Vedder Cup Recap

The Padres dropped two out of three in Seattle over the weekend to lose this year’s Vedder Cup, 5-1. If you’re keeping score at home, here’s how the Padres have fared in Bud Selig’s idea of a “natural rivalry”…

Year  W  L  RS  RA
1997  3  1  30  27
1998  2  2  15  10
1999  4  2  13  20
2000  3  3  26  26
2001  2  4  25  44
2002  2  1  11  10
2003  4  2  26  22
2004  2  1  11  10
2005  3  3  27  34
2006  1  5  26  42
2007  2  4  27  25
2008  1  5  16  29
2009  2  4  22  32
2010  4  2  31  25
2011  1  5   4  23
Tot  36 44 310 379

And to think, we have to wait another year for the rivalry to be renewed… what is a fan supposed to do?

* * *

On Friday, the Padres lost, 6-0, and didn’t get a runner to second base until the ninth inning. On the bright side, they looked mighty sharp in their ’84 unis.

This marked the 13th time in 83 games the Padres had been blanked in 2011. Only one team in club history was shut out more often through the same point in the season: The inaugural 1969 team failed to score 17 times in its first 83 games en route to a franchise-record 23 shutouts.

It is good to have goals.

* * *

Saturday’s contest worked out better for the visitors, thanks to some fine pitching by Cory Luebke and a little help from home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi. Not only did Cuzzi have a generous strike zone, he also lost track of the count at a most opportune time.

With one out in the fifth, Cameron Maybin drew a walk, which isn’t unusual. What is unusual is that he did so on a 2-2 pitch. Unfortunately for the Mariners, the scoreboard had the count at 3-2 and everyone — umpires included — assumed it was correct.

Maybin then advanced to second on an Anthony Rizzo groundout and scored the game’s only run when Alberto Gonzalez grounded a single off Seattle shortstop Brendan Ryan’s glove. Inexplicably, Gonzalez has been a beast with two out and RISP this year, hitting .379/.438/.448 in 32 PA vs .170/.200/.240 in 105 PA for all other situations.

Luebke, meanwhile, lowered his season ERA to 2.52. Opponents are hitting .163/.240/.223 against the 26-year-old southpaw. I’d wanted to say Luebke turns everyone into Gonzalez, but it’s much worse than that — more like Dennis Rasmussen.

Luebke’s numbers since his six-run implosion against the Reds on April 12 are laughable:

  IP  ERA K/9   BA  OBP  SLG
43.2 1.24 9.9 .149 .221 .191

Enjoy those while they last, because they won’t. Still, Luebke looks like a keeper to me. And I’m glad he’s in the rotation, where he belongs.

* * *

On Sunday, the Padres returned to the business of losing. Mat Latos, as has been his custom this year, pitched more like a mid-rotation starter than the stud that teased us with his considerable talent in 2010. If this seems vaguely familiar, there’s a good reason:

Jake Peavy, 2005 vs 2006

Year Age    IP  ERA H/9 HR/9 BB/9 K/9
2005  24 203.0 2.88 7.2  0.8  2.8 9.6
2006  25 202.1 4.09 8.3  1.0  2.7 9.7

Mat Latos, 2010 vs 2011

Year Age    IP  ERA H/9 HR/9 BB/9 K/9
2010  22 184.2 2.92 7.3  0.8  2.4 9.2
2011  23  93.0 4.26 9.0  0.9  3.5 8.4

Ah, the joy of high expectations… So I guess Latos wins the Cy Young Award next year and the Padres miss a playoff spot by one game.

I would feel better if Latos’ peripherals weren’t deteriorating. Or if his comps didn’t give me pause.

A trip through the list of similar pitchers through age 22 at B-R is chilling. Sure, there’s Hall-of-Famer Dizzy Dean. Former Padres right-hander Andy Benes (who also appeared on Peavy’s list at that age) shows up as well.

The one that scares me is Floyd Youmans. That guy had ridiculous talent, although he couldn’t find home plate to save his career. He also had other problems. (This is the part where I remind myself that comps are like tea leaves…)

It’s depressing to think of all the things that can go wrong with a young pitcher. Here’s to better things from Latos going forward…

* * *

Meanwhile, closer Heath Bell was named to his third National League All-Star team. Congrats, and don’t do anything to jeopardize your trade value.

Snubs? You could make cases for Mike Adams, Chase Headley, and Tim Stauffer. Then again, how many representatives does a mid-market West Coast team that isn’t winning many games deserve or need?

Heck, stick Gonzalez on the team for his clutchiness. Besides, isn’t there a rule somewhere that the Padres have to send an A-Gon?

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10 Responses »

  1. I haven’t looked at the stats … but my biggest gripe is Venters over Adams … 2010 needs to be factored into All-Star selections, imo.

  2. I agree with Selig. The Mariners are our natural rival. I have ALWAYS hated Seattle. Worst city in America.

    On another note, both Gyorko and Darnell had multi-hit games with a double in their first games in San Antonio and Tucson tonight. Off to a big start at the next level. I’m guessing Darnell is going to LOVE hitting in Tucson.

  3. @USMC – I love Seattle!

  4. @LynchMob: Adams vs Venters is a tough call. Here is what they have done in 2010 and 2011:

              G    IP ERA+ H/9 HR/9 BB/9 K/9
    Adams   108 105.0 236  5.8  0.3  2.4 9.8
    Venters 125 134.0 218  6.1  0.1  3.8 9.9

    Either or both would represent the NL well.

  5. I’m not sure how Seattle rates as the worst city in America, unless beautiful green landscapes, views of Mt. Rainier to the east and the Olympics to the west (at least for a few months), nice people, great ballpark and awesome football stadium make you a terrible city. Hate the M’s, not the city, USMC.

  6. Look, I agree that calling the Mariners and Padres “natural rivals” is silly, but what other options are there for these two teams? For MLB scheduling purposes a team can only have one designated “natural rival” so the Angels are out for the Padres (though I wouldn’t consider them any more of a rival than the Mariners anyway).

    Seattle is a natural because it’s in a similar situation without a nearby opposite-league team. As long as there is going to be interleague play I don’t think anyone wants to change the scheduling to eliminate annual Dodgers-Angels, Cubs-Sox, Yankees-Mets, etc. match-ups so what else can MLB do but match the Pads and Ms?

    One suggestion: Take other unnatural rivals and rotate them each year so the Padres play a different AL team without a natural rival next year. I don’t pay enough attention to know what other teams have schedule-mandated unnatural rivalries, but these can’t be the only two teams, right?

  7. @bee1000: Another option would be to have no “natural” rival for the Mariners and the Padres. MLB has taken this approach with several other teams, e.g., Colorado, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Toronto… As it stands, MLB is pretty much begging to be mocked. Besides, “Vedder Cup” is kinda funny, especially since Eddie Vedder is a Cubs fan. :-)

  8. I actually think we have a lot in common with Seattle. Both SD and SEA rate highly in sports misery index:

    I have a few quibles with his methodology, but seems to get it about right. While the M’s and Seahawks always seem like a tough match up, no matter how good we are supposed to be, they share in our championship-less status.

  9. @Sammy: I was kidding. There’s basically nothing not to like about Seattle, and there certainly doesn’t seem to be any reason for any “natural rivalry” between Seattle and SD. Like GY says above, MLB is asking to be mocked for this particular arrangement.

  10. I’m all for eliminating inter-league games in the season. Maybe have it in the schedule once every 5 years. It’ll be more doable than eliminating DH.