Tuesday, June 9, 2009

San Diego Padres: Jake Peavy, the Draft and Other Random Thoughts

With all the trade talk that surrounded 28 year old right hander Jake Peavy, not only during the offseason, but the recent rumors that he was headed to the White Sox, the last thing you would expect is to see a column by Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com saying he'd be surprised if Peavy was traded before this offseason.

But, that's exactly what Rosenthal has on his mind in his column this morning. Though I respect Rosenthal and his opinion, I doubt that the Padres are done looking for suitors for the ace of their staff. If the White Sox came calling, don't think the Dodgers, Angels and Cubs won't come calling as well, not to mention the Yankees if Andy Pettitte continues to falter. Any of you Padre fans interested in the Yankees sending Pettitte back in a deal that included Jake Peavy?

I've gone back and forth on the Padres trading Peavy. I've been upset about it, but then when Jake takes the ball, knowing full well that he wasn't 100% and was battling the flu, I want to rip his head off for never giving his team a chance to win even before the threw a single pitch. I know he wants to get the ball every fifth day, but he needs to know when he's not going to do this team any good.

Moving on to today's MLB Amateur Draft, set to get underway at 2:45pm PST. There's no drama about who the first pick in the draft is going to be as the Nationals have made it clear that they are set to take San Diego State right hander Stephen Strasburg. The question that everyone has on their mind about his selection is, will the Nationals have him in the majors before this year is out? Make no mistake about it, that would be the worst decision the Nationals could ever make as a franchise.

Can he pitch in the majors right now? Absolutely, the problem is, he's already had a full season playing for San Diego State. Do you really want to chance him suffering a serious injury in 2009? I believe the Nationals are going to be smart and let Strasburgh sit and watch the remainder of the 2009 season and join the team when spring training opens in February of 2010.

As for the San Diego Padres, they will have the third pick overall and that has been a subject of contention thus far. The Padres' front office has kept tight lipped about who they are going to select, but reports have them interested in Donavan Tate, a high school third baseman who has already committed to play football and baseball for the University of North Carolina as well as current Tar Heel first baseman Dustin Ackley.

There are two problems with both of the players they are interested in. If they select Tate, they may not get him because he's already committed to play two sports for North Carolina. As for Ackley, the Padres have to hope and pray the Mariners pass on him, but that's unlikely. To see the draft preview for the San Diego Padres, you can click here and see other players the Padres could be interested in as well as previous top picks and where they currently are.

Now onto my final thoughts and we'll close with this. The Padres have a few important decisions to make come the end of this season. They need to figure out if they can or want to re-sign Adrian Gonzalez long term, something I believe they need to do.

They need to trade Kevin Kouzmanoff and move Chase Headley to third base which is his natural position. The Padres may have already had calls on Kouzmanoff but have not had the right deal brought to them.

You can hang on to Kouzmanoff and trade him at the end of this season and that will allow top prospect Kyle Blanks to have a full season at Triple-A Portland, especially getting experience in left field. Doing that will allow the Padres to see his progress during spring training next February and possibly have him as the starter in left field come Opening Day 2010.

The next move that absolutely needs to be done is signing second baseman David Eckstein to at least a two year deal, because he's shown just how much of a spark he can be, especially after hitting a game tying three run home run on Sunday in the bottom of the ninth. The Padres really don't have a better option in their minor leagues, so I can't see why they wouldn't do that.

They need to take a good look at their pitching staff because decisions are going to need to be made. I don't expect Chad Gaudin or Kevin Correia to be back in 2010, nor would I expect Cha Seung Baek to return to the team. The guys they need to look at are Josh Geer, Wade LeBlanc, Walter Silva, Josh Banks, Will Inman and Cesar Ramos. These are guys that are going to be the future of the Padres' rotation, three of six guys could fill out the last three spots in the starting rotation next season.

Lastly, I don't expect Brian Giles to be back next season. I just can't imagine that the Padres will bring him back for another season, especially since we're almost half way through the third month of the season and he has still not gotten his batting average over the Mendoza Line (.200). That being said, look for Drew Macias, Will Venable, Vincent Sinisi and Scott Hairston to battle for the center and right field spots, assuming Kyle Blanks will be in left.

It's going to be a busy offseason for this team, one that could be a whole lot more interesting than we've seen in years past, especially with new ownership. Does that mean this team will spend more money? I wouldn't be so quick to think that and I wouldn't be so quick to just start spending wildly. I would sign the right players that will make an impact on this team and have the right role players. Doing that will make this team competetive in 2010, especially if they make the right draft picks during the 2009 draft and their farm system continues to maek progress.

Padres-DBacks: Padres, DBacks Split Four Game Set

The last time we saw Jake Peavy, he was battling the flu and only lasted one inning in a 10-5 loss to Philadelphia on June 2nd. The Padres gave their ace an extra day to recover from not only that but to also give his ankle an extra day to heal.

It looked like the extra time did Peavy well as he struck out eight Arizona hitters through seven innings of work, giving up two earned runs in a 6-3 Padres' victory. With the win, Jake Peavy (6-6) tied Randy Jones for second place all time on the franchise's win list (92), just eight wins back of the all time leader Eric Show.

The problem for San Diego has been the lack of protection in front and behind first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. Teams have started to figure this out and have been pitching around Adrian, knowing that the guys around him aren't going to hurt them. But, on Monday night, Kevin Kouzmanoff made Arizona pay twice for walking Adrian in front of him. Kouz had a two-run single in the fourth and a two-run double in the seventh, accounting for four of the team's six runs.

After the team's 18-inning affair on Sunday afternoon, having to use shortstop Josh Wilson as a pitcher in the 18th inning, having run out of pitchers. With that in mind, the Padres recalled Edwin Moreno and Wade LeBlanc from Triple-A Portland, optioned left hander Joe Thatcher to Portland and activated right hander Mike Adams from the 60-day disabled list, well before anyone thought he'd be ready.

After Peavy's seven innings, reliever Greg Burke pitched a perfect eighth inning and Heath Bell came into the game in the ninth to close it out for his Major League leading 17th save in 18 chances.

Before the Padres can focus on the first of a two game set against the NL West leading Los Angeles Dodgers, the Padres and their front office will turn their focus to the Amateur Draft that gets underway at 2:45pm PST this afternoon.

According to reports, the Padres, having the third pick in this year's draft, have two players on their radar and both players have ties to the University of North Carolina. The first of those is Donavan Tate, a high school third baseman who has committed to playing football and baseball for the Tar Heels. The other is current Tar Heel first baseman Dustin Ackley, who the Seattle Mariners have a strong interest in with pick number two. If the Mariners pass on Ackley, look for San Diego to jump on him.

Then, at 7:10pm PST, the Padres will start their first of two against the Dodgers. Right hander Chris Young (4-4, 4.46) will take the mound for San Diego while the Dodgers will counter with their right hander Chad Billingsley (7-3, 2.59).

This is a great chance for the Padres to gain at least a little ground on the Dodgers, though there's only so much they can gain in two games, but every little bit helps. Manager Bud Black has not announced who will start for San Diego on Wednesday as Chad Gaudin was called upon on Sunday to pitch two innings of relief and may not be made available for the start tomorrow night. The Padres could go with Josh Geer or even left hander Wade LeBlanc who was just called up from Triple-A Portland prior to Monday night's game.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

San Diego Padres: Weaknesses, Inconsitencies Plague 2009 Squad

Not every team is perfect, not every team is completely flawed, most of the teams in Major League Baseball have a little bit of both in 2009. The San Diego Padres, however, seem to have more flaws than perfection this season.

