Friday Links (14 May 10)

Before we get to the links, I should say something about Mat Latos’ near perfection on Thursday.

  • Like everyone else in San Diego, I didn’t see the game.
  • After his last two starts, we can all agree that Latos doesn’t need more seasoning at Triple-A.
  • To maintain some perspective, those two starts came against teams that don’t have a plan at the plate. I’m curious to see how he fares against hitters that will take a pitch every once in a while.
  • It’s early, but a 3 1/2 game lead is nice. So is the best record in the National League.
  • I almost feel bad for Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez, who has held the Padres to an .083/.151/.104 line in two starts (15 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 15 K) and is 0-2 against them. Almost.
  • That thing I said about Bud Black misusing his bullpen on Wednesday… I didn’t realize that part of Black’s plan was to have Latos pitch the game of his life. Had I known that, I would not have been so critical. He should make that part of the plan more often, because it’s a good one.

On to the links…

  • This Week in Minor League History: May 10 – May 16 (Baseball Prospectus). Calling my own number here. Did you know that today marks the 35th anniversary of Bill Caudill’s no-hitter for the St. Petersburg Cardinals? Well, now you do. Don’t say I never gave you anything.
  • Thing I’m Thankful For (Kept Faith). From the article: “The pattern is established; we get sold on a rookie in the minors (Burroughs, Barfield, Greene) then that rookie arrives and either performs or doesn’t, but management is already turning our attention to the next guy in line. They do this until it works out and a team gels. Right now gel is forming and it’s awesome to watch and it’s even better because it’s not supposed to happen.”
  • Running on fumes (Watson Files). Dan doesn’t talk much about baseball in this one, but as usual, the radio voice of the TinCaps delivers some entertaining stuff.
  • Visual Baseball: Introducing the BatCode (Hardball Times). I am an unabashed Kevin Dame fan. He thinks a bit outside the box and it produces interesting results: “I’m using the barcode metaphor to visualize a hitter’s performance for each at-bat. Line thickness represents the type of hit (thinnest for walks and singles, thickest for homeruns) with each at-bat separated by a space. Big white areas represent long stretches of outs. Lots of lines represent a string of hits, with thicker patches representing power.”
  • LeBlanc learning how to command fastball ( Corey Brock gives the young lefty some love. Quoth skipper Bud Black: “When he came up, he wasn’t quite ready. I don’t think he understood a starting pitcher has to throw fastballs in the strike zone.” I think people are beginning to understand that LeBlanc has what it takes to succeed at this level, in a back-of-the-rotation kind of way, which is all anyone ever wanted out of the guy.
  • Cano the choker (Hardball Times). Max Marchi examines clutch hitting.
  • Final Pitch (Baseball Analysts). One of my favorite baseball writers, Sky Andrecheck, won’t be writing about baseball anymore. He has been hired as an analyst for the Cleveland Indians, where he will join Keith Woolner (you know, the guy who invented VORP) in helping that franchise get the most bang for its buck. I’ve admired the Indians’ approach for a while and the hiring of Andrecheck only reinforces that thinking. In his final article, he offers some tips for those who might be considering a similar path. As always, it’s a good read. And congrats, Sky, on landing the dream gig.
  • The Padres Odd Couple (FanGraphs). R.J. Anderson looks at Kyle Blanks and David Eckstein, and their respective (in)ability to make contact.
  • Will NL West be won without offense? ( John Schlegel observes that “What’s striking so far is just how far the two leaders of the division have taken the great pitching, great fielding, and, eh, not-so-great hitting — or at least scoring.”
  • Strasburg No-Hits Norfolk (for Six Innings) (FanGraphs). Marc Hulet talks about SDSU alum Stephen Strasburg’s latest outing in the minors. It is fun to watch people gush about him and think, “Yes, I’ve seen him do that in college. He is very good.”
  • There is only mild hope for the delusional (Gaslamp Ball). I don’t know what the heck Dex is talking about, but it’s pretty amusing.
  • Where are Padres Fans? (Friarhood). Not at the ballpark, as usual.
  • Portland Beavers put on a show, but few come to watch (Portland Oregonian). It seems the Padres Triple-A club is having a similar problem, although the Beavers at least have the excuse that they probably won’t exist next year.
  • I Like Watching the Padres… Baseball in General, I’m Not So Sure (Friar Forecast). Daniel just can’t get into the game if the Padres aren’t involved: “Yesterday I went to a St. Louis Cardinals game at Busch Stadium. They played the Houston Astros. I lost interest after the first inning.” How very sad.
  • View from the top (Woe, Doctor!) Bryant talks about the Padres’ early success despite their offensive woes.
  • US baseball workouts begin for Japan’s ‘Knuckle Princess’ (AFP). Reader LynchMob sends news that 18-year-old female knuckleballer Eri Yoshida will be pitching for the Chico Outlaws of the Golden Baseball League, managed by former Padres shortstop Garry Templeton. Of Templeton, LynchMob writes: “I can’t read Garry’s name and not remember Game 3 of the ’84 NLCS … and I don’t mean for his contributions in the box score … but rather for whip’ing the crowd into a needed frenzy during the pre-game introductions, which, imo, made it clear to *ALL* that the series, despite being 0-2, was *NOT* *YET* *DONE*!!! There were still ghosts to be busted.”

