FriarBall: June 2007

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Hanging on

Scoring 6 runs in the fourth inning, good.

Giving up 4 runs in the last two innings, not so good.

The Padres had a little too much excitement Friday night when after they had a 7-2 lead the Dodgers were able to creep back into the game. Luckily Trevor Hoffman only gave up one run in the ninth (can you sense the sarcasm in that sentence).

Cla Meredith seems to still be struggling. He pitched a scoreless seventh but then left him in the game and he gave up 2 runs in the eighth. Chris Young had another solid performance and seems to be quietly establishing himself as a great front-of-the-rotation starter.

Which brings us to tonight's game and the No. 1 starter, Jake Peavy. Even though his ERA is above 2.00 for the first time since he gave up four runs in fourth start of the season (April 19 at home against Arizona).

Peavy's last start against the Dodgers wasn't any better than that start against Arizona as he gave up four runs in a no decision. But take the numbers out to his last five starts against LA and Peavy is 3-0 with a 3.03 ERA and 26 K's in 32 2/3 innings.

LA counters with Brad Penny, who in his last five against SD is 1-2 with a 7.62 ERA in 26 innings (and average of about 5 innings per start). Lets hope the Padres can keep that success up again tonight. We'll need it considering Penny is having as good of a 2007 as Peavy is with his 10-1 record and 2.04 ERA.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Top spot on the line

Two of three from the Giants isn't bad but the series that begins today is a big deal. With Arizona, LA and SD all battling for first place in the NL West, the Padres have to win this series to keep an advantage - and I'm sure none of us would object to a second straight sweep.

The best things about tonight's game has got to be Chris Young taking the mound. Even though Jake Peavy has been the stud of the rotation, Young's year has been very impressive as well and in his last outing against LA he pitched 7 shutout innings, giving up only 3 hits. The one disturbing - and I use the term loosely - stat is the fact that he is 0-1 in his last five starts against the Dodgers. He also has walked 20 batters compared to 21 strikeouts in those starts. Not the most impressive stats but the small sample size and the fact that Young has been on a roll this year have to count for something as well.

LA sends Hong-Chih Kuo to mound, who is 1-3 with a 6.33 ERA this year. In his only start against SD this year, Kuo pitched 6 innings, gave up 1 run and 3 hits while striking out 8. Hopefully the second time the Padres face him they will figure him out.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Searching for a win

Boy it sucks to be mired in a losing streak huh (And yes, I know we have only lost 2 straight but we have lost 5 of the last 6, close enough to call it a streak)? I was glad to see the Padres had no AL teams on the schedule in the near future but I can't believe they lost to the Giants in 11. San Fran has not been very good this year and if SD continues to walk Barry Bonds there is not really anyone else on the team that should beat them.

David Wells takes the hill tonight against the most overpaid pitcher in MLB history, Barry Zito. Do you think if the Giants could do it all over again they would sign Zito to that big deal? Just something to think about as we watch the offense get going tonight.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Pitcher's Duel

After splitting the first two games of the series with the Red Sox, both teams will send their early season Cy Young candidates to the mound. Both Jake Peavy and Josh Beckett come into Sunday's game with only one loss and both pitchers strike a ton of people out. This should be one of the best games of the season, win or lose.

Not much more to say other than I'm glad interleague play will be over after this.

Friday, June 22, 2007

To be the best you've got to beat the best

Ok, so this whole interleague thing has been a disaster for the Padres - but even after dropping 2 of 3 to Baltimore, SD still boasts the best record in the NL. But that being said, the team with the best record in baseball comes to town in the form of the Boston Red Sox - and they are rolling the Dice-K tonight (ok, enough bad jokes about Japanese pitchers).

Where Boston excels (offense), the Padres have struggled. And any attempt to prove that the Padres have what it takes to match up with the power houses from the AL East is going to have to start with offense.

