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.

* * *

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.

* * *

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.

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26 Responses »

  1. Ok, I think it’s time.

  2. Sorry, but isn’t “Hundley” and “injury plagued season” a bit redundant by now? Sheesh…

  3. Why did Black send up Phillips in the 9th? You would think with the game up the line you’d want to send up your best hitter, which should have been Denorfia. Or was Black just playing “pretend stats” of putting up the LH vs the right handed pitcher, despite the fact that Denorfia is hitting .291 vs RH and Phillips is hitting .218.

    I think that has to be one of the most frustrating things of the season is wondering why Black makes some of the dumb choices he does that have no rhyme, reason, or statistical logic backing them up. What’s almost as bad is that no one in the SD media seems to call out his crazy choices.

  4. I normally think Black is okay, but I don’t get sending Adams out there in game 3. He has been overworked, and had nothing.
    I wonder if they keep a stat for number of times a team has stranded a runner at third with a) no outs and b) one out? If the Pads haven’t worn out one of those this year so far, it would shock me.

  5. BP sez …


    Those numbers represent the slash line for the average major league hitter in 2011.


    Those numbers represent the slash line for Ryan Ludwick.

    In the first half of 2011, Ludwick is Mr. Average.

  6. @LM – all the more reason to send him on his merry way and bring up Blanks.

    How does a team give up 4 runs in 3 games and lose all 3? Well, I am officially off the “still in it if they beat their divisional foes in July” bandwagon. On to the “hope we can move Ludwick and Harang” campaign.

  7. @LM Those are scary good stats on Ludwick. Now, Selig needs to make a rule that he must be traded to a team where his salary is the average of the payroll, the Yankees. Makes as much sense as his playoff idea.

    I know it has happened before, but I wonder how many teams have lost 1-0, getting one hit, and not allowing one until two out in the ninth. Reminds me a bit of Koufax perfect game, when the Blue only had one hit, and he made it stand up to win 1-0.

  8. @All – I read that the Yankees fan that caught Jeters 3000th hit ball returned it to the Yankees and Jeter without asking for anything in return. The ball could be worth tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Just a question for this forum…. would you do the same if you were in possession of TG’s 3000th? Personally, I would ask the Padres to speak face to face with TG and I would tell him “I believe this belongs to you”. The only thing I would ask for in return is a signed replacement ball.

    I hope that fan gets it back even more in Karma. He deserves it.

  9. That’s one darned loyal fan. I hope Jeter buys him dinner….a man got to eat.

    Me, i don’t know what i’d do. sure, i can say i’ll give it back just to meet my favorite player or such but i can’t say i won’t go crazy and post it to auction house right away. :)
    All i say it that you, PF, are a better man than i, and i can say that only because Mr. Padres already got his 3000th hit.

    As for my horrible offensive team, what can i say but that they do aim for the highest difficulties in scoring runs. Of course, like in diving, the difficulty level only count if said diver actually performed the dive. I guess, the thing i admire is the sense of drama the team is providing…can they deliver this win after all the higher stakes they keep managing to find themselves in. I’m a fool, what can i say? After all, nobody expects the spanish inquisition.

  10. I am so done with the Jason Bartlett experience. I want off this ride and just watch Alberto Gonzalez field and not hit. Heck, bringing up Cabrera would be good too. You know what, call Chris Gomez and have him bring his WS magic back.

    I don’t understand the throwing errors today. Were they bad or rushed or Rizzo not standing up tall to be a big target?


    Well I guess we can look forward to Blanks in LF and Adams as the closer in the next two weeks. I wonder what other changes are in the works. Hopefully see some life out the younger players down the stretch and/or Rizzo can work things out. Otherwise its going to be a long 3 months.

  12. I quip: It must be easy to be a Yankee fan.

  13. Why is Derek Jeter more deserving of the HR ball than the fan who caught it? In Derek Jeter’s world, that ball becomes ball #245 on display in his $10M Manhattan penthouse. The $300k-$400k that the average fan could get for it on eBay changes his life.

    Giving the ball back to the player in these situations is for suckers. Your obligations are to yourself and your family first, not Derek Jeter’s memorabilia cabinet.

  14. I would’ve tried to turn the ball into money. In this economy it’s silly not too. While I hope the guy gets some good karma back from it, from my experience the dicks get richer and the nice get poorer.

    Black did a great job of managing today, every time he made a pitching change it was the right thing to do. Using up 2 pitchers when the pitcher was due up first the next inning, brilliant strategy, I’m surprised more managers don’t use it.

  15. re: Jeter’s 3000th hit ball, the fan did end up with 4 premium Yankees seat for the rest of the season. I’m guessing for a fan such as he, those are worth more to him and his family and friends.

    re: the Padres, i’ve never seen so many highlights so often of a Padres game on ESPN before. Alas, it’s a Dodgers win/coverage.

  16. Being in CT now, I only see about 12-15 televised Padre games per season.

    Sadly, yesterday’s game was one of them.


  17. The Padres are just tanking the season to get Andrew Luck.

  18. @Parlo: and you didn’t even get Vin Scully narrating the trial and tribulation of the game, the ups and downs, waxing poetry while player after player took the long walk back into the dugout…sigh…

    on the brighter side, you did get to see the best pitched Padres game this year by game score.

    JoeP on Williams:

  19. Ok, that game score claim is wrong, still it was a finely pitched game.

  20. hmmm….wouldn’t Ludwick look good in Red Sox uniform? RH power hitter, stick him in LF, move Crawford to RF.

  21. @PF: If I catch Tony Gwynn’s 3000th hit, I would let the club know and give it back to him in person. If I catch Jeter’s, I hold onto it for some crazy Yankee fan to pay me big bucks for it. Sorry, I just like Gwynn and hate the Yankees.
    Yesterday’s game showed it takes only one bad pitch to beat the Pads these days. Gregerson was filthy on every pitch but the one that got nailed to left field.

  22. Oh @Didi,
    I admire your attempts to always look at the bright side, but I honestly see no way to take any redeeming values from yesterday’s game. Yes, we took a no-hitter into the 9th, but we also got outhit in the process.
    You can call me a sourpuss, but yesterday’s loss will linger hard.
    I guess there is slight consolation in listening to McCarver and Buck rather than Scully pronouncing Rubby De La Rosa
    Thanks Didi!

  23. I still think Occam was right. The simplest explanation for the Padres poor hitting is that they’re poor hitters as a group. There could be complicating factor though. When you’re aggressive, you make things happen. When you’re reactive, things happen to you.

    The Padres were a changed team after the 2 wins in Boston, they lost it in Seattle and found it again in Frisco was on the line. Then they lost that 14-inning game after blowing a 2-run lead, and went back to their pre-Boston ways. Maybe Bud needed to kick some butt after that game, sometimes rah-rah isn’t enough.

    It’s too late now. Jed said the 10-game road trip was important, and they went 3-7. It’s too bad that payroll will be a factor in his moves, because there’s no need to mess with the pitching – it’s all on the hitters’ inability to move runners over and bring them in.

  24. On the trading block were i the GM:

    - Ludwick, Bell, Gregerson, Bartlett, Hudson, Qualls, Harang, and if must Adams, Headley.

    heck, the only untouchables are Maybin and Rizzo, everybody else, up for grabs for the right price, even the announcers and coaches, bat boys and ushers.

  25. @Didi I detect a subtle note of discouragement, but let’s not go overboard. The bat boys, at least, are hustling.

  26. LOL, thanks, Larry.