Talking to Myself: Sometimes I Even Make Sense

The Padres lost on Monday, 6-3, to the Blue Jays. I offered some thoughts on Twitter (some didn’t make it thanks to a surprise visit by the Fail Whale) and figured I’d look back to see if any of it makes sense the next morning.

To clarify, what follows is commentary on commentary of an actual thing. If you’re not sure what you’re looking at just now, that would be the bottom of the barrel. Welcome to my world…

Ugh. Home run, John Buck. I guess that’s what the Blue Jays do.

This was the first of two Buck homers, a low line drive that just cleared the fence in left. The ball deflected off a fan’s hands and into the area behind the Padres team store where fans used to watch games while standing on the same ground as the players. I’m not sure if that’s still open these days. It’s a shame if not, because that was pretty cool.

And yeah, the Jays do hit a lot of home runs. They lead the big leagues with 101, which is 17 more than second-place Boston. Before Tuesday night’s contest, their top three guys (Jose Bautista, Vernon Wells, Alex Gonzalez) had outhomered the entire Padres team, 46-45. They didn’t seem to be intimidated in the least by Petco Park, although Bautista did crush a ball to center in the fifth that might have gone out in other places.

DeWayne Wise, just up from the minors, also flirted with a couple of homers. One landed for a double in the second, the other hooked just foul in the eighth. At least Wells has a history of hitting sometimes. But Buck, Bautista, Gonzalez, and Wise… what’s their excuse?

Walking the AL team’s pitcher with two outs isn’t cool.

That’s what Jon Garland did to Shaun Marcum in the second, ahead of Aaron Hill’s two-run double that extended Toronto’s lead to 4-0 and effectively ended the game. In Garland’s defense, he did appear to strike Marcum out on the seventh pitch of the plate appearance. Garland, catcher Yorvit Torrealba, and Marcum were all heading back to their respective dugouts when plate umpire Larry Vanover called the pitch a ball.

Vanover would toss Torrealba much later in the game, when the latter was called out on strikes. The pitch was borderline, but Vanover’s zone appeared to be inconsistent throughout the night. Torrealba’s helmet bumped Vanover’s cap, so you know that’s going to be expensive.

Garland is killing me. What’s on Lifetime Network right now?

I didn’t check, but I think it was “Reba,” whatever the heck that is. Garland needed 84 pitches to get through three innings. The Blue Jays were fouling everything off… I heard Dick Enberg say 25 foul balls right around this point in the game. Ah, I see here that “Reba” was a short-lived show about “a Southern soccer mom with three kids.” Gee, that sounds like fun.

On the bright side, Garland didn’t get himself caught stealing down 0-4 to end the second. We’ve got Will Venable for that.

This was me being frustrated. It actually wasn’t a bad idea for Venable to run in that situation to try and get himself into scoring position for Jerry Hairston Jr., who is more likely to hit a single than a home run. Buck needed to make a perfect throw to nail Venable, and that’s what Buck delivered.

Punch line: Hairston led off the third with a homer.

Alex Gonzalez of the career 4.9 BB% draws a free pass.

No harm came of it, but walking Gonzalez is hard to do. He drew 20 bases on balls last year. Adrian Gonzalez drew 19 last month.

I guess if you can’t manufacture runs, you just hit solo homers.

This came after Adrian’s homer in the fourth. It seemed funny at the time but really wasn’t.

Is there anything better than watching a guy hit a weak popup on the first pitch with the bases loaded?

Friggin’ Hairston. You know how I said the game was effectively over at 4-0? I lied. The Padres had a great opportunity in the seventh, loading the bases with nobody out for Jerry Hairston Jr. He swung at a fat pitch and hit a shallow fly ball to left that froze everyone. Tony Gwynn Jr. followed with a check swing grounder to third that scored Scott Hairston. Then pinch-hitter Oscar Salazar flied to left to end the inning. Credit Marcum for making good pitches, but those were not quality at-bats.

I’m still searching for evidence that Sean Gallagher is a big-league pitcher.

Well, he throws hard. So did Marc Kroon and Wil Ledezma. I’m just sayin’.

Is that Tom Henke out there? Because it looks like Tom Henke.

It was Kevin Gregg. And he does look like Tom Henke… in a white-guy-with-glasses-fist-pumping kind of way.

Henke doesn’t get remembered as such these days, but he was a brilliant closer. Maybe not Hall of Fame worthy, but close:

               G   IP    ERA ERA+  H/9 BB/9  K/9  SV
Bruce Sutter 661 1042   2.83 136  7.59 2.67 7.44 300
Tom Henke    642  789.2 2.67 157  6.92 2.67 9.81 311

I’m not saying Henke deserves to be enshrined in Cooperstown, just that he deserves to be remembered as a brilliant closer.

Gregg? Eh, maybe not so much, although he got the job done on Tuesday.

Padres are 0-1 in games interrupted by earthquake this year.

I have no clue about the record, but the game was interrupted in the eighth inning by a magnitude 5.7 earthquake. I was talking on the phone with my mom when the house started rolling. Then the camera was shaking, my mind was aching…

I usually don’t feel earthquakes. There was a big one a few months ago that I missed while mowing the lawn. I kind of got the clue when several neighbors emerged from their houses to compare notes. Everyone at the day job was talking about it the next morning, and I had nothing to offer. I felt like such a pariah.

Pariah. Now there’s a great word…

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9 Responses »

  1. I would like access to a database that would let me figure out the record of teams whose pitchers walk the opposing pitcher in that guy’s 1st AB … can’t be good … i.e., that’s gotta be a leading indicator of a loss … ugh …

  2. Geoff, I said the same thing about the Venable stolen base/Hairston JR HR sequence, but is it really fair to say the Padres lost a run there? Wouldn’t Marcum have pitched JR differently with a runner on second than he did as the leadoff hitter?

  3. Why does Buddy 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.

  4. Oooh, what are the Pads all-time in games interrupted by an earthquake? That’d be some fun research.

    Well, it’s probably 0-1.

    For the record that was my first earthquake, having moved here a little over a month ago. Totally surreal.

  5. Great piece.

  6. …checking dictionary…pariah…wait, is that a picture of Sean Gallagher next to it…no? well, it should be.

    i turned off the tv after the bases-loaded debacle.

  7. What do we have to do to protect Gonzalez? We have six hitting .250 or below that we could trade for a .280 hitter with power. Maybe the thinking is Petco means singles and speed and we are in first place. These one-run extra-inning wins are exciting – just don’t know how long this can continue.

  8. @Mike: No, it wouldn’t be fair to say the Padres lost a run there. The outcome of a potential Hairston PA with Venable still on base is unknown and unknowable because that sequence of events never occurred.

    @Zach: 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.

    @Wells: Welcome to SoCal. Pretty soon you won’t even notice ‘em.

    @texpadre: Thank you.

    @Don: That is an excellent question. I think the hope was that guys like Headley, Blanks, and Venable would help, but right now, Nick Hundley is our second best offensive weapon. As much as I like Hundley, that is not acceptable. I don’t know who the Padres could go out and get. Do you (or anyone else) have some ideas?

  9. @Geoff: No he hasn’t, but he has a much better minor league track record than Venable.