Maybe the Padres will do okay this year. In your heart of hearts, you don’t believe it, but you’ll commit to it over olives on a fork and flutes of champagne. You’ll sneak it into conversation, right between “My kid is smart, he’s just not motivated” and “I watch Giada De Laurentis for the recipes.”
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Made it home in time to see the Padres down, 6-5, in the fourth at Coors Field Monday night. Rocky Mountain Pinball. Check-Swing Pachinko. Bobbing for Homers. Duck-Duck-Boom. Anti-Baseball.
Ex-Padre Glendon Rusch (you remember him as the pitcher who couldn’t get anyone out and also as the guy standing at home plate with a bat on his shoulder to end last year’s 22-inning affair against the Rockies) is on the mound with runners at the corners and nobody out. He gets Adrian Gonzalez swinging and then induces Chase Headley to ground into a 5-4-3 double play.
I flip to Jeopardy and see someone win $32,001. The final answer is “George Lucas.” I watch Chuck. Jeffster’s version of “Mr. Roboto” is stunning (if slightly less funny than the original). Fireworks in a church? Inspired.
I flip back to the game. The Padres are losing, 11-7. Jody Gerut needs a triple to become the first player in Padres history to hit for the cycle. Gerut grounds to Todd Helton at first.
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She was making some halibut dish with a grapefruit salsa. Mmm, grapefruit.
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This is anecdotal evidence, but Adrian has had some ugly at-bats against lefties. Monday night it was Rusch. Tuesday it was Jorge de la Rosa — twice.
Adrian expands the strike zone, chases stuff he shouldn’t. It wasn’t always that way. In 2006, he hit .312/.345/.489 against southpaws. Last year he plummeted to .213/.287/.387.
Caught fragments of Tuesday’s win. Saw Headley start a 7-4-3 double play on a hit-and-run sinking liner (“What is, ‘Iceberg’?”). For all of his faults as a left fielder, Headley has a strong arm.
Chad Gaudin made his Padres debut and worked five scoreless innings at Coors. Walked too many — story of the entire staff so far in ’09 — but kept his new team in the game.
Luis Rodriguez, still weak from food poisoning, delivered the game-winning hit. His sharp grounder past a drawn-in Helton plated Nick Hundley, who led off the ninth with a line drive down the right-field line that rattled around in the corner for a triple.
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On April 7, 1992, the Weekly World news ran on its cover the headline, “Satan Escapes from Hell!” The accompanying “photograph” showed grey clouds billowing out of a Texas oil well in the shape of a menacing face with horns. I couldn’t resist; I had to buy a copy.
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Adrian stole second base in Tuesday’s game. Standing up. Without a throw.
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Friend of Ducksnorts Matt Vasgersian got himself into a little trouble for making a stupid on-air comment that some perceived as having racial overtones. He has apologized for the incident, which isn’t worthy even of being called an incident.
- Although I’ve never met Vasgersian in person, I’ve exchanged emails with him and talked to him on the phone. He also contributed the foreword to the Ducksnorts 2008 Baseball Annual, which isn’t a reason for me to kiss his ass, in case you’re wondering.
- When I was young, we lived in Monterey Park, Calif. I went to school across the street from East Los Angeles Junior College. From kindergarten through third grade, I was the only white kid in my class. Everyone else was Mexican or Japanese. (In an amusing twist, I used to get teased for having “pushed-in eyes.”) In 1979, the school district started bussing white kids in from the San Fernando Valley. We moved to Culver City, on the west side.
- I have been married to a second-generation Asian-American for 13+ years. We say some things to each other that would be considered offensive in many contexts. It is our way of acknowledging the differences between our two cultures in a way that doesn’t take the whole thing too seriously. We are respectful, but we have no use for sacred cows. (She grew up in Hawai’i, home of Rap Reiplinger and Frank DeLima.) Also, we know each other well and that our banter comes from a place of love. We don’t hide from our differences; we poke fun at them.
My assumption, based on what I know of Vasgersian, is that he was being a smart-ass and it didn’t work. Yeah, like your jokes never suck.
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She also made a pear and carrot salad with a curry vinaigrette. Mmm, carrots. No, wait; I meant pears. Mmm, pears.
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Wednesday’s contest? I dunno, didn’t see it. The Padres were down, 7-0, and made a game of it. They lost, 7-5. Henry Blanco hit his third home run. He’s got two at Petco this year and one at Coors. The obvious conclusion is that Petco Park is twice as conducive to homers.
You do know how to abuse statistics, right? You should. It’s a handy skill to have.
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Hideki Irabu has signed with the Long Beach Armada of the Golden Baseball League. He inspired the first ever rant at Ducksnorts back in ’97. Not my strongest work, but a guy has to start somewhere. I say we get as many people from San Diego as possible to his first start and all chant, “PRI-SON CAMP! PRI-SON CAMP!” Would that be in poor taste? I hope so.
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The Padres lost again on Thursday, this time to the Dodgers. Adrian roped a double to left-center off lefty Will Ohman. It was a fat pitch — breaking ball that hung and caught too much plate.