As the season began, it looked the Padres were going to be one of the more surprising teams in baseball, especially after getting off to a 9-3 start through their first 12 games. Then, for whatever reason, the Padres forgot what made them so successfull and they ended up dropping 18 of their next 22 games, seemingly losing sight of the front running Los Angeles Dodgers and and nixing any chance of a comeback.

After a skid that dropped the home attendance, during one home game, to under 14,000 fans, the lowest in team history, there needed to be changes in the roster, a shakeup was needed and general manager Kevin Towers jumped into action.

Unfortunately, the action was too little too late. Yes, the team rattled off 10 straight wins and 11 of their next 12 games but since then, the team has gone back into hiding, dropping seven of the their last ten games including being swept by the Philadelphia Phillies and losing two of three to the Colorado Rockies.

What needs to be done, at this moment, is for the front office to turn their attention to the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft coming up this Tuesday, June 9th. They need to address the needs of this team going forward and draft the appropriate players that will help make this franchise successful again. Whether that's offensively, defensively, starting or relief pitching, whatever the need is, that's where the decisions need to be made.

There's nothing that they can do to help the team that's on the field now, short of calling up the likes of Kyle Blanks and bringing back Drew Macias to give protection to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. That's the biggest reason this team isn't winning consitantly, opposing pitchers are walking Gonzalez two and three times per game because they know the guys in front and behind him aren't going to do any damage.

I know you fans are going to get on me for this opinion, but you may as well deal with it now. Bringing up Kyle Blanks this season is not going to do this team or Blanks any good. Give him a full season with Triple-A Portland, give him time to get used to playing the outfield and then let him earn his spot during spring training in 2010. If you do it that way, he's more hungry to prove that he can perform at the big league level and is ready to be an every day contributor.

If you're wanting me to make changes to this team right now, I think making any changes to this team right now is a lost cause, but if you're putting me in Kevin Towers' seat and asking me to change this team, then here are my calls.

First, I'd put Brian Giles on the trade block and see if you get any bites. If you do, the team interested needs to take on all if not most of his $9 million salary remaining on his contract. If you can't trade him and he's not helping this team, either release him outright and eat the contract, or make him a reserve outfielder to guys like Will Venable and Drew Macias.

Second, it's time to trade Kevin Kouzmanoff. I'm sorry to those fans who like him but he is not helping this team batting .219. There has to be teams out there that are looking for a young third baseman with some power, though he may be better suited for a DH role in the American League.

Third, the Padres need to take a serious look at Chad Gaudin, Kevin Correia and Josh Geer. These three guys have been the three most inconsitant starters all year long. They have great starts and it will look like they've finally figured things out, but then they'll give up five or six runs in their next start, making you scratch your head about their previous start.

Actually, the Padres will be forced to do something with one, two or all three guys when Walter Silva, Mike Adams, Shawn Hill and Cha Seung Baek return to the pitching core sometime in late June.

Lastly, and this is a long term change for the San Diego Padres, they need to re-sign Adrian Gonzalez, David Eckstein and Tony Gwynn Jr because these three guys can be the core of the 2010 squad. Adrian is, arguably, the best pure hitter in baseball right now, Eckstein provides leadership and that spark every team needs and Gwynn has been a pleasant surprise since the Padres acquired him from the Milwaukee Brewers.

Oh, and one more thing, and I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but it's time to trade Jake Peavy. I know Jake is a competitor, but when he knows full well that he's sick and isn't going to be able to perform at even 90%, he's got no business taking the ball because he cost his team doing that. I don't care that he wants the ball every fifth day, in this instance, he made a horrible decision. Not only did he give up four runs and last just one inning, but he made his bullpen pitch the remaining eight innings and they're strained enough as it is.

The Padres should waive the white flag on the 2009 season, not to say that I won't still support them for the remaining games on their schedule, because I will, but they need to start focusing on the years ahead of them and the changes that will make this team successful. If they don't, these losing streaks are going to continue for a long time to come.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Padres-DBacks: Offensive Outburst Leads Padres Past Arizona

If Adrian Gonzalez was suffering from the after effects of the flu, which kept him out of the starting lineup on Tuesday night, he sure didn't show it as he crushed his 18th home run of the season in the very first inning to lead San Diego to an 8-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday.

Jake Peavy got the start and although he looked like his dominant self through five innings, his struggles showed themselves in the home half of the sixth as Arizona would score three runs and pull to within two of San Diego, 5-3.

Arizona would add one more in the home half of the seventh to get within one of San Diego, 5-4, but the Padres put the game away with a three run eighth. Heath Bell would come on with two outs in the ninth with a runner on third and would get Chris Young to fly out to end the game and lock down his 14th save of the season.

After winning two of three from Arizona, and 11 of their last 12 games, the Padres will have an off day on Thursday to get ready for a three game set in Denver against the Colorado Rockies who are coming off getting swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers. A series in which the Rockies gave up 31 runs in the three games, could be promising for a Padres' offense that has been putting up runs lately.

In game one on Friday night, San Diego will have Chris Young (4-2, 4.76) who's coming off a good performance against the Cubs this past Sunday in a 7-2 Padres' win.

In game two, Josh Geer (1-1, 4.91) will look to build off his strong start giving up just one run through six-and-two third innings in a 3-1 win over the Cubs.

In the third and final game of the three game set, the Padres will have Chad Gaudin (1-3, 5.40) on the mound. Gaudin is coming off perhaps his worst start, giving up seven runs through five-and-one third innings against Arizona, a game in which the Padres came from six runs down to win, 9-7.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Trade Rumors Surrounding Jake Peavy, Adrian Gonzalez

It's just a week removed from all the trade talks that surrounded Jake Peavy and already there's another team that seems to have been added to the mix. Well, not really, but the team was at least mentioned to Jake's agent Barry Axelrod.

In a coversation with MLB.com's Todd Zolecki, Axelrod said that Peavy could very well consider playing for the Philadelphia Phillies.

"I have not discussed Philly with Jake because nobody has asked us to discuss Philly. He has a strong preference to play in the National League. He also wants to play for a contender. Both of those two things play into Philly's hands. The personnel is awesome. If there is one downside, it's the geographical difference for him, given that he has made his family home in the San Diego area."

The question that needs to be answered in order for Philadelphia to even be considered is, do they have the prospects to appease San Diego where Kevin Towers would even listen to a proposed trade? If the answer to that question is 'yes' then is Peavy willing to move all the way across the country when he's already made San Diego his family's home?

Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman also had an article out talking about how trading Adrian Gonzalez could land San Diego more than what the Rangers got in return from the Braves when they traded Mark Teixeria.

Heyman asked Padres' GM Kevin Towers about the possibility of trading their star first baseman, to which Towers replied, "Not at this point in time."

Can you imagine if San Diego traded Jake Peavy and Adrian Gonzalez in the same season? How bad of a public relations move would that be, especially after deciding not to re-sign their closer of 16 seasons and future Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman after the 2008 season. You lose one face of the franchise, then you trade Peavy who was supposed to be the next face of this franchise and then Gonzalez right after that?

I've heard of rebuilding, but this is nothing but a fire sale if these scenarious actually become reality.

Padres-DBacks: Rally Falls Just Short, Padres Lose 6-5

Baseball has always been a game of inches and never was that more true than on Tuesday night in Phoenix.