Greg Maddux is on the mound tonight and one place he likes to pitch is Petco. In his 6 starts at home this season, Maddux is 5-1 with a 2.75 ERA, 1 complete game and 20 K's. Maddux will need his best stuff tonight if he is going to keep David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez in check, although the cavernous confines of Petco should help. And if the Red Sox want Ortiz to be in the lineup, he will have to play 1B also, meaning hot hitting Kevin Youkilis will either have to play elsewhere or pinch hit - another plus for the Padres.

Dice-K, meanwhile, has been beatable on the road. In 7 road games this season he is 4-3 with a 3.48 ERA, 20 walks and 58 K's. We should expect to see a lot of swings and misses from the Padres tonight, but Dice-K is hardly the shutdown ace he is projected to become.

However, the Padres seem to struggle when the numbers are in their favor yet come out when the odds are stacked against them so anything can happen tonight. I have decided I will not be surprise win or loss. Hopefully, the numbers are stacked against and we can expect a win.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Down and out

An out-of-work manager doesn't want the job and yet the Padres couldn't beat the Orioles Wednesday night. Justin Germano got lit up in the first and if it weren't for Russell Branyan's home run, they would have been shut out.

David Wells is up against probably the most reliable pitcher for the O's, Erik Bedard. The teams get underway early and at the conclusion of this game, I will be limited to only seeing the Padres when they are on ESPN. Here's to hoping this game is one worth watching.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Look at me

Alright, I admit it, I'm the Johnny-come-lately of the group and all of the news going on today has been reported on other sites and blogs. But that doesn't mean I still don't want to throw my two pennies into the void known only as the internet.

First things first, Tuesday's game. Got to love beating up on a team that can't figure out which way is up. Steve Trachsel got bombed, Jake Peavy was great for five innings (too bad he pitched that sixth) and the game went on forever. I TIVO'd the thing and started watching around 11 ET and when I turned the TIVO'd portion off around 1 ET because I didn't get the whole thing recorded, the game was still on! Got to love getting a lot of offense from a lot of different people but the fact that Khalil Greene actually went 4-for-5 when he is usually striking out every other at bat impressed me the most.

Today's game should be no different, the O's have nothing to throw at the Padres and Justin Germano is on a roll. While new addition Michael Barrett will not be in the lineup tonight, it sounds like he has a good rapport with former Cubbie Greg Maddux and Peavy so if those two guys like him, I'm excited to see what he can bring to this offense. And with Barrett's seemingly consistent presence on ESPN for his "spirited" play, a little more exposure for the Padres should be a good deal as well.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Suspensions and turmoil

Chris Young was suspended five games for his role in the brawl, and while it seems unfair that he and Derrek Lee received the same punishment the one thing to remember is that most leagues have a standard punishment just for throwing a punch. While my memory is fuzzy with what baseball's rule is - it's probably and unwritten one - I'm sure intent was left out of the process.

To say tonight's opponent is in turmoil may be an understatement - but the Orioles are a mess. They fired their manager yesterday and listening to John Kruk this morning, he is saying no manager in their right mind should even consider working for Peter Angelos.

Let's just say the Orioles offense makes the Padres look like the Red Sox and after Baltimore spent most of its money upgrading its pen, they have nothing to show for it. There is some talent on the team - closer Chris Ray could turn into a solid player - but they have a lot of overpaid veterans. The Padres should be able to sweep this series without any problems, especially with Jake Peavy on the mound tonight. Steve Trachsel takes the hill for the birds, who actually has been a pretty good free agent pick-up (one of the few).

Monday, June 18, 2007

Offensive outburst

Did anyone else enjoy rocking the Cubs for 11 runs and 5 home runs? Talk about the best way to get payback, this game showed the Cubbies that SD means business.

Of course we are probably going to lose Jake Peavy and Chris Young to suspensions stemming from Saturday's brawl, but if the offense can have another outburst like it did Sunday, the Padres may be able to survive a game or two without the staff aces.

Greg Maddux was solid in his start but Mike Cameron stole the show with his two home runs in first two at bats. Adrian Gonzalez also had a big game - which he was due for - and even Khalil Greene made rare contact and jacked one out of the yard. Is it me or is Greene a white version of Ozzie Smith, minus the cool backflip? Greene couldn't hit the broad side of a barn if it was thrown at him but he plays fantastic, effortless defense.

