Some Pictures Are Bigger Than Others

Knowing that a Red Sox convention had descended on downtown and that our usual parking option was unavailable, we left our car about 2 1/2 miles from the ballpark. After machaca and black coffee at Jimmy Carter’s Cafe, we slipped over to Sixth and walked along the perimeter of Balboa Park, with its impromptu soccer games, yippy little dogs, and obligatory crazy people.

Jets fly overhead on final approach to Lindbergh Field. The freeway sounds like a swift river that empties into the Pacific.

We arrived at Petco Park a little over an hour before first pitch. The sea of red was undeniable and somewhat disheartening. A part of me admired these fans for traveling to support their team in distant lands, but a bigger part of me resented them for taking over our house like forgotten cousins that suddenly appear at the doorstep, invite themselves in, and raid the refrigerator.

I had a chip on my shoulder. Perhaps, like Derrek Lee and the Cubs a week earlier, I was looking for trouble. I’m happy to report that I found none.

The game (recap | boxscore), except for its final outcome, was everything I’d hoped it would be. Both teams battled to the end and gave fans of either affiliated cause to cheer. Of course, everyone booed the few, confused souls who donned Yankee pinstripes. Why were they there, and what had they expected?

On a day when Jake Peavy didn’t have his best stuff and the defense seemingly lost sight of its purpose, the Padres kept Boston close all game and stayed within striking distance until the final out. They never overcame the Red Sox, but that happens a lot when you’re playing a great team.

We can focus on the frustrations of a single game, or we can step back and watch a larger picture emerge. Three games were played this weekend. Two were coin tosses that could’ve gone either way, and the Red Sox took both of ‘em. It’s intellectually dishonest to attribute their success in those victories solely to “luck” — great teams, by definition, win games.

How Close Was the Series?

Padres vs Red Sox
Stats are through games of June 24, 2007, and are courtesy of Baseball-Reference.
SD 9 .242 .292 .394
Bos 7 .232 .287 .333

It also is worth noting that the only time one team dominated the other came on Saturday night, and the Padres were the aggressor. This current squad is too good to be content with “moral victories,” and coming on the heels of a disappointing series against the Orioles, it would’ve been nice to win two out of three over the weekend. That said, the Padres for the most part came to play. Even on Sunday, when they weren’t at their best, they stuck around and gave themselves a chance.

Equally heartening is the fact that the fans came to cheer. On Sunday, the chants of “Let’s Go, Red Sox” began in the first inning and never relented. Each time, though, chants of “Let’s Go, Padres” overcame them. We may not be the most vocal folks all the time, but it’s good to know we’ve got it if we need it.

Kudos to the Boston fans as well. I’d prepared for the worst — loudmouth drunks who get in your face every chance they get — but in our section, that wasn’t the case. They simply cheered their guys early and often. There was a minor incident just behind us, but both parties were being idiots and they could’ve been supporting any team. The situation never escalated, though, and everyone quickly returned focus to the field.

After the game, we stopped at Ra for sushi and to rest before trekking back to the car. The fish was excellent, as usual, and both of us welcomed the respite from an ever-glaring sun.

Bellies filled and spirits restored, we walked along Fourth, across the bridge that passes over I-5, past churches and medical buildings, and into my old neighborhood of Bankers Hill. I lived there during the early-’90s, across from Hob Nob Hill, two blocks north of the flight path, three blocks west of the park, and within crawling distance of the Casbah.

The apartment I lived in was built just after the turn of the 20th century. It’s a neat building whose units come with hardwood floors, metal radiators for heating (if one unit is heated, they all are), and giant windows for viewing derelicts from the park beating each other up in the street.

I didn’t own much then. A computer. A television. Some books. A cat inherited from my uncle. A hanging plant inherited from the previous occupant. A blue mat on the floor for sleeping.

Still, as we walked past the old digs, I felt a certain fondness for it. Seeing this again reminded me of where I’d been and how far I’d come since then.

A similar framework informs my view of the Padres. I often think about where they have been and how far they’ve come. When I remember how dreadful this franchise has been for most of its existence, I feel grateful for our current situation. At the same time, having lived through some lean years, I’m quite certain I don’t wish to do so again. Seems to me, viewing from the outside, that the Padres have adopted the same attitude toward the darker parts of their history.

This is a strong, resilient ballclub. It sucks that the Red Sox took the series over the weekend, but stuff happens — ask the Yankees about their recent trip to Coors Field. There’s a lot of season yet to be played. This doesn’t mean the Padres shouldn’t feel a sense of urgency — they should — but we’re in for a year-long fight here.