Down 6-5 in the ninth inning with two outs, Kevin Kouzmanoff drove a ball to deep right center field that looked like it was going to get out of the ballpark, but outfielder Chris Young pulled it down against the wall, preserving a 6-5 Arizona victory over the Padres, ending San Diego's 10-game win streak.

San Diego put themselves in a 6-0 hole through seven innings as starter Kevin Correia had an outing he'd rather forget. Correia gave up six runs on nine hits, striking out five and walking one through just five and a third innings, one of his worst starts of the season.

Just when it looked like Arizona might have an easy time with the Padres, San Diego bats came alive in the eighth inning.

Short stop Chris Burke led off the inning with a solo home run to left, his first of the season and the San Diego would eventually load the bases. Kevin Kouzmanoff would be hit by a pitch, forcing in the Padres' second run of the game, followed by an RBI single from Chase Headley then a wild pitch would score Scott Hairston to pull San Diego to within two, 6-4.

In the ninth, things would get even more interesting as the Padres would once again load the bases. Scott Hairston would come to the plate with noone out, but would ground into a 5-4-3 double play, scoring Tony Gwynn Jr, pulling the Padres to within one, 6-5.

Kevin Kouzmanoff then came to the plate and drove a fastball from Arizona reliever Juan Gutierrez and it had some Arizona fans going through deja vu, because one night earlier Chase Headley had driven a home run to the same spot that ended up being the difference in the game. This time, outfielder Chris Young ran it down on the warning track, making the catch before slamming into the wall, ending the game and bringing the Padre rally just short of another amazing come from behind victory.

Arizona starter Max Scherzer threw seven shutout innings, striking out 10 and helping himself offensively as Scherzer drove in two of Arizona's six runs including an RBI double in the fifth that got them on the board. Scherzer would give up two runs in the eighth without recording an out and then would be pulled in favor of reliever Doug Slaten.

Adrian Gonzalez was a late scratch for the Padres, suffering from flu like symptoms but would make a pinch hit appearance in the eighth inning and he also narrowly missed a home run. “I just missed it,” Gonzalez told the Associated Press. “It was a good pitch to hit. It’s a game of inches. One inch more on top of the ball and it’s a home run.”

The two teams will finish out their three game set tonight from Phoenix, AZ. and the Padres have the right man on the mound for a series win. San Diego ace Jake Peavy (4-5, 3.48) will take the ball for the Padres opposite Arizona right hander Billy Bucker (1-0, 6.35), no not THAT Bill Bucker, who will make just his second start of the season.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

White Sox Owner Says They Are Done Chasing Peavy

With all the trade talks that swirled around the San Diego Padres, Jake Peavy and the Chicago White Sox, it looks like that trade talk can now come to an official end.

According to Scott Merkin of MLB.com, White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf says they are done chasing Jake Peavy. "Oh, I think we've moved on," Reinsdorf told ESPN 1000's Chuck Swirsky. "I think we were ready to do it last week, but we have to move on. We just can't keep everybody in limbo."

Reinsdorf continued, "Pitchers are hard to find, quality pitchers are always hard to find. But you never want to underestimate [GM]Kenny [Williams]. He's always thinking. Maybe it was a good wakeup call for Clayton Richard. He came out and pitched a heckuva game the other night. So maybe we don't need Jake Peavy."

The White Sox owner also said that he knew it would be a 50-50 proposition on Peavy actually waiving his no trade clause and he understands that a player has a no-trade clause in the first place.

Whether or not these rumors continue is still yet to be seen but it isn't the last time we'll see Jake Peavy's name come up in trade rumors. There are teams like the Rangers, Angels and Dodgers that could very well get into the mix and don't count out the Cubs from jumping back into the thick of things especially once the sale of the team is complete.

The thing that confuses me is the timing of the proposed deal with Chicago. The Padres were in the midst of their longest winning streak of the season and it was 24 hours prior to Peavy's start against the Cubs. You can't tell me that the Padres could have held that deal off for another few weeks, what was the urgency of dealing him at that specific point?

The Padres definitely didn't make any good public relations moves that day, although they tried to offset the anger of a lot of fans by bringing in Tony Gwynn Jr that afternoon. I'm not sure how much good that really did, but we'll see.

San Diego Padres: Week in Review

Coming off a sweep of the Cincinnati Reds, the Padres used the off day on Monday to get ready for a three game set against NL West foe the San Francisco Giants.

May 19th: Both teams got great pitching efforts from their starters. Giants' starter Barry Zito went the distance, giving up just two runs on five hits, walking four and striking out three while Padres' starter Chris Young was that much better. Young would give up just one run on five hits, walking three and striking out six through his six innings of work.

Solo home runs from Scott Hairston and Nick Hundley were the difference for San Diego as the Padres won their fourth straight game, 2-1.

May 20th: After a pitching duel on Tuesday night, starters Chad Gaudin (San Diego) and Jonathan Sanchez (San Francisco) would take aim and try to get their team the win.

The Giants took a 1-0 lead in the second on an Emmanual Burriss RBI single but the Padres got that run back in the home half of the second on an RBI double from Chris Burke to tie the game, 1-1.

The knockout punch came in the fourth inning when Kevin Kouzmanoff sent a Barry Zito pitch deep into the San Diego night and into the left field stands to give San Diego a 2-1 lead. The Padres' bullpen held that lead, throwing three scoreless innings to close out the game, capped off by Heath Bell's 11th save in as many chances. Padres win their fifth straight game, 2-1.

May 21st: A day filled with drama for the Padres. The day started with the possible trade of Jake Peavy to the White Sox, continued with the addition of Tony Gwynn Jr and would cap off with the Padres' sixth straight win, but the game wasn't without drama of its own.

With the Padres down 2-1 in the ninth and the bases loaded, Giants' reliever Brian Wilson hit second baseman David Eckstein with a pitch, scoring Kevin Kouzmanoff and tying the game, 2-2. The very next batter, Scott Hairston, would line a pitch into left, scoring Gwynn Jr and sending the Padres and their fans home happy with the team's sixth consecutive victory.

May 22nd: Less than 24 hours removed from almost being traded, Jake Peavy had to have a lot on his mind, maybe he had something to prove.

If he had frustrations, it was the Cubs that Peavy took them out on as he would shut them out through six innings, striking out 10 batters while walking four. Jake also got offensive support, capped off by Adrian Gonzalez' 16th home run of the year as the Padres won their seventh straight game, 4-0.

May 23rd: After winning seven straight, the Padres wanted that ride to continue and they would need a good start from starter Josh Geer. A good start is exactly what they got as Geer would give up just one run on a solo home run by Cubs' first baseman Derek Lee in the second inning.

The Padres' offense took care of the rest thanks to a two run double by right fielder Brian Giles in the fourth and an RBI single by Chris Burke in the seventh. They also got a huge defensive play by Adrian Gonzalez in the ninth to get Edward Mujica out of a two on nobody out jam as the Padres won their eighth straight, 3-1.

May 24th: Starters Ted Lilly and Chris Young matched each other for four innings but that was as long as the Padres' offense was prepared to wait.

Surprisingly, it was Chris Young himself that got things started, smacking a first pitch fastball to left for a two run single to put San Diego ahead, 2-0.

San Diego would get two more runs to go ahead 4-0, but the Cubs would get two back on Reed Johnson's two run home run in the seventh to pull within striking distance. But San Diego's Kevin Kouzmanoff delivered the knockout blow as he hammered a three run shot to left to put the Padres ahead for good, giving them their ninth straight win, 7-2.

