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. 50. It would be nice if he could get is OBP .263, above his AVG. .278.

  2. 51: How can your OBP be lower than your average? I didn’t think this was possible?

  3. 51. I believe it has to do with sac flies.

  4. 52: I see that lots of places have that. Is that because he’s hit so many sacrifices?

    FWIW – 2007 P/PA: 3.6
    2008 P/PA: 3.7

    2007 LD% – 17.8
    2008 LD% – 32.1

  5. 50.

    He may be eveolving but for a guy that played 4 years of college ball and is in his 5th big league season IMO his evolution should be pretty much complete and he should be refining things at this point. I don’t know I always liked the guy and I still do I just really wish he would improve and for the most part I feel like he does the exact same thing day after day and year after year. His power is cool but when he does nothing else productive in the offensive game his power means a lot less.

  6. I still enjoy watching Khalil but I’ve come to accept him for what he is. He’s never really advanced as a player and at this stage it’s unlikely he ever will. He’s still an offensive force on the road and plays good, sometimes spectacular, defense.

    Khalil Greene pitches per plate appearance:
    2007: 3.59
    2008: 3.71

    Obviously it’s a tiny sample size (38 PAs) but he’s shown some improvement there. I do like him better in the wide crouch, it seems like he waves at that outside slider less than when he stands straight up.

  7. 55: I guess the easy answer is that he may not be able to improve much while still playing 81 games at home. His game is reasonably productive on the road, not so much at home. Sure, he had a big fat o-fer yesterday, but he’s already driven in several runs on this road trip.

    I am incredibly frustrated by his approach at times. In the same game, he can have an AB where he looks compeltely lost, and then have a multiple pitch AB that results in an xBH.

  8. 50: I dont know how you can say that after watching last nights game. He looked downright terrible at the plate. I know you are a KG fan, but I agree with KRS1 he really hasnt improved his eye. 2/3 of the time he looks like a little leaguer at the plate and then he has that 4 for 5 night with a HR and 2 doubles and it leaves you scratching your head. At this point I just assume he is going to K or weakly fly out when he comes up to bat, that way when he does well I can get excited instead of let down when he whiffs 3 straight pitches.
    I like the guy’s defense most the time and he can go yard almost at will when he is hot, but his streakiness can leave you wishing for more. I wish he would flip his slumps and hot streaks so he has more hot streaks than slumps.

  9. 58: I can say that because of his game on Monday. As I said, the dude is CRAZY inconsistent. I get that. But the numbers suggest that he’s improved his approach thus far this season. Obviously it’s a ridiculous small sample. But again, Khalil wasn’t the only person who looked overmatched at the plate last nite.

    I’m not trying to argue that the guy isn’t maddeningly frustrating at the times. I think he’s trying to make adjustments and improvements. You HAVE to like that LD% thus far this season. He’s got several sacrifices already this year that have plated runners.

    People don’t jump all over Adrian or Kouz when they K with guys on. People seem to be all too ready to criticize Khalil when he does so. I’m a huge fan of his, but you’ve got to apply the same standards to everyone.

  10. 57.

    I really can’t stand that logic at all. So what he shouldn’t try to change his approach at home? Everyone keeps blaming Petco and I just don’t understand what the problem is. Okay so one facet of the offensive game (being Home Runs) is affected by the park. MOVE ON! Petco isn’t going anywhere learn to hit to your park strengths. Take a walk hit the gaps, go the other way, pull the ball, get a single. Why be counter productive?

  11. 60: PetCo suppresses doubles and singles, too. It also increases strikeouts.

  12. Greene doesn’t have a short swing. In order to stay on the fastballs, he has to start it before he can ID a curve ball. Then he winds up with ugly swings on balls in the dirt. I don’t see how he an evolve much. He is a strong defensive player with power, a solid three tool player, not a star.

  13. 60: I don’t pretend to understand what the problem at PETCO is either. But I think you’re asking a lot of any player to have them adopt two completely different approaches. There are small adjustments that players can make in different counts. Asking someone to completely alter their approach depending on where they’re playing seems to be a rather significant expectation. I’m not even sure that someone as talented as Tony Gwynn could have flipped a swtich to change his approach. Granted, Tony had an approach that didn’t NEED to be altered. But there’s an argument to be made that Khalil doesn’t need to change his approach on the road.

    And yeah, I realize that Tony started to pull the ball a bit more in the mid-90s. But he still remained the same type of hitter (which was damn good).

    If his numbers and his approach in his 9 games this year are any indicator, then I think he IS trying to shoot the gaps. On Friday and Sunday, he made several outs to RCF. Some of these balls were more casual flies, some of them were line drives.

  14. I should add that we all see what we want to see. I tend to be completely over-optimistic toward Khalil, so I take note of the things he does right. Others are more down on him, so they take particular notice of his poor swings on pitches in the dirt.

    I realize that he still swings at pitches in the dirt and I was incredibly pissed when he waved at the splitter last nite with a full count. I was REALLY upset because he saw that same pitch earlier in the AB and laid off.

