Padres Walk to Victory

I don’t mean to sound like a sore winner, but when you put 17 guys on base, you really need to score more than four runs. We’ll take the victory, of course, it’s just that this game shouldn’t have been close (recap | box score).

Chris Young looked terrific, allowing just two runs over six innings. Both came in a bizarre fifth that featured a walk, hit batsman, and balk.

The bullpen did its thing over the final three innings. The only blemish there came on a ground ball back to the box that Scott Linebrink couldn’t handle, but no harm done.

On the offensive side, Adrian Gonzalez provided the early spark, launching a solo homer to left in the second. He also doubled and walked twice.

As a team, the Padres drew eight walks. They also fouled off a ton of pitches — 23 off starter Chuck James alone, which helped contribute to his early departure.

Young helped his own cause, walking twice and scoring after being hit in the left knee by a Chad Paronto fastball in the sixth. It’s impossible to know what’s going on in another person’s head, but it’s also difficult to imagine that Paronto’s pitch was anything other than retaliation for Young’s earlier plunking of Jeff Francouer.

Regardless, Paronto gave the Padres a free two-out baserunner that later turned into an insurance run (courtesy of a bases-loaded walk to Jose Cruz Jr.). As with Chris Woodward’s errant throw in the fifth on a Josh Bard grounder that allowed Brian Giles to score, the Padres gratefully accepted the home team’s gift.

Other positives? Mike Cameron notched two singles and a walk, while Kevin Kouzmanoff continued to look more comfortable at the plate, driving the ball hard to right field twice. I know it seems silly to sing the praises of a guy hitting .108/.172/.193, but a good approach is the first step toward good results.

I also like that the Padres forced Atlanta to use four relievers, who combined to throw a total of 97 pitches. Getting deep into a team’s bullpen in the first of a four-game series is a good thing.

The 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

Craig Stansberry: 4 AB, 0 R, 2 H, 1 RBI; 2B, BB, SO
Mike Thompson: 4.2 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO, 2 HR – Yikes!

AA

Will Venable: 4 AB, 0 R, 0 H, 0 RBI; SO
Nick Hundley: 4 AB, 1 R, 3 H, 2 RBI; HR
Jonathan Ellis: 0.1 IP, 1 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR

High-A

No games scheduled

Low-A

Cedric Hunter: 3 AB, 1 R, 1 H, 0 RBI; BB
Rayner Contreras: 4 AB, 1 R, 4 H, 1 RBI; HR
Aaron Breit: 4.1 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, 1 HR

Commentary:

Stansberry is hitting .354/.420/.531 with 15 doubles and a 13/22 BB/SO ratio. He has played second, short, and third. It’s been discussed in the comments section, but Stansberry is playing himself into a nice utility role.

I go out and sing the praises of Ellis and two of his last three appearances have been disasters.

Thanks, Peter, for delivering the goods. Last year’s .205/.292/.339 MLE notwithstanding, the 25-year-old Stansberry remains an intriguing option.

Justin Germano and Anthony Lerew square off tonight. Another early start time, so the IGD will be up and running by 3 p.m. PT.

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43 Responses »

  1. Tonight’s pitching matchup should be an interesting one. Germano is a guy that has piqued the curiosity of a lot of Friar watchers (his trip to the Reds notwithstanding), and the same with Lerew on the Braves’ side.

    Both of these guys have had more discussion than results at this level, so to see them match up tonight may be just as interesting as a Smoltz-Maddux matchup, for different reasons.

    Just a shame I happen to live in the Braves’ TV area (despite being 4+ hours away), and can’t get Matty and Mud OR the Braves’ telecast on MLBEI.

  2. So call me crazy but it sounds like we could really use some quality young arms in our minor league system huh? I know Ramos and Culp have had some nice outing lately and Germano has pitched well but other than that it seems like our boys are getting killed constantly. I don’t have a subscription to BA so I have not been able to do a whole lot of research on some of the better pitching prospects in the draft but I’m hoping over the next month we can start talking about some of the potential draft day targets the Padres might have or we think they should have on their radar.