I fear we are now seeing the real Padres bullpen. It takes time for scouting reports on minor leaguers to circulate, but you cannot stave off the inevitable forever.
That’s what makes it inevitable.
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The Padres had a team OPS+ of 103 in April. That placed them ninth among the 30 MLB teams. They scored four runs or more in 15 of 22 games, going 11-4 in those contests. It’s a miniscule sample, but see how this compares to recent years:
Kinda weird that the Padres have lost exactly 25 games that meet this criterion for three straight seasons. Insignificant, but weird. More relevant for our purposes, they scored a lot of runs in April.
How about the flip side? How often do the Padres allow four runs or more in a game, and what happens in those cases?
In April, the pitchers didn’t do their job well. A big part of the problem was walks. The staff issued 4.07 BB/9 in the season’s first month, as compared to 3.46 in 2008. That’s an extra walk every other game. As Duaner Sanchez reminded us this past week, an extra walk can mean the difference between winning and losing.
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Listening to Bjork’s Post. How can her music sound mechanical and organic at the same time?
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The Padres had a team ERA+ of 80 in April. Nobody in MLB was worse, although the Phillies matched that mark.
Here’s a fun trick you can play on your friends after they’ve had a few too many mimosas at brunch:
- If a team wins the World Series, it must be good.
- The Phillies won the World Series.
- The Phillies sported an 80 ERA+ in April.
- The Padres sported an 80 ERA+ in April.
- The Padres must be good.
- The Padres will win the World Series.
Be careful when delivering this. If you are off by even a little, your head will explode.
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Friday night, another loss at Dodger Stadium. It gets worse, but we don’t know that yet.
Jake Peavy spins eight scoreless innings. Offense goes AWOL. The hitters can’t be expected to carry this team all year.
Top of the sixth, nobody on, two out. Adrian grounds sharply toward shortstop. Rafael Furcal backhands the ball and rushes his throw, skipping it past James Loney for a two-base error. Adrian is two steps from the bag when the ball arrives. Furcal needs to get his eyes checked — how did he not see the piano?
Top of the seventh, Kouzmanoff leads off with a double to left-center. Blanco strikes out and Chris Burke lines to center. Juan Pierre races in, then nearly lets the ball sail over his head before making a “spectacular” catch. Peavy strikes out to end the inning.
Mark Grant wonders aloud whether Blanco should have sacrificed Kouz to third, noting that the latter would have scored on Burke’s fly ball. I wonder aloud whether, if Kouz is on third with one out and Peavy is on deck, Burke even sees a strike? We will never know.
I missed most of Sanchez’s walkfest in the ninth. Saw the game winner to Russell Martin. That was one heckuva plate appearance by Martin. He fought off some nasty sliders down and away before spitting on a 3-2 fastball just above the letters.
The game almost ended twice earlier with Martin at the plate. First, Blanco smothered a slider in the dirt to keep Orlando Hudson at third. Then, Martin lunged at and rolled another slider up the third-base line. Kouz charged hard and went to barehand it before pulling back at the last moment, letting it dribble foul. Sanchez was already walking off the mound.
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Didn’t see Saturday night’s loss. Visiting with friends from out of town.
If the Padres can’t win with Peavy and Young on the mound, then what chance do they have with Gaudin, Geer, and Correia?
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Brunch at the Catamaran. Early birthday present. Excellent food, too many mimosas.
Walk along the bay, sit in the shade at Fanuel Street Park. Kids, bicycles, dogs, birds, fish jumping up out of the water, sailboats. Dude in a Chargers shirt deep in conversation with the yellow parrot perched on his shoulder. Roller skates, random bits of conversation. Man jogging turns to his companion:
There was a spot on the optical scanner. I told 100 patients they were going to die. Some of them were quite upset.
Grass, ducks, boats — I already mentioned the boats. There were many boats. Cloudless sky. Ripples on the bay.
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The Padres are getting trounced again and I’m not watching. Should have crowned a champion after 12 games. If they break the ’62 Mets record for futility despite the hot start — well, that would require extraordinary effort.
Extraordinary is good. Beats ordinary, right?
Sipping decaf. Dogs snore, jets from Miramar soar overhead.
I turn on the TV to check the score. Dodgers are up, 3-1, with two out in the sixth. Chad Billingsley faces Nick Hundley with the bases loaded. Cutter on the outside corner at the knees, called strike one. Curve ball down, swinging strike two. Curve ball down, swinging strike three. Inning over.
Three pitches tell me everything I need to know. That’s not a lot of baseball, but on this day, it is too much. I turn off the TV. I’ve got articles to write, laundry to fold, bills to pay.
What did hope feel like? Did you salivate when you saw some lady hit the jackpot at the next poker machine?
Gaudin works five scoreless in his Padres debut at Coors, then gets pummeled at Dodger Stadium. Does he not understand park factors? Or worse, do they not understand him?
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My recommendation: Next time someone asks you what happened to the Padres after their 9-3 start, look ‘em square in the eye and say, “Cantaloupe and watermelon salad.” Then pop another olive in your mouth and walk away.