    That said, I still think we’re better off having him than not having him. He’s not a player to build an offense around. But should we expect him to be?

  15. Players change their approach to different parks, pitchers and defenses all the time. I really don’t think it is asking much.

    It’s easy to see the things KG does well and the good things he does. When you are jaded by these things its harder to see just how bad he really is at the plate over 1/2 the time.

  16. Phantom, I am just so excited that there are other people seeing the same thing as me. :-)

    Ahhh the KG discussions…nothing like ‘em!

  17. I think one of the reasons for the 12 man bullpen is that Trevor Hoffman only throws about 55 innings over a season, while most closers are about 65-70 innings. Also some of our starters like Chris Young, Germano, and Maddux often have trouble getting past 6 innings.

    With that being said, i still disagree with the 12 man bullpen as well. Can’t we just give one mop up guy 80-85 innings instead of having two mop of guys pitch 50 each.

  18. 65 & 66: I’ve never pretended that he is a perfect player. He has his flaws. As I stated above, our own personal preference toward him cause us to see things one way or another.

    I would challenge the claim in 65 that more than half of his plate appearances are failures. Wouldn’t that technically be true of anyone with an OBP under .500? He typically rocks on the road; he typically struggles at home. Sometimes he surprises at home; sometimes he surprises on the road.

    I also would challenge the claim that players change their approach “all the time.” People don’t often alter their swings just because they’re hitting in Petco instead of Chase. Yes, people tend to shorten their swings and be more defensive with 2 strikes. But the very next AB, they’re going back to what the’re comfortable with.

    I accept, realize, and agree with the assertion that he’s not perfect. But he’s not as bad as I think he is made to be. We’re better off with him than without him, and he’s not the person to build an offense around. Those people (for this team) are Adrian and Kouz. Khalil should be a role player, but he has been forced into a role that doesn’t suit his game because the Padres haven’t flashed much power (this is the CW, not that I believe it) in the past few years. People see his gaudy (for a SS) HR total from 07 and assume that he’s supposed to be a disciplined offensive player. It’s just not the case.

  19. Greene is what he is, I doubt that he’s going to make adjustments to make himself a more complete hitter. We know that he is going to chase sliders low and away and hammer mistakes, unfortunately at home he’s not able to punish the mistakes like he can on the road. If a pitcher can locate the slider or change-up against him, he’s in trouble (of course this probably goes for a majority of hitters). All that being said he’s still extremely valuable since shortstops that can hit and field are still fairly rare.

  20. At least Arizona won its 6th in a row.

  21. 70: Look on the bright side, the Dodgers got swept!

  22. 68.

    Players altering their “approach” and players altering their “swing” are 2 totally different things.

    Khalil alters his “swing” in what seems to be game to game and most succesful hitters never change their “swing”. “Approach” on the other hand most hitters do change on pretty much a per at bat basis depending on who’s on base or who’s pitching to what park and defensive positioning. It all depends.

    You can also keep saying we are better with him than without him but does that mean that we should be content with him at Shortstop? I’m really not sold on the guy. Yes we all know what he is and we can except that but I guess if I were KT I would be looking to upgrade that position in the offseason if Khalil has another Khalil type year. If he can’t hit or even take a walk or get on base at home and you play half your games at home then that is a real problem. I hope he turns it around because he has the ability to be the most dominant and exciting guy on this team but he’s not any type of player you can count on.

  23. You all just reminded me of all the discussion about getting a new closer because, you know, Hoffman sucks after blowing all the saves so far. ;)

    Greene is going to be Greene. It is, however, interesting to see him change his stance once again. Weird, too.

  24. The most frustrating part of having a 12 man staff is having 3 long men (Ledezma, Rusch and Gonzalez). Two innings eaters should be more than enough, it’s not like we’re gonna need to bring these guys in after 3 innings night after night.

  25. 72:

    Greene is gone after this extension runs out (why would he stay here when it completely destroys his perceived value?) so the question is whether it’s worth it to upgrade either this season or next.

    Ramirez, Rollins, Reyes, Jeter, Tulowitzki, Cabrera and Hardy are all better but won’t be traded. Jack Wilson might have been better last season but he’s older and last year might have been a fluke. Renteria has a club option for 2009 at $11m (or a $3m buyout) so he might be available along with Furcal who is a free agent after this season. But it’s seems unlikely that they’d sign an aging player to a big contract. Michael Young makes $16m a year so there’s no way the Padres would trade for him. Julio Lugo makes $9m a year and is signed through 2011 most likely but he’s not much better then Greene (although I’m sure that the Red Sox will eventually eat a lot of his contract to trade him soon). Yunel Escobar is good and young but I don’t see the Braves trading for him. That would mean the Padres would have to trade for a prospect but other then Headley, who are the Padres going to trade?

    It just seems like Greene is the best player for the position for the time being and they have two seasons to explore his future replacement.