Playoff IGD: Padres @ Cardinals (6 Oct 2005)

first pitch: 10:05 a.m., PT
television: ESPN2
matchup: Pedro Astacio vs Mark Mulder
preview: Yahoo!

Whatever else folks might say about the Padres, nobody can accuse them of quitting on themselves or their fans. As they have done all year, the Padres on Tuesday battled back after finding themselves in a precarious situation. They almost stole a victory despite falling behind 8-0 early and losing ace Jake Peavy to a fractured rib.

No, they didn’t win. But neither did they quit.

Condescension or Comprehension?

You will hear a lot of experts speak in condescending tones about the Padres because of their regular season record, the quality of play in the NL West, and whatever reason happens to be convenient. That shouldn’t be too surprising: condescension requires a good deal less effort than any genuine attempt at comprehension. It is much easier to dismiss the Padres with a sneer, a guffaw, a rolling of the eyes than it is to examine the situation and try to figure out whether the “obvious outcome” really is obvious.

With that in mind, one question we might consider is how the Game 2 starters have fared against the batters they are likely to face:

Astacio and Mulder: Head-to-Head Matchups
Astacio vs current Cardinals 203 .335 .378 .581
Mulder vs current Padres 84 .393 .458 .571

Neither starter has shown much of an ability to retire guys on the other team. For the Cardinals, Larry Walker (.500/.533/.846 in 26 AB) and Albert Pujols (.364/.333/1.182 in 11 AB) have posted silly numbers against Astacio. The only guy who hasn’t owned Astacio is Game 1 hero Reggie Sanders (.265/.315/.490 in 49 AB), and even he’s done reasonably well.

For the Padres, the sample is a lot smaller. Joe Randa (.375/.409/.625 in 40 AB) and Eric Young (.389/.500/.556 in 18 AB) are the only current Friars who have logged more than 10 at-bats against Mulder. Former top prospect Xavier Nady has faced Mulder three times and has two singles and a double. The Padres have been reluctant to give Nady much of a chance as a starter, but now might be a time to stick him in the lineup.

Battle of Bullpens?

If we are to believe these numbers ― and given the sample size against Mulder and the Padres’ Jekyll-and-Hyde offense, it’s hard to know what to believe ― we would be right to expect both teams to score some runs.

If that is the case, then the game could become a battle of the bullpens. Based on their respective showings in Game 1, such a battle would seem to favor the Padres (4.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO on Tuesday, vs 3.0, 10, 5, 1, 3 for the Cardinals).

I Feel Fine, I Feel Happy

Here’s the thing about the Padres: They won’t die. You whack them on the back of the head, you think they are dead. Next thing you know, they want to go for a walk.

They’re stubborn that way.

The Punch Line

Nobody is giving the Padres a chance to win. Nobody really even wants the Padres to win. It’s bad for business, you know?

But here’s the crazy thing. If the Pads can hit Mulder as they have in the past and get to him early, and if Astacio can give his team even 5 solid innings (which he’s been able to do more often than not since coming over from Texas), they have a fighting chance. And assuming that the Padres are prepared to fight, that just might be enough.

Crazy, right? I think I’ll go for a walk now.

243 Responses »

  1. wow. LOB and DP is the story of the series for the Padres.

  2. Who’s comin’ in?

  3. Klesko catches a first pitch soft liner to left…and looks about as bad as you possibly could and still make the catch. Nothing easy with the glove for this team.

  4. Otsuka pitching. Y.Molina lined out to left fielder Klesko

    … first Padres’ pitcher today to get out the first batter he faced … not a fun fact …

  5. 3 up, 3 down.

  6. According to this article:

    the Padres had exactly one player in the top 100 in MLB in defensive Win Shares. I’ll let you guess as to who that is ’cause I couldn’t.

    The Royals, who lost 1,000,000,000,000 games this year, had two.

  7. Nice IP by Aki …

    Gall grounded out, shortstop K.Greene to first baseman Nady. Eckstein grounded out, first baseman Nady to pitcher Otsuka.

  8. 1) We’ve now outhit the Cards, 23-16, in the series.
    2) We’re still in better shape going into the ninth than we were on Tuesday.

  9. We’re at a good spot in our lineup: DJ, Klesko, Loretta … get a few on … let Ramon/Giles/Greene do their thing!


  10. BG … I’m guessing that means it wasn’t Giles? Khalil?

  11. The winning machine will lead us off!

    D.Roberts pinch-hitting for D.Jackson.