Do I sound overly optimistic after a losing homestand? Maybe. I’ll be honest — sometimes my own optimism disgusts me, but I’m not the punk-ass I was 15-20 years ago (well, okay, a little bit), and where once I complained endlessly about things well beyond my control, now I appreciate the view on the way up and how much better it is than what I used to look at all the time.

Am I satisfied? Not even close. Nothing short of a World Series victory will satisfy me. At the same time, and at the risk of beating this to death, I have to remember where we’ve been. I have to remember when all we had was someone else’s cat, someone else’s hanging plant, and little blue mat on the floor for sleeping. These things remind us where we’ve been and where we’re going. Most importantly, they remind us that we cannot stop advancing until literally there is no place left to go, when the only action that remains is the placing of rings on fingers.

That’s what I want. Maybe I’m asking for too much, but I don’t think so.

Padres Prospect Report

by Peter Friberg

You will not see your shortstop and left fielder collide, or your pitcher sliding into third while trying to catch a relay throw and apply a tag while reading the PPR…

Friday, June 22, 2007


Pete LaForest: 3 AB, 1 R, 1 H, 3 RBI; HR (#17!), SO


Nick Hundley: 4 AB, 2 R, 3 H, 0 RBI; 2B
Cesar Ramos: 9.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO, 0 HR


Matt Antonelli: 5 AB, 1 R, 1 H, 1 RBI; 2 SO
David Freese: 4 AB, 1 R, 1 H, 1 RBI;
Kyle Blanks: 3 AB, 0 R 1 H, 0 RBI; SB


Cedric Hunter: 4 AB, 0 R, 0 H, 0 RBI

Short Season-A

Luis Martinez: 4 AB, 1 R, 2 H, 0 RBI; 2 2B, BB, SO
Jeremy McBride: 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 5 SO, 0 HR – nice debut!


Jeudy Valdez: 5 AB, 0 R, 2 H, 3 RBI; 2B, 3B – no idea…
Matt Bush: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0 HR – call it a “comeback”


I have no idea who Jeudy Valdez is…

From the San Diego Union Tribune on Saturday, “Making his pitching debut in the Arizona Summer League yesterday, converted shortstop Matt Bush threw 94-98 mph, striking out two in a scoreless, 12-pitch inning.” And before you go thinking those radar-readings are Padre-friendly, I talked to one source and his report had Bush at 94-97…

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Ryan Ketchner: 7.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO, 1 HR


No significant performances


David Freese: 3 AB, 1 R, 1 H, 1 RBI; BB, SO
Kyle Blanks: 3 AB, 2 R, 1 H, 0 RBI; SO
Chad Huffman: 3 AB, 2 R, 1 H, 1 RBI; BB
Nic Crosta: 3 AB, 1 R, 1 H, 4 RBI; 2 SO, SF
Manny Ayala: 6.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO, 0 HR


Cedric Hunter: 3 AB, 1 R, 2 H, 2 RBI; BB, 2 CS, SF

Short Season-A

Danny Payne: 5 AB, 2 R, 3 H, 0 RBI; SB
Mat Latos: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO, 0 HR


No game scheduled


I’m surprised Kellen Kulbacki hasn’t made his debut yet.

Did anyone else notice that Ryan Ketchner is on the 40-man roster (and he wasn’t even in the Padres organization last year)? I decided to look into him further… He’s got a heck of a story and furthermore, he’s a heck of a pitcher. I’m a little concerned about his highish walk total. But he is in his first full season coming off of Tommy John surgery. His ERA is deceptively high and Saturday night, he was a tough-luck loser yet again (in 13 of his 15 games, Ryan left game with his offense having given him 2 runs or fewer of run support). Appropriately, despite giving up only 2 runs in 7 innings Saturday night, his offense only mustered 1. Guys, don’t let his 0-8 record and 4.58 ERA fool you, if the Padres need an emergency starter, he’s on the short list of Triple-A candidates.

Danny Payne has now played in 5 games. In those 5 games, Payne has 24 plate appearances. In those 24 PA, Payne has 7 hits (15 at-bats) and 9 walks. Freakish! Now those rates .467 BA and .667 OBP can’t be maintained, that is his game. I listed to a few minutes of the Emeralds’ game on the internet and happened to catch a Payne AB, he now has a streak of reaching base in 82 consecutive games between college and professional baseball (Ted Williams owns the professional streak at 84 games).

