Aggravating. Annoying. Bilious. Discouraging. Disheartening. Dispiriting. Exasperating. Frustrating. Infuriating. Irritating.
But enough about me, let’s talk about the game. [rim shot]
I finally saw the team that everyone else seems to think the Padres are, the one that should be grateful to the Giants for granting them a spot in fourth place. The Padres have more talent than they get credit for, but not so much that they can play stupid baseball and still expect to win games:
- Two homers to Bengie Molina? Granted, the first got a good push from the 30-mph wind, but c’mon, there’s a reason we chide the Giants for batting Molina cleanup.
- Thirteen singles, no extra-base hits? I don’t know a nice way to say this, but the Padres may have the slowest team in baseball. When you’re playing station-to-station with a team that can’t run, those stations had better be more than 90 feet apart. Don’t think about that too hard because it doesn’t really make sense, but you get the point.
- Can we please learn how to run the bases? Yeah, Kevin Kouzmanoff may not have picked up on the fact that Dan Ortmeier couldn’t haul in Khalil Greene‘s drive, but we’ve seen this how many times now in the first couple weeks of the season? It happened twice on April 6 against the Dodgers. The bullpen got saddled with the loss in that one, too, but the game was given away earlier on the basepaths. That’s twice in the first nine games that sloppy baserunning has turned probable victory into certain defeat. Some teams can afford to pull that kind of garbage; the Padres aren’t one of them.
- Scott Hairston and the 12-man pitching staff. It was a questionable check-swing call, and plate umpire Tim Timmons appeared to be having a tough night. Should Timmons have tossed Hairston so quickly? Probably not. Should Hairston have tested the theory? Probably not.
The larger problem, and one that we’ve seen before, is this: When a team insists on carrying seven relievers, it needs all the position players it can get. Otherwise you end up with comical situations like the one we saw in the ninth, where Colt Morton and Jake Peavy were on base as pinch runners. That should never happen in the first nine innings of a big-league ballgame. Heck, if the contest had continued, who would’ve batted in the pitchers spot? I’m thinking Greg Maddux, but I don’t know.
Justin Huber was the last man off the bench, and he arrived to the party in the 10th. Do you know how many games the Padres played in 2007 went beyond 10 innings? Fifteen. If you’ve burned through your entire bench by the time you reach the 11th inning (not unlikely given the way this team plays and the way its roster is constructed), you’re in a tough spot.
We saw a similar fiasco against
Arizonalast April where reserve catcher Pete LaForest was forced to play first base and committed an error that cost the Padres the game. Everyone points to Tony Gwynn Jr.’s triple and the Coors Field meltdown because those are more recent events and we knew by then what, exactly, was at stake, but if the Padres beat the Snakesin April, Game 163 never happens.
Geez, how did we get here? We were talking about Hariston’s ejection and it morphed into a rant against the 12-man pitching staff. How did that happen? Oh, I know: It’s because I hate the 12-man pitching staff.
Anyway. I think that’s all out of my system now. Maybe tonight will be better…