No Offense in Houston, Plenty in San Antonio

I missed Thursday night’s loss in Houston. Apparently so did the Padres.

My excuse was day job and taxes. Theirs was… Dustin Moseley on the mound? The Padres have been shut out in all three of his starts this season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Moseley is just the third pitcher since 1972 to receive zero run support in his first three starts (Rudy May, 1972; Kenny Rogers, 2008).

Positives through 12 games: The Padres lead the National League in stolen bases and ERA, and rank second in walks drawn. On the downside, they are at or near the bottom of almost every other offensive category.

Hey, at least taxes are done.

* * *

I listened to the first six innings of San Antonio’s 7-4 win over Northwest Arkansas. That is to say, I missed the Missions’ six-run eighth inning.

Casey Kelly made his second start and, except for a strange fourth, pitched well. He didn’t miss many bats (2 strikeouts in 6 innings) but was efficient and induced a ton of grounders (14 ground outs, 2 fly outs). Although his pedestrian strikeout totals (7.1 K/9 in 200 pro innings) temper my enthusiasm for the 21-year-old right-hander, it’s hard to argue with results… and I love the efficiency. Here’s a breakdown of his latest performance:

Inn Pit Str
1    12   7
2    13  12
3    12   7
4    19   9
5     9   7
6    13  12
Tot  78  53

For most of the evening, Kelly was in complete control. The lone exception came in the fourth, when he walked his only batter (former Padres draftee Christian Colon) to lead off the inning. One balk, two ground ball singles, and one botched double play later… Kelly trailed, 2-1.

Second baseman Vincent Belnome committed the error that led to the second (unearned) run of the inning. Belnome played third base at Lake Elsinore last year and I didn’t think he was well suited to the position. He looked stiff the few times I saw him. I expected a move to first base maybe, but certainly not second. Still, despite the error, it’s not a bad idea. Belnome has some offensive skills and if he can play a passable second base (a very big “if”), he could be useful.

Other notes from the game:

  • Kelly made a great catch on a line drive back at him in the second. There was an audible gasp from the crowd, and the announcers raved about Kelly’s reflexes and athletic ability. His father, Pat, was a big-league infielder in the ’90s.
  • Beamer Weems, a defense-first shortstop, has given up switch-hitting this year and is batting .360/.429/.640. It’s only seven games, but he is a former eighth-round pick who has exhibited solid on-base skills in the past. I wonder if Weems’ presence factored into the Padres’ decision to part with Cole Figueroa in the Jason Bartlett deal this past winter?
  • Jaff Decker knocked two doubles in this one. The first came off a tough left-hander, John Lamb, a top prospect in a deep Royals organization. Again bearing in mind the small sample, Decker has gotten off to a strong start against southpaws (4-for-12, 2 doubles), who gave him trouble last year. It is only a matter of time before folks start hopping back onto the Decker bandwagon. Concerns about his body type and limitations in the field have been exaggerated. One person says something, maybe a few agree… suddenly everyone’s repeating it. Dude can rake and he plays a passable corner outfield. This isn’t Jack Cust.
  • I caught some flack for rating James Darnell so highly despite a lackluster 2010 campaign. The early returns (and I can’t stress enough that they are early) on him are promising as well. I particularly like the 1 strikeout in 29 plate appearances. He homered in this one, on a night where the ball was not carrying. Darnell also committed a throwing error.
  • Kyle Phillips crushed a ball to right in the third that the wind knocked down. Phillips thought he had it, but the announcers said — and I’m paraphrasing here — Welcome to Wolff Stadium. They indicated that it would have gone out of any other ballpark in the Texas League.

This is going to be an interesting team to watch. Through seven games, the Missions are hitting .333/.397/.581. They have scored two runs per game more than the second best offensive team (Frisco) so far. And they just tallied seven in their first game at Wolff on a night when the ball wasn’t carrying.

Anyway, I’ll try to have more coverage of the big club next week. Maybe they can help me out by sucking less…

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9 Responses »

  1. Oops, I forgot to mention that Kyle Blanks made his season debut on rehab assignment. Batting third and DHing, he went 1-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts.

  2. The color you’re able to provide from listening to the radio broadcasts is great. Thanks.

    I really like the start for the minor leaguers compared to last season. There was a lot of optimism going into last summer, and with the notable exceptions of Cumberland and Castro, pretty much everyone started poorly or was hurt. This season, a bunch of guys are raking and pitching well, and the Tate-Williams collision and weird Castro start are the only really negatives so far. Almost everyone else is off to a very nice start, with Darnell, Decker, Rizzo, and Sampson among the most notable. Makes me happy.

  3. Darnell is playing like he’s mad that he’s not in AAA. Just raking.
    And Decker hit 2 more HR last night…

  4. somebody explain to me the interference rule that got Patterson on base? Almost worked out were it not for the Wallace throw home.

    come on, Padres, just one more run than the other team per game.

  5. Anyone know how Yefri Carvajal has looked in his transition to pitching?

    Also, what happened to Mike DeMark? I saw he was released, but wasn’t sure why. Always thought he might have a chance to make it as a fringe reliever.

  6. I was at Padres/Astros game last night … was not a fan of letting Latos bat (and bunt) in 7th … sure it looks like 20/20 hindsight since he didn’t convert the sac and then gave up 2 walks in the bottom of the 7th … just sayin’ …

    Headley sure looked good at the plate! He had to have set some record for longest hit ball that wasn’t an HR? and then backed up with another high-off-the-wall double in the next AB … and then 2 liners that were at OFers in his next 2 ABs …

  7. @LM: so Headley is still going to break out this year. Yesh!
    Thanks for the live obervation. Wish it was a win for you. Today Clayton will deliver.

  8. Clayton didn’t deliver … but the ‘stros (lack of) defense did!

    That and HRs by Hundley and Cantu that carromed off the wall behind the Crawford boxes and back into LF … those were BOMBs!!!

  9. re: Kyle Phillips … I listed to a few innings of games last week and got the clear impression that this guy is a very good defensive catcher …