Monday's an off day and then the Baltimore Orioles (from my neck of the woods) come to town to resume interleague play. Hopefully this round will be better than the round before SD hit Chicago.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Saturday's all right for fighting too

Things we learned in Saturday's 1-0 win over the Cubs:

1. Justin Hampson's role is apparently that of the long reliever who takes over after your starter is ejected early on.

2. Hiram Bocachica may not be a great player anytime soon but his throw out of Ryan Theriot at home in the fifth inning means he was worth picking up on waivers - even if he does nothing else all year.

3. Cubs fans are still paranoid about bad luck and apparently the entire city feels the need to tell everyone not to touch the ball.

4. I would never want to get in a fight with a guy who is 6'10" - and Derreck Lee shouldn't either. If Chris Young had connected, Lee wouldn't have gotten close enough to throw another punch.

5. The score keeper at Wrigley Field is very generous. How do you have two or three scoring opportunities without a hit? Carlos Zambrano took a no hitter into the eighth with a lot of help from the score keeper. I am surprised though, I half expected Marcus Giles' infield single to be ruled an error as well.

6. Is anyone else glad we have Russell Branyan in our lineup? I don't see him play much but when he does play, it seems like he makes an impact. I'm glad he hit his home run in the ninth and it's nice to know we have that kind of insurance on the roster.

Well, those are enough lessons for now. Greg Maddux takes the hill against his former team while the surprising Rich Hill will finish the series off for the Cubs.

Early games

These early games are killers. Even though they are middle of the afternoon games here on the East Coast, they are throwing off my schedule. But anyhow, the Padres are playing the Cubs and that means the games are on TV for me.

I saw the beginning of yesterday's game (before life caught up with me) and I have to say, you could tell in the first inning it was going to be a rough outing for David Wells when it appeared he wasn't going to get the strike zone he wanted. He got out of that inning ok, but the tight zone eventually caught up to him and Chicago took the first game.

I have to say as a side note to the game, listening to the Cubs announcers talk about the series was funny. They pretty much were saying that the series should be easier because the Cubs don't have to face Jake Peavy or undefeated Justin Germano. Apparently those guys thought Chicago fared better against Wells, Chris Young and Greg Maddux.

They went on to say that there were no easy games against the Padres rotation but Wells may be the easiest one to pick a win up from given his somewhat erratic nature. Well, hopefully Young and Maddux will get the job done and win this series for SD.

Young takes on Carlos "Punching buddy" Zambrano in an early afternoon game out East.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Blown away

You had to know the Padres stood a good chance of winning Wednesday's game just because Jake Peavy was on the mound. But who knew they would actually take advantage of a high ERA pitcher and chase Edwin Jackson in the first? He officially had only 1/3 of an inning but the damage was done before Peavy took the mound.

It's nice to get off that four game slide, now let's see SD take the series and get out of interleague play and back to beating up on the NL. Justin Germano takes the hill in the early Thursday match against J.P. Howell. Both pitchers are undefeated and had rocky last starts.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

There's no place like the NL

I think one thing has been established during this disastrous four game losing streak - the Padres are definitely in the right league.

It looked like the Padres were finally going to get some luck going their way and then the bullpen imploded. You could see the smoke from Tampa. I, for one, will be glad when this interleague garbage is over so that SD can go back to being the team it was when they swept the Dodgers.

It looked like Greg Maddux pitched decent enough to win last night - not necessarily anything special, but good enough - and should not have had to worry when the pen came to the rescue. However, Cla Meredith has been downright bad of late and another game we should have won got away. In his 4 1/3 innings pitched in June, Meredith has given up 5 runs - 3 of them earned - and 10 hits. He has been responsible for three losses and his ERA continues to climb towards 4.00.

Meanwhile, as Gaslamp Ball pointed out after the game, the Padres have two guys with ERA's under 1.00 that are rotting on the bench.

