Singles Night

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 Arizona Los Angeles last 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 Snakes Dodgers in 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…

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75 Responses »

  1. Not to quibble Geoff, but LaForest’s costly error was in a game against the Dodgers. It was that glorious 17-inning affair that David Wells started. The same one in which Hampson impressed the hell outta me by conitnuing to slog through inning after inning of relief.

    I have mixed feelings about last night’s game. On the one hand, it was great to see them able to come back after being down 2 and against a pretty studly pitcher. It’s also nice to have 13 hits.

    On the other hand, you’ve got to score more than 2 runs with 13 hits. 0 for 11 with RISP is just flat out unacceptable. Nobody is immune from blame for last night’s debauchle, but some are more suspect than others.

    Meanwhile, AZ is on fire. They would appear to be our principal competition for the division, and I still don’t know that they can sustain this ridiculous power surge. Regardless, it would be nice to see the Padres start hitting some balls deep. We seemed to be slugging like crazy against the Astros, and our xBH have run cold since then.

  2. It seems foolish to carry 12 pitchers if you are going to have your relievers throw multiple innings as Thatcher and Meredith did last night (granted, it’s probably foolish in any case). Through five games, Ledezma, Rusch and Gonzalez have thrown only 5 innings (Ledezma on with one) — why bother to have them up if they aren’t going to be used? If the roster limit is 25 players, why use just 24?

    As far as the quick hook to Hairston goes, I’m fine if the umpires have a zero tolerance policy for arguing. However, it should be uniformly applied and not vary from umpire to umpire. In fairness to Hairston, it didn’t seem like he said much and it didn’t look like he swung either.

  3. Whoowee! If Geoff is this frustrated in early April, it’s going to be a LONG season. ;-)

    Hang in there, GY. Perhaps it will help to know that Jerry Coleman explained Kouz’s baserunning blunder by saying he was forced to go to third by Edmonds, who had advanced from first. Apparently the Colonel missed the part about KG being safe at first.

    I love the guy and will always have the utmost respect for him as a former ballplayer, a genuine American hero, and a Hall of Fame announcer, but he just isn’t sharp enough mentally and visually to announce ballgames any longer; however, I completely understand why no one is willing to tell him he can’t do it anymore.

  4. #1: Thanks, I was confusing it with the April 18 loss, in which LaForest also played a role.

  5. Bring back the 11-man pitching staff.

  6. Exactly. Why do we need to carry guys on the staff who never get work? I wondered the same thing about Cameron and Hampson last year.

  7. I actually don’t think Meredith pitching a second inning was that big of a mistake. How much worse would the commotion be this morning if it had been Trevor that had given up the dinger.

    I also don’t really have a problem with their cleanup guy taking our reliever deep to win the game. It’s a hell of a lot better than a lead-off walk to a rookie or a pitcher that comes around to score.

    I turned off the game almost instantly, but I don’t remember thinking the pitch by Meredith was all that bad. I thought it just got too much of the plate, but wasn’t really up.

  8. I’m all for the 11 man staff, they need to drop Ledezma, Rusch or Gonzalez and bring up Robles or Stansberry, I always clinch up when they bring Crabbe into picnh hit or run because if Greene, Kouz or the Gooch goes down then the pads will be stuck with Huber or P-Mac at third, and possibly Kouz at 2B.

  9. That was an awful pitch by Meredith, right down the middle with zero movement. Even before Molina swung at it you could tell it was going to be trouble and as soon as he connected you could tell it was out. I wasn’t really paying attention and I thought that Jose Castillo was the batter — I guess giving up a HR to Molina is “better” but it still sucks.

    I wasn’t saying it was foolish to throw relievers multiple innings — I’m all for it — but to carry 12 pitchers. I think it makes sense for relievers to go more then one inning — the more innings you get out of your top guys, the less Enrique Gonzalez and Wil Ledezma pitch.

  10. Re: 7 I agree homeruns are going to happen and Molina is not a bad hitter so its a little easier to swallow a loss like last night than it is to take a loss where a pitcher gives up a leadoff walk, lets the guy steal 2nd and then give up a single to lose the game.

  11. My impressionistic feeling – no doubt colored by last night’s loss – is that Meredith seems to struggle in second inning stints. Bell, on the other hand, I might’ve kept in there for two frames.

  12. Today, Germano is starting and those top guys won’t be available. We could eaxsily see Ledezma throwing the sixth and seventh.

  13. Re: 12 I think Germano will go 6 tonight, Rucsh for 2 and then Hoffy for one (if they are winning)

  14. 13. Yuck. Sounds like the recipe for a hangover loss.

  15. It’s a shame that Adrian’s amazing double play went for nothing. That was as clutch as any defensive play can be and Kouzmanoff deserves just as much credit for keeping his leg in front of the bag while fielding the throw on a hop. A great play all around.

    1: Wasn’t that the game where Black did a double switch that took Adrian out of the game? He took his best hitter and best defender out so he could pinch hit with LaForest or Blum or someone like that. I remember thinking that would come back to haunt them, and it did.

