I love a pennant race. We made it out to all four games against the Pirates this week — even got to sit in Toyota Terrace on Thursday. I try to do that once a year because they keep all the riff-raff out of that level. Hey, wait, I’m the riff-raff.
Anyway, the Padres are a half game back with 10 to go. They need to win half of those to finish with 90 wins for the fourth time in franchise history. But you know what? I’m a greedy SOB, and I want ‘em all. Finish the season on a 17-game winning streak. Actually, make that a 28-game streak.
While we’re all waiting for Hades to cool off just a tad, here is an extra large helping of links:
- Mad Dog mishmash (Fast Balls, via Ben B. in the comments). Mike Fast uses PITCHf/x data to study the repertoire of Greg Maddux. (See also John Walsh’s Pitch Identification Tutorial at THT.)
- Q & A with Greg Maddux (San Diego Union-Tribune). Speaking of Maddux, here’s a fun interview. Love this:
I throw slow. One of the advantages of throwing slow is that when they swing, they don’t miss the ball. They usually hit into play. The 2-2 pitch that I throw is hit fair. The 2-2 pitch that is thrown by guys like C.Y. (Chris Young) and Jake Peavy, those get fouled off. The 2-2 pitches I throw, they’re so slow, they ain’t fouling it off.
- Good team chemistry makes big difference (San Diego Union-Tribune). Winning : Chicken :: Chemistry : Egg.
- Opponents learning they can’t steal home (San Diego Union-Tribune). From the article:
San Diego has thrown out just 10 percent of base-stealers, well below the major league average of 26 percent. ESPN’s Jayson Stark discovered that the Padres’ throwout rate is the lowest in the majors since 1951, when the National League began tracking the statistic.
Someone suggested this earlier in the season — I think it was Anthony? — but why not have the pitchers work from the windup with runners on base. As long as you’re conceding the base, what’s the downside? I’m not being entirely facetious here, either.
- Ask BA (Baseball America, via LynchMob in the comments). There’s a bit in here about Kevin Kouzmanoff and Chase Headley. Personally, I don’t see how Kouzmanoff, whose primary weaknesses at third base are below-average range and an erratic arm, is a viable candidate to patrol a challenging left field. I also think that Kouz has shown enough with the bat that you suck up the defense and hope he improves to average. The Padres did this with Phil Nevin and it worked pretty well for a few years.
- Kouzmanoff making strides (Padres.com). Speaking of Kouz… To be clear, of course we can’t throw out his April, but at some point the question becomes which sample is more indicative of his true level of ability.
- America’s Most Exemplary Innovator Works in Baseball — Sandy Alderson Part 2 (Management by Baseball, via Knuckle Curve). Jeff Angus profiles the Padres CEO. Excellent read.
- NL West Gets Wild for Playoff Spots (New York Sun, via Schlom in the comments). Christina Kahrl (of Baseball Prospectus) breaks down the race (quite nicely) for folks on the east coast. What a concept.
- Towers playing finders-keepers (San Diego Union-Tribune, via LynchMob in the comments). Nick Canepa writes about the Padres’ organizational depth.
- Instruction time is fav of Fuson’s (San Diego Union-Tribune). We’ve already been discussing this in the comments, but here it is.
- Reviewing my prospect list, 10-1 (Friar Forecast). Self-explanatory.
- Padres executive had right moves for Missions (San Antonio Express-News). The Missions won the Texas League title in their first year of affiliation with the Padres. Think that engenders some good will?
- Wells biting the hand that fed him (MLB.com, via Marsh in the comments). This was more relevant before the Dodgers got swept at Coors Field. Swap Dodgers and Padres throughout the article, replace David Wells with Brett Tomko, and get rid of Wells’ bitter remarks — maybe it’ll still make sense?
- Padres model of speed, pitching and defense only viable model to rebuild Giants (San Francisco Chronicle). I hesitate to provide a link to something I haven’t read or listened to, but the premise of this one — “we can’t win the way we’re doing things; we need to copy a direct competitor” — intrigued me.