Whoomp, there it is…

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10 Responses »

  1. Geoff, I think all talk about sending Latos back to AAA ended when the Padres announced they have no timetable for CY’s return. Latos has been outstanding since the Florida debacle, and I for one am happy to see it. Here’s hoping he keeps it going.

  2. I was at the game. I think the ump should have called Eli out. If I were to have God come down and whisper in my ear whether he was out or safe, and I had to put a lot of money on what he/she would say, I would put it on safe. That said, it was very close and it was a call that broke up a perfect game.

    Maybe it was the right thing to do, but I have the suspicion that if we were a bigger market franchise, we get the call the other way.

    Not that I have any proof of this, but, man, I am at the game that would give the Pads their first no-hitter, maybe a perfect game, and a dribbling infield hit that is a very, very close play is what breaks it up. Yes, it is a close game, yes, amazingly, a game between the top two teams in the division, and, yes, it was not really late in the game (5+). Not quite the same, but in Sanchez’s no hitter with us, in the 8th and 9th I recall the strike zone getting very big.

    I have re-watched the play about 5 times and I come away feeling like yes, he was probably safe, but man, it could have gone either way.

    Does anyone have any better pictures?

  3. Chico Outlaws? How are they not named the Chico Bail Bonds? With a girl pitcher to boot!

  4. I caught a replay of Latos’ gem on AFN. Great game, obviously, and a real pitcher’s duel. I like games like this, although it seems many prefer the offensive explosions frequently seen these days. Geoff, I think Latos would have done OK against most teams on that day. I know what you mean about the Giants being very free swingers (the Astros, too), but he was around the plate all day: good movement and good location. Should be lots of fun watching him mature over the next few years. To the Padres FO: please keep him healthy!!!

  5. the one aspect that i was very happy to find out is that Latos didn’t fall apart after the infield hit. he kept his composure.

    we’ll see what happens in his next start against these same Giants again. Wow, thrice within a month. crazy-like. would love to see what kind of adjustments the Giants make, and Latos’ game plan.

    so far, good job, Mat.

  6. The one quote I want to use in response to Anthony I just can’t bring myself to type. Like Liz Lemon, I can’t use that word, I’m white. But the quote ends with Amanda Whurlitzer saying “Grab a bat, punk!”

  7. Jeez!!! I don’t think there’s anything worse than being swept by the dodgers. The freakin’ dodgers!!! Ack thpt!

  8. Watching LeBlanc pitch the almost no-hitter was a treat; he didn’t shy away from attacking hitters, and his change-up is really good. Too bad, the only hard hit he gave up was the one that drove in the only run in the game.

    I don’t know what happened to the patience of the Padres hitters. They drew 6 BB in the whole series (19 BB vs. Giants). Against the Dodgers, who are #4 in NL scoring, the only counting stats that the Padres are even in is the BB. Obviously, the Padres weren’t going to outhit the Dodgers, so getting on base via other means is even more important. To see short pitched innings late in the game was frustrating. I didn’t know why Billingsley was pulled out of the game as I thought he could have gotten the shutout the way the Padres hitters were hacking at his pitches and making outs in the late innings (helped out by a couple of nice defensive plays at RF, and two GiDP by the Padres). In the end, this was just one game lost against a better offensive team. The Padres pitching did the job, and still waiting for the offense to do its part.

    Two observations: Kyle Blanks looked comfortable at the plate but still not making contact; Adrian must still be recovering, as his timing was just off the whole day.

  9. GY – after the 3-game sweep … we need you! Help us off the ledge … AGAIN! :-)

  10. Once again, the mighty Adrian’s bat was called to sacrifice bunt the runner over to second base.

    And the whole match-up musical chair is crazy. In one AB, Venable and Salazar were burnt only to have Matt ‘Useless’ Stairs strike out on 3 pitches (time is now to cut him and bring up one of the hitters from AAA). Luckily, Blanks was hit by a pitch to drive in the runner that was sac’ed to 2nd.

    While I’m against the whole tasering of fans, the two stupid yahoos deserved to be roughed up onto the field. Idiots!