The Gap Between Money and Mouth

Jonathan Sanchez: “San Diego has been winning series all year. But we’re going to play San Diego now, and we’re going to beat them three times.”
San Diego Padres: “No. No, you’re not.”

As conversations go, this had all the subtlety of a spatula to the forehead. Still, there is something to be said for getting to the point, even if that point is dead wrong.

The Padres took two out of three and continued their habit of, as Sanchez so eloquently put it, “winning series all year.” The Giants, for their part, are fortunate to have avoided being swept at home. Only a pitiful 2-for-18 showing by Padres hitters with runners in scoring position on Saturday afternoon kept that from happening.

* * *

The first two games were well fought and could have gone either way. In Friday night’s opener, Clayton Richard settled down after a nightmarish first inning and the Padres kept pecking away at The Prognosticator. The winning run scored thanks to strong baserunning by two of the slowest Padres.

With runners at the corners and nobody out, Yorvit Torrealba grounded to third base. Adrian Gonzalez started toward home, drawing a throw from Pablo Sandoval. In the ensuing rundown, Gonzalez kicked into a gear I didn’t know he had (up to molasses from his default of treading air) and managed to elude Sandoval long enough that Ryan Ludwick and Torrealba could move up to second and third base, respectively.

Ludwick then scored on a ground ball to shortstop by employing the “slap your hand on the plate as you’re sliding behind the catcher” move that Miguel Tejada so deftly executed last week against the Pirates. When you think of Padres that can beat a team on the bases, you don’t think of Gonzalez and Ludwick, but those are the guys that got the job done on Friday.

Then the only thing left to do was survive Aubrey Huff’s long fly ball to deep center off Mike Adams in the eighth. Sure, that ball looked like it might leave the yard… but it didn’t.

Heath Bell worked the ninth to earn his fourth save in as many days. Sanchez saw his pitching record drop to 8-8 and his predicting record drop to 0-1.

* * *

I missed Saturday’s loss on account of being out and doing stuff in the real world. Walking around town, eating yukgaejang, that sort of thing. It’s probably just as well; I don’t know that I had the stomach for this:

Inn  Runners Outs ExpR ActR
8th    1 2 3    1 1.51    0
9th    1 2 0    2 0.46    0
10th   1 2 0    2 0.46    0
11th   1 0 3    1 1.09    0

Besides, it was a beautiful day out. I needed the fresh air.

* * *

Sunday’s matchup looked terrible for the Padres on paper: Wade LeBlanc vs Tim Lincecum. Then again, the 2010 season looked terrible for the Padres on paper. On grass and dirt, it looks much better.

My optimism faced an early test. Lincecum struck out the side in the first, and the San Francisco crowd was into it. I had concerns.

Like Lincecum’s fastballs, however, my concerns were misplaced. The Padres knocked the Giants starter out of the game with two out in the fourth, after he had thrown 93 pitches.

The Padres scored eight runs on the afternoon despite getting nothing from Gonzalez. The one dimension in San Diego’s allegedly one-dimensional attack went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts.

The Giants, meanwhile, couldn’t muster up any offense against the revitalized LeBlanc. They collected four hits off the young left-hander: three by Buster Posey (who hits everything and who drove home San Francisco’s only two runs) and one by newly acquired Jose Guillen, who was thrown out trying for a triple to lead off the fourth with his team down four runs (Dick Enberg: “Let’s see how fast Guillen can run… Not very.”).

* * *

The sweep would have been nice, but let’s not get greedy. A series win is just fine. Now we move onto the National League Central, against whose teams the Padres are 18-5 this year. That’s a fantastic record, but those games are in the past. They mean as much going forward as the words of a certain left-handed pitcher who toils for the Giants, which is to say, they mean nothing at all.

Let others do the talking. Just play ball and win games. You know, like you’ve been doing…

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15 Responses »

  1. I’ll bet the national sportswriters will be cruising by your blog a bit more frequently down the stretch here. :)

    Good job.

