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.