Whatever the reason is, Bud Black has got to change his strategy or this will be the worst road trip of the season. Let's hope they can get to tonight's pitcher Edwin Jackson and his 7.39 ERA. Of course, most of the AL pitchers SD has faced recently have had juicy ERA's just begging to be blown up more and look how that has turned out. At least Jake Peavy will be able to get us to the eighth without need of the pen.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Swept away

How do the Padres go from sweeping the Dodgers earlier in the week to being swept by Seattle? That should not happen, especially when two of the guys San Diego threw had ERAs under 3.00 while all three of Seattle's pitchers were over 5.00.

Steadying influences Jake Peavy and Chris Young failed to pick up wins this weekend and San Diego lost three straight one run games, a very disturbing trend. When you don't have much offense, these are the types of games that need to be won.

Luckily for the Padres both Arizona and Los Angeles struggled this weekend as well and they are still tied atop the NL West with the Diamondbacks.

Interleague nonsense continues this week as the Padres travel to Tampa Bay to take on the Devil Rays. Hopefully Greg Maddux can get the team back on track Tuesday, even though Tampa Bay is throwing out one of the most promising pitching prospects in Scott Kazmir. And even though the Rays are still pretty bad, as the series with the Mariners showed, the Padres are no lock to take any series.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Yahoo article

Was checking on my fantasy baseball team when I saw a link to this article by Yahoo Sports on Kevin Towers. It's a short piece but it addresses Towers' GM style and talks about the need for another quality bat.

The best part of this story though is the full out grammar war in the comments section. I would say there is a better way to use your time, but then I would be getting involved and I'm not necessarily in the mood.

Flashback Friday: Justin Germano

Ok, I realize I never got a flashback up last week and I apologize - things get crazy, life happens and it becomes Friday. For this week, I decided to flashback to the not so distant future of 2004, a time when people had just finished watching the first season of the new hit show, The O.C. (ok, when teenagers started watching it) and gas prices were still less than $2.00 a gallon. Oh I remember the days.

Anyways, on May 22 a young pitcher named Justin Germano made his major league debut for the Padres, giving up 4 earned runs in 5 innings while picking up the win, 9-6 over the Phillies. After the Padres had jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the second, Germano gave up four runs in the third. San Diego then chiseled away at the lead and had retaken it by the time Germano was pulled. Both teams combined for 15 runs and 23 hits and used most of their pens to try and win the game.

Germano would only start four more games and pitch in seven total the rest of the season, finishing with a 8.86 ERA, 16 K's and he gave up 31 hits in 21 1/3 innings. The next season Germano was traded along with pitcher Travis Chick to the Cincinnati Reds for IF Joe Randa.

Germano pitched 6 2/3 innings for the Reds in 2006, finishing 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA and 8 K's. He was then traded to the Phillies at the trade deadline for Rheal Cormier.

The Padres then claimed him off waivers as the Phillies tried to option him to the minors March and after optioning him themselves, the Padres called him up when Clay Hensley went on the DL. Since his call up March 30, Germano is 4-0 with a 1.76 ERA, 10 K's and a 0.81 WHIP.

While it still remains to be see how important of a role he will secure with San Diego, the Padres certainly have brought Germano back into the fold at the right time.

Walk off walk

You've got to love winning a game on a walk off walk, especially when it seemed that the Padres had blown the sweep. Five runs in the bottom of the ninth is unheard of and what makes this win even better is that is finished off a sweep of the Dodgers.

Jake Peavy got rocked - by his standards - and things seemed to have gotten away from our boys but behold the power of a bottom of the ninth rally. It was even better to get it against LA's interim closer, Jonathan Broxton, whom many feel should take over for Takashi Saito.

These three wins should give us a little bit of breathing room at least with the Dodgers, now we have to focus on keeping up the pace with Arizona, as they have matched San Diego's every win of late. This NL West race is going to come down to the wire and every game is going to count. Next up, the fiercest rivalry in baseball. Yup, you read that right, the Mariners are coming to town.

Justin Germano looks to improve to 5-0 and keep his ERA under 2.00 while his counterpart, Miguel Batista, struggles to prove he actually belongs in the bigs.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

One for the record books

In case you have been under a rock or nowhere within the distance of a TV with ESPN, Trevor Hoffman finally got save No. 500 last night.