Week Recap: San Diego finishes off their week a perfect 6-0 and capped off a 9-0 homestand with a sweep of the Chicago Cubs. Their pitching was flawless, their bullpen was even better and their offense was putting up runs. Don't look now, but here come the San Diego Padres.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Padres-DBacks: Padres Use Huge Comeback to Win Tenth Straight

This can't be the same San Diego Padres team that lost 18 of 22 games through the first few weeks of May, it just can't be.

Well, you can keep teling yourself that but the San Diego Padres came from six runs behind to defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-7, capped by a big two run home run from left fielder Chase Headley in the top half of the tenth inning off Arizona reliever Tony Pena.

Through six innings, it looked like the win streak was going to come through an end with the Padres down 7-1, their lone run coming in the fourth inning on Adrian Gonzalez' 17th home run of the season.

Padres' starter Chad Gaudin had one of his worst starts of the season, giving up seven runs on five hits and striking out six but he walked five batters as well as hitting a batter. The Padres needed a much better start out of him if the win streak was going to continue. Luckily for Gaudin and San Diego, the Padres' offense came alive.

In the top half of the eighth, the Padres loaded the bases with just one out and would then get back-to-back RBI singles from Kevin Kouzmanoff and Henry Blanco, pulling the Padres to within four runs, 7-3, but they weren't done. After Chase Headley popped out for the second out of the inning, right fielder Drew Macias came up with a big two out bases clearing double to pull the Padres to within one, 7-6.

In the top half of the ninth, Brian Giles would get a lead off pinch hit double and would later score on an RBI single from Scott Hairston and just like that, the Padres had come from six runs back to tie the game at 7-7.

In the tenth, with Tony Pena on the hill for Arizona, catcher Henry Blanco would lead off the inning with a single to center which brought up Chase Headley. Headley would crush a 1-1 pitch to right center for the game winning two run shot, capping an unthinkable come from behind victory.

Headley wouldn't be the only hero on this night, the Padres' bullpen deserves a ton of credit. After being dominant at home during the team's 9-0 homestand, they continued their dominance against Arizona, pitching four and a two third scoreless innings, giving up just two hits. Heath Bell came in to close out the win for the Padres and get his 13th save in as many chances with a perfect 10th inning, lowering his ERA to 0.47.

Can the Padres keep this streak alive, could this team really catch the Dodgers from behind after people had written them off just a few short weeks ago? They will give it a shot as they'll play the second game of a three game set against Arizona on Tuesday night. The Padres will have Kevin Correia (1-2, 4.53) on the hill while Arizona will counter with right hander Max Scherzer (1-3, 3.50)

The Swinging Friar Has Moved

To all of you who have followed The Swinging Friar all through the baseball season so far, a big thank you goes out to all of you.

Although I will keep this updated as much as possible, I've moved the site to a new location which you can find here. You'll find everything there that you read here complete with post game recaps, analysis on the upcoming MLB Amateur Draft on June 9th, breakdowns on any trades the team may make as well as any hot rumors that may come our way.

If you see a Padres rumor before I do, please feel free to email me with the link and we'll get it up on the site as soon as possible. Thanks again for the support and please continue to check back to both sites for everything San Diego Padres.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Padres Willing to Trade Kevin Kouzmanoff?

Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a bit three run home run on Sunday afternoon to put away a 7-2 Padres' victory over the Chicago Cubs, giving them their ninth straight win.

Even with the home run, Kouz is only hitting .236 and it's well known that Chase Headley is the better defensive third baseman and moving Kouz would give the Padres their chance to move Headley to his natural position. Not only that, but it would allow them to give Tony Gwynn Jr and Drew Macias more playing time in the outfield.

The question is, who would be interested in a third baseman hitting .236? Well, according to Gordon Whittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Cubs could be that team. With Aramis Ramirez still on the sidelines, the Cubs have gone with a platoon of Mike Fontenot, Bobby Scales and Ryan Freel but neither of those three guys have been the answer. Apparently, according to Whittenmyer, the Padres have shown a willingness to move Kouzmanoff but the question becomes what do the Padres want in return?

If I'm San Diego, and I know this was a name that was thrown about in the Peavy to Cubs rumor last December, but I'd talk to the Cubs about 6'7" left hander Sean Marshall (2-3, 3.96). I don't know if the Cubs are willing to trade Marshall, but he would be a great fit in the Padres' rotation.

The only problem I'd see with the Cubs making this move is having Aramis Ramirez making progress on his rehab. What do they do with Kouzmanoff once Ramirez is ready to come back, do they trade Kouzmanoff to another team? You could look at one thing that could be enticing to Kouzmanoff about playing in Chicago, his dad Marc played for the Bears as a linebacker during the preseason in 1974.

''I haven't heard my name being thrown out there,'' Kouz told the Chicago Sun-Times. ''I'm here with the Padres, and I'm here to play for the Padres and win here. If I happen to go somewhere else, then I go somewhere else and I play just as hard for them.''

Padres-Cubs: Padres Win Ninth Straight Behind Young's Arm, Bat

Chris Young is known for being a strong right handed arm and a stopper when the team is on a losing streak and they need a big start, he's not known for being a hitter.

Apparently, someone forgot to tell Young that because the big 6'10" pitcher hit a two run single, his second hit off Cubs' starter Ted Lilly, in the fifth inning to lead the Padres to a 7-2 win, a series sweep of the Cubs and the team's ninth straight win. Something this team hasn't done since May of 2006 when the Padres swept a four game series against the same Chicago Cubs.

After Lilly and Young matched each other inning for inning, it looked like this game was going to be a pitcher's dual. But in the fifth, the Padres would finally break through. With two on and one out, the Cubs' decided to intentionally walk short stop Josh Wilson in favor of facing pitcher Chris Young who had already singled once off Lilly. Young made him pay as he ripped a first pitch fastball into left field, scoring Drew Macias and Chase Headley to put San Diego ahead, 2-0.

The Cubs would cut the lead to 4-2 in the top half of the seventh thanks to a Reed Johnson two run home run that barely cleared the left field wall, but that was as close as they would get.

In the home half of the seventh, Lilly would give up a lead double to pinch hitter Edgar Gonzalez and, after a sacrifice bunt from David Eckstein, Lilly would be pulled in favor of Aaron Heilman.

Heilman would strike out outfielder Scott Hairston and would then intentionally walk first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, deciding to instead face third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff who had an RBI double earlier in the game. Kouzmanoff would make them pay for that decision, hammering a 2-1 slider three rows deep in left field for a three run home run, his fourth of the season, giving Kouzmanoff four RBI on the day.

Padres' starter Chris Young would finish his day giving up two runs on four hits, striking out four and not walking a single batter in seven full innings. The Padres bullpen again was flawless with Luke Gregerson and Greg Burke pitching scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth innings respectively, closing out the Padres' ninth straight victory.

San Diego will try and continue their winning ways as they head out on the road for a three game set in Phoenix against the Diamondbacks and then another three game set in Denver against the Colorado Rockies.

The Padres will have Chad Gaudin (1-3, 4.18) in game one against Arizona on Monday, Kevin Correia (1-2, 4.53) in game two and Jake Peavy (4-5, 3.48) will close out the three game set in Phoenix on Wednesday before the team has an off day on Thursday before heading to Denver.

Padres-Cubs: Geer Stifles Cubs, Padres Win Eighth Straight

If I had told you a few weeks ago that the Padres would win eight straight after going through a 4-18 slump, there's not a single person that would have believed me. But that's exactly what they've done.

Josh Geer pitched a strong six and two third innings on Saturday night, giving up just one run and striking out a career high seven batters, as the Padres won their eighth straight in a 3-1 win over the Cubs.