  2. Update: Magic Number = 42 … is it just me, or is that the answer to *everything*??? :-)

  3. If you have a blog devoted to the Padres I speak for lots of readers, presumably Padres fans, when I say that it makes me cringe to hear that you didn’t watch Saturday’s game against the rival, 2nd place, and nipping closely behind our first place team (I know, even thought it’s only August), SF Giants.
    I’ld rather hear you lie than hear about how you went out for sushi and mochi and then took a casual stroll on a nice day. You may have heard of a website by the name of facebook. When I go there I get to hear about how people spend their weekends. I don’t expect to hear fresh insight about my favorite baseball team when I log onto facebook. My argument is that this website should be different than social networks and the blather that they are filled with.
    This could be a very meaningful year for lots of die-hard fans of this organization. If it means that you have to invent a story about a game from a third hand account, I suggest you do so.

  4. Dear Jonathan SancheZ:

    Talk = cheap

    Your pal,

  5. OT … I kinda think it’s fun that the Dodgers traded for Octavio Dotel …

    … just sayin’ …

  6. @LynchMob: Agreed about 42… and about Dotel.

    @Kevin: Thanks for stopping by and saying hey. My stories will meander from time to time, but understand that I don’t do fiction here. I will be honest in my observations and not “lie” or “invent a story.” So although I appreciate your suggestion, I must respectfully decline to heed it at this time.

    Great win tonight against the Cubs. Go Padres!

    P.S. I did not eat sushi this weekend, although that sounds delicious. :-)

    @Nick: Well said, sir.

  7. Don’t get me wrong, but I’m kind of glad the mainstream media has continually declined to give the Padres any respect. I’ll happily continue to watch my Padres small ball their way to a pennant. Over the last week, though, it seems as if the perception (that the Padres don’t have the horses to keep this thing going through the regular season) is starting to disappear. Even ESPN analysts — who have pretty much written week in, week out, that the padres were due to fade any minute — are starting to believe right along with their fans.

    The question I have now though is that how long before these same analysts start to say that even though they “may” win the west, there is no way the get out of the NLDS against Philly. Heck, one ESPN analyst discussed the possible playoff pitching rotations and didn’t even mention what the Padres might throw at an opponent.

    Your thoughts on what rotation the Pads might use in a playoff run?

  8. Postseason rotation:

    1A) Chris Young* – veteran starts over Latos

    (*if healthy)

    1B/2) Mat Latos – will get >2 cy young votes

    3A) Correia – looks good lately, shut down the Cubs

    3B) Richard – 116 SOs, 3.80 era

    3C) Garland – 2nd lowest era on staff (3.41) (Latos – 2.32)

    3D) LeBlanc – changeup against Giants was filthy

  9. Rotation would be Latos, Garland, Richard probably.

    I saw something on ESPN last week where they did not have the Padres listed in the top NINE of playoff rotations. There were good ones in front of them, but it was kind of odd.

    On the other hand, that article’s probably up on a bulletin board in the clubhouse, which is just fine with me.

  10. @Kevin — I don’t think you speak for any readers of this blog, actually.

  11. @Kevin Pratt

    Any poll of readers would find a tiny minority, possibly as small as 1, agreeing that you speak for them.

    There are dozens of places to read game accounts. There’s only one Ducksnorts.

  12. In case you care, Ducksnorts Blog just made my Bookmarks Bar (a very exclusive list)…

    @ Kevin Pratt

    That’s pretty rude… You’re invited to sit with Jonathan Sanchez…

  13. This is Ducksnorts and this is the way we like it!!!!! Kevin, HAND and DLTDHYOTWO.

  14. Thanks, all, for the kind words of support. The point has been made.

    @Calsnoboarder: Latos presents a serious problem because of the innings issue, but I like Nick G.’s suggestion of him, Garland, and Richard. If you need a fourth, maybe choose one of Correia or LeBlanc based on matchups. I’d also like to see Stauffer make a start or two down the stretch so we have some idea of whether he could jump in there if needed.

    @DShoe: It’s funny you should mention CY. He has been a completely forgotten man this season, and although it would be foolish to count on him for anything at this point, stranger things have happened… I’m also still not giving up on the waiver wire, not that I have any specific names in mind… I wonder if Ted Lilly might be available. ;-)

  15. There is only one Ducksnorts. True story. Very true.

    Who is this “CY”?