The headline lies. What should have been a walk in the proverbial park almost turned into disaster. Thankfully the Padres managed to pull off the victory Wednesday night (box score) in spite of themselves.
Tony Gwynnâ€™s induction into Cooperstown is nigh upon us. As a reminder, weâ€™re brainstorming ideas for a Hall of Fame meetup. Any and all suggestions are welcome and encouraged. Hope to see you there!
But, yeah, it was ugly.
Greg Maddux looked fantastic. The sinker was sinking, the slider was sliding, and he owned both sides of the plate. Maddux also tweaked his right hamstring, which explains why he departed after five innings. (And here we were thinking that Bud Black finally got the memo that says opponents are batting .356/.371/.644 against Maddux from the sixth inning on.)
Cla Meredith worked a flawless sixth, needing just seven pitches to retire the Mets in order. Royce Ring served up a homer to Carlos Delgado the next inning. Mike Cameron almost made a spectacular catch on the play (got a glove on the ball), but couldn’t quite haul it in.
Enter Scott Linebrink. After retiring the first two batters in the eighth, he issued a five-pitch walk to Jose Valentin and a four-pitch walk to Carlos Beltran. Because, you know, if there’s anything you want to do with a three-run lead, it’s put two guys on base to get to David Wright. Not surprisingly, Wright smoked Linebrink’s first pitch over the left-field fence to tie the game and wake the Mets fans in attendance from their slumber.
I try to cut players a lot of slack. After all, their jobs are much more difficult than mine. And I’ve defended Linebrink for a long time — to me, he represents much of what the Padres do right as an organization (identify and procure freely available talent) — but his performance on Wednesday was disgusting. If ever you need a reminder of why wins are a lousy way to evaluate a pitcher, here’s one for you:
Rules are rules, but crediting Linebrink with a victory in this scenario is utter nonsense. I challenge you to find someone who contributed less to that win. You can’t do it.
Nice to have Adrian Gonzalez back. You could see it coming a few games before the hits started to fall. He’s not overswinging, he’s not pulling off the ball, he’s just hitting everything hard again. That homer to dead center was beautiful.
The home run Milton Bradley knocked to the alley in right-center was no less impressive. He hit the ball 420+ feet, and that’s from the left side, where he’s traditionally weaker at the plate. I know that Bradley has a history of bad behavior, but this guy has serious game. And I really hope Black keeps him in the #2 hole. Brian Giles, Bradley, Gonzalez, and Cameron at the top of the order doesn’t look so bad, does it?
Also, since I rip Geoff Blum all the time, it’s only fair that I give him props for coming through in a big way. I remain very uncomfortable watching him at the plate and wonder why anyone ever throws him something other than a slider down and in, but Blum, starting for Marcus Giles at second base, doubled, walked, and singled in the winning run. Solid effort.
Ugly? I believe it was Gertrude Stein who said, “a win is a win is a win.” She’ll get no argument from me…
by Peter Friberg
You will not see the Storm blow away quietlyâ€¦
Yordany Ramirez: 4 AB, 1 R, 2 H, 1 RBI; SO 2 SB – AAA debut
Tim Stauffer: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO, 0 HR
Matt Antonelli: 4 AB, 0 R, 2 H, 0 RBI; BB, SB – .500/.588/.857
Colt Morton: 4 AB, 1 R, 1 H, 3 RBI; HR, 2 SO – ’07 AA debut
Joshua Geer: 9.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 S0, 0 HR
Robert Perry: 5 AB, 3 R, 2 R, 5 RBI; 3B, HR, 2 BB
David Freese: 6 AB, 1 R, 3 H, 1 RBI; BB – .319/.418/.520
Greg Burke: 2.2 IP, 10 H, 9 R, 8 ER, 3 BB, 2 SO, 2 HR
Drew Miller: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 SO, 2 HR
Kellen Kulbacki: 5 AB, 0 R, 0 H, 1 RBI; 2 SO – .269/.392/.385
Jeremy McBryde: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0 HR
No game scheduled…
Down 12-3 heading into the eighth, the Storm put up nine runs to tie the game. They hit two singles, four doubles, a triple, walked and reached on an error. Then in the 10th, they added six more runs on five straight singles, a homer, and another single. Yes, down by nine, the Storm scored nine to tie, then batted around to score six two innings later.