    Anyways good win last night and looking forward to todays game. I personally love the 4pm start times they work out great for me. Too bad we have to listen to that freaking waste of space Steve Quiss. I would almost rather watch the game on mute than listen to his horrible analysis or hear him go on and on about a sport that he really seems to know nothing about. He’s like the Geoff Blum of San Diego sportscasters. It’s like channel 4 is paying him to steal perfectly good oxygen from us. How, how, how, can somebody be so bad at their job and continue to recieve paychecks? Okay sorry. I’m probably just jealous! I miss Matty V.

  3. That game was way closer than it should have been.

    The Padres sound pretty angry about the Young plunking. The Braves announcers said “Now we’re even,” as if either of Young’s pitches were intentional. Wouldn’t surprise me at all to see the Padres put one in somebody’s ribs if one of the next 3 games gets out of hand. Otherwise wait until we get to SD.

    2: We could start by signing Latos. The draft is deep in HS arms and college LHP. Not many good college righties, but I’d take a chance on Brackman if he happened to slip all the way to us.

  4. The only good part about having Quiss in the booth is when he says something so wrong from a baseball since, or just lame from a since of humor standpoint that it leave mudd speechless because he has no idea how to help him recover.

    I still have not forgiven Quiss for trying to count down the outs in young’s no-no last year, im not superstitious but come on its a well known tradition that you don’t talk about it.

  5. I like Quest better then Matty V. Quist calls a better HR, and anything beats Matty’s screaming. Also Quist has a better voice. I think he works better with Muddy as well. Matty and Mud seem to clash a bit on the humor and Matty certainly seems chippy. Matty doesn’t want to do Padre TV anyway. He just waiting to jump ship for the “big time” of Chitown or some other East Coast market. And his “Good Night, [insert team name] when the padres when is pathetic. Besides, he’s an SC boy.

  6. And maybe someday, I’ll spell the guys last name correctly.

  7. Re: 5 matty had a shot to go to chitown a few years ago and he turned it down to stay with the pads.

  8. Nice summary; 12 LOB is not easy to do. Some of it was bad luck: AGon has a jack bases empty, but flies out bases loaded. NOG does not come through with the bases loaded but hits a double later.

    I disagree with assessment of Cameron. He did get a walk, but I am watching how he is handling outside pitches. He is a good hitter if he goes with them, he flails when he tries to pull them. One of his hits he pulled an outside pitched that squibbed between 3B and SS; he also hit a flair for to LC off the end of the bat, again outside pitch.

    KK looked good against James; patient, two deep drives. He did not look so good against the relievers.

    Glad we won, but as GY pointed out, we should have won this 7-1 or something like that.

  9. oops after a little research Matty V was their 2nd choice.

  10. 5: Um, what “Good Night, [team name]” schtick? I’ve seen a bunch of Matty’s work, and I’ve literally never heard that.

    I may be a bit biased, but I personally would take Matty 162 games a season over just about anybody in the game. So many of today’s broadcasters are these cookie-cutter broadcast school guys that you could drop in any city covering any team, and you’d never know the difference. I like humor. I like enthusiasm. If you want some boring guy to just call the game and drop tired SportsCenter cliches on home run calls, maybe you should start watching other teams.

  11. Re: 8 I wonder is Cameron is pull happy this year because he’ll make more next year if he hits 30-35 HR’s this year then he if he hits 15-20.

  12. Matty V is great…Quiss, not so much.

    As far as the plunked batters, I would have done the same as ATL…You knock down our best hitter with a FB around the eyes and then another of our hitters actually gets hit…If I am pitching, CY or AGon gets one on the thigh or middle back. Chirp all you want Pads, but that is what is “SUPPOSED” to happen…one pitch gets away from you that is one thing, but you hit another and one of yours will feel it.

  13. Kouz seems to be pretty good at pitch recognition. He generally lays off breaking pitches out of the zone and swings only at fastballs. That’s only one component of hitting but a lot of established major leaguers swing at breaking balls they can’t possibly hit (Khalil I’m looking at you).

  14. Matt is FANTASTIC! He’s pro-Padres without being unfair. If a opposing player makes a good play, he’ll say so.

    Changing gears…

    Here’s a link for the draft order – Padres have 11 of the top 150…

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/draft/news/263869.html

  15. Couple quick points. First, count me among the Matty supporters — and I’m not just saying that because he throws some love our way. Yes, he gets a little carried away at times, but he’s always into the game, which cannot be said of all announcers. Also, his rapport with Mud is fantastic. I had no idea how good Mud was until Matty came here.

