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.
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…