Thanks, Peter. The Phillies are in town for a four-game series. First pitch Thursday night is at 7:05 p.m. PT. We’ll have the IGD up and running about an hour before then. Go Padres!
– Linebrink has given up 8 home runs in 43 innings. That’s one every 5 1/3 innings, for a starter that would essentially be one every single start. I don’t know of too many starters would stick around doing that. It’s time to realize Towers made one of his very few mistakes by not unloading Linebrink when his stock was high (which was any time in ’05 and most of ’06). And at his age, who here thinks he’s going to get better as he gets older?
– I’d really like to see Kevin Cameron get some more innings, if nothing else but to give Bell a little rest. I think we’re asking a lot of Bell who is not used to this workload.
– How much better does the top of the line-up look with B. Giles, Bradley, Gonzalez at the top?
– Marcus… ah, nevermind, why beat a dead horse?
Anyone know why blanks was out of the LE lineup last night?
2: Because they wanted the other team to be overconfident. Really, I have no idea.
Agon was bitter about sitting and it seems to have helped him. Hopefully the same will be true of Giles.
Tom Krasovic is amazing. Blum has been failing all year. He has a good game and we get the Geoff Blum Hero Retrospective.
I was at the game last night, as well. As soon as Linebrink walked Beltran, it was like asking the Magic 8 Ball, “Will Wright hit a home run?” Whereupon the ball answers, “The answer is definitely yes.”
You could see it and feel it coming. Disgust is the proper term.
Props, though to B(l)um. Also great game by Maddux and Trevor.
Also, I like Buddy pulling NOG for a few games. That would have never happened under Boch. The front office would have been forced to designate NOG for assignment to get him off the field.
For a minute there, I was ok with Geoff Blum. Sure, he is a pretty terrible ballplayer all around, but if just used to spell NOG and Khalil against righties every once in a while, he could probably hit replacement level. And it seems Black has realized Blum’s a bad hitter that should never ever pinch hit for anyone except in an emergency. Then I read the U-T’s game recap/worship of Blum, and now I hate Blum as much as ever. So thanks for helping me keep things in perspective, U-T.
On another note, if you’re not sick of me yet, I’m on a podcast this morning and I (finally) have a new article up at THT:
GY, nice pull on the Stein quote, but as one USD English Major to another, I prefer the Bard’s, “A win by any other name would smell as sweet.”
#7: I’m liking it. I’ll have to remember that the next time our Bard wins one for us…
3,5: Wasnt Blum the best pinch hitter in the league last year? Hasnt he had quite a few “game winning hits” this year? I am not saying he should be starting or anything or that he is a great hitter, but he has seemed to come though in those few key situations this year (2 outs RISP .294 BA). I think he just gets a little more flack than he deserves here haha, yet Linebrink has been getting defended all year.
That’s because Linebrink was good to awesome in the past with this team, so there’s a chance he rebounds to those levels. Blum has always sucked, and lucking into some pinch hits last year doesn’t make him a good hitter. Saying Blum is a good hitter because of his pinch hits last year is like saying Linebrink should be closing for the team this year because in the couple of times he’s pitched in the ninth for a save he’s shut down the other team.
9: He had 31 pinch-hit at bats last year. You can’t judge anybody on 31 at-bats. Or if you could, you’d have to look at how terrible he’s been as a PH in that many at-bats in other seasons. What’s more telling is his numbers over the last 3 years. 284 OBP. 636 OPS.
He’s had a lot more “could have been game-winning hits but were strikeouts or DPs.” Which is true of most players, but you don’t see the Union-Tribune constructing an altar of words for them.
