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. Funniest things, assumptions and statistics. Easy to develop the former. Then the latter comes along and blows one’s theory all the way to Duke Cunningham’s legal team. (OK, no more kicking the Duke when he’s looking at time in the Stir.)

    Besides, the Padres are far more important.

    Since San Diego rookie right-hander Tim Stauffer opened his major league debut May 11 at Cincinati by nailing Reds’ leadoff hitter Ryan Freel with his fifth pitch and, two pitches later, allowing eventual National League All-Star Felipe Lopez to belt a two-run home run to straightaway center field, Padres fans, the Union-Tribune beat writer who lives off Ducksnorts, and yours truly have remarked time and again about the kid’s first-inning struggles.

    Granted, Stauffer’s problems in the first frame have called to mind, on the optimistic side, the early-game woes of Tom Glavine, while my more cynical pals can only recall the hapless, hopeless efforts, left and right coasts, of Tim Redding, thankfully no longer the Padres problem.

    With Stauffer set to make his 13th start tonight against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, I expected to center this entry around Stauffer’s first-inning battles. Then I reviewed his numbers.

    Granted, Stauffer has faced the balance of his problems in the first inning, where he’s allowed 12 runs (9.00 ERA) on 20 hits (15.00 Hits/9), while walking 11 (8.25 BB/9) and striking out just three (2.25 K/9). Stauffer is sporting a first-inning WHIP of 2.58, and that doesn’t include his two hit batsmen in the opening stanza against the Reds. He’s thrown a whopping 288 pitches (24.0 per inning) in the first inning. Those 288 pitches represent 24.8 percent of the pitches Stauffer’s thrown in his big league career.

    Stauffer’s done a solid job, with a 3-5 record and 4.42 ERA. He’s made it into the sixth inning in each of his 12 starts. He’s done some of his best work in his last three outings, going 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA and allowing just 20 hits and nine runs (seven earned) in 18.2 innings while striking out 11 and walking five.

    Most important, the Padres have gone 6-6 in Stauffer’s 12 starts, putting to rest the calls for the return of Ismael Valdez and pleas for any San Diego number-five starter to win a game.

    So, when I dug into Stauffer’s first-inning numbers, I went looking not for the worst, but for the best. I wanted to see if the kid had made it through the first unscathed. Turns out, he had. In four of his 12 starts, Stauffer has gotten through the first frame without allowing a run.

    Guess what Stauffer’s record is in those four games?

    3-0 with a no decision, right?


    Try 0-4!

    After picking the remnants of the crow’s feathers from my teeth, I downed a cold drink and got to work.

    In four outings, Stauffer threw a scoreless opening inning:

    May 22, at Seattle, Mariners won, 5-0;
    June 2, at Chicago Cubs, Cubs won, 5-0;
    June 22, vs. Los Angeles, Dodgers won, 6-4
    June 27, at Los Angeles, Dodgers won, 5-4

    Here’s the breakdown (NOTE: Use the hypens to break things up. DS is a great web site, but graphics are tough, if not impossible.):

    Four Starts With Scoreless Firsts

    Eight Starts With First-Inning Woes

    Four Scoreless Firsts (0-4, 7.06)

    Eight Nervous Firsts (3-1, 3.26)

    Puzzling, isn’t it? Either Stauffer owns stock in the chief San Diego wholesale distributor of Tums tablets and just wants to boost sales, or the kid is violating the starting pitchers’ cardinal rule of “If you’re going to get him, get him early.” When opponents pound Stauffer early, the kid is 3-1 and the Padres 6-2.

    Actually, in the four games Stauffer’s gotten through the first inning with little, if any, trouble, he’s run into trouble in the second and sixth innings, allowing five runs in each stanza, and the third inning, allowing four runs.

    Here are the breakdowns in the second, third, and sixth innings of the four games in which Stauffer finished the first without giving up a run.

    Four Scoreless Firsts (0-4, 7.06)

    9.1 IP-18-14/14-6-7-200-124-76-52

    * – 1.1 IP. Finished the sixth inning only once in these four games.

    Indeed, Stauffer’s numbers in the eight starts that he’s allowed first-inning runs are not pretty.

    ERA-H/9-BB/9-K/9-TP Avg-Strikes-Balls-BF

    But the fact remains that, in these eight starts, the kid is 3-1, 3.26 ERA and the Padres are 6-2.

    The Padres lost at Minnesota, 5-4, on June 17. In that game, Stauffer departed with a 4-3 lead after five-plus innings, allowing seven hits and three earned runs. Akinori Otsuka surrendered the game-tying run in the eighth inning, and Dennys (Waived Good Bye) Reyes allowed the game-winner in the 11th.

    In his last start, Stauffer allowed just two earned runs on seven hits in six innings against Arizona. He left trailing the Diamondbacks and Brad Halsey, 2-1. Unfortunately, Chris Hammond allowed two in the seventh and the Thankfully Departed Mr. Reyes two more in the eighth. The Arizona pen backed up Halsey, holding the Padres to just two hits in the final three frames, and the Diamondbacks won, 6-1.

    It really makes little sense, but the numbers tell any interesting tale.

    Tim Stauffer, so far in his major league career, is more apt to pitch the Padres to victory when he gets behind in the first inning.

    Let’s see what happens tonight.

    One thing’s for sure: Terrell Owens will not throw out the first pitch at the game. Maybe the Phils can convince Phillip Rivers to do the job, instead?

  2. Thanks to yesterday’s 12-0 loss and sweep to the Mets, the Padres have now been outscored on the season. They have scored 425 runs and given up 427 runs. Can’t anybody here play this game?

