Jason Bartlett gave his best effort, but sometimes effort alone isn’t enough. Had he realized his ninth-inning fly ball to center field off Cubs closer Carlos Marmol would drive home the game’s tying run, Bartlett might have taken a different approach. He could have hit the ball a little shallower or, like so many of his teammates on this crisp April afternoon in Chicago, not at all.
Alas, Bartlett wasn’t up to the task, and his late-inning drive brought home Cameron Maybin for the tying run. Dustin Moseley’s chance to be shut out in a fourth consecutive start had been lost.
“I know the guys in here feel for Dustin,” said Padres manager Bud Black. “I hear it in the dugout.”
Earlier, it appeared that Bartlett would be the hero. In the third inning, he had committed an error that resulted in an unearned run. By everyone’s reckoning, Bartlett had provided the lone tally other teams need to beat Moseley. But not on this day, in the first game of a doubleheader at Wrigley Field.
Brad Hawpe did his part. The left-handed hitting first baseman went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. Hawpe, who has fanned in 39% of his plate appearances this year, took his game to another level in the sixth inning.
Cubs right-hander Matt Garza had walked the bases loaded with one out, bringing up the once-dangerous Hawpe. Earning every last decimal of his -0.559 WPA, Hawpe bounced into a 4-6-3 double play to end the threat.
Garza struck out 9 of the 25 batters he faced on Tuesday. Between that and Hawpe’s general inability to make contact, Hawpe’s effort in the sixth was truly exceptional. He could have settled for just the one out, but with Moseley on deck, why take that chance?
Hawpe wasn’t alone. Chase Headley came to bat with the bases loaded in the seventh and rolled a full-count offering from southpaw Sean Marshall to third base for the final out. The allegedly switch-hitting Headley is batting .176/.300/.235 from the right side of the plate this year and .238/.301/.350 for his career.
The Padres were working together as a team in their quest to keep from scoring runs for Moseley. They were on a roll.
Then came the ninth. After Marmol retired pinch-hitter Jorge Cantu to start the inning, Maybin drew a four-pitch walk and stole second base. Next, Will Venable dropped down a bunt single, advancing Maybin to third. After a Venable stolen base, Bartlett lofted his fateful fly ball into the Chicago sky and Moseley’s run had ended.
The Padres went on to lose, 2-1, in 11 innings. They won the second game.
This was a great piece, Geoff. In particular, “allegedly switch-hitting” is one for the ages.
Ouch, very ouch, Baby!
When life gives you comically bad offense… make comedy
You many want to mention that yes, 0-5, 3K and GIDP, but also a staggering 8 LOB. I don’t want to get into the merits of the Adrian deal, but I think his loss has to be one of the biggest to a team in recent memory. You have the not-to-common combination of: a team that plays tight, low-scoring games, so each marginal run has a bigger than normal impact on outcomes, coupled with a uncommonly good player replaced by uncommonly bad replacements. The net run impact, given the leverage of runs in our games (18 played so far; already 5 extra innings, 13 games decided by 2 runs or less, 8 games where the aggregate runs scored [both teams] were 5 or fewer) I would guess is already 2-5 wins. I am impressed this team is only 8-10 given the giant hole at 1B.
A short list of preferred alternatives available in the offseason and their cost:
Erik Hinske, ATL, 1.45m, 794 OPS (YTD)
Xavier Nady, PHX, 1.75m, 775 OPS (though 883 in Phoenix)
Russell Branyan, PHX, NRI, 858 OPS (though 963 in Phoenix)
Actually reading over this list and others available, pretty slim pickings. There were better players, but all signed sizeable contracts.
I think Hawpe falls into the good gamble, poor outcome bin. Branyan’s the only player in that price range who offered real upside.
There’s not a single major league position player who wouldn’t have outproduced Hawpe so far. That doesn’t mean a journeyman would have been the right move or that Hawpe was a terrible one. For 2M and a chance at the bat he was as recently as 2009, I can’t kick at it. It’ll actually be 3M, I suppose, because the 2012 buyout would be triggered if we release him.
Would he really complain about going on the DL? He has to know nobody’s going to pick him up if he’s released. Take a week or two off, go to Tucson, get whatever at-bats can be spared without compromising the younger players.
go get rizzo today, trade blanks “if you can”, package headley with blanks and get a hitter!
Hawpe was absolutely a reasonable gamble….but it’s clear by this point he’s holding no good cards. Let’s not continue to throw good (metaphorical) money after bad. Time to cut our losses, recognize the Hawpe signing for the unfortunate mistake it was, and get him off the roster. DL or AAA, I’ll leave to him and the Padres brass. But allowing him to continue dragging an already inept offense down further would be a travesty.
@Tommy: Why rush a legit prospect and trade an injured one for a poor return from a club not expected to contend? Sure, it’s painful to watch the team as a whole, and Hawpe in particular, but that’s no reason to damage the club’s future for a short term change. Last season was a blessing and the remainder of this season will almost certainly not be as bad as the first month.
Either way, unexpected success or unexpected futility, the franchise has to focus on building long term, sustainable success on a budget. Best way to do that is by drafting, or trading for, and developing young talent. It is not done by rushing prospects and trading low to replace a cheap, albeit failing, short term player.
OK, stepping off my soapbox now.
Blanks’ upside unfortunately comes from the fact that he still may be an everyday firstbaseman, I don’t think that with the time he’s shown at the Majors that anyone would want to make that trade, for anyone decent anyways. Lets just hope that Blanks comes back and provides a solid bat in the 5-7 spots in the lineup (any lower and he will press and will not do well). Rizzo is not the answer right now, I think he needs to stay in AAA where he will get at-bats, this is one of the best guys in the organization, bringing him up now without any seasoning in AAA would be folly.
I really like Tom’s idea, send Hawpe down for a “rehab” assignment, see if he can hit in AAA and if he can’t then whatever, at least he is not hitting there instead of not hitting on the big club.
I, too, think Headley needs to stop with the switch hitting, maybe a platoon with Cantu would be moving in the right direction if Blanks can take over first. Blanks is 8/24 (.333) right now in San Antonio, which we all know is a notoriously bad hitters league, his bat will play in the Majors if he can just relaz and do his thing. Though I still see they have him as a right fielder on the stats sheet, I don’t think he should be out there anymore, I don’t ever see him playing outfield for the Padres again.
Pat, great points. Like all of us die hard friar die hards, want the success back!!!!!! Our pitching is keeping us close…ONE bat wins games right now…..Blanks is an outfielder for us…we are deep with 3rd basemen, to stay the course we let our arms die on the hill.
We are deep at third
To stay the course we let our
arms die on the hill
I love haiku!
GY … you need to point BP’s Steve Goldman to Ducksnorts …
Man, Hawpe can’t even make a list of bad players!