A Lot Can Go Wrong in a Game

I don’t have the heart to watch this one a second time on TiVo, so we’ll have to rely on my impressions of Wednesday night’s game (recap | box score) as viewed from the upper deck. Scary proposition, I know, but there it is.

  • David Wells pitched a beautiful game. Honestly, I don’t know that he’s capable of much better and I don’t know that we have the right to ask for anything more than what he gave last night. The only runs that scored against him came as a result of poor defense or questionable officiating. Wells kept Arizona hitters off-balance all night.
  • Brandon Webb appeared to be elevating his pitches in the first inning. The Padres probably should have taken better advantage of that, because the defending Cy Young Award winner promptly settled into a serious groove. It also seemed like he threw a lot more breaking balls and off-speed pitches than usual. I’m doing this without looking at any numbers, but when I think of Webb, I think of a guy who constantly pounds the bottom of the zone with a deadly sinker. The quality and quantity of his secondary pitches caught me a bit off-guard, and judging from some of the swings by Padres batters, I’m not the only one.
  • I’m a little concerned about Mike Cameron. The Snakes scored their first run essentially because Cameron again got a horrible read on a routine fly ball off the bat of Stephen Drew to start the game. Even with his speed and athleticism, Cameron couldn’t quite recover. Drew never stopped running and was credited with a double. According to the U-T, that was the fourth ball Cameron has lost this week. Could be selective memory, but I don’t recall him misplaying four balls all last year. Needless to say, if Cameron can’t remember how to play center field, the Padres are, to get technical, totally hosed.
  • There was a stretch during the middle innings where the approach of Padres hitters went down the toilet. At one point at least three, maybe four, guys were retired on Webb’s first pitch. News flash: Webb is a damn good pitcher; he doesn’t need any help.
  • I didn’t see the check swing call in the seventh that went against Wells, but I had a decent view of the force play at second base. Dana DeMuth ruled that Marcus Giles (NOG) had pulled his foot off the bag. From where I sat, it looked like the runner might have beaten Khalil Greene‘s throw, but that NOG held his ground. Although Wells did a tremendous job to get out of the inning with just one run, it shouldn’t have come to that.
  • Folks from out of town are welcome to attribute my complaints to general SoCal wimpiness, but it was really freakin’ cold at Petco last night. Cold, damp, and the winds were swirling. It felt like Candlestick. I mention this not because of any impact these conditions had on me, but because balls were not carrying last night. In the eighth, after the “other” Chris Young clanked a fly ball off the bat of Brian Giles (OG), Cameron just laid into one. Off the bat, I thought it had a chance to leave the yard. Worst case, I figured it would split the gap in right-center and score OG. No such luck. Young caught the ball with ease, well in front of the warning track.
  • Did we really get the same Kevin Kouzmanoff that everyone says can hit but not field? I ask because so far he’s playing terrific defense and looking lost at the plate. Someone needs to throw him and Greene nothing but breaking balls in batting practice.
  • First criticism of Bud Black. In the ninth, Pete LaForest singled to right to open the frame. With Trevor Hoffman due up, Black sent Geoff Blum to the plate and Rob Bowen in to run for LaForest. With a 13-man pitching staff and Russell Branyan already out of the game, this left Jose Cruz Jr. as the only position player available. Still, Blum had won the previous game and if Brandon Lyon hangs a breaking ball, lightning might strike twice. The flaw in this thinking has to do with the situation. I’m not a huge fan of the sacrifice bunt, but if there’s ever a time to employ a one-run strategy, it’s with a guy on first and nobody out in the bottom of the ninth. You need that runner in scoring position. Given that fact, wouldn’t it make more sense to let one of the starting pitchers come up and do the job? First off, presumably they’ve spent more time working on their bunting; second, loathe as I am to say this, Blum might come in handy later. The only things I can figure are that a) Black assumed the play would work and wasn’t concerned about burning two of his three available position players in the name of making an out or b) he didn’t want to tip his hand by having a pitcher standing at the plate. In my estimation, for whatever that might be worth, neither was a good reason to burn Blum and Bowen on a sacrifice attempt. To be clear, I have no problem with the strategy Black employed; given the situation, it made perfect sense. Where I take exception is in the tactical decision to use resources that might better be deployed elsewhere. When Blum came to the plate to lay down a bunt, for a brief moment, I thought that somehow Bruce Bochy had snuck back into the dugout.

