Ben Howard Fans Sixteen Against Visalia

Okay, so here’s my week so far. Saturday night I was out playing Wiz-War with some friends till 3 o’clock Sunday morning. Band rehearsal from 10 AM to 3 PM. Then up to Elsinore to catch the Storm-Oaks game. Monday morning off to Texas for a professional conference. Arrived in San Antonio 6 PM local time, picked up the rental car, dropped off my things at the motel, headed out to the ballpark for a 7 o’clock game. Conference all day Tuesday. Arrived back in San Diego 10 PM. Still trying to figure out where I am and what day it is.

Now that that’s out of the way, how about some baseball. First, the Elsinore game. Ben Howard basically dominated the Visalia lineup before turning things over to an ineffective bullpen that ultimately lost the game for him. Howard, the Padres’ second-round pick in 1997, struck out the first eight batters to face him. The ninth place hitter fell behind 0-and-2 before throwing his bat at the ball and dribbling one about 50 feet down the third base line for a hit. The next batter attempted to bunt and was thrown out. Howard continued in this vein until tiring in the eighth. He finished with a franchise-record and league-season-high 16 strikeouts in 7.1 innings, allowing just one run on five hits, only one of which was hit very hard. Perhaps more impressive was that Howard, who always has had terrific stuff but poor command, didn’t issue a single walk, keeping hitters off-balance with his 93-MPH fastball and surprisingly effective breaking pitch. This against a club whose parent organization, the Athletics, preaches plate discipline as much as (if not moreso than) any organization in baseball. Howard is moving up the ladder very slowly but he’s finally beginning to show signs of becoming the pitcher the Padres envisioned when they originally drafted him. has a cool article on the young righthander, complete with photos.

I’ll get to my San Antonio experience and thoughts on Tony Batista tomorrow…

Comments are closed.