  12. Roberts high pop to center.

  13. D.Roberts flied out to center fielder Edmonds.

  14. Kleso clueless against Izzy.

  15. Where’s Chad Cordero when you need him?

  16. Lynch – No, it was Geoff Blum. (Ha ha ha.) Correct you are! Khalil Greene is the only Padre in the MLB top 100 in defensive win shares.

  17. Loretta pops up & this one is over. Ahhh, but it will only make Monday night’s win the sweeter.

  18. Klesko struck out. Loretta popped out to shortstop Eckstein.

    Say goodnight!

  19. DP – That is SERIOUSLY half full!

  20. Remember 1984!

    We need the Card-busters!

  21. Downright certifiable.

  22. *sigh* I can’t believe it all rests on Woody. Nevertheless, I will be there to cheer him and the boys on. The comeback starts now.


  23. Way to go, dprat, for sticking to The Perpetually Half-Full Chalice … have a GREAT weekend! And we’ll see you Monday!!!

  24. And in remembering 1984, what, for you, was the turning point?

    For me, I remember a VERY distinct turning point … do you?

    Details @ 11 :-)

  25. StL 16H 9BB 11K 3GiDP 1E 26LOB
    SD 23H 6BB 10K 7GiDP 2E 41LOB

  26. I did not get to watch the game, but 1) I hate Reggie Sanders, not only for killing us, but for being such deadweight when he played for us. 2) For Bochy using ALL of his RHB bench, leaving only LHB to face Flores. 3) Using Sweeney (.520 OPS vs. LHP) rather than Fick (.760 OPS vs. LHP)

  27. Also, for starting Ben Johnson in RF. I know I wanted him to play but to start? While DJ is on the bench? Crazy move. Also for hitting Giles 4th again.
    Then again, 4GiDP will kill the momentum anytime.

  28. Here’s a hint (about my recollection of THE turning point in the 1984 NLCS) … you won’t find it in a box score!

  29. Well, I now hate this team with a passion. That was an utterly humilating attempt at playing baseball, the worst I’ve seen in a playoff game.

    But my particular vile this afternoon (fueled by some beers) goes to Hernandez for not blocking the plate…twice. Greene booted a ball, happens, Klesko popped up, what’s new, offense left had 6 LOBs+, stardard OP, Pedro walked a ton, par for the course, but Hernandez not blocking the fucking plate twice goes to his HEART and we discover he has none. I would NEVER re-sign him, EVER. He is a pussy.

    Sorry, Geoff for the langauge.

    The surgery and now wimping out at the plate, forget him. I’ll take Olivo throwing an in-play ball into the stands for two runs any time as long as he blocks the plate.

    Good riddance, Poppy. May you rot in hell playing for the Devilrays the remainder of your miserable career.

    But hey, your hair looks great, Poppy! Nice highlights. Email me on AOL sometime, hey guy. We’ll have a good time.

    Go Angels!!!

  30. This recaps the pain pretty well … … ug.

  31. As Didi showed, statistically we have out-performed St. Louis. In my calculcations, here is what I saw:

    SD vs. STL OPS

    Game 1: .728 vs. .581 = .145
    Game 2: .901 vs. .893 = .008

    So in both games the Padres outperformed, but lost. 7 GIDP vs. 1 is a big factor, as well as RISP. I personally think BA with RISP is mostly luck. The GIDP I am mixed on; seems like skill, but some of the hits were shots.

    So, fewer GIDP and some luck and they can win. It starts in the next game.

  32. Worth noting that Ben Johnson had hit better than Damian Jackson even if it was a relatively small sample (31 games, I believe).

  33. Mike: Hey, we all lose our cool. But please, don’t ever use the word “Klesko” around here again.

    LM: That recaps the *season* pretty well.

    Didi & Jay: Excellent observations. This is what I will be focusing on in the recap. For one thing, I’ve been pretty unimpressed with the Cardinals pitching. They got the job done when they needed to but I was expecting them to show signs of dominance and they really haven’t at all.

  34. Gees, sorry about using the K-word. Begging forgiven.

    Last point, all of baseball watched you poppy puss out at the plate. Probably cost him a coupla large on his next contract.

    Anyway, a few beers later and the taste of playoff humiliation is nearly gone. Cranking the Green Day, and hoping Saturday is better. That is all you can do with this team.