Frustrating game. This is a good Padres team, but they’re not good enough that they can give the opposition extra opportunities and still expect to win games.

Padres Prospect Report

by Peter Friberg

You will not see all the notable performances from the night before, but you will see the notable performances from those who are actually prospects.


Cesar Carrillo: 5.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 2 SO, 0 HR — is that progress?


No games scheduled


Matt Antonelli: 5 AB, 1 R, 2 H, 0 RBI; 2B
David Freese: 4 AB, 0 R, 2 H, 2 RBI; BB, SO
Kyle Blanks: 5 AB, 1 R, 2 H, 1 RBI
Chad Huffman: 4 AB, 0 R, 2 H, 0 RBI


Cedric Hunter: 4 AB, 1 R, 2 H, 1 RBI; 2B
Orlando Lara: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO, 0 HR


I’m in Atlanta, so it’s either too late or too early (according to my body) and I have to be in a class all day (though I may be at Turner Field tomorrow).

I’ll commentate another time.

Thanks, Peter. Day game on Thursday, no television. We’ll have the IGD up and running by 11:30 a.m. PT. A win would be good…

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15 Responses »

  1. Very tough game. Heard Boomer this morning saying the ump was making fun of his fattness. Check Cams eyes I’m telling you. Eyesite going explains poor batting and fielding. Not saying going blind, but even a little makes a difference. Tony Gwynn once said it hurt his offense when his eyes went from 20/15 to 20/20. And the Padres continue to be unable to hit in clutch situations. Although OG seems to be heating up and that is a welcome sign.

  2. Mike Cameron’s eyesight is really bugging me. His instinct may be still very good but if he keeps losing the flyballs while tracking them, he should get his eyes checked. I’m could be off base here, but aren’t the team doctors available?

    Just checked the batting stats for the Padres.
    While the total hits and doubles put the Padres in the middle of the pack in the NL, their TBs and XBHs are in the top 5. The RS, RBI, and OBP of the team are in the bottom 5 of the league. And that’s with El Hombre’s and NOG’s numbers included. For a team that’s supposed to be embracing the importance of getting on base to create runs, the Padres sure have swung at a lot of first pitches and striking outs.
    The good news is that the Padres can only improve from here, I hope.

    I’m not a fan of changing lineups everyday, but when Mike Cameron is only having 10 TB for the season, shouldn’t he be hitting in the lower spots if only to keep pressure off of him to drive in runs (OPS .419). I hope this is not also because of his eyesight. His BB/SO ratio seems to in line with his career’s.

    Go Padres!

  3. Agree with most of your analysis. Was at the game last night in the Toyota Terrace – so like you this all comes without benefit of the “rewind” and “slow-mo” buttons.

    - Khalil looked absolutely horrible in his first 3 at bats. It was so bad that my sister comment that it looked like he didn’t even want to be up to bat. Not something you want to see out of the guy hitting in the #5 spot.

    - We got some seriously bad calls from the umps. Although I did enjoy what was left of the crowd chanting a very lowd “you suck” at the first base ump in the 12th.

    - Webb definitely looked more like a breaking ball pitcher last night than the sinker pitcher that he is. Scary to think about him getting it all working at the same time.

    - It was a little chilly, my wife was freezing, but coming from a guy who grew up attending candlestick night games – it was no candlestick.

  4. I agree with the above sentiments: Cammy needs his eyes checked. We all knew that he wasn’t a king at the plate, but if he can’t handle CF in Petco, he’s quickly losing his value. At this point, I’d rather have Cruz in CF on a regular basis with Sledge and the soon-to-be-recalled P-Mac handling LF.

    I’m pretty impressed with OG thus far. I’ve been one of his biggest detractors since we made the trade (silly me, I was an Ollie fan. Didn’t realize then that the person I should have cared about in that trade was Bay…) OG is playing well and seems to be hitting great. NOG is also playing well, and I’m totally fine with him over Barf.

    Re: Kouz – I think that he’s starting to come around a bit. Granted, that 8th inning AB against Webb made me cringe, but he seems to be making better and more consistent contact. His defense has been a huge surprise.

