It went down like this on Tuesday:
Zach said in the comments: “Why does Buddy [Black] hate Aaron Cunningham? And I’m pretty sure the Will Venable experiment should be over. I’ll always treasure those two months in 2009 when he looked like a major leaguer.”
I replied: “Not that I mind seeing Cunningham get a look, but check out his and Venable’s 2010 stats so far:
Venable MLB: 202 PA, .227/.297/.370
Cunningham AAA: 201 PA, .239/.307/.383
He hasn’t been killing the ball at Portland.”
Cunningham then said: “Shut up.”
Game. Set. Match.
* * *
The pitch Cunningham hit for the grand slam was a change-up down and away. Brett Cecil caught too much plate, but Cunningham did a nice job of staying back on the ball and… you know, it takes some upper body strength to hit one out to center field at Petco Park using mostly arms. I didn’t think the ball had a chance to leave the yard when he hit it.
Cunningham doubled to right-center later in the game. Not bad for the “other” guy acquired in the Kevin Kouzmanoff/Scott Hairston deal.
* * *
I’m not sure what Chase Headley’s problem is at the plate (anecdotally, it seems like he’s lunging at a lot of off-speed stuff), but he is playing a terrific third base. He started a sweet 5-2-3 double play with the bases loaded and nobody out in the first inning of Saturday’s contest against the Mariners that changed the entire complexion of the game. On Tuesday night, he made a diving stop of a shot off the bat of John Buck that lacked the impact of Saturday’s play but not the impressiveness.
* * *
Mat Latos pitched another gem. He needed just 93 pitches to work 6 2/3 innings. The only trouble came with two out in the fourth, when he gave up a double to Adam Lind, plunked Vernon Wells on a 1-2 fastball, and allowed consecutive singles to Alex Gonzalez and Lyle Overbay that brought home Toronto’s only two runs of the night. Latos needed 26 pitches to get through that inning. Otherwise, he was the picture of efficiency. Or should I say pitcher?
* * *
David Eckstein is ready for the U.S. Open. He’s got the pitching wedge working big time.
* * *
It was great to see so many fans out at the game, supporting the home team. The Padres, owners of the National League’s best record, drew 15,266 for this one but it felt like at least 16,000. I got to wondering how many of those fans are of the bandwagon variety. I tried to work it out on the back of an envelope and got a divide-by-zero error.
Forget being proud of our city’s team, I’m proud of our city’s team’s fans. Way to represent.
I feel like Headley has lost a lot of his plate discipline, which was always his biggest strength. He’s swinging at more pitches out of the zone, and fewer in the zone. As a result he’s walking way less. He’s making better contact, but at the expense of power.
He’s just regressed in every way possible except defensively, which is fortunate because he’s turned into a below-average hitter at the plate.
Kouzmanoff hit a grand slam off his very first pitch seen. Just saying a nice game vs. weak AAA stats, I am in the wait and see camp. A hopeful wait and see because we need some offense.
Geoff, is my intermittent bitterness justified (in your opinion) that the FO did not try to get a little more offense in the off-season? Getting Hairston back was nice, but there seemed to be some reasonably priced outfielders and SS out there that would have been consistent with playing the youth, but not putting all your eggs with the youth. I get the sick feeling that the FO is uncomfortable with the team winning because it disrupts their plan to get rid of Adrian. It is fine to rebuild, but if your team is suddenly not that far from competing, and a lot closer than you thought, you need to recognize and change plans.
Finally, just to make sure I jinx the guy, Gwynn is showing signs of life. In Seattle his line was 183/294/257. Over the last three weeks he has gone 311/411/515 with 8 BB vs. 4 SO, with his current line 221/330/331. Nothing to get excited about but nice improvement. Clearly that slugging and BA are unsustainable, but I do appreciate his patient approach at the plate. They always looked good, until he hit the ball and it was a weak fly or slow grounder. I joked that he should work the count but learn to bunt with two strikes and finally give up and bunt on 3-2, after getting 6-8 pitches out of the pitcher. Now he seems to be getting some line drives off his swings and, when he does, looks a lot like a competent hitter.
GY … you forgot your smiley after that last comment … OT – you’ll really enjoy the orgin of the smiley … http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~sef/Orig-Smiley.htm … interesting history, and hilarious tech/sci wit!