Forget Wins, Just Focus on Self-Respect

Things started so well in San Francisco. Those first two wins against the Giants at PhoneCo Park lulled us into a false sense of competence.

Then Game 3 arrived, and the Padres smacked Madison Bumgarner around right good. With his bullpen overextended, Bud Black let Dustin Moseley work into the eighth. Moseley, who has been better than anyone could have expected this year, faltered before yielding to the normally unhittable Mike Adams.

Adams, though, wasn’t at his sharpest and immediately served a monstrous double to Pablo Sandoval, who crushed a fastball down and in. Had Sandoval not stood at home plate to admire his handiwork before “running,” it might have been a triple. (Sandoval also made a fantastic diving stop in the ninth that kept the Padres from taking the lead.)

After several innings of futility by Padres hitters (17 straight outs to end the game) against the San Francisco bullpen, Nate Schierholtz led off the 14th with a home run to right field off Pat Neshek to give San Francisco the win. It was Schierholtz’s second homer of the night. There is an age-old adage in baseball that if you give up two home runs to Schierholtz, you deserve to lose.

Okay, it’s not age-old. And it’s not an adage. But it should be. Because really, who gives up two home runs to Schierholtz?

Still, the Padres had a chance to take the series but couldn’t do anything against San Diego native and all-around average pitcher Barry Zito in the finale. Meanwhile, Cory Luebke’s otherwise stellar performance was marred by a home run off the bat of Eli Whiteside. Giving up a homer to Whiteside is like giving up two to Schierholtz, only worse.

So many adages, so little time. Here’s another: If you load the bases with nobody out and fail to score, you deserve to be openly mocked for it.

The Padres squandered numerous opportunities (0-for-11 with RISP) in Friday night’s contest against the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine. After pushing starter Chad Billingsley up against the ropes and then letting him off all evening, the Padres set their sights on “closer” Javy Guerra.

Cameron Maybin led off with a double to right-center. The next two batters were hit by pitches, bringing up pinch-hitter Kyle Phillips. With the tying run on third, Phillips worked the count full… and then swung at ball four. Will Venable struck out on three pitches and Jason Bartlett flied out to end the game.

Maybe Guerra — who needs 598 more saves to catch Trevor Hoffman for the all-time lead — just wanted more of a challenge. It’s as though slicing through the Padres lineup without any sense of danger gave him no thrill. Even with the bases loaded, there was no real threat, but at least it gave hometown fans the illusion of impending peril.

Good show, Dodgers. Good show.

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Former Padres manager and Hall of Famer Dick Williams died on Thursday at age 82. Williams led the club to its first World Series appearance in 1984 before departing San Diego a few years later on less-than-stellar terms. My condolences to the family and friends of Williams.

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Catcher Nick Hundley’s injury-plagued season keeps getting better. He was placed on the disabled list due to a “strained right elbow” and underwent surgery on Friday. Hundley is expected to miss three to six weeks.

Luis Martinez, a catch-and-throw guy, has been recalled from Triple-A Tucson. The 26-year-old Martinez was hitting .313/.357/.405 at the time of his recall and sports a .268/.361/.353 line in 1458 career minor-league plate appearances.