Latos’ line doesn’t look like you’d want it to, but it’s just nice to see his name in a box score.

Sunday June 24, 2007


Vince Sinisi: 5 AB, 1 R, 2 H, 0 RBI
Pete LaForest: 1 AB, 0 R, 0 H, 0 RBI; 3 BB, SO
Tim Stauffer: 5.1 IP, 11 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO, 1 HR – weird…


Will Venable: 4 AB, 0 R, 0 H, 0 RBI


Matt Antonelli: 3 AB, 1 H, 1 R, 1 RBI; HR, BB, SB
David Freese: 2 AB, 1 R, 2 H, 1 RBI; HR, BB, SB
Kyle Blanks: 3 AB, 1 R, 1 H, 1 RBI; 2 BB, SO, CS
Nic Crosta: 3 AB, 2 R, 2 H, 3 RBI; HR, 2 BB, SO


Daryl Jones: 4 AB, 1 R, 1 H, 2 RBI; HR
Rayner Contreras: 4 AB, 1 R, 2 H, 0 RBI; 2B
Drew Miller: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO, 0 HR
Ernesto Frieri: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO, 0 HR

Short Season-A

Luis Durango: 3 AB, 1 R, 2 H, 0 RBI; 2 BB, SB
Danny Payne: 3 AB, 0 R, 0 H, 0 RBI; 2 BB, 1 SO
Cody Pickett: 4 AB, 2 R, 2 H, 2 RBI; 2 HR, SO


Yefri Carvajal: 4 AB, 1 R, 1 H, 0 RBI; BB, SB
Jeudy Valdez: 4 AB, 1 R, 2 H, 1 RBI; 2B, 3B, BB


I have to figure out who Jeudy Valdez is…

Thanks, Peter. The Padres head to San Francisco, where they play the first of three Monday night. We’ll have the IGD up and running by 6 p.m. or thereabouts. Go Padres!

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45 Responses »

  1. Peter have you heard any word about Headley? are the Pads really going to let him waste away on the bench or is he going to be sent down to AAA soon?

  2. 1: I too was wondering about Chase’s future with the club.

    Geoff, I don’t think you’re being overly optimistic. It’s very easy to get frustrated with this team, but I think the bulk of our frustration stems from the fact that they do not always play to their abilities. As you identified, we out-hit and, for the most part, out-pitched Boston. Unfortunately, a few bad breaks made the difference in two of those games (Khalil was THIS close to breaking it open in the 1st against Dice-K). Overall, it was a frustrating series. But I think it’s very telling that we think enough of our team to get frustrated when the don’t win a series against the best team in baseball.

  3. Re: 1

    I heard on one of the pre-game or post-game reports over the weekend that he will likely get sent back down when OG comes off the DL.

  4. Also what will they do with Ring when Brocails butt heals? Ring is a stud and it would be a shame to send him back down.

  5. #1: OG starts rehab at Elsinore tonight and is due to rejoin the team on Friday in LA. According to the U-T, “If, as expected, the Padres return third baseman Chase Headley to the minors, it will be to Double-A San Antonio”:

    I can’t imagine Headley sticking around once OG is back at the end of the week.

  6. GY, my compliments on a terrific entry. I was there yesterday, as well. I was proud of the San Diego fans. At least where I was sitting, there were more Padre fans than Bosox and they were louder.

    We still could use moew offense, though.

  7. 6 … “moew offense”? typo-of-the-month nominee :-)

    GY … you might want to check that last sentence before the PPF (“asking too much to ask for”), it’s runner up …

    re: Kellen Kulbacki … I saw him yesterday, but he didn’t play … picture of him here …

  8. #7: Thanks, LM. I reworked that sentence several times and apparently never settled on a final version.

  9. Two questions for Geoff or others:
    Why send Headley to AA and not give him a (sort of) promotion to Portland?

    On the close series stats comparison b/w Padres and Sox. Isn’t this a classic example of how stats don’t tell the whole story in baseball (except for the numbers that matter most, won-loss)?

  10. Re: 9 there has been alot of debate on this blog if Headly should be in AAA or stay in AA, I belive that he will go back to AA to avoid the mess that the beavers are in.

    AA still has alot of tops porspects from other teams to compete with while AAA is full of washed up vets or guys who could not really cut it in the bigs.

