I missed most of Saturday’s win against the Rockies. Caught the first few innings while driving to Elsinore, then heard Heath Bell’s high-wire act in the 14th. Watched a little of the rebroadcast on Channel 4 when I got home.
It will shock you to learn that I have some thoughts on the game anyway:
- Mat Latos served up three homers in six innings. I didn’t see the other two, but the one he surrendered to Brad Hawpe in the fourth was a joke. That pitch coupled with that swing produces an out in any other ballpark. If Latos keeps doing what he did right there, he’ll be okay.
- Speaking of Latos, he issued zero walks. He threw two-thirds of his 84 pitches for strikes, and went to three three-ball counts on the night (Todd Helton grounded out to second on a 3-2 pitch in the third; Chris Iannetta flied out to left on a 3-1 pitch in the fourth; Troy Tulowitzki grounded out to third on a 3-1 pitch in the sixth). That’s the right approach at Coors Field… or most anywhere.
- How about the bullpen? Bud Black used six relievers in this one, and they pitched well: 8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 8 K. Great to see Luke Gregerson and Edward Mujica bounce back from rough outings. Cesar Ramos, thrust into an unfamiliar role, fanned both batters he faced (Hawpe, Ian Stewart with the game tied in the ninth). Ducksnorts favorite Tim Stauffer worked three innings to notch the win.
- I’m down with the aggressive baserunning meme that permeated camp this spring, but the Padres need to be smarter out there. In the first, with Adrian Gonzalez at the plate and one out, Tony Gwynn Jr. got picked off second. In the fourth, with runners at the corners, one out, and a 3-1 count to Everth Cabrera, Nick Hundley fell for the third-to-first move. Cabrera followed with a run-scoring double that would have plated Hundley and kept the game from going into extra franes.
- Earlier that inning, Will Venable knocked a bases-loaded triple to left-center. I love watching him run the bases. Venable is going to outperform his projections this year. I keep vacillating on comps for him; my current favorite is former Padres outfielder Al Martin.
I was going to look at some stats, too, but it’s five games. They don’t mean much yet.
I hope that your use of Al Martin as a point of comparison is for his professional exploits and not personal… cuz I don’t see how anyone could excel on the diamond with TWO wives. Seriously.
Coors field is ridiculous! however, the coors phenomenon should work both ways, right?
another thing: why is it that the padres, no matter who’s wearing the uniform, strike out so frequently? It’s beginning to drive me to the outer limits!
Love tha blog:)
I was at the game last nite…all of it. Impressions: Headley and Venable were ridiculous, in opposite ways. Headley was seeing everything, on base 6 times (3 hits, 2 BBs, 1 K with “stolen 1B”) in 5 ABs. Venable was up at least 5 times with a runner on third (bases loaded a few times) and got 1 hit (a bases clearing 3B). He was given chance after chance after chance and couldn’t come through. Baserunning was atrocious. Headley trying to stretch a single into a double, out by 5 feet. Cabrera rounding second when he had no chance at third, changing his mind, falling down, and only because the throw was way off, making it back to 2nd. Hundley caught in a run-down, caught snoozing.
From the stands I was less impressed with Latos than you are. He only had 6 pitches in the first inning, and did not give up many hits, but when the Rockies hit him, they were pounding him. I was more impressed with Stauffer, who fought for 3 solid innings.
Tulowitzki had a couple amazing plays that robbed the Pads of hits. I mean ridiculously good. Two of them.
Eckstein’s hustle from first to score the go-ahead run was great. There were so few fans left at that point that he could probably have heard me yelling, “Go, David, Go!” from the Club level.
Fun game, though (as usual) very little clutch hitting from the Padres (Stairs? Stauffer hitting?)
When I was in the bathroom, they had the Denver radio feed going on and they called W. Venable “Max” which I enjoyed.
With the kind of hitting the Padres are getting (this year and the past couple), they need excellent pitching every nite to win. Last nite it was just good enough.
This game should have been over long before the 14th, but lack of clutch hitting, lack of ability to lay down a bunt, and bad baserunning kept it going and going and going.
@Mike: Heh. Yes, on-field only.
@the ninth gate: Thanks for the comment. You would think the effect should work for both teams, but I suspect that the home team may be more acclimated to the environment. Not sure if any studies have been in that area. Good food for thought.
@Geoff B: Thanks for sharing the in-person perspective. I caught only bits and pieces of this one, so it’s great to hear what was actually happening. BTW, you’re not the only one who came away unimpressed with Venable’s effort.