I watched a few innings of the Padres split-squad game against Cleveland on TV Wednesday night. It was 1-1 in the second when I turned it on, 10-2 in the sixth when I turned it off to pick up Mrs. Ducksnorts from the airport. Some observations:
- For whatever reason, the Indians feed was being broadcast in San Diego. I hadn’t expected my first look at this year’s Padres to come accompanied by commentary from people I didn’t know, talking about players I probably wouldn’t see all year. The Cleveland announcers were fine, it’s just… well, I couldn’t figure out why they were there… on my screen. You know, where Padres broadcasters should be.
- The broadcast had Aaron Poreda’s fastball at 85-89 mph. It also had his pitches all over the place. I’d hoped the latter was an optical illusion, like how TV adds 10 pounds, but the final line (0 IP, 3 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 0 SO) doesn’t lie. Steve Webber is the pitching coach at Portland. Dear Coach Webber: Please fix Poreda.
- Matt Stairs isn’t in great shape, he’s in unrecognizable shape. I had no idea that’s who I was looking at when he batted. Congrats on passing the beach ball. Must’ve been painful.
- Grady Sizemore hit a grand slam off Jackson Quezada. That’s a fair fight.
- I see why folks like Simon Castro. He’s got long arms and legs, and his fastball ran 91-94 mph on Wednesday. He mixed in some breaking balls, but I’m not prepared to offer an opinion on those.
- At some point, the broadcasters interviewed Indians pitching coach Tim Belcher, who touched on an aspect of statistical analysis that often gets overlooked. Belcher noted that something like only 7% of first-pitch strikes turn into hits. He credited “the guys on the fourth floor” for coming up with that number and said it helped him sell his pitchers on the merits of throwing first-pitch strikes. We hear about statistical analysis being applied to front-office decision-making processes and maybe to managerial strategy, but I like that at least one coach is using it to try and influence behavior. I’m sure there are others… as well there should be.
It wasn’t much, but it was a start. That’s better than nothing, and I’ll take it for now.