Left on Base, Right on Time

Tuesday night’s 3-2 victory over the Giants took a tremendous effort of will… to watch. Neither starter could find the strike zone, as Wade LeBlanc failed to survive the fifth inning and Barry Zito tied a career high with seven walks. If there’s anything more scintillating than watching two guys fling baseballs everywhere but across home plate, I don’t know what it is… but I’d love to see it.

The Padres didn’t deserve to win this one. That’s okay, though, neither did the Giants. To the bullet points:

  • San Francisco hurlers twice walked David Eckstein to face Adrian Gonzalez with the bases loaded and two out. The “strategy” worked both times: Gonzalez lined to left to end the fourth and struck out swinging to end the seventh.
  • Eckstein finished the game 2-for-2 with three walks, marking the third three-walk performance of his career. He has drawn more walks (8) against Zito than against any other pitcher he’s faced.
  • Kyle Blanks struck out looking in his first two trips to the plate, then walked three straight times. Blanks has walked or struck out in 52.8% of his plate appearances this year (Mark Reynolds achieved one of those two outcomes in 45.2% of his PA in 2009, in case you’re wondering).
  • Fun moment of the night: In the second inning, with runners at first and second, Zito laid down a sacrifice bunt. LeBlanc pounced on it and flipped the ball home. Yorvit Torrealba fired to first to retire Zito. You may ask yourself why LeBlanc threw home. Well, that is a good question.
  • Is there a better pitch in baseball than Luke Gregerson’s slider?
  • I didn’t need to see quite so many breaking balls from Heath Bell in the ninth. Getting cute while trying to protect a one-run lead on the road doesn’t work for me.
  • The Padres drew 12 walks, tying their highest total ever for a nine-inning game. They had done it three times before, most recently on May 31, 2000, against the Milwaukee Brewers. The franchise record is 14, which happened on August 25, 1979, against the Pittsburgh Pirates in a game that took 19 innings and more than six hours to decide.
  • Tim Stauffer, who pitched (and hit) beautifully as a last-minute replacement for Kevin Correia on Sunday, underwent an emergency appendectomy on Tuesday and is expected to miss at least four weeks. Adam Russell and Cesar Ramos have been recalled from Triple-A Portland to replace Stauffer and Correia on the roster.

The Padres now have a 1 1/2 game lead over second-place San Francisco. Clayton Richard and Matt Cain face off in the second of three at PhoneCo on Wednesday. If this battle between the NL West’s top teams lacks a playoff atmosphere, it’s only because 130 games remain on the schedule.

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9 Responses »

  1. Adrian doesn’t seem healthy … sigh … that’s gonna be a tricky one to manage …

  2. “The Padres drew 12 walks, tying their highest total ever for a nine-inning game.”
    I’m sorry, Geoff… I can’t give credit to Padre hitters for drawing those walks.

    I’m amazed that we keep coming out on the right side of games where we’ve blown so many scoring opportunities. Not complaining though. Rather be lucky than good sometimes.

  3. They just need to keep working at it, and they’ll break through. I’d rather see them walk 12 times than strike out 12 times.

  4. @Mike: I will give them some credit for the walks they drew against Zito. His control had been good before that start, and I think Scott Hairston’s 11-pitch at-bat to start the game may have gotten into Zito’s head a little… Bautista, OTOH… that is a guy I would not want to dig in against… high-90s and all over the place, yikes.

  5. Adrian has had bad stretches like this every year. Some examples:

    2010: April 29-May 11, 11 games, 44 PA, .492 OPS
    2009: May 1-9, 9 games, 37 PA, .476 OPS
    2009: June 24-July 17, 21 games, 87 PA, .507 OPS
    2008: June 25-July 23, 24 games, 100 PA, .564 OPS

    He’ll snap out of it.

  6. Fair enough. The Padres have been drawing walks so you (I) can’t completely discount their efforts last night. It was just such a walk-a-palooza that I place the blame on the pitchers…..right or wrong. When Eckstein is walking before Gonzalez and Blanks is walking after striking out twice, then something is amiss.

  7. It may be a “bad stretch” … it may be a hurt shoulder … the Padres know the difference, assuming Adrian’s self-assessments are accurate and forthright … if it’s a hurt shoulder, then the options are complicated …

  8. On Adrian, it is clearly the lack of facial hair. I noticed him clean shaven (maybe he has for awhile, but I am not very observant) and then noticed him having some rather bad at bats. Please hide his razors.

    I give the Pads some credit for being patient, generally. My WTF moment was with Yorvit. In the 6th, Bautista has walked two and fallen behind all of the hitters and Yorvit jumps on the first pitch with the bases loaded. Not so patient or effective. Why Bochy let Bautista pitch to Yorvit after walking Blanks, I do not know. But I guess that is why he makes over a million a year and I make less.

    I was at the game, so hard to judge balls and strikes, but the ump looked all over the place.

    Not to whine, but those living in SD, you may take for granted watching your Pads surrounded by other Pads fans (generally). It must be nice.

  9. Make that a 3 1/2 game lead! I’m getting tired from all of this jumping on and off of Band Wagons.