    For what its worth, the guys at DS IGD are troopers. Hang in there. (Now I know i’ve had too many, I’ll qbe uiet now:o)


  35. Geoff, regarding your comments on the Cards starting pitching: First, I have to say I’m not sure what you were expecting when you say dominating, but what you’ve seen is pretty much what we Cards fans get from our starters. With the exception of Carpenter this summer, when he was kicking butt and tossing shutouts, Mulder’s performance today was pretty typical. Let the other team make contact, count on the defense behind you to catch, which they do fairly well. I’m not sure where the Cards’ 100 errors ranks league-wise, but I know they induced more double plays than any other team in the majors, 196 during the regular season.

    So what’s happened in the series so far, is basically par for the course, just a bit more extreme. Like I said, except for Carp (and in the 2nd half of the season Suppan(?!), they don’t strike guys out. Marquis, when he pitches smart and relies on his sinker, which he did this last month, but not from june-August, is a groundball pitcher, so’s Mulder, so’s Soup (Actually, lboros at Viva el Birdos had a nice post a few days back about how Suppan’s numbers this season are basically equal to Mulder’s, which can either mean Mulder’s stinking up the joint, or Soup’s having a career year. Little of both I think.) And the bullpen is basically more of the same, unless LaRussa had decided to put Tyler Johnson or Anthony Reyes (couple of young strikeout pitchers), which he didn’t.
    On the plus side for the Pads, Morris goes on Saturday and his post-All-Star ERA is about 5.80 (why isn’t Tony starting Soup again? I feel ill.)

  36. Calvin Pitt: There has been a lot of hype surrounding the Cardinals’ starting rotation and I’m not sure the degree to which it’s justified. Carpenter looked shaky on Tuesday, and although I didn’t see today’s game, I would’ve expected better than 11 baserunners against 2 strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings out of Mulder.

    Sounds like what’s happened in the series is par for the course on both sides. The Padres put guys on base and don’t drive them in. And they don’t make plays in the field. It happened in Game 1 and again today.

  37. re: 1984 … OK, here’s what I remember … the definitive turning point of the 1984 NCLS was the player introductions prior to game 3 … I wasn’t there … was watching on TV … but I recall what Garry Templeton did … when introduced, instead of just the obligatory doff of the cap, he step’d out of the player line along the baseline and started whiping his cap, igniting the crowd to a frenzied cheer … his spirit was contageous … his spirit and the refreshed spirits of the Padres’ fans change the “mo” … and the rest is history. I was there for games 4 & 5 … the Garvey game, Gwynn’s smash over Ryne Sandberg … what a weekend!

    If the Padres can catch that lightening in bottle again this weekend, I like their chances on Monday back @ Busch!


  38. Geoff, I’m guessing the hype over the rotation was from media sources. That’s why as a rule I stick to blogs. The people who follow and root for the team, I think have a more analytical eye than writers who have to follow all 30 teams, and I haven’t seen many Cards bloggers proclaiming the overwhelming dominance of the Cardinal rotation.

    The thing is, we recognize that on any given day all those ground balls that turned into double plays could have just as easily been run-scoring singles. I think anybody who says the rotation is dominant (isn’t aware of just how important the defense is. I already mentioned the DPs, Edmonds skills are pretty well known, Sanders, Taguchi, Walker are fine as corner OFs, Molina pretty much shuts down the other teams running games. All that stuff makes it easier because the pitchers don’t have to worry so much about striking guys out, which none of them (sans Carp when he’s on his game, which he still doesn’t seem to be) are very good at.

    That’s why I’m reading a bunch of Padre blogs instead of ESPN or You’ve followed this team all year. You know what’s going on. If I cared about Boston or the Yankees, then maybe I’d trust the media’s info.

  39. I suspect that much of Brian Lawrence and Woody Williams’ struggles this year have actually been the defense behind them.

  40. which is the flip side of the Cardinals pitchers and their career years the last two years.

  41. CalvinPitt: You’re probably right about the hype. It just gets old hearing how much our team sucks, especially when most teams aren’t even in the dance, but I know that’s got nothing to do with you. Apologies if I got snippy.

    I’m researching the Cardinals’ defense right now. I’m skeptical of most available metrics, but your point about double plays is a good one. The numbers are quite alarming, especially if you happen to be, to use one of Eric’s examples, Brian Lawrence.