I’ve said it before, Blum’s not the worst utility player in the game. The problem was Black using him poorly earlier in the year. He’s not going to hurt us worse than NOG was, but he’s not likely to help more, either.
11: Yup, that ‘double’ that Silent L hit last night was but a lucky hit. The LF was tracking it and the ball drop just beyond the reach but close enough that it could have been an out as the ball hanged up for a long time. Now, the RBI single was a good one. Proper utility of Silent L is good, keep using him a first option PH – bad.
BTW, that winning run got on base via a walk…to Khalil Greene. WOW.
BTW, Geoff, you put Cla as a Dodgers in the THT article.
13 … pretty frightening typo, GY … whassup?
Also, how can KK not be on a list of “young players in the NL West who might make significant contributions in 2007″?
I don’t think I’ve seen this “news” (from yesterday) posted here yet …
Sledge up, Bocachica down …
re: Adriam … GY’s HBT article attributes AG’s slump to “fouling a Daisuke Matsuzaka pitch off his foot in mid-June” … I don’t remember ever reading/hearing about this … is the consensus view that Adrian’s slump was related to his foot hurting? If so, then I’m amazed/appalled that he didn’t sit/rest sooner …
#13: Thanks, Didi. That isn’t what I submitted; I’ve asked the appropriate parties to restore the correct affiliation.
Not sure what it means, but here’s BP’s STAT OF THE DAY
Top 5 Luckiest NL Relievers, by Bequeathed Runs Prevented
Player, Team, Beq Runs Prevented
Will Ohman, CHN, 8.5
Michael Wuertz, CHN, 4.2
Trever Miller, HOU, 4.2
Cla Meredith, SDN, 3.9
Chris Spurling, MIL, 3.6
And one more appearance today over at the estimable Balls, Sticks, and Stuff:
17 … ah, a Dodger conspiracy? Let’s go get ‘em!!!
19 … re: Kulbacki … one of the MadFriar’s recently spent a few days in Eugene going to Emeralds games and reported being disappointed in what he saw in the hitters there … he didn’t name names, but my guess is the Kulbacki falls pretty squarely into that assessment …
My personal read is that he’s doing a Matt Antonelli impersonation … starting pro ball with a great eye and no power … so I’m looking forward to him continuing on Antonelli’s career path
this is from ESPN’s Rumor section
Is Dunn done in Cincy?
Jul 19 – According to a radio report in Milwaukee, the Brewers are believed to be close to acquiring Adam Dunn from the Brewers in exchange for outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr., right-handed reliever Matt Wise and an infield prospect.
Dunn can become a free agent at the end of this season if he gets traded.
22: If that’s all for Dunn, I think that the Brewers are getting a pretty good deal. Gwynn looks more like a really good 4th OF than a starter and Wise is fungible. I wonder who the prospect is…
Man, that lineup would be terrifying: Weeks, Hardy, Braun, Fielder, Dunn, Hart is a pretty scary top-6 in the lineup
If Zack Grienke is available, I’d love to see the Padres take a run at him. He’d look great as a starter next year and could at least push (and probably replace) Germano this year.
I was thinking the exact same thing!
24: I’ll second that. Greinke is awesome, and I cannot believe Kansas City didn’t have a little more patience with him in the rotation. He could easily be a front line starting pitcher, especially coming over from the AL and pitching in Petco.
Oops, looks like I thirded it.
16: Yup, that was what started the slump. I think El Hombre sat for a couple of games but when back to starting soon after. Still, this sure was a longer slump than we anticipated.
24: I think Greinke is not going to start again, but he sure is good in the pen. He seems to have the same problem that Germano is facing, the second time around, hitters are more patient. I don’t see the Royals getting rid of him at all now that the bullpen is their best in the last 5 years or so.
17: OK, who’s the Dodgers’ fan at THT?
23: You dont think Tony Jr. has the stuff to be a starting outfielder? I would love to see him come here. I dont think he ever will because the pressure would be so high, but I have always seem him as a starting OF.
