We watched Mat Latos’ season debut from Section 301. The stadium scoreboard had his fastball at 92-96 mph, and he mostly located his pitches well. Two exceptions came in the fifth inning. First, he got ahead of no. 8 hitter Paul Janish and couldn’t put him away. Then, after opposing starter Edinson Volquez failed to sacrifice Janish to second, Latos left a fastball up against Chris Heisey, who slammed it for a two-run homer to left that would be the game winner.
That the Padres managed to score just two runs against Volquez remains a sore point. They had him on the proverbial ropes in the first inning but let him escape with minimal damage. With the bases loaded and no out, Ryan Ludwick got hit by a pitch and Brad Hawpe lined to center to drive home the only runs. Nick Hundley ended the inning with a double play, and then Volquez and the Cincinnati bullpen got serious, spinning eight shutout innings against an inept Padres offense.
Ludwick and Hawpe, who are supposed to be providing pop in the middle of the lineup, have struggled. They are hitting a combined .125/.250/.203. Ludwick at least is getting good looks… hitting the ball hard and drawing walks. Hawpe, meanwhile, is late on everything. It’s 11 games, but his at-bats are painful to watch.
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Thanks to Kurt Elling‘s appearance at Anthology, I missed Tuesday’s game. His performance was better than Cory Leubke’s. That doesn’t do it justice; think more along the lines of vintage Greg Maddux. Flawless command and execution… a pleasure to watch and experience.
Luebke? Not so much. Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver was known for sticking young pitchers in the bullpen before moving them into the rotation. He did it with Mike Flanagan in 1976 and Scott McGregor the following season. Sometimes, the results were disastrous… maybe not as comical as Luebke’s showing (1 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 HR, 1 BB, 0 SO), but a loss is a loss.
People have been asking me why the Padres are bunting so much in the early going. I don’t know. Maybe they like to bunt? I don’t (neither does Myron), but it’s not my call. What did Weaver say? “If you play for one run, that’s all you’ll get.”
Heck, sometimes you don’t even get that.
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Luebke’s implosion has knocked the Padres bullpen stats out of whack. Compare their numbers with and without that one appearance:
IP ERA With 43.1 3.12 Without 42.1 1.91
We can’t just erase history. Luebke’s outing is part of the record, but bear in mind that it is skewing the numbers a bit.
Oh, and that 3.12 ERA is sixth in the National League. The Phillies rank first, with a 1.93 ERA that is essentially on par with San Diego’s minus one inning of Luebke.
But we still can’t erase history, so sixth place it is.
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I listened to the Fort Wayne TinCaps game on Wednesday. Right-hander Keyvius Sampson dominated again. He gave up two hits: an infield single in the second inning and a booming double to right field in the third. Sampson’s line through two games: 11 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 1 BB, 19 SO. He has fanned 19 of the 36 batters he’s faced this year.
After his first start, I’d mentioned that Sampson’s fastball was clocked at 88-89 mph, but I’ve since learned that the Parkview Field scoreboard readings run on the low side. Voice of the TinCaps Dan Watson has him in the low- to mid-90s, which is consistent with scouting reports.
Australian Corey Adamson came up to replace the injured Donavan Tate (he and Everett Williams collided in the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader but should be okay; Tate is on the 7-day DL with a hyperextended left knee) and singled in three at-bats. Adamson also made a nice sliding catch in left field in the fourth.
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The Padres are 5-6 after 11 games. You know… just like last year.
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The club heads to Houston for four games against the Astros. Dustin Moseley and Bud Norris hook up in this evening’s opener. Expect to see more offense out of the Padres over the next week, when they get to hit in NL Central parks (Wrigley Field is next on the agenda).
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- Commentary (JoeBlogs). Joe Posnanski talks about the sexism that still exists today in the world of sports reporting… He also shares more thoughts on Manny Ramirez.
- A warning to right-handed hitters, Cy Young hopefuls (Hardball Times). Rory Paap notes that Tim Lincecum’s slider is better than ever… because, you know, Lincecum needs the help. Sigh.
- Get ahold of yourselves now, ball fans (ESPN). Duff McKagan writes for ESPN? Wow. [h/t BBTF]
- Batted balls and home runs (Hardball Times). What’s the difference between a line drive and a fly ball? Sorry, no punchline here… just read the article.
- Pitching injuries: A PITCHf/x look (Hardball Times). This could be an interesting line of research.