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Symbol of a Lost Season

While the Padres were getting pasted by the Red Sox at Fenway on Monday evening in the first game of what I told a friend “has a chance to be the least competitive series between two baseball teams all season,” I was rewriting an article. Part of that article landed on the cutting room floor, but I think the “deleted scenes” are strong enough to publish…

If ever a game symbolized the Padres’ 2011 season, it was Saturday night’s affair with the Twins at Target Field. Beyond the sheer meaninglessness of a contest between last place teams in the AL Central and the NL West (quick, what are the playoff implications?), there is this: Chris Denorfia led off the game with a triple, and the Padres lost, 1-0. Continue reading ›

Sweeps Week

The Padres got swept by the Twins in Minnesota this weekend. All three games were decided by one run, which would be fantastic news if teams played for runs rather than for wins. Continue reading ›

All Over Everything and Stuff

For a team headed nowhere, there sure is a lot going on, eh? Let’s get to it… Continue reading ›

Five Guys in the Minors

There are several intriguing stories in the Padres minor-league system — the emergence of Beamer Weems (giving up switch-hitting was a good idea, huh?) and international signee Luis Domoromo, the sudden glut of third basemen, the signing of first-round pick Cory Spangenberg — but today we’ll focus on a few items I’ve been tracking… Continue reading ›

So, Yeah… Poreda

When the Padres recalled Anthony Bass on Monday (he won his debut — congrats on that) to replace the injured Aaron Harang, they had to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Bass. To do so, they severed ties with another pitcher named Aaron. Continue reading ›

Me, Elsewhere: Hawpe’s Future, Headley’s Homer

My latest at Baseball Prospectus ($) examines Matt Kemp’s dominance, Tim Lincecum’s slump, and other goings-on in the National League West. The Padres section, not surprisingly, focuses on Anthony Rizzo. It also touches on the question of what to do with Brad Hawpe, and when:

The trouble with Hawpe (now back in right field thanks to Rizzo) is that, despite improving numbers, he still looks overmatched by big-league fastballs. The larger statistical picture (31.1 K% in 212 PA) aligns well with anecdotal evidence, such as an at-bat against Nationals right-hander Tyler Clippard during Friday’s game.

Clippard started with a changeup down and away that Hawpe fouled off to the left side. Two 93-mph fastballs on the inner half followed, and Hawpe swung through both of them. If the Padres do decide to sell at some point, they had better hope that potential trade targets pay more attention to Hawpe’s strong May showing than to his diminished bat speed. Soon would be good, before performance has a chance to catch up with physics.

Anyway, there’s lots more where that came from, so go read it…

* * *

On another note, I’ve been contributing commentary to the ESPN Power Rankings, each week highlighting a noteworthy aspect of the Padres’ performance. Sometimes I brag about the bullpen, other times I lament the lack of offense or inability to win at home. (The entire archive is available as well, so you can see the big picture.)

Every once in a while, I am shocked by what my research uncovers. For example, here is this week’s comment:

When Chase Headley went deep on June 9, it was the first homer this season by Padres No. 3 hitters, who are batting a combined .205/.301/.269.

Yep, a Padres pitcher (thank you, Mat Latos) homered before a Padres no. 3 hitter.

Another Day, Another Anthony

The Padres have recalled right-hander Anthony Bass from Triple-A Tuscon to make Monday night’s start at Coors Field, a fine place for a pitcher to make his big-league debut. Bass takes Aaron Harang’s spot on the roster (DL, right foot) and is starting in place of Dustin Moseley, whose status remains uncertain after he dislocated his left (non-throwing) shoulder while swinging a bat last week. Moseley could start on Tuesday, although if he isn’t ready to go, southpaw Wade LeBlanc — scheduled to start for Tucson on Monday — is another option.

As for Bass, I saw him a couple of times at Lake Elsinore. He he has decent velocity and mixes his pitches well, drew praise for his command when drafted (2008, fifth round, Wayne State), and is aggressive. I like him more than I probably should. Continue reading ›

The Blog Turns Ten

Ten years ago today, a blog was born. Ducksnorts first launched in 1997, but the blog (a word that didn’t exist back then) came into being on June 12, 2001.

I contemplated celebrating this occasion by highlighting the blog’s “greatest hits” from years past. Two problems:

  1. That seems like a lot of work, and I’m lazy.
  2. I hate reading my old stuff. It becomes an exercise in second-guessing and keeps me from moving forward into the future, where I hope my best work lies.

Instead, I asked myself why I’ve been doing this for so long. The answer is simple and clear: It is because of you. Continue reading ›

Saturday Links (11 Jun 11)

Someday I will figure out a way to deliver these in a more timely manner, but not today… Continue reading ›

Rizzo’s Debut

Anthony Rizzo made his big-league debut Thursday night at Petco Park. The Padres beat Washington, 7-3, although this was a mere footnote to the “crowd” (if three is a crowd, then 16,464 qualifies), which cheered everything Rizzo did but which seemed uncertain how to occupy the spaces between his moments.

The public address announcer helped fuel what few flames existed in a mostly empty ballpark, calling attention to the fact that this was Rizzo’s debut and welcoming him to San Diego. Fans seemed hip to it. If he wasn’t the only reason they attended… well, who are we kidding? Continue reading ›