  3. Thank you Mr. Coffee. That was a very interesting read. Here’s hoping Timmy(!) (and the Lords of the Underworld) can throw a shutout tonight.

  4. OK, who’s watching this craziness?

  5. Wow! Mr. Coffee! Terrific effort!

  6. Uh oh. Stauffer has a 1-2-3 first inning. By Iced Coffee’s estimate, that means the Padres lose. Again.

  7. Yes, Mr. Coffee. It was unintentional, at first, but seemed at least mildly humorous on reflection. And goodness knows we can all use some levity the way the Pads are playing.

  8. Ducksnort alert: The Phillies announcers just said “ducksnort.”

  9. Not watching at the moment, but monitoring Gameday. Maybe Timmy can break the trend tonight.

  10. No Nady. Fucking Blum over Nady? Blum has an OPS of .711 against RHP, Nady has .795. True Blum is probably a better defender, but it has not been defense driving these losses.

    And Sweeney vs. Nevin? Sweeney is .967 vs. RHP and Nevin is .716.

    I know all of this is not Bochy, but I cannot stand his choices. Yes, Blum did get an infield single, but Nady has a chance to jack one every time he goes up there.

    They have gotten 41 pitches through two innings off of Padilla, but small solace.

    A pet peeve: Klesko’s AB? I am watching this on Gameday, so cannot see what is going on, but Padilla walks Giles (granted hard fought) and is 2-0 and swings at outside corner pitch trying to pull it. Take a strike unless it is dead red and the Gameday sure did not make it look like it.

  11. I actually meant Terrific Effort, Iced Coffee. A lot of work and thought behind that post. Not that Mr. Coffee wasn’t good too.

  12. Stauffer just had his first inning an inning late.

  13. Two runs may be too much for our offense to overcome against a Hall of Famer like Vincente Padilla.

  14. finally a hard hit ball..

  15. Actually, these are the Padres guys. Maybe they threw out a ducksnort reference on purpose. Who are these guys again?

  16. Padilla, with 44Ks in 67IP to date, has 4Ks in 4IP vs. San Diego thus far.

  17. Yo, just got home. Great to see Blum and Nevin in the lineup. That’ll cure what ails us.

  18. Hey, Geoff, who are the broadcasters?

  19. Could someone please explain what happened on the Roberts play? Because neither Leitner nor Coleman did.

  20. Kevin: TV guys are Mark Grant and Matt Vasgersian.

    Brian: Ball was hit to shallow center, Roberts came in and dived; he got a glove on it but the ball trickled away for a base hit.

  21. Someone told me Grant was gone. I had not gotten the San Diego feed in some time.

  22. Thank you. Coleman made it sound like an easy play that Roberts caught then mysteriously dropped. It was never explained. The Colonel needs to hang up his wings.

  23. Grant was on vacation for a while, but he’s back.

  24. It gets better, folks. Astacio starts tomorrow.

  25. Why? Was no Rule 5 guy available?

  26. Heckuva time for Loretta to hit his first homer.

  27. Get back, Loretta! His first homer of the year.

  28. LOL, Brian. Maybe they can track down Kerry Taylor.

  29. Giles goes upper tank, tie game.

  30. Or Eric Nolte. ;>)

  31. Giles goes upper deck. I think this is a hitters’ park, boys and girls.

  32. Nolte. That’s choice.

    Let’s go, Ryno…

  33. Roberts got pissed at the ump. Then Loretta and Giles took it out on the ball. It would be nice to see some fire from this team.

  34. Nevin has to know you can’t swing while you’re bailing out on the pitch. Not a good approach.

  35. OMG, Nady is coming in for Nevin as part of a double switch.

  36. Double switch time!

  37. Geoff, is the name Wally Pipp ringing in your head?

  38. Blum: Home run. What a great lineup move by Bochy! ;)

  39. Roberts strikes out looking for the third time. If EY is fully healthy and capable of playing the outfield, he’s up there against Cormier. Oh well.

  40. Clemens leaves tonight’s game after six, giving up no runs with an 8-0 lead. His ERA is down to 1.40.

  41. Great job by Ryno. Tie game.

  42. Klesko singles past short to drive in two and tie the game again. Sweeney bats for Linebrink and is intentionally walked.

  43. That was a nice approach by Klesko. Up to Greene now. He’s been swinging the bat well lately.

  44. I’m going to see “Hustle & Flow.” Here’s hoping the Padres pimp-slap the Phillies.

  45. Enjoy the movie, Kevin. Hensley on to work the seventh of a tie game. Klesko takes a Kerry Robinson route but makes the catch to retire Chase Utley for the first out. Wow, Hensley fans Abreu on three pitches. Kid looks pretty good.

  46. Just got in. Thanks for the compliments.

    Even worse, it looks like I was correct.

    Stauffer tosses his fifth scoreless first inning of the season.

    Then Stauffer gives up a career-high six runs on six hits and three walks, including TWO GIFT PASSES in the sixth.

    Thankfully, the Padres have rallied to tie this thing a 6-6.

  47. At least, on the positive side, Stauffer made it into the sixth inning for his 13th straight start.

    Much like against Frisco, the Cubs, and the Twins, he just ran out of gas and started dishing out Head To First Base Free cards.

  48. Worst. Baserunning. Ever. Wait till you see this one on replay tonight. Ramon is thrown out by 30 feet trying to score from second on a double by Blum.

  49. This team finds the most creative ways to keep from scoring. How often do back-to-back doubles not result in at least one run?