    #12: The best “chirping” was to make the Braves pay by scoring a run. That was beautiful. If the situation were reversed, I think I’d prefer to see our guys wait until a more opportune time to plunk their guy. Doing that in a one-run game was, frankly, very stupid.

  16. Kouz is good at pitch recognition #13? I don’t see it yet. A couple of sac flies does not put him there. How many swinging strikes at breaking balls low and away so far?

  17. Love Matty and Mud.
    They are always entertaining and not too homerific.

    Can’t believe that the Padres didn’t crush the Braves last night.

    BTW, did anybody else see the ‘Choo choo train’ that was Carlos Lee and Luke Scott on the highlights of the Astros game yesterday?
    That was the wackiest base running I’ve seen in a while. Luckily the Astros won. In that inning, Houston scored only two runs out of a homer, two doubles, a single and two walks. Yeah, I feel a bit better about the Padres after that.

  18. Re: 15…Point taken.

  19. 16: He hasn’t struck out this month. He’s walked twice. I don’t think Anthony would say that Kouz has been good at it all season, but he’s getting better. He’s pounded several balls right at people, and he’s been playing in 3 of the best pitcher’s parks in the NL. Start getting good wood on the ball like he has, the hits are going to come.

    Baby steps.

  20. Would it be such a terrible idea to give Chase Headley a shot at the hot corner? He’s hitting pretty well in Mobile. I mean, even if Kouz is ultimately the answer, would it ruin his life to send him to AAA for a bit? Imagine how good the Pads would be doing if they’d had any production whatsoever from Kouz.

  21. 19: Agreed. Baby steps. His PA looked better the past week.

    Also, Kouz has been very unlucky. Looking at PA, Outs, P/PA, LD%, GB%, BA/BIP, his number is 93, 78, 3.8, 17.5, 42.9, .136. Numbers of 114, 77, 4.1, 17.6, 43.5, .282 belong to Aramis Ramirez.

    Kouz struck out 22 times in April and only once in May. So far he’s added to that 1 K with 1 hit, 2 walks and 4 RBI in 12 ABs. We’ll see if his batting approach keeps improving in this ATL series.

  22. 20: The Padre AA team is in San Antonio now. Still a very big jump from AA to the majors. So yes, basically, a terrible idea. You start his service clock, he’s almost certainly not going to succeed, his confidence takes a hit, the team doesn’t do any better. There’s all sorts of risk and almost no reward.

    The replacement for Kouz wouldn’t be Headley, it would be Branyan + Blum. I don’t know if it would ruin Kouzmanoff, but if he’s getting better, then why send him down?

  23. 20 – someone feel free to correct me if I’m off base here, but Kouz’s minor league #s were a lot better than Headley’s are now, right? My point would be that Headley could struggle even more, especially since he’s younger (right?).

    14 – don’t forget ESPN2 is televising the draft this year – first time ever. I’m sure it won’t be a big shindig like the NFL draft at MSG, but could be pretty fun to watch the Pads get those 11 out of 150 and see some tape on them as they get tapped.

  24. What’s funny is that Kouz has looked much better at the plate in May, but his averages have actually gone down. Luck is a fairly large part of the game.

  25. 23: Yeah, if somebody is using Headley’s 2007 stats to project him into the starting lineup, then that somebody would need to explain why those stats matter but Kouzmanoff’s minor league numbers don’t.

    The draft is supposed to be 5 minutes per pick. Enough time to get some tape of each player. Not the mind-numbing lag of the NFL draft, but a lot slower than the rapid-fire conference calls baseball used to do. It sounded like an auction on the radio. Lasorda was about the only guy who slowed it down.

  26. Quist can be pretty rough, although he has the voice to do it. What do you guys think of Masur(sp)? I like him but a friend called him bland.

  27. Whoops on the Mobile/San Antonio thing.

    I guess service time is a good argument. As far as the projected stats are concerned, players with worse minor league stats than Headley or Kouz have turned it on in the majors. While minor league stats are useful, they’re not an oracle.

    I guess I’m not all that sold on Geoff Blum, and I’d rather see a kid like Headley get a shot at backing up Branyan because of his upside. I’m sure he will eventually get a shot, but I’m impatient — I wanna see him in a Padres uniform already!