  11. #9: Regarding the second question, yes that is part of it. This also is a classic example of how anything can happen given a small enough sample size. If the two teams continued to play like that over the course of more games, the winning percentage of each would move toward .500.

  12. 10,11 thanks, good answers.

    11. But we could also interpret it differently — that the Red Sox ability to take 2/3 (at Petco, no less), and with Ortiz shut down, reflected some other qualities – generally, ability to win games – that make the BoSox a better team. Well, that and the extra 100$ million in payroll or whatever it is.

  13. re 12-the Red Sox showed one terrific quality over the past 3 days, winning 2 out of 3 while being outscored is nothing much more then luck.

    Of some concern is the Padres performance(or lack of) in 1 run games.

  14. Re: 13 thats what scares me!

  15. 13 Sure there’s a lot of luck in baseball. There’s also achievement. To see yesterday’s rubber match as a lucky win, which in effect is what you are saying, is to miss much why the game is played on the field and only afterwards converted into numbers. I love stats too but I think they can also obscure other aspects of the game.

  16. Good records in one run games is mostly luck. The little control over that record is thought to be controlled by bullpen quality, and the Padres have a great bullpen. The Padres’ bad record in one run games is actually a great sign that they are playing better than their record indicates, and that their record from here on out will likely be better than their record to this point.

  17. What the numbers show more than anything is the fallacy of applying run differentials to a short series. The only reason we outscored them is CY dominated and Wakefield is just not a very good pitcher.

    The Red Sox have 5 regulars batting over .300 (4 actually, Lowell is at .298), we have none. They aren’t lucky, they have a tremendous offense and a pitching staff that is nearly as good as ours. Our pitching kept it close but ultimately the lack of offense is a huge obstacle to overcome against the elite teams.

  18. Morning All. GY- great entry. Love reading all this stuff. LM, nice pictures. :)
    Rumor Mill: Jones soon to be ex-Cub? R we willing to trade and if so who?
    My take: Need to work on the strikeouts, but I was impressed with this weekend series. Boston is a great team, no doubt about it. We held our own.

  19. Re: 18 I think the intrest is on Jones part and not the padres part. The padres have thier fairshare of light hitting LH OF at the moment.

  20. re: 19- I am with you on this one. We have plenty of LH OF who aren’t the second coming. We need power!

  21. WC @ BP says today …

    Jermaine Dye is headed to the DL as a result of the quad strain that has been affecting him for a while. The injury is simply not healing quickly enough to get him into games before the 15 days are up, despite the best efforts of the medical staff to keep him available. By resting him now, the team hopes that they can heal it up and keep it from being problematic all season. With the All-Star Break coming up, the rest not only works medically, but gets him back in time to see what his trade value will be.

  22. Good article by Johna Keri on ESPN’s Page 2.

    You’ll need to scroll down a bit to #3 on the list. I have to agree I think the Padres got the best of that deal.

  23. On mlbtraderumors there are more notes about the Mets looking at Mark Buehrle and Jose Contreras. After talking to Geoff at the Ducksnorts meetup, I’m pretty sold on Milledge, and he seems to be the chip that the Mets are dangling as they look for another starter…

  24. Rest in Peace, Rod Beck. The guy single-handedly made the 2003 Padres bearable.

  25. GY: Terrific perspective today. Just what the doctor(therapist) ordered.

  26. #12: Agreed. There are many ways to interpret the data, and the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.

    #17: To a degree. The numbers also show that the two close games could’ve gone either way. The Red Sox certainly aren’t lucky, but by no stretch of the imagination did they outclass the Padres on the field. If the defense doesn’t fall asleep on Sunday, our conversation today takes on a different tone. But it did, and the Red Sox are a great team that knows what to do with an opportunity. Good for them; I hope we have a chance to return the favor in October. 8)

    #18: Thanks, SDG; glad you enjoyed it.

    #23: I would love to see us acquire Milledge. Dude can flat rake.

  27. I should be commenting about how great GY’s post is, or saying something about the Padres, but all I can think about is sushi at Ra. Mmm.

  28. Something I’ve been thinking about: If you had to win a Game 7 would you rather start Peavy or Young? With Jake it always seems like something happens to get him off his game. Whether it’s diving all over the place in the 2nd inning or the first base coach getting under his skin or pitching in the WBC, I’m always nervous when he pitches. CY on the other hand seems to rise to the pressure. His performance against the Red Sox was absolutely phenomenal. He was focused, locked in and flat out dealing. He’s every bit as competitive as Jake but he channels it into the task at hand. Personally, I think of Chris Young as our ace. Jake is capable of brilliance but CY threatens to throw a no-hitter at almost any time.

