The ‘W’ Word

A win? Huh, there’s a novel concept.

It was just like old times on Monday night, with the Padres doing the little things… strong pitching, strong defense, timely hitting. What more do you need? As strategies go, it beats hoping the Giants and Rockies keep losing.

To the bullet points:

  • Tim Stauffer did a great job starting in place of Mat Latos (stomach flu) on short notice. Despite having thrown 13 pitches in relief on Sunday, Stauffer came out and gave the Padres four innings and left with a 3-1 lead. On another note, the Channel 4 broadcast had his fastball at 92-95 mph; I don’t know that I’ve ever seen him throw that hard. It’s early and there’s still plenty of 2010 left, but Stauffer has to get a serious look at next year’s rotation. He is finally looking like the pitcher the Padres thought they drafted.
  • Luke Gregerson served up a homer to Scott Podsednik on an 0-2 pitch. Podsednik once went an entire season (2005, 568 PA) without hitting a single home run. No offense, Luke, but damn.
  • Mike Adams deserved the win. I’m glad to see the official scorer made the right choice in giving it to him. Between getting Andre Ethier to chase a slider down and in to end the seventh, to making a crazy behind-the-back-throwing-from-a-siting-position play on Matt Kemp’s grounder up the middle, Adams took care of business when the Padres needed him most.
  • Heath Bell looked a little pissed out on the mound. That’s good. We need him to be a little pissed. Those curve balls he threw to Jay Gibbons and Podsednik were all kinds of filthy.
  • It’s good to see Nick Hundley come through when used. Thanks to Yorvit Torrealba’s surprising season, Hundley has become something of a forgotten man, but he delivered on offense and on defense Monday night. The home run was nice, but I also liked the way he smothered the pitch that fanned Gibbons and then threw to first for the out. So did Bell, who could be seen mouthing the words “thank you” to Hundley after the play.
  • The run in the seventh was huge. After Gregerson coughed up his homer, the Padres came right back against erstwhile Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton. Down in the count, Aaron Cunningham showed nice patience and drove a 1-2 fastball down the line in right to lead off the inning. Chris Denorfia, who gave a clinic on how not to bunt, did a great job getting on top of a 3-2 fastball from Broxton and pounding it to the right side, moving Cunningham to third. David Eckstein then — again with two strikes, and after having fouled off a couple tough pitches — flied to medium center, plating Cunningham with ease.
  • Ryan Ludwick still looks lost at the plate. The “hit” was a ground ball to deep shortstop. I can’t believe the Miguel Tejada trade is working out so much better. Who knew he had anything left to offer and could still play a quasi-legitimate shortstop?
  • I don’t mind that Matt Stairs is striking out in a third of his plate appearances, but I sure would like to see him go down swinging once in a while. Apparently he’s been caught looking just six times this season, but it sure seems like those all have come in the last two weeks.

Enough of my whining. A win is a win, and we’ll take it. Latos gives it another shot Tuesday night against southpaw Clayton Kershaw. That should be fun to watch… especially if it results in another victory for the home team.

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9 Responses »

  1. Tim Stauffer came through. His only blemish was courtesy of Ryan Ludwick, who misplayed a single into a double that ended up coming around to score.

    Time to worry about Luke Gregerson. A HR to Podsednik? Seriously, it was a bomb on an 0-2 count. Mike Adams bailed the team out getting 5 outs. Good thing Pepe Negro yanked Luke when he did.

    Defense seems to play loose and nice other than Ludwick (that guy should not hit in the top half of the batting order and probably could use two days off just to chill).

    Venable’s speed made the score nice to see. Aaron Cunningham should be playing a bit more.

    Nice to have Adrian Gonzalez playing first, isn’t it? A couple of great plays to stem the Dodgers’ rally, and then, he put down a bunt single to left. That man is rock, just the rock.

    I do love fireworks especially after a win, more so when it’s after a win to stop a 10-game slide.

    Go Padres!

  2. I loved Adrian’s bunt in the eighth, if for no other reason than it was fun to see that ball roll almost to the OF grass because of the shift.

  3. Couldn’t agree more with you about Tejada. I thought he was done but he has been a huge upgrade from Cabrera at short. Hopefully the Pads will get on track and continue doing the little things right. That’s how we win ball games. Good to see that sac fly in the 7th to come right back from the HR. Let’s get Latos a win and score some runs tonight! Go Pads!

  4. Don’t forget yet another Adrian bunt to beat the shift. Sooo satisfying.

  5. Good game, after ten days of nighmares. This time no late inning collapse, and no booted plays, though Tejada not tagging second base on a grounder to first that could have been a force had me thinking “oh oh”.
    Is it just me, or are the “radar” speeds on the pitches at Petco being goosed just a bit? It seems like every very average dude that gets marched out by the opposing team’s Bpens for weeks is buzzing in the old number one at 95 to 97. Richard, Adams, and some of the other Padres are getting readings pushing 98, as high as Latos and Bell. I think velocity is nothing without movement and location, but I also don’t think the velocity is really that high. Or is it?

  6. Between last night and the fiasco in Arizona, has Luke lost “it” a little bit? I mean, it wouldn’t be unprecedented for an unorthodox reliever to finally have the league catch up to him (see: Cla Meredith). Throw in the fact that Bud has really rode the bullpen hard most of the season and how many sliders he’s thrown, I wonder if he has a little bit of a dead arm right when hitters are starting to figure him out. I’m glad Webb and Russell are up from Triple-A; maybe they can move into Frieri’s role, and he can move into the 7th inning slot to get Luke some extra days off.

  7. @Didi, Mike, Andy: Thanks for the reminder about Adrian’s bunt. I meant to mention that but forgot. A thing of beauty, it was.

    @Frank: Good question about the radar readings. Most of the numbers (other than Stauffer’s) I saw last night seemed within the range of probability. I was expecting that Jansen kid on the Dodgers to register higher than he did (94-96). But if Richard is being clocked at 98, that’s not right. And yeah, give me movement and location any day… I’ll never forget watching Maddux bust bats with that 85-mph fastball moving in on right-handed hitters toward the end of his career.

    @Adam: Funny you should mention Meredith. I do wonder if Gregerson might end up going a similar route. He’s more of a strikeout pitcher than Meredith was, but it’s possible that we’ve seen Gregerson’s best. The shelf life of relievers isn’t real long. That’s why it’s good to have bullpen depth, which the Padres do.

  8. Stauffer hit 95 in relief on Sunday as well. Tough to say if it’s a gun issue or if he found something new, but two days in a row is promising!

  9. It was good to see Pepe Negro put Will Venable in RF for defense. However, why didn’t he also bat Will vs. Jansen who is death to RHB (sss) but average v. LHB (sss)?

    Time is due for Ludwick to go back to hitting 6th behind Gonzalez, Tejada, Headley.