Yet More Comps for Nick Hundley

I’ve been thinking about Nick Hundley’s future again. It’s becoming a problem for me… thinking about Hundley’s future, not Hundley himself.

If you’ve been following along, you know that my pet comps for Hundley are Ron Karkovice, Jason LaRue, and maybe Mike Macfarlane if I’m feeling extra confident. I recently ran more numbers and found more names. Continue reading ›

Me, Elsewhere: Sir Not Appearing in Los Angeles

You may have noticed a few empty seats in the Padres’ loss Monday night at Dodger Stadium. Attendance was listed at 29,764, which is 53 percent of capacity (and probably a generous estimate of how many people actually showed up to the game). For all my complaining about the small crowds at Petco Park, the Padres are not alone in struggling to fill seats.

My latest at Baseball Prospectus ($) notes that the Dodgers currently rank sixth in the National League in attendance, which represents their second worst showing since 1918, when there were only eight teams in the league.

Since moving to Los Angeles 54 years ago, the Dodgers have finished first or second in attendance 41 times (76%). Poor play is a factor, but the actions of owners Frank and Jamie McCourt are far more damaging to a brand name that, love it or hate it, has provided a rare beacon of respectability on the west coast for decades.

As a Padres fan, I want to see my guys beat the Dodgers every time the two teams step onto the playing field. As a baseball fan with strong ties to Los Angeles, it kills me to see the McCourts run the franchise into the ground. Watching a rival get beat like a drum between the lines is fun. Watching that same rival destroy its name for no good reason, not so much.

The Padres need the Dodgers to get their act together soon. Otherwise, who will be left to hate?

Missing Mark Loretta

Although no single point of failure can explain this year’s Padres (the departure of Adrian Gonzalez makes for an easy target, but they lost 99 games with him in 2008), it’s worth noting that the team has gotten almost nothing out of the no. 2 hole. That is the usual spot for Jason Bartlett, who has represented a considerable downgrade from David Eckstein, who was nothing special himself.

The Padres haven’t had a decent no. 2 hitter for a while. Consider the past decade… Continue reading ›

Perfect Game All-American Classic: The Joey Gallo Show

Remember this name: Joey Gallo. On the evening of Sunday, August 14, in his first at-bat in the 2011 Perfect Game All-American Classic at Petco Park, the left-handed hitting Gallo drove a pitch into the beach beyond right-center field. He hit the ball 442 feet, the 10th longest drive in Petco Park history, with a wood bat.

Among the 7,953 in attendance was one talent evaluator I talked to who has seen a lot of games at Petco. He said he couldn’t recall many balls being hit harder there than Gallo’s blast. Continue reading ›

Thursday Links (25 Aug 11)

There is a basilica in Santa Fe, New Mexico, whose bells ring every hour on the hour. The basilica is named after Giovanni Francesco di Bernadone, better known as St. Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscan Order and patron saint of animals. He died in 1226 while singing Psalm 141, which includes the memorable and haunting lines, “Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evildoers; let me not eat of their delicacies.”

Sage advice, no doubt, but not nearly as much fun as today’s links… Continue reading ›

Padres and Hundley Survive Guzman’s Brain Cramp

Give the Padres credit for clawing their way to a 7-5 victory on Tuesday night at San Francisco. Don’t give them too much credit, though; only shoddy work from the defense and bullpen made such drama necessary. Continue reading ›

Me, Elsewhere: San Diego Padres, Scoring Machine

My latest at Baseball Prospectus ($) examines the topsy-turvy NL West, where the formerly front-running San Francisco Giants have played poorly (.405 Pythagorean winning percentage) since the All-Star break and the formerly cellar-dwelling Padres have done the opposite (.600 Pythag). Heck, the Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks are the only two teams in the division with positive run differentials on the season.

Several Padres hitters who contributed little in the season’s first half have come on strong of late. Chief among these are Nick Hundley (.516/.545/1.097 in 33 PA since the All-Star break), Jesus Guzman (.363/.410/.566 in 122 PA), Will Venable (.308/.379/.549 in 103 PA), Kyle Blanks (.272/.346/.511 in 104 PA), and Orlando Hudson (.304/.377/.452 in 130 PA).

The Padres have been aided by a few recent blowout wins, most notably in Pittsburgh earlier in August and at home against the Florida Marlins this past weekend. Still, the team leads the entire National League in runs scored since the break, which gives fans cause for hope.

The Padres finished 2009 strong, and they followed that with a surprisingly successful 2010 campaign. There is no guarantee that a similar showing toward the end of this season will lead to such positive results in 2012; then again, there is no guarantee that it won’t…

Sweeping the Marlins, Honoring Hoffman

What’s up with the Padres offense? When they hit the road earlier this month and averaged 7 runs a game on their 10-game swing through Pittsburgh, New York, and Cincinnati, that made a certain amount of sense. But to return home and average 5.4 at Petco Park? Granted, the Mets and Marlins aren’t great teams; then again, neither are the Padres. Continue reading ›

Retiring Number 51

The Padres will retire Trevor Hoffman’s number 51 before Sunday afternoon’s game against the Florida Marlins, Hoffman’s first big-league team. To prepare for this momentous occasion, I thought it might be fun to revisit some past articles about the man here at Ducksnorts. Continue reading ›

Wednesday Links (17 Aug 11)

One of these years I will finish my essay comparing the scrappy indie-rock band Pavement to David Eckstein. While we’re all waiting for that to happen, here are some links you might enjoy… Continue reading ›