That Was Fun… and So Was That

Thoughts on Sunday’s win

I don’t know if that was a must-win game (aren’t they all?), but it sure was nice to avoid the sweep in Colorado headed into the All-Star break. The Rockies are a talented team, and they always seem to get stronger as the season progresses. I’d be lying if I said they didn’t concern me.

  • Everth Cabrera picked a great time to launch his first homer of the season.
  • Luke Gregerson, who has had a disastrous July (1-3, 15.75 ERA, .412/.545/.941 line against), worked his first scoreless outing of the month to pick up the win.
  • Heath Bell, entering in the eighth to replace an injured Mike Adams, notched the five-out save.
  • As for Adams, he says of his left oblique: “Hopefully, four days is all I need, but it feels like it might be more than that.”
  • It’s still a small sample, and I worry about his horrendous strikeout-to-walk ratio, but Aaron Cunningham is starting to look legit to me.

Thoughts on the season’s first half

Basically, it was a blast. But you want details. Very well, then:

  • The Padres enter the All-Star break with a 51-37 record, in sole possession of first place in the National League West.
  • They’ve had at least a share of first place for 79 of the season’s first 97 days (81.4%).
  • Only the Atlanta Braves (52-36) own a better record in the NL.
  • The Padres haven’t been this good through 88 games in a while; actually, they’re playing kind of like the ’84 and ’07 teams:
    Year  W  L  Pct GB  RS  RA Pyth
    2010 51 37 .580 -- 376 304 .596
    2009 36 52 .409 20 334 444 .373
    2008 35 53 .398  8 327 413 .395
    2007 49 39 .557 -- 377 306 .594
    2006 48 40 .545 -- 393 369 .529
    2005 47 41 .534 -- 398 380 .521
    2004 47 41 .534  2 377 360 .521
    1998 57 31 .648 -- 443 338 .621
    1984 52 36 .591 -- 390 347 .553
  • They haven’t lost more than three consecutive games this season.
  • They’re doing all this despite minimal contributions from their projected shortstop, left fielder, and #1 starter.
  • The Padres have thrown 12 shutouts, which is three more than they threw in all of 2009.
  • Remember back in May, when the Padres had that crazy team ERA+ of 140 that I said was unsustainable? Well, it’s down to a more reasonable but still impressive 111. This and the injury to Adams suggest to me that the Padres will need to lean on some of that minor-league pitching depth in the second half. In alphabetical order, here are some names I’m guessing we might see at some point:
    Name           Age Lvl  G   IP ERA   H/9 HR/9 BB/9   K/9
    Ernesto Frieri  24 AAA 34 37.2 1.43 3.35 0.48 4.30 11.71
    Brandon Gomes   25  AA 30 44.2 2.22 7.05 0.40 3.02 10.88
    Craig Italiano  23  AA 37 41.1 1.31 6.75 0.00 4.57  6.53
    Scott Munter    30 AAA 32 53.0 2.21 6.79 0.17 2.89  8.15
    Evan Scribner   24  AA 32 41.0 2.20 7.24 0.88 1.32 11.63
  • Alternatively, they could trade for an arm; I wouldn’t be opposed to that.

This is going to be a fun second half. Four teams are within four games of first place, and the Padres have played so far beyond what I expected that everything from here on out is gravy. Don’t get me wrong, now that they’re in this position, I want to see them win it all. But as someone who picked them to win 75 games, I’m pretty stunned at what they’ve accomplished so far.

People ask me how the Padres have done it. I shrug my shoulders. We can (and will) analyze stuff all we like; baseball doesn’t care about that… it does what it does.

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9 Responses »

  1. Geoff,

    I’d like to see the Padres pick up an arm, too. Out of curiosity, are there any guys out there you see as possible arms Jed is targeting? Any specific guys you would target?

    Looking forward to the second half.


  2. Holy Cow … the Padres have been in 1st place at the ASB in 4 of the last 6 seasons??? It just doesn’t feel like that’s true … thanks for the reminder!

    I was wondering if anyone would refer to Luke’s outing yesterday as “scoreless” … that seems stretch to me … as he gave up a 2-run single to the opposing pitcher, the first batter he faced! To me, a “scoreless outing” has to mean “not charged any runs and not allowed any inherited runners to score” … just sayin’ …

    Still think the Padres need to trade for a bat and an arm … and I truly believe they will! I’m not saying that I think it will be enough … but I think they are planning and I think they will act …

  3. There doesn’t seem to be a ton of starters out there. Maybe Ted Lilly if they didn’t give anything up? He might be a fit in Petco as a flyball pitcher.

  4. Frieri seems a no-brainer for a call-up … wonder why that hasn’t already happened? Perhaps there’s a balance between too many innings and too few innings and if he was up already, he’d be getting too few?

    Italiano’s ERA has caught my eye in the past … but recently I’ve seen ups and downs … and those K/9 and BB/9 numbers do *not* make him look ready to me …

    The problem with the other guys is the 40-man roster …

    Carrillo, Garrison, Liz, Perdomo, Poreda, Ramos and Russell are the guys that have that advantage … or disadvantage, if they are on-the-bubble and not-ready-for-prime-time …

  5. “They’re doing all this despite minimal contributions from their projected shortstop, left fielder, and #1 starter.”

    I seem to recall you listing these back in March/April as things that could go wrong. In other words, it would be a long season if these things happen.
    Not only has this first half been a complete surprise to me; it is even more surprising considering these factors.

  6. @LynchMob: That is a good point about Gregerson’s inherited runner. I was so excited to see a zero in the runs column next to his name for the first time this month that I forgot about Chacin’s hit.

    Agreed about Frieri; he’s got to be next in line. And yeah, Italiano’s peripherals aren’t good. As for the 40-man roster, I don’t expect that to be a huge roadblock. It’s hard to imagine anyone losing sleep over the idea of jettisoning Ramos, for example.

    @Tom: I think Lilly would be a great fit. He’s durable and, as you say, Petco Park will eat a lot of fly balls.

    @parlo: Yeah, that was part of my worst-case scenario. I am just stunned at how things have played out so far.

  7. In my irrational exuberance over the unexpectedness of the Padres this season, over the weekend, I put down money for the team to win the WS in Las Vegas.

    So, there, I may just jinx the team.

  8. @Geoff: Regarding Gregerson, Chacin’s hit was BABIP, I wouldn’t worry about it. He only issued one walk (can’t believe I’m saying that about him as a good thing), got a K, and didn’t let any of his guys score. That’s gotta help him feel better.

  9. and, btw, the Padres are 4-8 v. Rockies & 1-4 v. Dodgers, not a good thing.