30: It’s pretty hard to be a starting OF with a slugging % under 400. He might develop more power later on, like his pop.
I don’t know if it would be good or bad for him to join the Padres. Aside from the pressure, I don’t know how good he is in CF, which is the only place that bat plays right now.
The 48-year-old Julio Franco signed with Atlanta on Wednesday, rejoining the Braves a week after he was cut by the New York Mets. Wow.
From ESPN on Greinke:
“He’s got more upside than almost any pitcher out there,” says one NL executive. “But they can control him until 2010, so they’re reluctant to move him unless they get astounded by the offer. So I’d be surprised if that happened.”
31: It would be nice to hanve a lead-off hitter with speed though.
Re: 33 what do you mean your not happy with Brian “The Flash” Giles speed?
33: Not if that leadoff hitter has an OBP in the lower 300s. T Jr could definitely grow into more than that, but the key thing for any leadoff man is getting on.
With the way Antonelli is playing, we may have a leadoff hitter with speed and power as early as next year.
I would think that Antonelli would be better in the # 2 hole
36: If Antonelli’s capable of getting on 40% of the time or close to it, it doesn’t much matter. But speed is way down the list of qualities for a leadoff hitter that actually matter. Juan Pierre has speed.
A classic #2 hitter who can do some situational hitting but also be an offensive threat is a great thing. For a lot of people (not saying you), though, a #2 hitter is somebody who can bunt and roll ground balls to the second baseman. I don’t want our #2 thinking he’s got to give up deliberately make outs because Tim Flannery used to.
37: That’s Jenga. He can bunt and have power & speed.
35: I didnt say it was the most important thing, I just said it would be nice to have a lead-off hitting with speed, who can swipe a bag here and there. Yes, I know only 17% of those who steal score, but when you steal like the Mets for example that 17% turns into a good rumber of runs.
I think its a bit early to evaluate T Jr too heavily, but he looks like he is going to shape into a good player.
37: Marcus has the same thinking and Flan
38: Bradley is a great #2 hitter, although his bunt attempt yesterday wasnt too good. we dont know how well he bunts, but the dude gets on base and has power.
The reason why I like Antonelli in the 2 slot is because 2 run shots are alot better than 1 run shots! XBH power would serve well is they got a “true” leadoff hitter in front of him (see Dave Robberts).
Whoa, TW is being optimistic about a prospect! Careful, TW, remember, Antonelli could go outside and be hit by a bus any time.
I was just listening to XX and Phil Nevin was pretty critical of the Marcus sitting for 3 days move. Phil, however, was always a rebel without a cause.
28 … I’m pretty sure Adrian did *not* sit out any games after fouling the ball off his foot … because I remember reading/hearing that until he got sat down, he’d not only started *every* game, but had played *every* inning (except for the couple of innings in that 17-inning fiasco when LaForest played 1B) … so that’s why I’m a bit concerned about the cavalier attitude toward his health!
42 … the Padres won the first such game … let’s see how they do in the next 2
My opinion is that this is a *great* move … it seems win/win … it gets NOG out of the lineup in the short-term … and potentially refreshes and/or motivates him for the long-term … I’m good with that … even though it does mean having B(l)um in the lineup for a coupla days …
43: You are right, LM. I thought he did but he didn’t. I hope next time, he will. This 3-week slump could have ended earlier, possibly. I’m sure the ASB helps a lot.
Have fun at Cooperstown, LM.
2 … I dunno why Blanks didn’t play yesterday … but he played today …
… HR #19 in a 11-7 victory for the mighty STORM boyz!
Brew-ha’s beat the Snakes, so the day is off to a good start …
Uh oh, rain delay in Boston tonight … just reminds me that that is a possibility for HOF day … what a bummer if it’s a rainy day …
44: Ya the way I see it, Blum is no worse than Marcus right now and Marcus really cant get any worse so hopefully when he comes back he does better, if not then we say no to the 4 million ’08 option