We Have Assumed Control

Attention, all planets of the Solar Federation: With Wednesday night’s victory in San Francisco, the Padres now own the National League’s best record at 21-12. They have extended their lead in the division to 2 1/2 games and won another series.

Thoughts? You know I have a few:

  • Clayton Richard was very efficient. He needed 90 pitches to work 7 innings. Not to denigrate his fine effort, but as with Mat Latos’ gem in Houston the other night, it comes with an asterisk. The Giants see the fewest pitches per plate appearance (3.66) of any team in MLB (the Astros are second worst at 3.72). Still, it’s good to see the young pitchers attack opposing big-league hitters. Maybe success with that approach will encourage them to continue doing it.
  • The Giants scored their second run on a second-inning balk by Richard that tied the game. Most analysis at the time focused on whether plate umpire Gary Darling made the correct call. My question is this: With two out and an 0-2 count on the opposing pitcher (Matt Cain, career .114/.150/.190 hitter in 309 PA), why is Richard even thinking about the runner on first base?
  • Speaking of Richard, I wish he’d gotten a start in Houston. He could hit a ball out of that park, no problem. That sac fly in the second was well struck. You heard it here first: The next time he pitches in an NL Central park, Richard is going yard.
  • The Padres stole four more bases, bringing their MLB leading total to 44 (in 53 attempts; a crisp 83% success rate). Will Venable executed another of his patented “delayed steals,” although his “slide” left something to be desired. It looked like he wasn’t expecting a throw from Bengie Molina, who in all fairness had no business making one for as good a jump as Venable got on Cain. When Jerry Hairston Jr. and Oscar Salazar worked a double steal in the eighth, it was without a throw. That doesn’t happen by accident. These guys aren’t just running wild, they’re studying teams and figuring out how to maximize what they’ve got. It’s fun to watch.
  • As I noted during Baseball Tonight Live, situation rather than need seemed to dictate usage of Heath Bell in the ninth. Bud Black and Darren Balsley know their pitchers better than I ever will, but Mike Adams threw seven pitches in the eighth. He’d thrown 13 the night before, while Bell had thrown 19. Seems to me the Padres might have wanted to consider letting Adams finish and keep Bell in reserve for the finale. I know, Bell has a rubber arm and Adams has the injury history, but still… It will be interesting to see how the Padres use their bullpen on Thursday if they have a lead late. If Latos can go seven, then maybe Luke Gregerson can close. If not, they may be forced to rely on Edward Mujica, Joe Thatcher, and Ryan Webb. Here’s to Latos attacking the hitters like he did in Houston.

Eh, I’m nitpicking. It’s nice to have that luxury this late in the season. Sure beats thinking about next year, anyway.

Latos and and Padre killer Jonathan Sanchez hook up in Game 3 at 12:45 p.m. PT. No television for this one. Be about it.

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14 Responses »

  1. Floods in Tennessee, Oil disasters in the Gulf, & now this!!!!… The Beast has surely risen! :)

  2. The San Diego Padres, your 2112 NL West champions?

    It sure doesn’t seem that long ago that everyone was running wild against the Padres instead of vice versa. I sure prefer the present situation.

    Hopefully the lead will be big enough late that there isn’t even a thought about bringing the big guns out of the pen. Against Sanchez I’m not going to get my hopes up about that.

  3. So long as Mujica doesn’t get thrown out there in the 9th inning, we should be OK. Gregerson would do a fine job.

  4. I like what I’m reading/hearing about Webb … can those of you who’ve seen him provide an amatuer-scouting-report?

    I read that he was given some major changes to his delivery to work on … and then he went out and got great results at AAA …

    I *love* depth on the pitching staff … especially with a team that plays in close games … it has obviously added Ws to the bottom line!

  5. “…why is Richard even thinking about the runner on first base?”~ It has become obvious that Clayton Richard has a side bet with Wade LeBlanc over who can garner the most pick-offs. Balsley said that it was Richard who taught LeBlanc a few things in ST and now Richard’s pick-off supremacy has been CHALLENGED!!! Maybe?

    RE: Venable’s delayed steal.
    Am I crazy or have I seen Venable do the following two types of steals (and have both referred to as “delayed steals”):
    1. Leave considerably BEFORE the pitch is thrown (last night).
    2. Leave AFTER the pitch has crossed the plate.

    Pretty sure I’ve seen him do both and I tend to think the “delayed steal” is version #2. Last night it seemed like version #1 where he just took off like it was an anticipation sort of steal. Enberg called it a delayed steal… and I may just be crazy/tired while watching. Thoughts?

  6. Here’s a hilarious report from a friend of mine in the Bay Area …

    The morning guys on KNBR have already conceded the season series. I heard them trying to figure out what the Giants will need to do against the rest of league to win 90 games, assuming that they will got 0-18 against the Padres …

    And, I guess it’s not enough to pound the Giants on the field. Now the Padres are taking aim at the broadcasters! Did you hear about Latos breaking the sun roof of Dave Fleming’s car? He was apparently trying to tease the fans in the bleachers with a baseball and hurled it over the their heads and out of the stadium (I guess through that gap in LF?). Anyways, it took one “giant” bounce and landed right on top of Fleming’s new car, busting the sunroof glass all over his seats. The fans in the the bleachers who saw it started chanting Latos’ name when security came out to see how a ball ended up over there. He disappeared into the dugout with security.

  7. My favorite part of the game was after the last pitch. I love the team’s attitude; they were happy to win but it seemed more like they were just taking care of business. The player reaction reminded me more of the Yankees beating the Royals than a division rival showdown. Maybe they really are this good?

  8. Who needs Bell – Latos did it himself…

  9. How about a CG by Latos instead? That will rest the ‘pen.

  10. Or Latos can go pitch like that in order to give the bullpen rest.

  11. Well, I’m commenting after Latos posted a one-hit complete game shutout to win 1-0 and complete the sweep. Re-read that headline!

    With Correia’s next start due on Saturday against the Dodgers, are we looking at Cesar Ramos making it three lefties in the rotation for now?

  12. I shared your concern about end-of-game relievers. Whaddya say we just rest the bullpen and just have Latos pitch a one hit complete game shutout? Boy is it ever getting harder to be just “cautiously” optimistic! Bring on the Dodgers!

  13. I love these Padres. Before the season started I felt they had enough to make a run at the wildcard. If their hitting doesn’t turn around that might be too optimistic because it will be difficult for the pitching to maintain their pace for the entire season. Credit to Kevin Towers for building the core of this team, but Bud Black is a Magician so far at getting the right mix of players in the lineup based on who is hot (unlike a certain S.F. manager). Black’s assistant coaches have also been great at helping the young players make adjustments and work through the tough times at the plate that are inevitable in a long season. David Eckstein and Adrian Gonzalez are consummate professionals who are nails with the glove even on nights when the stick isn’t working. When we watch a game I always tell my son to watch what those two (especially Eck) are doing when they are in the field. They are never surprised or out of position. What awesome role models for the young guys on the team. I also love how the Padres have brought in top notch former Padres like Greg Maddux (last spring) and especially Dave Roberts to mentor and teach skills to the younger players.
    Go my 1st Place Padres!!

  14. A Rush-themed headline has made Ducksnorts a daily stop for me.