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Fifteen Minutes of Optimism

Well, wasn’t that fun? Two words: Face. Plant. I’m talking Julianne Moore in Evolution (yeah, I saw it… in the theater; I’m not proud).

I DVR’d the game and didn’t get to watch till fairly late in the evening. My favorite part? Falling asleep after Stephen Drew’s inside-the-park home run in the fourth.

I blame Jon Garland. He was awful in his Padres debut. Granted, four of the runs were unearned, but I’m pretty sure Everth Cabrera had nodded off by the time Garland got around to delivering that fateful pitch to Justin Upton.

There are three things a finesse pitcher cannot afford to do (I just made that up; it’s probably more than three, but roll with me):

  • Work behind in the count
  • Take a lot of time between pitches
  • Leave the ball up in the zone

Garland needed 33 pitches to make it through the first. He went to three three-ball counts that inning (five for the game, out of 21 batters faced).

He took forever doing it, too. Garland and Nick Hundley just couldn’t seem to get on the same page, and it was agonizing to watch. Kind of like Evolution.

He did not just make a second reference to that horrible movie.

Believe it, sister.

I don’t know how the fielders behind him felt, but Garland was putting me to sleep. The fans booed. Yes, this was in enemy territory, but people hadn’t paid to watch some guy stand out on the mound and think about stuff.

As for leaving the ball up, that homer he served to Mark Reynolds in the third came on a hanging curve. It started high and broke right into Reynolds’ considerable wheelhouse. The ball traveled “only” 386 feet because he got under it. As new Padres announcer Dick Enberg quipped, “I thought he threw those little ones back.”

Speaking of Enberg, it was a genuine treat listening to him call the game with Mark Grant. The Padres have had some good announcers over the years, but as someone who grew up to the strains of Vin Scully, I have a soft spot for that classic, old school style. Intending no disrespect to anyone else working on the Padres telecasts, Enberg seriously classes up the joint. What a great pickup he was.

The game? The Padres almost got something going in the second. With one out, Chase Headley pounded a double past first baseman Adam LaRoche and down the right field line. Will Venable hammered a ball to right but got on top of it, launching it right into Upton’s waiting glove. Then Hundley smashed a ball (pounded? hammered? smashed? what is this, a bachelor party?) right at third baseman Reynolds to end the inning.

The Padres scored in the seventh, but I never saw it. They added two more in the ninth on back-to-back homers by Adrian Gonzalez and Kyle Blanks off reliever Bob Howry, who perhaps didn’t realize the season had started and may have been “working on stuff” with a 6-1 lead. I have no idea; I was fast asleep by the time garbage time rolled around.

Eh, it’s one game. Get up, try again. Repeat for the next six months.

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7 Responses »

  1. The Padres are gonna lose most of their games against the league’s elite pitchers … and that’s what Haren is …

    What I think they can do, however, is be above-.500 versus the rest of the bums they’ll see … such as Edwin Jackson …

    Bring it, tonight, boyz!

  2. He (Garland) was bad, and slow. He has also made no secret of the fact he does not like pitching in that park with the roof open so I think he psyched himself out. He was also not helped by the two errors made behind him. Headley’s error would not have happened if Adrian had been still playing but he thought it was a foul and gave up on it. Not good baseball all around but just one game. There will be better ones coming. I believe these guys will be more interesting to watch than the last few years. Try not to sleep thru all of them. :-)

  3. Should you blame Jon Garland or your expectations (maybe overinflated?) of what Jon Garland was supposed to be? I know it’s opening day and therefore a day full of optimism, but to me, Haren vs Garland was not going to be pretty no matter what! Onto game 2, let the grind begin!

  4. “My favorite part? Falling asleep after Stephen Drew’s inside-the-park home run in the fourth.”

    Ha, I usually fall asleep watching the games too. I get all excited, drink a couple of beers & then I’ll sleep through the middle innings. And, then I get the “Can I watch American Idol? You’re not even watching the game!” And, I was afraid I was the only one.

    Unfortunately, I caught Drew’s homer. He got around those bases quick. I can’t wait to see what Matt Bush does, when he gets called up later this season.

  5. You’re right about one thing–watching Hundley and Garland “communicate” was rough. However, you’re wrong about Evolution. Underrated movie in the “stupid funny” genre. It had everything–Sarah Silverman in a bra, Stifler singing love songs in a mall, and Jame Gumm from Silence of the Lambs as a military d**khead.

  6. @LynchMob: Sing it to me.

    @Cheri: Good to hear from you. Despite my incessant whining, I remain excited about this year’s team. I will do a better job of staying awake in the future.

    @Mike: I figured Garland would be a serviceable #3 or #4 type starter (like everyone else in the rotation); I just didn’t expect him to work so darned slowly.

    @Jacob: Nice job getting that first Matt Bush reference out of the way. Hearts have been broken.

    @Vince: Thanks for the note. I actually enjoyed Evolution, but it was a bad movie.

  7. re: Jacob … indeed, the Batt Mush reference made me LOL :-)