Snakes on a Baseball Diamond

After a much-needed off day on Monday, the Padres head to Phoenix for a midweek series. We’ll see three potentially excellent pitching matchups: David Wells vs Randy Johnson on Tuesday, Jake Peavy vs Brandon Webb on Wednesday, and Chris Young vs Livan Hernandez on Thursday.

Speaking of pitchers, the Padres are back down to a 12-man staff. Right-hander Aaron Rakers has been returned to Triple-A Portland, with infielder Oscar Robles replacing him on the big-league roster.

Robles doesn’t have much of a track record, but he impressed me during spring training with his bat control. Still, he essentially duplicates the skill set of Geoff Blum. Also, Robles is a left-handed batter, so I’m not sure how this addresses the Padres’ one glaring weakness on the bench. Then again, I don’t really understand why 12 pitchers are necessary.

The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, enter this series with a 10-10 record that is fully supported by their -2 run differential (79 vs 81). The small differential is a little surprising given that they’re being outhit in the early going:

Arizona Diamondbacks Team Batting through April 23, 2007
  AB BA OBP SLG
Diamondbacks 679 .243 .319 .359
Opponents 695 .262 .341 .401
Stats courtesy of ESPN.

That shouldn’t work out to a 2-run difference over 20 games, but anything can happen in a small sample. Individually, Orlando Hudson and Eric Byrnes are about the only bright spots on offense so far. This concerns me because Conor Jackson, Carlos Quentin, and Chad Tracy all are terrific hitters who could catch fire at any moment. Quentin also apparently has a huge ego.

On the pitching side, Arizona has gotten strong work from its rotation. Webb got off to a shaky start but dominated the Padres last week in San Diego. Doug Davis and Livan Hernandez have shiny ERAs that are undermined by poor peripheral numbers. Unless something changes soon, both are due for a “correction” of sorts. Even youngsters Edgar Gonzalez, Micah Owings, and Yusmeiro Petit have pitched well. And we haven’t even mentioned Johnson, who makes his 2007 debut tonight.

This is a good ballclub. I still think they represent a more serious threat to the Padres than do the more hyped Dodgers. It bothers me that Arizona is holding ground without getting any contribution from Jackson, Johnson, Quentin, Tracy, Chris B. Young, or Stephen Drew. The Diamondbacks strike me as a team that could catch fire at some point and never look back. Then again, they just got abused by the worst team in the division, so who knows.

There’s a tremendous amount of talent here. The question now is how well they’ll respond to a full season working together toward a common goal in the big leagues. For you and me, the answer is, hopefully not quite well enough…

For some stupid reason, I forgot to include Peter’s report this morning. Sorry ’bout that! Here it is…

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.

AAA

Luke Carlin: 4 AB, 2 R, 2 H, 1 RBI; BB
Cesar Carrillo: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO, 0 HR – rain delay

AA

Will Venable: 4 AB, 0 R, 2 H, 0 RBI
Chase Headley: 3 AB, 0 R, 0 H, 0 RBI; BB, SO
Sean Thompson: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 3 SO, 0 HR

High-A

David Freese: 4 AB, 1 R, 2 H, 1 RBI; HR, SO
Kyle Blanks: 4 AB, 0 R, 2 H, 0 RBI; CS
Brent Carter: 4.2 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO, 1 HR

Low-A

Ernesto Frieri: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO, 0 HR

Commentary:

Headley is now hitting .160/.222/.240 at home and .432/.523/.811 on the road…

One night after Lake Elsinore pounded High Desert 15-3, the Storm take it on the chin: 10-1.

Tonight’s game starts at 6:40 p.m. PT. We’ll have the IGD up and running by 5:30. Go Padres!

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17 Responses »

  1. I want these ************* snakes off this ************ diamond!!

  2. I noticed this morning that Manny Alexander was traded to the Nationals for a player to be named later. I thought it was surprising that anyone not involved with the Padres organization even knew Manny was still alive let alone playing baseball. Weird. Well I hope that works out for them. I am also kinda curious who the hell we might have coming back in return for him. I mean it would probably be a steal if KT got maybe a half eaten bag of sunflower seeds but if we got a arm that is I don’t know maybe younger than 54 I say it might be one of KT’s best moves ever!

  3. BP’s Post-Season Odds Report … http://www.baseballprospectus.com/statistics/ps_odds.php … says Padres @ 48% … Dogs @ 41% … I’ll take them odds :-)

  4. Loving comment #2 – I’d probably trade him for some Big League Chew (though probably only the strawberry flavor) – Anyone else just not see Geoff Blum’s role on this team? He can’t hit, he is mediocre as sin in the field (though he did make a solid play yesterday at 2B) and I just don’t get why he is still hanging around – I though the days of keeping veterans aboard left along with Bochy and Co.

  5. I’m not so upset with keeping Blum around but with them carrying 12 pitchers. Right now, along with the 5 starters, they have Hoffman, Cla, Linebrink, Bell, Cameron, Hampson and Brocail in the bullpen. One of those last two should be sent down (or released in Brocail’s case) and another batter should be called up. With the Padres lack of right handed batters, the obvious call-up is Jack Cust. He would really help the offense and the Padres have enough outfielders (Sledge/Cruz and Branyan) so that he wouldn’t have to play the field.

    Blum and Robles both have their uses as they can play all the infield positions but why exactly do you need to utility infielders on your team? Also, neither of them is a good hitter so you only have two good bats off the bench (Cruz/Sledge and Branyan).

  6. 4.

    I’d definitely demand Strawberry but in the end Grape would still be one hell of a deal!