Ice in My Shorts

Pardon my French, but I’m enjoying the crap out of this. The Padres are back in first place after beating the Reds on Saturday… 4-3 again… in front of a national audience… with two out in the ninth… on a hit by a guy originally drafted by the Reds.

Bullet points:

  • Will Venable did a great job in the leadoff spot. He homered into the sandbox beyond right-center off Travis Wood in the third. Deepest part of the park, not a bad pitch… from a lefty? Venable had another nice at-bat in the fifth but got robbed by Drew Stubbs, who took away a hit and an RBI on a blooper to shallow center. What I really like, though, is that Venable saw 20 pitches in four trips to the plate.
  • What’s up with allowing two hits to Wood? The first, a double, came when Jon Garland hung a 1-2 breaking ball. Wood made it as far as third base but didn’t score. Then, in the fourth, after second base umpire C.B. Bucknor saved a run by kicking Ramon Hernandez’s single up the middle, Wood hit a nubber to Garland’s right and beat it out for an RBI single. Between that and the sixth inning on Friday night, I’ve seen enough cheap hits from the opposition for a while.
  • At one point during the broadcast, FOX showed a graphic comparing the “top four” National League MVP candidates: Albert Pujols, Joey Votto, Carlos Gonzalez, and Troy Tulowitzki. I couldn’t resist questioning that on Twitter. A couple folks responded that Adrian didn’t have the numbers, but the guys at Sacrifice Bunt were on it, noting that “The top four are Pujols, Votto, [Ryan] Zimmerman, and [Roy] Halladay.” I was being too obtuse, but the point is, if you’re going to throw CarGo and his “Away from Coors Field, I hit like Juan Encarnacion” act into the mix, shouldn’t Adrian be there, too? Oh well, as Tom Krasovic notes (discussing Bud Black’s chances at winning Manager of the Year, but the same principle holds), that’s not how it works in San Diego. Hey, it’s capitalism; gotta keep the advertisers happy, right?
  • Nick Hundley made an incredible game-saving catch of a Heath Bell fastball that got away. How Hundley leapt out of his crouch and managed to snag that thing before it went to the backstop and allowed Stubbs to score the go-ahead run from third, I’ll never know.
  • Chris Denorfia’s game-winning double down the third-base line snuck just under Scott Rolen’s glove. Looked like Rolen should have made the play, but that’s easy for me to say; I was sitting on the couch… everything looks easy from there.
  • I did make a bit of, shall we say, noise when Chase Headley slid under the tag of Hernandez. I don’t usually make much of a fuss, but really, was that not exciting? A guy’s got to live a little. Tomorrow, I may even put brown sugar in my oatmeal. I’m crazy like that.
  • The FOX guys were talking to Denorfia after his hit. The only part of his interview I remember was, “There’s ice in my shorts right now” (thanks to reader Marshall for helping me get the quote right).

This is exciting stuff. I mentioned that, right? Because it’s important.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the relevant universe…

Results, Odds, Matchups

  • Atl 5, Was 0 – Who the heck is Yunesky Maya, and why is he pitching in meaningful September games?
  • Col 10, SF 9 – Troy Tulowitzki single-handedly ruined the Giants evening. Words cannot describe how grateful I am that the Padres don’t have to try and get him out again this year.

Here are the current playoff odds:

Tm   W-L  BPro Cool
SD  87-67 72.9 66.2
Atl 87-68 65.2 68.0
SF  87-68 60.4 64.7
Col 83-71  1.5  1.1

Here’s a look at movement over the course of the past several days:

    9/23 9/24 9/25 9/26
SD  68.0 56.7 66.8 72.9
Atl 73.0 74.8 55.7 68.0
SF  49.3 63.6 76.0 64.7
Col  9.7  4.9  1.4  1.5

    9/23 9/24 9/25 9/26
Atl 74.9 77.4 60.1 68.0
SD  61.9 49.2 59.6 66.2
SF  56.3 70.0 79.2 64.7
Col  6.8  3.4  1.1  1.1

And finally, Sunday’s matchups:

  • Atl @ Was, Brandon Beachy vs Livan Hernandez, 10:35 a.m. PT
  • SF @ Col, Matt Cain vs Jorge de la Rosa, 12:10 p.m. PT
  • Cin @ SD, Homer Bailey vs Clayton Richard, 1:05 p.m. PT

Go Padres, go Nationals, go Rockies!

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6 Responses »

  1. Headley’s path around the bases was terrific. No wasted arcs, just sharp turns at both bags.

    His hitting has been something of a disappointment, with only a 310 wOBA, lower than his offensive contributions as a LF. But his defense and underrated baserunning make him substantially more valuable than that. BP has him as the team’s third best baserunner, behind the far more athletic Venable and Gwynn. Fangraphs puts him at 4.0 WAR, sandwiched between Wright and Arod.

    There will probably be calls to improve 3b before next season, which will be Chase’s age 27 campaign. I’d hang onto him.

    I feel sick rooting for the Rockies, but baseball, like politics, makes for strange bedfellows.

  2. Good call on Headley’s path. He did a great job, especially considering how well the Reds made that relay home.

    I still think his hitting will come around a bit at some point, and as you note, he adds value in other areas. He made a terrific play on Friday (I think it was Friday), ranging far to his left, spinning, and firing a strike to Adrian. I don’t know that we’ve had a third baseman who makes that play since… maybe Sean Burroughs?

    And yeah, rooting for the Rockies is tough. The only thing tougher would be rooting for the Giants.

  3. As long as you’re mentioning Headley… Is it harder for a switch-hitter to develop his swing? He’s had poor results against lefties batting RH this year (.202), and his 3-year trend is down against lefties. I’ve seen him described as a slap hitter LH, but most of his homers are LH. He can’t do much worse against lefties batting LH. Maybe he’d be better off batting LH full-time?

  4. Yup, that’s a good idea. Headley should go the way of JT Snow and give up switch-hitting.

    Yikes! Clayton was sucking today, walking left and right and giving up XBHs. Whatever happened to day games being good for the Padres at Petco? Was that never the case?

  5. Isn’t Headley a natural right-handed hitter? He’s got some chance to regress upwards.

  6. “Regress Upwards”? Okay, that’s a new one on me. It’s so hard to keep up with these “inside baseball” terms! ;-) Maybe T. Gwynn should go with his natural right-handed side, and regress upwards, too. I get what you’re saying, Tom. Headley hit lefties better than righties his first year, so I guess it may be too soon to drop the switch hitting.