I’m late to the party — blame a lack of sleep and previously scheduled interview (Jim returned the favor and interviewed me at AZ Snakepit) — but here are some observations from Thursday’s epic 22-inning battle with the Rockies:
- Jake Peavy dominated. Yeah, the game went another 14 innings after Peavy departed, but he was brilliant.
- Trevor Hoffman can thank Petco Park for killing two thunderous fly balls and keeping the game alive in the ninth. I’m still not ready to give up on baseball’s all-time saves leader, but Hoffman’s margin for error has slipped from slim to none.
- There’s been some criticism that Bud Black didn’t leave Adrian Gonzalez in the game after he pinch hit for Heath Bell in the 11th. I’m assuming that Gonzalez had (and in Black’s judgment, needed) the day off, so I don’t have a real problem with that. The season is long, guys need a break. Presumably Black knows his personnel better than we do.
- Why the heck was Paul McAnulty trying to stretch a leadoff double to right in the 13th? Either he or third base coach Glenn Hoffman isn’t paying attention there. Sacrifice Bunt thinks it’s a case of organizational hyper-aggressiveness, and P-Mac’s post-game comments seem to confirm this:
I picked up Hoffy, he was waving, so I went. It was a good move — it was going to take a perfect relay throw. They executed.
In an environment where runs are scarce, taking the extra base where possible makes sense, but only insofar as you’ve got guys who are capable of doing it. Lack of team speed is a problem for this club. There are other ways to make Petco Park work for you (see 2007), but right now the Padres aren’t exercising those, which makes their general sluggishness on the bases more of an issue than it otherwise might be. I’m not sure that eliminating third-base coaches altogether is appropriate, but maybe recognizing that McAnulty isn’t Jose Reyes and that Brad Hawpe isn’t Juan Pierre would help.
- Plate umpire Victor Marquez blew a couple of calls, either of which probably would have led to a Padres victory if he’d gotten it right. The 2-2 pitch from Kevin Cameron to Hawpe in the top of the 14th was a strike, but Marquez channeled his inner Richie Garcia and called it a ball. Hawpe eventually walked, driving home the game’s first run. Then, in the bottom half, with the bases loaded, Colorado closer Manny Corpas missed on a 3-1 pitch to Colt Morton, which should have ended the game. Marquez called the pitch a strike, though, and two pitches later, Morton grounded to third. I’m not saying that Marquez was on the take, but he clearly missed two crucial calls.
- On the bright side, I finally saw what Kevin Towers sees in Wil Ledezma. Dude pumped mid-90s heat for five innings. More importantly, he located his pitches. I had no idea he could do either of those things.
- I’ve harped on the 12-man pitching staff at great length, so I won’t rehash all that here. I will note that having Glendon Rusch at the plate representing your last hope is a decidedly sub-optimal strategy.
- Why is there no curfew in the National League. Josh Bard and Yorvit Torrealba both caught the entire game, squatting in full gear for the better part of 6+ hours. Those would be considered safe working conditions… how?
- Outcome notwithstanding, this was a fascinating game and one that I’ll never forget. The sad part is that in the minds of many Padres fans, three runs in 22 innings reinforces their preconceived notion that Petco Park produces boring baseball. PM expressed this sentiment beautifully the other day in the comments:
To the average fan, baseball is a product purchased for entertainment purposes. We got higher beer prices, higher seat prices, no offense and a lovely ballpark that seconds as a sinkhole for offense. So what exactly am I paying for?
I don’t think of baseball in these terms, but I recognize that a lot of people do. For instance, I don’t go out to the movies now as often as I did, say, 10 years ago. Prices are too high, in my estimation, to justify most of the crap that’s being put out these days. If baseball is about beer and offense, then this is a lousy time to be a Padres fan.
- Finally, and at the risk of revealing myself to be the total suck-up that I am, big thanks to Mark Grant and Matt Vasgersian for hanging in there with us and delivering the goods on television. I understand that their style isn’t for everyone, but if you can make me laugh at 1 a.m., you’re doing something right.
Okay, I feel better now. Onward…