    7,9: The thing with Meredith is he has no margin for error. He really needs to be right at the knees to be effective. If he’s up even a couple of inches he gets hit. I think when he’s up a little it’s because he didn’t get his usual movement, which means it’s a big fat meatball.

    I don’t have any stats but I seem to remember Cla getting hit hard in his second inning of work several times last year.

    Today is a must win, we can’t lose a series against these clowns.

  16. Agree with Anthony on Adrian’s play last night — maybe one of the best plays you’ll ever see by a 1B. And Velez (the runner on 2B) is fast fast!

    Memo to Brian Giles: With two out and no one on in the ninth inning, give a thought to playing ‘no doubles’ in the outfield.

  17. #15, 16: Good call on Adrian. In my rage (you noticed I was upset, no?), I neglected to mention that. I don’t think it’s even the best play I’ve seen him make (his throw to nail Chris Young at second for the final out of ’06 was just insane), but it was brilliant at both ends. Adrian’s awareness is amazing, and Kouz did a great job of denying Velez the bag at third.

  18. I think Black felt compelled to make so many moves last night because he wanted to keep pace with Boch how many OF did he go through in the 9th inning alone?

  19. 18: Hairston’s ejection really derailed the train last nite in terms of personnel. I’m not sure why Callix only got 2 innings in the OF, but I guess thems the breaks.

    I agree with everyone about the play Adrian and Kouz made last night. You just don’t see a 1B that agressive anymore.

  20. 19: I agree with both of you about Adrian’s play. However, it’s also important to note (as Geoff did in 17) that Kouz had a nice defensive evening. Velez is safe at 3rd if Kouz isn’t blocking the bag.

  21. 10: For whatever odd reason Molina did have respectable seasons in 05 and 06, but, yes, he is a bad hitter. Baseball being what it is though, even bad hitters hit the ball good now and then. :-)

  22. I did not think Cla’s pitch was that bad; it was dropping, Molina was kind of lunging at it. I thought good pitch, bad outcome. It happens.

    I am not that against the 12 pitchers, but they have to be used. If you just leave guys buried, what good is that. Cameron’s Rule V status may have been part of that last year, but spread the innings out and have guys that can play multiple positions, like Crabbe.

    yes, bad baserunning. How did Clark not get a double on his shot? If he advances to second, we score a run. Can’t Kouz pick up the base coach? This is a decent team in a tough, tough division. We have to win games like this going forward.

    Hopefully we will.

  23. 7: Except their cleanup hitter is Bengie Molina….

    I dont get it either. I know KT is an arm scavenger and he likes the Rule V guys and scrap heap guys, but there is no reason for Rusch or Gonzalez to be on the squad. I would rather have Gerut (etc.) back up

  24. And I think Edmonds looked a little better in the field, for whatever that is worth.

  25. 22: I think the problem with Meredith’s pitch was that it was a slider, not a fastball. He struck out Rowand with a fastball in that exact same location, but this was a slider that, from Morton’s positioning, was supposed to break out of the strike zone outside. It still looked like a tough pitch to lift out of the ballpark though.

  26. 17: After the stolen base I kept thinking the only hope for a double play was to hit it to Adrian and he would somehow make one of his ridiculous plays, and he did just that. I don’t care how good Pujols is with the glove, there’s no better first baseman at erasing the lead runner. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 1B so consistently and successfully aggressive at throwing guys out.

  27. 24:

    The Padres are leading the majors in team defensive efficiency (small sample size of course) after being 5th in 2007 and first in 2006. I’m not entirely sure how they are doing it (although Mike Cameron surely had a strong effect the past two seasons) but their defense has been good at turning balls in play into outs. I’d still probably switch Hairston and Edmonds as Hairston is the hopeful long-term solution in CF so why waste time with Edmonds out there? Plus once Headley comes up I think that Hairston should get more AB’s then Edmonds (although I could see the need for Hairston to sit against tough right-handed pitchers).

  28. Meredith only threw 8 pitches, 6 for strikes in his first inning… no way do I take him out.

    The guy that Adrian threw out is the very same Velez that made it to 3rd base in 11 seconds from the crack of the bat the day before… play of the year.

    Is Enrique Gonzalez really worth the roster spot? I know it’s nice to have a guy who can pitch the 9th with a 7 run lead and only give up 3 runs, but only having 1 legitimate backup at 2B, 3B and SS is not a very good idea.

  29. GY, I’m sorry, isn’t it your job to talk us in off the edge? Come on back down and let’s talk about this.

  30. I just hope that we win the division or wild card by a few games, and that all of this agitating about blowing games ends up being nothing.

    That could happen, right?

  31. Barrett’s injury is described as having him missing between 2 weeks and 2 month (or if he has TJ surgery the rest of the season). If he misses two months, do you think the Padres have to make a move or is Morton going to be good enough?