    As a side note (and I tend to be biased because I’m one of his biggest fans) but has anyone else noticed that Greeney is right in the thick of important scoring plays for the Pads? He’s scored three game-winning runs already this year, and he tied up the game with a nice AB off of a pitcher that had been owning him all nite. I know his BA isn’t where I’d like it to be, but at least he’s making things happen offensively.

  5. #3: The wind doesn’t blow on the Toyota Terrace the same way it does upper tank. I’ve only been to Candlestick once, so I’ll take your word for it, but last night was just as cold as that one game.

  6. Good call about using a pitcher to bunt. I nominate Maddux as the designated bunter. Everyone in the park knows he’s going to bunt, he squares around before the pitcher is even set and he still gets it down every time.

    I thought pinch running Bowen for LaForest was a terrible move. How much faster is Bowen, 1%? Why not let Clay Hensley run? He’s got to be faster than Bowen.

    The Cameron situation has reached crisis proportions. He’s a streaky hitter so that alone wouldn’t be cause for concern but when he’s literally losing ballgames for you on both sides of the field it’s hard to justify starting him. It’s either his eyesight or some kind of off the field distraction. Just watching him it seems like his head isn’t in the game.

  7. 5: Argreed. Just not quite ready to start making these for Petco quite yet:

  8. The Mike Cameron situation is a sticky one, and I have to admit that every time he comes up to bat or makes a play in center like he did last night I’m reminded that his contract negotiations with KT have been put on hold. That, and the frequent rumors of putting money away for one of Ichiro, Torii Hunter, or Andruw Jones.

  9. On the telecast Tony seemed to think having Blum bunt was an acceptable play, but Matty V was obviously taken by surprise. I agree that we should have either had someone else bunt or let Blum swing away.

    It really hurt to watch us burn through so many pitchers once again last night. I’m scared that Peavy is going to go out there today feeling like he needs to go all 9 and overthrow as a result.

    As others have mentioned, my biggest concern right now is with Cameron. I’m beginning to think that there might be a problem with him that the media does not know about yet.

  10. The Padres didn’t lose the game. The umpires ripped it from them. Arizona scored only one of their runs w/o umpire assistance and that was the one Cameron gave them.

  11. Bowen is faster than LaForest. Pete is almost Agon slow. Agree with most everybody, though, that you don’t burn two of your three bench players just to get one runner to second base. Why not have Hensley pinch-run and Maddux bunt? I was hoping for a little more creativity from Black, not baseball by the 1978 Book.

  12. Re: 11 that’s what I was screaming last night, although the lack of bench players never really hurt the pads last night, thanks in large part to Wells going 7 innings.

    What Killed the padres was their lack of patience against Webb, if they would have taken more pitches and forced him to throw pitches up higher in the zone they would have got Webb out of the game earlier. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the padres most patient pitcher (O.G.) had a 4 hit night while Greenie, Sledge and Cameron took bad hacks at sinkers all night.

  13. I was surprised to see Cameron in the third spot last night. He’s struggling at the plate and you move him to the third spot where he could potentially have more at bats in a game? Not sure about that decision. I would like to see him moved down as well. Maybe bat Crudge in the second spot , OG third and Cameron fifth or six until he snaps out of this slump?

  14. Cam looks mainly lost on balls hit right at him. If there are balls hit to either side of him (think of a 3′ perimeter around him), he seems to be okay, but it’s almost like a loss of depth perception on anything hit to him.

    Pinch-hitting Blummer last night only to have him bunt was pretty head-scratching. Between that and hitting for Kouz in the 9th the other day, Black has some ‘splainin to do regarding his late-game decisions.

    As for blaming the umpires, blame the lack of offensive production with RISP. That’s the bigger problem.

  15. 14: Absolutely right. The umps aren’t the reason the Padres are losing. Lack of execution is taxing the bullpen and putting the team in situations where close calls can decide the game.

    Look at all the calls that hurt the Padres last night. Bowen out at second, the checked swing on Jackson, the call that got Boomer tossed, the NOG play at second (looked safe from the upper deck at least). All that doesn’t matter (or doesn’t happen at all) if the team just gets that runner home in the 9th.