  29. 29: I have to agree with you. As much as I love Jake, I definitely breathe easier when CY is on the mound. CY knows how to handle himself without getting caught up in what’s going on. I’d have to vote for CY over Jake as well in a game 7.

  30. Great entry, Geoff, I really enjoyed it.

    Anybody notice that CY now leads the league in ERA, and Jake is 3rd?

  31. 31 … Vinay! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Reminds me that there’s no Pizza Feed this year … last year was good time … … I am going to be down in the area over 4th of July week … if anyone starts talkin’ up a DS meet-up during the next homestand, I could probably be talked in to making it …

  32. Terrific entry, Geoff. I sent it along to all my friends and family who are long-time Padres fans. Even ones that aren’t entirely sure what a blog is.

    17: I often look at the standings to see how big the difference is between our W-L and our X W-L. As of today, we are tied for the best X W-L, but have the worst record among those teams that we’re tied with. 74 games is by no means a small sample size when trying to interpret this kind of discrepancy, so what’s the deal? Obviously, it’s not luck.

    29: Agreed. And there always seems to be the factor of Jake not telling us something that turns out to be pretty f—ing important (e.g., a broken rib).

  33. 29 That’s a great problem to have. I like CY as well. Look at his playoff performance last year too.

    Did I hear correctly on ch. 4 that Peavy hit 100 mph one inning? That can’t be right, can it?

  34. Guthrie

    That’s a heck of a 8-game stretch…

  35. 35: Peter and I talked through that 8 game stretch earlier today. While the difficulty of the pitching that we’ve faced over the past couple series is an extenuating circumstance to some extent, it brings into sharper focus the need for a middle of the order bat. In the playoffs we’re going to see tough pitching night after night and it’s become clear that while our pitching can more than hang with the competition, our offense needs serious help against the better pitchers in the league. Someone like Griffey, Dunn, or another legit middle of the order hitter is a necessity if we’re going to get out of the first round.

  36. 24: I was surprised to read about his passing this morning. You are right about 2003. RIP, Shooter.

    36: Good point. Need bats to come through. No more Silent L is a start.

  37. 33: Obviously it’s not luck? What are you basing that on?

  38. LM: Congrats on the Beavers repeating. WOW.

  39. 39 … stunning indeed … I played the “reverse psychology” card the whole post-season (ie. “no way the Beavers win this next game, the bubble’s gonna burst NOW”) … I’ll just say this, their coach is REALLY GOOD … cause I’ll betcha right here right now that no one from either of these championship teams plays a game in MLB … mark the tape (and I know I’m shootin’ the Padres in Mitch Canham’s foot on this one … and also note that Jacoby Ellsbury was on the team in 2005 that went to CWS but was 2-and-out).

    Nice pic of the “the” dog pile on the front page of this morning’s newspaper …

  40. 40: I think that Ellsbury will play in the majors-he’s one of the top two prospects on the Red Sox right now.

    I’ve been looking for guys who might be available and these are the names on the leaderboards that jumped out at me. I listed them in order of preference:
    Jason Bay
    Alex Rios, TOR
    Adam Dunn, CIN
    Griffey, CIN
    Torii Hunter, MIN
    Jermaine Dye
    Aaron Rowand, PHI
    Bill Hall, MIL
    X. Nady

    I think that we’re going to have to give up at least Headley and someone from the major league bullpen to have a shot at any of the guys in the top half of that list. It would be great to get Bay or Rios and have them for several years. Would Headley, Bell, Hensley, and a lower level prospect (Huffman or Blanks) be enough to get Bay out of PIT? What about Headley, Meredith, and Hensley for Alex Rios?

  41. 41 … re: Ellsbury … I agree completely … my point was that he doesn’t count in my “bet” because he wasn’t on one of the championship teams, but rather the 2005 team, which I think was better than either the 2006 or 2007 National Championship teams …

  42. I really like this entry, you tell a good story Geoff.

  43. Thanks, jbox; glad you enjoyed it…

  44. 38: I was really just eye-balling the data, but now that I’ve calculated the mean and standard deviation for the league distribution of W-L minus X W-L (mean=.067, sd=6.11), I’ve realized that the formula for X W-L* is a joke and I’m guessing that it has very little predictive value at all. But, I’ll admit, I’m curious now.

    * RS^1.82/((RS^1.82)+(RA^1.82))