When Chicago jumped out early on a solo home run from first baseman Derek Lee to lead off the second inning, it looked like the Cubs were going to show their strength, but Geer would settle down and shut down the Cubs through the next five and a third innings.

If you want an amazing stat through this eight game win streak, and this should absolutely show why strong pitching beats a strong offense. The San Diego Padres, as a team, are hitting .198, their starters have a collective 2.22 ERA and their bullpen you ask, well they're just shutting everyone down to the tune of a 0.34 ERA (tip of the cap to Corey Brock of MLB.com for those stats).

Even though the Padres, as a team, aren't hitting above the Mendoza line during this streak, they're getting the timely hits when they need them. That's exactly what happened on Saturday night against the Cubs.

In the fourth, with two on and two out, Brian Giles hit a shot just inside the left field line, scoring Edgar Gonzalez and Scott Hairston to put San Diego ahead, 2-1.

The score would stay that way until the seventh inning when Chris Burke would add an insurance run with an RBI single to center, scoring Nick Hundley and giving San Diego a 3-1 lead.

Things would get dicey in the top half of the ninth. With Heath Bell unavailable, Padres' manager Bud Black turned to Edward Mujica to close out the game and get his first save of the season. Right off the bat, he would give up back-to-back singles to former Padre Milton Bradley and first baseman Derek Lee.

With runners on the corners and noone out, it looked like the Cubs could be set for a ninth inning rally but Mujica got outfielder Micah Hoffpauir to hit a grounder right at Adrian Gonzalez who looked Bradley back to third and throw out Lee at second base for the all important double play. Mujica would then get Giovany Soto to strike out to end the game and push San Diego's win streak to eight games.

It was the Padres' bullpen that again came up strong after Geer's big outing. Greg Burke, Luke Gregerson and Edward Mujica combined for two and a third scoreless innings giving up just two hits and striking out three to close out the game. They've been a huge factor for this team and have been nothing short of dominant since the shakeup almost a few weeks ago.

The Padres will go for their ninth straight win, something they haven't done since 2006 as they finish out their three game set against the Cubs on Sunday afternoon. The Padres ran up nine straight from April 30th - May 8th, 2006, their ninth straight win coming as part of a four game sweep of, and this may just be a little irony, the Chicago Cubs. The Padres have the right guy on the hill to continue the streak, 6'10" right hander Chris Young (3-2, 5.07), the Cubs will have left hander Ted Lilly (5-3, 3.35) who beat the Padres at Wrigley Field on May 13th.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Padres-Cubs: Padres Win Seventh Straight Behind Peavy's Dominance

Jake Peavy came out with something to prove, to show why the Padres should keep him, why they can win with him at the helm as a leader.

If General Manager Kevin Towers' eyes weren't open before, they were after the dominant peformance by the Padres' ace against the Cubs on Friday night. Peavy gave up just two hits and struck out 10 through six innings of work and got strong pitching from the bullpen as the Padres won their seventh straight, shutting out the Cubs, 4-0.

Ever since Towers shook up the team and their bullpen, the Padres have been untouchable. With sweeps of the Cincinnati Reds, San Francisco Giants and now a shutout victory over the strong Chicago Cubs' offense, this team looks like the team that came out of the gates with a 9-3 start.

They're getting strong pitching from Jake, Chris Young, Kevin Correia and they're getting shutdown pitching from Luke Gregerson, Greg Burke, Edward Mujica and most of all, Heath Bell who closed out the game for his 12th save in as many chances, lowering his ERA 0.49 as he would get the final out in the ninth.

But, let's not just talk about the Padres' pitching, they've also been getting it done offensively. Tony Gwynn Jr, making his first start for the Padres, picked up a double and scored twice. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez picked up his Major League leading 16th home run with a towering shot to left in the seventh inning off Cubs' reliever Neil Cotts.

There was a scary moment in the very first inning. After Gwynn doubled to lead off the game, second baseman David Eckstein squared around to bunt and was hit square in the chest by a Carlos Zambrano fastball. Eckstein remained on the ground for a few minutes before getting up under his own power and, like only Eck can do, stayed in the game as he walked down to first base. He would later be taken out of the game to be checked on by team trainers.

I will say one thing about that moment, if you watch the video of it, had the pitch been another few inches higher and it would have caught Eckstein right in the face. You can't say that the Zambrano was purposely throwing at Eck, but the pitch was way too far inside.

The Padres and Cubs will play the second of their three game set on Saturday night from Petco Park. The Padres will have Josh Geer (0-1, 5.61) on the hill while the Cubs will counter with Randy Wells (0-0, 0.00) who will make just his third start this season, getting only no decisions in his previous two outings.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Padres-Giants: Drama Starts, Ends Day in Padres' 3-2 Win

What a wirlwind day it had been for the San Diego Padres as a whole. The day started with a story reported by the San Diego Union Tribune that the Padres were close to a deal that would send ace Jake Peavy to the Chicago White Sox.

By high noon in San Diego, the deal had been agreed upon and the players coming back to San Diego had been decided, all that was left was Peavy's decision on whether or not he was going to waive his no-trade clause and become a member of the White Sox.

Then, just a few hours prior to the Padres' game against the San Francisco Giants, Peavy decided that he wasn't ready to move on and decided to veto the trade. Although Jake declined to make a comment regarding everything that happened on Thursday, he did tell reporters who gathered around the dugout prior to the Padres' game, “San Diego is best for us right now; I don't want to be a distraction to my teammates.” He will apparently go into more detail after his start on Friday night against the Cubs, that should be a very interesting press conference.

So, after all that was said and done and after the Padres' trade Jody Gerut to Milwaukee to bring back a famous son, Tony Gwynn Jr, the Padres saddled up to take on the San Francisco Giants for the third of a three game set, the Padres taking the previous two.

Kevin Correia picked a great time for his best start of the season, because it came against his former team who banished him to the bullpen in 2008. Correia gave up just one run on six hits, striking out three and, for the first time all season, didn't walk a single batter in his six and one third innings pitched, dropping his ERA from 5.06 to 4.53.

San Diego jumped on top of the Giants, against ace Tim Lincecum who struck out 10 in seven innings of work, 1-0 on an RBI single from second baseman David Eckstein in the fourth. But before that, Eck auditioned for an acting job in the top half of the fourth.

Giants' second baseman Eugenio Valez popped a ball high in the air, Eckstein backed up just shy of the outfield grass and put his glove up like he was going to make the catch. What Giants' outfielder Aaron Rowand, who had singled to lead off the inning, as well as other Padre teammates didn't know was, Eck had lost the ball in the twilight. The ball dropped in front of him, but because Rowand had gone back to first, short stop Chris Burke was able to grab the ball and tag Rowand for the first out of the inning.

That Padres 1-0 lead would hold until the sixth inning when Aaron Rowand, fooled two innings earlier, wasn't fooled on a 2-0 fastball from Correia launching it to left to tie the game 1-1, Rowand's fourth of the season.

The game would remain tied until the top half of the ninth when Heath Bell would give up his first run all season, a streak of 16 2/3 innings, an RBI single from Randy Winn putting the Giants on top, 2-1.

The Giants would bring in closer Brian Wilson to try and close out the game and keep the Padres from finishing their three game sweep.