  32. The Union Tribune mentioned the Padres contacted Damian Miller. This doesn’t make sense to me as Miller is an inferior hitter to Morton, although Miller has had pretty good success throwing out base runners.

  33. Re: 31 depends on how well bard does, if he can handle catching 6 days a week I think they will stick with morton if bard starts to wear down then I think they get another guy.

  34. 32: The UT article mentions that Miller reportedly has a great ability to handle pitchers. I’m not sure if they’re concerned that Morton doesn’t have that ability since he’s a rookie, but it seems like they’re less concerned with offensive production then they are adequate defense.

  35. Joe Sheehan tears into Bruce Bochy on BP Unfiltered today:

    I don’t think those are subscriber only. Reading that reminds me of the Bochy days, when every few games you’d think to yourself “What the hell is he doing?”

  36. 31: I dont really see looking for some else besides a back-up. Morton should be fine though. Its not like Barrett has even been an offensive catcher while he has been with the Padres, so if morton catches even as often as Barrett was I dont see if being much of a downgrade.

  37. This is OT, but 9 games into the season, it looks like passing on Andruw Jones and Aaron Rowand was a GREAT call.

  38. 37: Haha good call! On that note, Passing on Torii Hunter does not.

  39. 38: Yeah, but I still think Hunter got WAAAY too much money.

  40. That was an ugly game last night. San Francisco is terrible and we can’t afford too many losses to the worst team in the division.

  41. 39: I agree, but of the 3 I think he is most worth the money he got. He is fun to watch play.

  42. Re 40: Even bad teams win a fair amount of games at home. How do you think most of us tolerated the Padres from 1969-1977, 1979-1981, 1986-1987, 1993-1994, 1999-2003? Let’s just hope they can win the series; even bad teams win home series.

    Last night, I thought they were cooked in regular frames with the filthiness that was Tim Linecum, bad baserunning and the inability to hit with RISP. Extra innings just extended the agony.

  43. I read the headline and I wondered how much would the bear cost.
    What did I get? A rant from, of all people, Geoff. What the heck?
    Singles Night with no beers and plenty of heartbreaks. No siree, I don’t need that.

    So, praises go the way of El Hombre and the Mashing Macedonian.
    Way to go, guys.

  44. See, now that I read what I wrote, it’s even funnier.
    A bear in the middle of a Singles Night entry. I wonder what’s the story with it.

  45. Is it me or is rooting for Khalil Greene getting really really hard. I feel like I am still watching a rookie when I watch him play. 2/3′s of the time he looks like an amateur at the plate and then 1/3 of the time he looks like a superstar MVP or something. He is so inconsistant it KILLS me. This is coming from the outside looking in so I could be way off but it really looks like he just doesn’t take to coaching well at all. He continues to look stupid at the plate flailing at pitches out of the zone and change his batting stance like he’s trying to set a high score.

    I really enjoy watching him play defense and he has shown that he can hit at the big league level he’s just such a tease it’s crazy. I keep rooting but it’s getting harder and harder to do when he is still hacking and missing at pitches he was constantly hacking and missing on in 2004.

  46. KRS1, welcome to the dark side. Embrase your inner power. I am your father… :-)

  47. Re: Morton…he certainly looks like a good receiver and if he is only catching 1 game a week, that should be fine. The question becomes, can Bardo hold up catching 5-6 games a week. If he can, then a good D no hit back-up will be fine. He can catch Maddux and we will call it a day.

    Re: 12 pitchers…I don’t have much issue with it, but you better be using them all. Did y’all see Detroit going to a 13 man staff this week? Now, that seems 9 kinds of crazy.

  48. RE: 47 in the AL where you don’t burn your bench.

  49. 46.

    No seriously though. I am not trying to start an epic KG argument or anything but last night I was just blown away at how bad he looked. Even the hit he got was routine can of corn type fly ball that was pushed because of the wind and still should have been caught. Granted he wasn’t the only one (Scott Hairston I’m looking at you) because Lincecum is tough but come on. My wife who is coming into her own in terms of baseball knowledge is asking me “Why don’t opposing pitchers just always throw it there when Khalil is up to bat? He always swings at it and he never hits it” and all I can do is say “I don’t know”. His act is starting to wear on me though.

    I know there is no alternative and he plays good defense but it’s getting old waiting for him to come around.

  50. 49: I was frustrated that he fished on the splitter on a full count, when he had laid off earlier in that AB.

    Otherwise though, I really feel that he’s having better ABs this year. For the most part, he’s having deeper ABS in the 5+ pitch range. If he sees six pitches and Ks, that’s a hell of a lot better than popping out on the first pitch.

    Yes, Khalil is wildly inconsistent at the plate. But he’s still an outright stud in the field and can go deep at any point. I’d like to see him get a dinger sometime soon, but I’m encouraged by his insistence on going to RCF a couple times this year as well. I think he’s evolving. It’s just really painful to watch him fail in a clutch situation. To be fair though, Khalil wasn’t the only person who batted with RISP last nite.