Brooms, Cliches… It’s All Good

Another day, another thrashing of the Diamondbacks bullpen. I’m going to miss those guys. Here’s how the Padres won their weekend series against Arizona:

      IP  H R ER HR BB  K
SD  15.2  8 3  0  0 10 17
SD  15.2  8 4  1  0 10 17
Ari 17.0 11 2  2  1 11 11

     IP   H  R ER HR BB  K
SD  11.1  4  2  2  1  0 14
Ari  7.2 12 14 13  2  9  4

As I said, I’m going to miss Arizona’s relief corps(e).

Wade LeBlanc started in place of the injured Chris Young on Sunday and pitched reasonably well. It’d be nice to see a starter make it through the sixth every now and then, but that’s hard to do when you work deep counts. LeBlanc faced 22 batters in his first big-league start of the season and went to three balls on nine of them, which is irritating.

Still, he finished with seven strikeouts. I know a lot of people don’t believe in LeBlanc, and I get that. The guy throws a ton of slop, but to my way of thinking, anyone who can put an 89-mph fastball past Justin Upton (as LeBlanc did to end his outing) has a chance.

Random thoughts from the game:

  • Will Venable appears to be scuffling. Someone should check the data, but anecdotally it seems he hasn’t seen many fastballs since nearly hitting for the cycle in the home opener. Ian Kennedy had him lunging at off-speed stuff on Sunday. Venable seems like someone who is capable of making adjustments. Now would be a good time for him to do so.
  • Kyle Blanks also hasn’t done much since last Monday, but one thing he has done is tighten his strike zone. He’s walked in four straight games, drawing six in that span against two strikeouts. Small sample, of course, but good to see.
  • Can Scott Hairston hit a fastball up in his eyes, or what? Yes, yes he can. It was kind of cool to see his brother hit a ball in nearly the same spot four batters later to tie the game.
  • Rita Mae Brown’s definition of insanity (often attributed to Albert Einstein) is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” For the second time in less than 24 hours, with the game on the line, Arizona’s Juan Gutierrez walked Adrian Gonzalez intentionally to get to Chase Headley. As on Saturday, the result was three runs and a Padres victory.
  • Speaking of Headley, and again bearing in mind the sample size, have you noticed that he isn’t striking out this year? Anything can happen in 52 plate appearances, but five strikeouts is nice. No, strikeouts aren’t evil; still, if there’s been one chink in Headley’s armor from an offensive standpoint, it’s an inability to make consistent contact. I continue to have a good feeling, supported by very little beyond intuition, about Headley in 2010.

That’s all for now. More as it happens…

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9 Responses »

  1. Geoff,

    I’m pleased to see our starters actually performed better than the Arizona ones (in terms of earned runs, homers, walks, and Ks). Anecdotally while listening to the games it felt like ours were consistently scuffling while theirs were cruising. Nice to see they actually did better.

    In regards to Headley, his peripherals last year suggested he was due for a breakout this season, and it’s really awesome to see him living up to that. Granted small sample size (and that .405 BABIP will probably cool off too), but lots points to actual improvement–fewer strikeouts, more line drives, fewer ground balls. Besides making contact at all, his biggest problem last year (in my opinion) was not making solid contact–a 45% GB rate and 16.5% LD rate. He’s doing that now, and not striking out. I think that’s a good sign.

  2. ZERO walks in 11+ innings pitched … now *that* is a bully!

  3. I made an error in the pitching lines originally posted. I inadvertently omitted LeBlanc’s run from yesterday; it’s been corrected.

  4. The Padres bullpen is third best in the league in FIP and xFIP, and best in terms of WHIP. Love me some bullpen.

  5. re: RMB … … learn something new every day, I s’pose … especially by reading Ducksnorts! Thanks, GY!

  6. Geoff
    I think your point regarding starters working through the 6th bears repeating. If the bullpen (albeit a large one with 12 arms) continues to have to enter games in the 5th and 6th innings we’ll be due for a BIG let-up much sooner than later.

  7. My favorite part about that table is the K/BB ratio by the Padres hitters (I’m choosing to think of it as by the Padres hitters and not as by the D-backs pitchers). 15 Ks against 20 BBs for the series. Good stuff.

    Did you notice LeBlanc’s pitch sequence to Upton in the 5th? 4 fastballs in a row.

  8. Headley’s off to a great start offensively, but leads the majors with 5 errors. He had 5 errors at 3rd all last year in (roughly) twice the innings. Maybe 3rd isn’t as “natural” of a position for him after all! Two weeks is too early to tell, but Kouz only had 3 errors at third all last season. Just sayin…

  9. @Geoff B: Headley will be fine. He doesn’t come in on balls as well as Kouz did, nor are his hands as sure, but he moves better to his left and has a stronger arm. Remember that Headley hasn’t played third base regularly since 2007.