Kevin Kouzmanoff led off the inning with an infield single and then would be sacraficed to second on a bunt by catcher Nick Hundley. That brought up the newest Padre, Tony Gwynn Jr. You have to believe that there were nerves going through him that he had never felt before, nerves of wearing the uniform of the team he had grown up around and a uniform his father had worn for so long. If he had those nerves, you couldn't tell as the younger Gwynn worked a five pitch walk.

After Wilson struck out Edgar Gonzalez, Brian Giles would then work a walk to load the bases which brought up David Eckstein who had put the Padres ahead earlier in the game. On the first pitch, the unthinkable happened as Brian Wilson hit Eckstein in the upper arm with a fastball, forcing in Kevin Kouzmanoff and tying the game, 2-2.

Scott Hairston would step to the plate and after taking a first pitch strike, jumped all over a 0-1 slider and lined it into left field, scoring Gwynn and sending the Padres home with a 3-2 win, the Padres' sixth straight win. How appropriate that the winning run, in his first game ever in a Padres uniform, was Tony Gwynn Jr.

After all the drama that started the day, it was only right that the Padres ended the day with drama, but this was the good kind. The Padres get their sixth straight win and their second straight series sweep including their second sweep of the Giants this season.

The Padres will welcome in the Chicago Cubs for the first of a three game set on Friday night from Petco Park. The pitcher that had all the drama surrounding him on Thursday will make the start on Friday as Jake Peavy (3-5, 3.82)will take the ball for San Diego. This should be a fun game to watch as Peavy will take on Cubs' ace Carlos Zambrano (3-1, 4.50).

Thursday, May 21, 2009

No Surprise, Peavy Rejects Trade to Chicago

After all the talk throughout the day, Padres' ace Jake Peavy has decided not to waive his no-trade clause and will remain with the San Diego Padres, according to those close to the Peavy camp.

Early Thursday morning, news broke that the Padres were in talks with the Chicago White Sox about sending Peavy to Chicago for four pitching prospects, two of them were among the top prospects in the White Sox farm system. Rumors flew, the airwaves in San Diego and Chicago blew up about the possible trade and what Peavy might say. Would he waive his no-trade clause and go to Chicago or would he veto the trade and stay put in San Diego?

As the late morning turned into late afternoon, there were quotes that came out from Peavy's agent Barry Axelrod, stating Peavy would much rather be moved to another National League team and would prefer not to pitch in the American League.

Peavy might have thought hard about going to Chicago because he called former teammate Scott Linebrink, a current reliever for the White Sox, and asked about the team and playing in Chicago.

"I did have a chance to talk to him yesterday," Linebrink told the Chicago Sun-Times. "He just had some questions about the team over here, and I was encouraged by Kenny to go ahead and talk to him and answer any questions he had. Of course I answered all his questions, but when it comes down to it, it's his decision."

So after talking it over with Linebrink and, I'm sure, multiple discussions with his family, Jake decided it wasn't time to move on with his career and informed the Padres' front office that he would not waive his no-trade clause to be traded to the Chicago White Sox.

Instead, Jake will make the start for the San Diego Padres on Friday night against another team he was almost traded to, the Chicago Cubs. After a dominant complete game outing against the Cincinnati Reds this past Monday, he'll look to keep the Padres on the winning side of things after the team won their sixth straight on Thursday night.

The Padres, though they weren't able to move Peavy, did make a trade prior to their game on Thursday night against the Giants. They brought the Tony Gwynn Jr back to San Diego, trading Jody Gerut to Milwaukee for the son of arguably the most famous Padre of all time, that of course being THE Tony Gwynn. Gwynn was expected to be in uniform against the Giants but there was no indication whether he was going to get the start or come off the bench.

For now, the trade winds have halted but in the back of Peavy's mind, the winds will start blowing again. It's just a matter of time.

Breaking News: Gwynn to Join Padres

No, Tony Gwynn isn't trying a Michael Jordan like comeback, but the San Diego Padres liked his son enough to bring him home to his native San Diego.

The Padres traded outfielder Jody Gerut to the Milwaukee Brewers for Tony Gwynn Jr. Gwynn is expected to be in uniform tonight for San Diego and don the number 18, just one short of his father's number 19.

Gwynn comes to San Diego after spending the first 38 games of the season with the Nashville Sound, the Triple-A affiliate for the Milwaukee Brewers. He hit .309 with one home run, nine RBI and 15 stolen bases for the Sound.

With this trade, it could lead to a deal that would include Brian Giles, especially knowing how bad Giles has struggled thus far.

Betancourt Topic of Discussion Between Padres, Mariners

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports that the Padres and Mariners have apparently talked about Mariners' short stop Yuniesky Betancourt.

Baker says that the Mariners could receive a package of, one of, Chase Headley and prospect Matt Antonelli.

I'm not sure that this rumor has any legitimacy to it especially because the Padres would more likely trade Kevin Kouzmanoff to move Headley to third than trade Headley away. Matt Antonelli would be more likely to be a trade candidate, but since he hasn't played a single game this season, I'm curious as to why the Mariners would even be interested.

Could Jake Peavy be Headed to the White Sox?

12:05pm CST

According to ESPN News Services, Barry Axelrod the agent for Jake Peavy, doubts that Peavy is going to sign off on the proposed trade between the Padres and White Sox.

Axelrod apparently talked to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick and told him that Peavy has a "strong preference" to stay in the National League.

Sounds like this deal is slowly dying. Stay tuned....

11:10am CST

Yahoo Sports' Gordon Edes has an update on this story. The White Sox are set to send four pitching prospects to San Diego, two of which are their top pitching prospects. Here are the names coming back. However, Jake Peavy has still not ok'd the trade, so this is just a rumor until he does.

Aaron Poreda *
Clayton Richard *
Tyler Flowers
Jordan Danks

* - top White Sox pitching prospects

10:23am CST

Padres' beat writer Corey Brock has an update on a few players possibly coming back from Chicago.

10:10am CST

Jon Heyman of SI.com says the two sides have agreed to a deal but they are awaiting approval from Jake Peavy himself.

Stay tuned....

8:47am CST
According to Corey Brock of MLB.com, there apparently is a potential deal being discussed between the San Diego Padres and, no not the Chicago Cubs, but the Chicago White Sox.

There's no indication what players would be coming back from the White Sox, but there are a few stumbling blocks that could bring this deal to a screatching halt. First, Peavy has a no-trade clause in his contact which means he gets to decide where he goes and second, Peavy has made it clear that he wants to stay in San Diego or at the least in the National League.

Keep an eye on this story, because if this deal is in the works it comes at a very interesting time especially with San Diego in the middle of a five game win streak.

Padres-Giants: Defense Highlights Padres' Fifth Straight Win

Leave it to Heath Bell to provide the highlight play of the night. The one guy you don't really expect to make noteworthy defensive plays, did just that last night as he closed out his eleventh save in as many chances, suring up the Padres' 2-1 win over the Giants. It was San Diego's fifth straight win.

In the top half of of the ninth, with one out, Giants' second baseman Emmanuel Burriss hit a chopper high in the air off of home plate. Bell waited underneath it, grabbed it barehanded out of the air and fired a strike to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez for the second out of the inning.

Bell told MLB.com, that he knew he'd only have one play on the ball and it would have to be a good throw to get Burriss. "I thought to myself, I have to catch it and throw it [at once]. I did not want to throw it down the line. Eck said he jumped 20 feet in the air. I might watch the replay, not for the throw but for Eck jumping."

Speaking of Padres' second baseman David Eckstein, he might have saved the game an inning earlier. With newly called up Greg Burke on the mound in the seventh and Aaron Rowand on second base with two outs, Pablo Sandoval grounded just to the right of second base. Eckstein made a diving stop and was able to throw Sandoval out to end the inning, keeping Rowand from scoring the tying run.