What was more impressive to me though was what happened before Hoffman's bells rang. I was amazed to see how efficient Greg Maddux was, even though he left in a jam in the seventh inning, throwing only 71 pitches. And even though he left in the seventh with one out, Luis Gonzalez on base and a home run having been given up to Jeff Kent, Heath Bell was even more efficient than Maddux, throwing two pitches and getting Russell Martin to ground into a double play. The rest was gravy, even though Hoffman gave us our usual heart attack by letting Nomar Garciaparra double to lead off the inning.

What has me even more stoked than Wednesday's win, though, is the fact that Jake Peavy is on the mound tonight for the rubber match and the series sweep. San Diego was tied with the Dodgers heading into the series, now let's see if they can get some more distance from them in the NL West race.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Taking notice

Jake Peavy's resurgence and dominance on the mound is finally getting noticed. Apparently the Padres have a friend at ESPN in Jerry Crasnick, who also just recently wrote about Trevor Hoffman and his quest for save No. 500. It's nice to see someone other than the Yankees and Red Sox getting coverage from ESPN.

Sunday, June 3, 2007


Well, the Padres lucked out again, this time winning in the rain after letting the Nationals come back to tie them. This series against the Nationals should not have been this hard and Jake Peavy should not have lost on Friday.

David Wells is starting to worry me with his up-and-down outings and that shot Ryan Zimmerman hit off him in the third was huge, landing in the upper deck of cavernous RFK. The lineup was devoid of most of the starters but the pen came through so I guess it's good to have something we can usually count on.

Now we get the Dodgers with Chris Young taking the hill first. This should be a spectacular series, especially with our best pitchers taking the hill. So let's gear up for a great series and hope we come out on top.

Lou's got nothing on him

I will post later about the game, but this video is classic and has to be shared with the world. This is about the only thing that can overshadow a Lou Piniella tirade or Bobby Cox breaking the ejection record (which has no official stat by the way). Enjoy Phillip Wellman, a minor league manager in the Braves system.

What should have been

The Padres score six runs in the first against a guy with an ERA over 8.00; Justin Germano's ERA balloons to 1.74 and the Padres easily defeat a team whose pitching staff is not quite ripe. This is what should have happened when I was at the game last night but of course they wait until the next day to completely trounce the Nationals.

I didn't see any of the game because I was working but anytime you can build a big enough lead to easily win a game in the first inning, it seems like it's a good night.

In the battle of who can get their ERA to 5.00 first, David Wells (2-3, 4.74) takes on Jason Simontacchi (2-3, 5.28), who remarkably is one of the few Nationals starters that is actually healthy.

Go Padres, let's get 2 out of 3.

Note: Because of my crazy schedule, Flashback Friday is not yet posted. I will try to get it up sometime in the next day or two ... or at least before next Friday (ha ha).

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Corruption of the Young

So I just got back from the game and while it seemed there were a ton of San Diego fans in attendance, we definitely didn't get what we were looking forward too with Jake Peavy on the mound. Granted, he went seven innings and had seven strikeouts but he was far from sharp, giving up 10 hits and looking really erratic again in the first inning.

But on the bright side, I got to take my daughter and son to their first baseball game, and if this photo is any indication, maybe my daughter will grow up rooting for the right team.

Oh well, here's to hoping David Wells can get us on track Saturday. I still can't believe we lost to the Nationals.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Welcome to Washington

I'm stoked that the Padres won Thursday in extra innings, especially since it was on back-to-back HR's by Mike Cameron and Josh Bard in the 11th, but what is even more exciting is the fact that I get to finally see the Padres in person this year.

And what makes this even more exciting is that Jake Peavy's start got moved up and now I will get to see him pitch instead of Justin Germano Friday. Peavy and the Padres should be able to easily dispose of the Nats and Matt Chico, who has been thrashed in the local media here, as well as most of Washington's pitching.

So hopefully we will get our second series sweep of the season this weekend and stay in first place in the NL West.