bad ones we would all love to forget. After some time I have managed to block some of the trauma from my memory, and yet some of it still lingers, i. e. Langston, Yankee Stadium circa 1998, oh man, it still stings. I am doing my best to cope with that to this day. But this team is showing a lot more in 2004 than I expected, had you told me they would be in the midst of a playoff push in the middle of August, I would have had some choice words for you. But here we are and it seems legit. Let's all rewind to '98 and relive what the playoffs are like.
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First a test... more later...
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Tuesday, August 10, 2004

The Handoff

...Looks to be nearing completion.

Chris will be around to update this blog with his Padres thoughts. Sounds like a really nice person, so be nice to him, and continue to enjoy the blog!

If there are other issues, please feel free to email myself (still linked to the right) or Chris (I'm assuming he'll add his own email up there soon).

I will still be around, just not posting regularly, and Chris will be the boss. I'll see when I can get around to this again, but I have tons of faith in Chris, he sounds enthused and capable.

Until a later time,

-Brian.
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Friday, August 06, 2004

Neglect

My sincerest apologies to all loyal and new readers. You have stuck around through a few weeks of nothingness on here. I've been busy, and thinking about it, it's unfair for me to update things when I'm missing most of the games (although I did attend the comeback win over L.A. at Petco a few days ago).

I've been contacted by a reader in email and may pass this along to him for the duration of the season---maybe.

We shall see. I want to say thank you for those who have visited along the way, and I have a strong chance of returning at a different time. A lot of you are probably mad and I completely get that.

Anyway, keep your eyes and ears peeled.
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