Give credit to the Padre pitchers last night, because despite four hits for San Diego one of which was the go ahead home run from Kevin Kouzmanoff in the fourth inning, the Giants were kept off the board after their lone run in the second inning.

Chad Gaudin had one of his best performances of the season, giving up just one run on five hits, walking four and striking out three through his six innings of work, picking up his first win of the season. After Gaudin departed, relievers Greg Burke, Luke Gregerson and Heath Bell combined for three shutout innings, giving up just one hit.

Though this team has been playing a lot better since the team shakeup at the beginning of this win streak, there is still more to do and more to address. The one player that could be on the chopping block, and hasn't helped himself that much over the last few days, is right fielder Brian Giles. After getting at least one hit in six straight games from May 10 - May 16, Giles has gone 0-for-6 in his last two games. If this continues, it wouldn't surprise me if the Padres start both Hairston and Gerut in the lineup and start playing Giles in a reserve role.

The Padres and Giants will close out their three game set tonight from Petco Park. Former Giant Kevin Correia (1-2, 5.06) will pitch against his former team who will have their ace, Tim Lincecum (3-1, 3.75) on the hill.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Padres-Giants: Hundley, Hairston Homer in Padres' win

The Padres have a winning streak, yes you heard me right. The San Diego Padres won their fourth straight as they took down Barry Zito and the San Francisco Giants 2-1 on Tuesday night.

San Diego got solo home runs from Scott Hairston, his fifth, and Nick Hundley, his third and got a good pitching effort from Chis Young who gave up just one run though six innings, striking out six and walking three. Heath Bell closed out the game with a perfect ninth inning for his 10th save in 10 chances.

Coming into the game, the Padres were coming off a sweep of the Cincinnati Reds and were looking to keep that win streak alive. Scott Hairston got things off to a good start as he drove a Barry Zito fastball into the second deck in left center field at Petco Park to give the Padres a 1-0 lead.

Hundley would add on in the very next inning, hitting a two out home run to center to give the Padres a 2-0 cushion.

Young did his job, keeping the Giants off the scoreboard until the top half of the sixth inning when the Giants did get their first and only run of the game when Emmanuel Burriss grounded into a fielder's choice, scoring Fred Lewis.

The Giants weren't putting up runs thanks to a lack of opportunities, because they had they're chances to score.

In the first, Eugenio Valez singled to lead off the first and would steal second but Kevin Frandsen and Pablo Sandoval flied out and Benjie Molina popped out to second to end the inning.

In the second, Randy Winn doubled to lead off the inning, one of his three hits on the day, but Chris Young got Fred Lewis and Rich Aurilia to strike out swinging and finished the inning on a groundout from Emmanual Burriss.

With one out in the third, Eugenio Velez would single and move to second after Kevin Frandsen would be hit by a pitch but Paul Sandoval and Benjie Molina both flew out to end yet another threat.

The Giants had their chances again in the fourth. Randy Winn led off with a single, he would steal second and advance to third on a line out to deep right from Fred Lewis. Chris Young got Rich Aurilia swinging for the second time in the game and would then walk Emmanuel Burriss to face pitcher Barry Zito who Young struck out looking.

So, for four straight innings, the Giants had a runner on second with one out or less and could not push across a single run against the Padres' right hander.

With the win, and a much needed win, Young moves to 3-2 on the year and drops his ERA from 5.56 to 5.07.

The two teams will be back at it again tonight from Petco Park. San Diego will have right hander Chad Gaudin (0-4, 4.91) on the hill against Giants' left hander Jonathan Sanchez (1-3, 5.06).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

San Diego Padres: Giving the Broom after Getting the Broom

I know I've been gone for the last few days, but apparently I need to be gone more often. The Padres go from getting the brooms handed to them by Houston and Chicago for three games a piece, to handing Cincinnati a three game sweep which included a walk off home run in the 16th inning from catcher Nick Hundley on Saturday night a complete game gem from Jake Peavy on Sunday afternoon.

A few things to take away from their series against the Chicago Cubs and the Cincinnati Reds was first baseman Adrian Gonzalez homering in five straight games, that streak coming to an end on Sunday afternoon. He homered four times against the Cubs and hit his fifth straight on Friday night in San Diego against the Reds.

Also, the first complete game for the San Diego Padres pitched by ace Jake Peavy on Sunday afternoon in a 3-1 win over the Reds.

The Padres (16-22) still have a lot of work to do and a they face a tough road ahead. They will remain at home as they open a three game series against the NL West rival San Francisco Giants and then they welcome in the Chicago Cubs for three games, a team that just swept the San Diego Padres in Chicago last week.

You'll see Chris Young (2-2, 5.56), Chad Gaudin (0-3, 4.91), who's still in search of his first win as a Padre, and Kevin Correia (1-2, 5.06) on the hill for the Padres in their three game set against the Giants.

One thing I will say about Gaudin and Correia is, they are better than their numbers suggest, although Gaudin didn't help my point when he walked seven batters in their finale against the Cubs last Thursday. A loss that prompted a closed door meeting between Bud Black and his players.

Correia has given up his share of runs, but if you look back at his starts, the one thing you can say is he has been consistent. Regardless of how many times he's given up at least three runs, he's at least kept the Padres in games instead of putting them too far behind.

Chris Young is the one guy that Padres fans have to be the most concerned with. In three of his eight starts in 2009, Young has failed to pitch past the fourth inning and in those games, he's given up six runs or more. The Padres need him to be the strong #2 man that he's been in the past, if his struggles continue, look for the Padres to pull him from the rotation and possibly put him on the disabled list until they figure out what his issues are.

Unfortunately for San Diego, they can't afford to do that to Young at this point, especially with Cha Seung Baek and Walter Silva still on the disabled list until later this week or possibly into next week. Baek could be out longer until they figure out the tightness he had in his elbow he felt during his first rehab start. His MRI came up negative for any internal damage, but don't expect him back in the rotation before late June.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Padres-Cubs: Lightning Strikes, Literally, in Padre Loss

They say lightning never strikes the same place twice. Well, for the San Diego Padres, they experienced the literal and figurative side of that statement last night as the Padres fell to the Cubs, 6-4.

The Padres jumped on top of the Cubs in very first inning and experienced a little deja vu. On Tuesday night, Adrian Gonzalez launched a two run home run against Cubs' starter Rich Harden, giving the Padres an early 2-0 lead. A lead that didn't hold up as the Cubs came back for a 6-2 win. One night later, and again in the first inning, Adrian hit his second home run of the series and again it was a two run shot to give San Diego a 2-0 lead.

That lead would vanish quicker than Alex Rodriguez in the playoffs. Padres' starter Chris Young served up back-to-back home runs to Alfonso Soriano and Ryan Theriot on just three pitches, tying the game, 2-2. The lead would officially vanish when Giovany Soto singled to left, scoring former Padre Milton Bradley who had been walked earlier in the inning.

Soto would add a two run shot against Young in the third and then Theriot added his second of the game in the fourth inning to put the Cubs ahead, 6-2.

Young would throw 102 pitches in just four innings, giving up six runs on six hits, walking three and striking out three but gave up a career high four home runs.

In the sixth, it looked like the Padres were starting to gain a little life in their bats, starting with Adrian Gonzalez who hit his second home run of the game, his third of the series, to pull the Padres to within a 6-3 score.

