IGD: Padres @ Phillies (22 Jul 2005)

first pitch: 4:05 p.m., PT
television: Channel 4
matchup: Tim Stauffer (3-5, 4.42 ERA) vs Vicente Padilla (5-8, 5.61 ERA)
preview: Padres.com

Tim Stauffer warming up before game, July 17, 2005

This is a composite of a few shots I took of Stauffer warming up before his last start at Petco against the Diamondbacks. I hadn’t been that close to a big-league pitcher in a very long time. The sound his pitches made on hitting the bullpen catcher’s mitt was pretty awesome.

. . .

I just picked up a book called The Last Best League by Jim Collins. It chronicles the Cape Cod Summer League’s Chatham A’s over the course of their 2002 season. I’m only about 40 or so pages in, but so far it’s a very enjoyable read. One of the key players on that squad was Stauffer. From the book’s Prologue:

Tim played catch with his dad most nights before dinner, sometimes after dinner, too, and always with a purpose. They called one of their games “What If?”

“What if there are runners on first and second and no outs?” the father would ask. “Where would you throw the ball if it’s hit to you?”

“What if you’ve got an oh-two count on a hitter, and you’ve thrown him two fastballs down and in? What do you want to throw on the next pitch?”

They played the game incessantly. More than once, they played “What If?” during the family’s entire seven-hour drive to an uncle’s beach house on the Delaware shore.

The boy learned to command his pitches. He wasn’t flashy, not a kid anyone looked at and thought This one’s special. Except that throwing is an unnatural motion. And even in Little League–in Little League, where ten-year-olds are still working out the coordination to throw a baseball near home plate–Timmy Stauffer threw strikes. He had an easy, loose motion to his arm and a feel for situations that eluded most older players.

In a very short time, Stauffer has become one of my favorite Padres. Like Khalil Greene, he is a young kid who carries himself with dignity. Not brash or flashy, just projecting quiet confidence.

Other Stuff

  • Thank You, Dave Roberts! (Joy of Sox). Nice little article and pics from a Red Sox fan who got to meet Roberts and thank him in person for his contribution to Boston’s World Series victory last year.
  • A Tale of Two Third Basemen (Hardball Times). Fascinating look at Sean Burroughs and Mark Teahen, two highly touted young third basemen who haven’t quite lived up to expectations. Dan Fox attempts to answer the question of whether these big, strong kids will ever develop usable big-league power.
  • One guy’s scouting reports on the 2004 and 2005 Lake Elsinore Storm (via this article at Baseball Analysts, which mentions George Kottaras).

76 Responses »

  1. Including tonight’s game, Stauffer has a 7.67 ERA in the five outings that he’s not allowed a first-inning run. He’s 0-4, with a no decision tonight.

    When Stauffer got knocked around in the opening inning of his other eight starts, he’s 3-1 with four no decisions and a 3.26 ERA.

    Here’s the revised Staufferian numbers:

    FIVE Starts With Scoreless Firsts

    Eight Starts With First-Inning Woes

    FIVE Scoreless Firsts (0-4, 1 No Decision, 7.67)

    Eight Nervous Firsts (3-1, 3.26)

  2. Is it just me, or is Ramon capable of some world class brain farts? Or he really has some bad baseball instincts. He knows he slow, but I think I would rather have him get thrown out at second trying to make it back if he has to go 2/3 way to third to score on a deep shot to the gap than retreat back to second to make sure the ball is not caught. The whole thing was pathetic.

  3. I am watching this on Gameday; how is it possible for Ramon to get thrown out at home on a double? Did he have to wait on the ball? Was he jogging? Two doubles in the inning and no runs. Amazing.

  4. Earlier today, I had told a friend that Phils rookie first baseman Ryan Howard was a “wannabe Jim Thome.”

    Shows you how smart I am.

    Howard belts a two-run home run in the second, adds an RBI-single in the fourth, and then draws the second of Stauffer’s two sixth-inning walks and come s around to score.

    Some wannabe with a line: 2-2-2-3, HR, BB

    Howard is a damn fine ballplayer.

  5. Whenever I see Billy Wagner, I think of that ball Jim Leyritz hit off him in the ’98 playoffs.

  6. Ramon misjudged the ball and went back to tag. He should have stopped at third.

  7. Geoff, earlier this year, I read The Last Best League by Jim Collins and found it to be a fine book.

    One of Stauffer’s Chatham A’s teammates that season is also in the bigs as a pitcher.

    However, the kid didn’t share the hill with Stauffer in Chatham.

    Instead, Chad Orvella played shortstop for the A’s. Another of those cannon-armed shortstops.

    Tampa Bay drafted Orvella out of N.C. State a couple of years ago and converted him to a relief pitcher.

    Like Stauffer, Orvella made his major league debut this year. In the house that Vince destroyed and from which Lou desperately wants to escape, Orvella headed into tonight with a record of 1-1, one save, and a 4.56 ERA in 15 appearances. He’s thrown 23.2 innings, allowing 23 hits and 13 runs, with 20 strikeouts and 10 walks.

    Tonight’s Orvella’s already thrown two innings against the Orioles in relief, allowing one hit and one walk and striking out two. Tampa Bay leads 7-4 entering the eighth inning.

  8. That was a huge risk by Giles on that steal.

  9. Wagner wasn’t paying attention to Giles at all, might as well take the base.

    IC: Orvella is an interesting story. Haven’t really gotten to that part in the book yet. The only other guy on that team I’ve seen is Jamie D’Antona, who played in the Cal League last year. Also, thanks for the good info on Stauffer tonight.

  10. Also, expect something in the U-T story tomorrow about Stauffer being a little nervous tonight because the folks and a couple of hundred locals from Saratoga Springs, N.Y., his hometown, made the six-hour trek to Philly to see him pitch.

    That’s a typical journalism angle and probably holds some truth to it.

    And, if you think it’s worth it, get ahold of the U-T beat writer, since I live in upstate New York and the call is probably local for you. Tell him/her/it/they that the Stauffer “first inning is hell” angle he wrote about a couple of weeks ago just doesn’t stand up when put to the numbers test.

    Odds are, you’ll get the Duke Cunningham brush off, but maybe his/her/its/their editor will be interested. Desk editors are the brains of any and all newspapers, NEVER the beat scribe.

  11. D’Antonia’s struggling a bit in 2A ball this year. High strikeout numbers and a 260s average as I recall. He’s playing with that stud, Conor Jackson, and a couple of the Snakes sizzling sticks.

    The quiet lefty on the A’s club, the kid who started slow and then picked it up late in the year (can’t recall the name), was drafted by the Reds and has pitched well in their system. Might have suffered an injury this year. He’s the other star character of the story.

    Blake Hanan is the Eddie Haskell of the story. Played a season in NY-Penn with the Orioles. Hit .260, but just didn’t have the tools.

  12. Is it me, or do the Pads seem to allow a disproportionate number of infield singles?

  13. Geoff, will Ducksnorts be offering up-to-the-minute, courtside reports on the AVP Tournament this weekend?

    What Ducksnortian member of your staff will be sentenced to the hell of sitting in the sand and reporting on the play of outstanding athletes like Misty May and Kerri Walsh?

  14. …And we’ve gone to EXTRA INNINGS!