  28. 25. I guess we are looking for a precedent for such a miserable start. ESPN Magazine had an article 2 weeks ago about Alex Gordon’s struggles. They identified 5 players with starts like Gordens 1 or 2 for 25. Here’s how those five stood after their first 100 ABS. Baines .284,Garvey .274, Brett .208, Sandberg .202, Bowa .170. One of those went on to be ROY. Do you know of any player in the past 40 years who hit .100 in his first 100ABS that we’d want?

  29. I would suppose Kouz has a few more weeks to pick it up absent the Padres slumping. Despite the offensive woes, their pitching allows them the luxury of giving him a bit more time. However, no matter the alternative, they will not have a .130 hitting 3rd baseman by June.

  30. 26.

    I like Masur on the radio but I don’t know if it’s because I think he’s good or if it’s because I can’t stand Leitner and as much as it hurts to say it Jerry Coleman is not what he used to be.

  31. 27.

    I think putting Headley in a back up role to Branyon would be the most counter productive thing you could do for him. He needs to keep getting at bats. Taking a prospect like him and planting him on a big league bench straight from AA is stupid to say the least. I think I read somewhere the other day that if Kouz turns out to be the player they think he will be Headley could become a corner outfielder in the future.

  32. 27: That’s exactly the point. Headley’s been hot, but his minor league stats this year aren’t any more impressive than Kouzmanoff’s were.

    The only people sold on Geoff Blum are Kevin Towers and other people named Blum who live in Geoff Blum’s house.

    28: If Kouz goes 4 for his next 17, he’ll be hitting 120 in his first 100 at-bats. That’s 5 seeing-eye singles between him and Bowa.

  33. TW’s stats (so far) this year are what Kouzmanoff’s were for ALL of last year…

  34. By the way, Josh Barfield is hitting all of .200 and has made 5 errors (.959) so no regrets, especially given how valuable Marcus Giles has been.

  35. Just weighing in on the Matt and Mudd issue. When I heard that Quist was going to be making this road trip, I cringed. I look forward to the games, not just for the baseball, but for the M&M give and take.

    Last night I came close to screaming at the screen during Quist’s obsessive discussion on “indicators.”

  36. Kouzmanoff might need a trip to Portland but Headley is not the answer yet. One of the biggest differences between the low minors and the major leagues is the quality of breaking balls, something that takes time to adjust too. Headley has never played above AA, it’s highly unlikely he would be any better than Kouzmanoff.

    For that matter, Kouzmanoff only had 112 PAs in AAA. He’s making a pretty big jump himself so his struggles can’t be totally unexpected. His strikeout rate is going down, he’s struck out only once in 14 PAs this month and has 4 RBIs. There’s a lot more to hitting than not striking out but it’s a step in the right direction.

  37. The ‘red hot’ Craig Stansberry has started 2 games recently at third base for the AAA Beavers. Anyone know how he has done ? I don’t think Headley will be called up from AA. The big question is would you take 30 year old Royce Huffman, maybe Stansberry or KK. I say stick with KK.

  38. KK’s PA seem to be more productive. There are many things a batter can do at the plate to help the team aside from getting a hit. Just seeing a bunch of pitches helps the team. Is there a stat for the productivity of an AB? Seeing ten pitches, then hitting a sac fly is a productive AB and KK is doing this more it seems. Greene has me worried again. He’s gone from the active stance back to the passive-agressive stance again, standing like a statue, then swinging, then back to being a statue. Did you see his family in the stands, sitting like statues in florida, even when he made a great place, they just took it in (kidding).

  39. I’m a *huge* Chase Headley fan … he’s cracked BA’s “Hot Sheet” this week … http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/hotsheet/263867.html … #19 … cool!

    AND … he seems to me to be a *long* way from being major-league ready! He needs to have (at least) a full minor-league season at (if not above) his current level of production … I’m betting he’ll do well this season at AA … then play at AAA next year … get a looksee in Sept ’08. Don’t expect more/faster than that … even that will be very good/fast …

  40. 32Tom, in actuality on April, 21 KK had his 100th AB, counting 56 in Cleveland. He was 18 for 101, which does surpass Bowa who was at 170. Ageed, KK looks to be improving. Another interesting perspective: Substitute M. Cabrera’s 120ABs before yesterday for KK and RB’s 106, and the TEAM BA goes from 243 to 262. Slg goes from 385 to 418.

  41. 32 … PF … what? What does “TW’s stats” mean?