In the eighth, Nick Hundley would draw a two out walk and would move to second on a wild pitch followed by a Brian Giles walk which brought up pinch hitter Jody Gerut. Gerut lined a single to left, scoring Nick Hundley but Giles tried to be greedy and take third but was tagged out to end the inning and a possible Padres rally.

That's the way the game would end as heavy rains would fall on Wrigley Field and with more threatening weather on the way, crew chief Tim Welke decided to call the game, a decision Padres' manager Bud Black didn't quite agree with.

"I respect Tim Welke immensely," Black told MLB.com. "I [simply] would like to see a baseball game played nine innings. As would he. But he felt, based on educated information, that it was the best thing to do."

Chris Young's performance wasn't what the Padres were hoping they would get out of their right hander. He was leaving pitches up in the zone and that's something you just can't do against a good Cubs' lineup, something Young himself admitted.

"Mechanically, I wasn't very good," Young told MLB.com. "Against a lineup like that it's hard to come out and not have your best stuff. It's a good lineup, and they punished some bad pitches."

The Padres have now dropped 18 of their last 22 games and though the team really doesn't need any more bad news, the Padres got just that in the seventh inning. Short stop Luis Rodriguez, after roping a single to left, rolled his left ankle as he rounded first and is likely headed to the disabled list. He'll join fellow short stop Everth Cabrera who went down with a broken hand last month and isn't expected back until late June.

Chris Burke and Edgar Gonzalez are expected to split time at that position unless Kevin Towers finds one via trade or free agency.

The Padres and Cubs will wrap up their three game set on Thursday with an afternoon affair from Wrigley Field, expected to get underway at 1:25pm CST.

The Padres will go with right hander Chad Gaudin (0-2, 4.08) against Cubs' right hander and former closer Ryan Dempster (2-2, 4.98). Gaudin will try to be the first Padres' starter to win a game since Peavy beat the Mets on April 16th, a streak of 11 straight losses by a starter.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Padres Report with Beat Writer Corey Brock

Corey Brock was nice enough to stop by The Swinging Friar for the third installment of "The Padres Report." He talked about the clubhouse atmosphere during the Padres' losing streak, if manager Bud Black could be on the hot seat and when Padre fans could possibly see Kyle Blanks.

SwingingFriar: The way this team has been losing games with its lack of offense and the bullpen not being able to hold leads. When you're in the club house after a game, is there a definite aire of frustration between the players or are they still very much on the same page?

Corey Brock: Players are professionals. They don’t go around swearing and breaking things when the media is in the clubhouse. What goes on beyond closed doors? I don’t know. There’s frustration, for sure. I think there’s players in there who realize they’re not performing up to not only their standards but also what the team expects from them. The goal is still the same: To win, and that hasn’t, from my perspective, changed the way they prepare and go about their business.

SwingingFriar: In the last two starts (15 IP), Peavy has given up just two runs and hasn't gotten a single run in support. The last few times during a post game interview, I've seen Jake say something like, "I've pitched in these kinds of games for years." Do you think that's an indirect dig at his offense and do you think he's more frustrated than he's letting on?

Corey Brock: No dig intended, he’s just stating a fact. Sure, he would love more run support and I’m sure it’s frustrating. But he’s Peavy is also a very professional guy and he knows pointing fingers will do him no good, especially on those rare occasions when he, for example, might get bombed and the offense scores six runs for him. I consider him the ultimate teammate and I think his teammates do as well.

SwingingFriar: With the lack of protection around Adrian Gonzalez, there's talk that the Padres plan to give Kyle Blanks some time in the outfield over the next few weeks in Portland. How soon do you think we'll see him in San Diego?

Corey Brock: Hopefully not very soon. I think Blanks, who is 22, needs a full season at Triple-A Portland. He’s not going to be a savior, no matter where you put him. Let him play every day in Portland, play the outfield a few times a week. If you give up on someone on the big league roster, then maybe the Padres will promote him. But I get the feeling they would rather let him stay in the Rose City.

SwingingFriar: In an interview with Darren Smith of XX Sports Radio, General Manager Kevin Towers was asked what it took for the manager to be on the hot seat, to which Towers responded, "The hot seat comes from fans, talk radio, it comes from newspapers." Do you think that's a fair statement?

Corey Brock: It’s absolutely true. The only opinions that matter regarding the manager are that of the owner and general manager. Fans get upset, that’s only natural. Fans are also impatient and so is the media to some extent. When things go bad, they want to know “why.” That’s not a bad thing. I think no matter what the payroll is, there are expectations that your team is always going to do well. When that doesn’t happen, people want answers.

SwingingFriar: In that same interview, Towers was asked about what players could be on the hot seat. Towers said, "I'm sure there are a couple relievers that are on the hot seat right now, I just haven't had enough time to really think about it" What relievers, in your opinion, are on the hot seat and how soon do you think changes will be made?

Corey Brock: I won’t name names, but you’ve already seen Arturo Lopez shipped out. There might be more. They won’t sit and watch guys not perform. Where do you find relievers? Who knows, everyone is looking for relief help. You have to promote from within, which means we’ll likely see Greg Burke at some point, possibly this week.

SwingingFriar: With Cha Seung Baek and Walter Silva due back before the end of this month, who will be moved to the bullpen and who do you think is headed for Triple-A Portland?

Corey Brock: This has changed now that Baek is hurt. Silva will likely go back in the bullpen, especially if Correia pitches like he did the other night in Houston. It looks like he’s figured out some things mechanically.

SwingingFriar: In closing, do you have injury updates on Mark Prior, Shawn Hill, Mike Adams and Everth Cabrera?

Corey Brock: Prior is in Arizona, had a setback, not sure how serious. Nothing new there. Hill is in San Diego, doing rehab work. Adams is getting close to heading out on a rehab stint, maybe later this month. Cabrera is still several weeks away but is working out and doing some one-handed drills with the bat

Padres-Cubs: Early Lead Slips Away as Padres Fall to Cubs

Jake Peavy can't go into the clubhouse and spew his usual "I've pitched in these kinds of games my entire career," that we're used to hearing after he pitches a great game but gets no run support from his offense.

San Diego jumped out to a 2-0 lead, thanks to a two run home run from first baseman Adrian Gonzalez his 11th of the year, in the first inning. That lead wouldn't hold as the Cubs scored six runs in the last four innings to beat the Padres, 6-2.

Peavy had the Cubs shut out for four innings and it looked like the Padres were finally going to break their losing streak and take the first of their three game set against the Cubs.

In the fifth, Peavy would issue a lead walk to catcher Geovany Soto, would would be sacrificed to second on a bunt from pitcher Rich Harden after Peavy struck out Aaron Miles. It looked like Peavy might just get out of a jam, but Alfonso Soriano would lace an RBI double to left center, scoring Soto from second to pull the Cubs to within 2-1.

In the top half of the sixth, the Padres had two on after back-to-back singles from David Eckstein and Adrian Gonzalez with just one out, but Chase Headley would ground into an inning ending double play to end the Padres' threat.

In the home half of the sixth, the Cubs would make the Padres pay for not pushing across a single run. Kosuke Fukudome, a player the Padres made a run at prior to the 2008 season, led off with a double to left and after a strikeout to Derek Lee, former Padre Milton Bradley would launch a two run shot to center off his former teammate, erasing the Padres' lead and giving the Cubs a 3-2 lead.

The Padres had a chance to at least tie the game in the top half of the seventh. Jody Gerut led off with a single and would steal second after Kevin Kouzmanoff popped out, but Henry Blanco would ground out and Luis Rodriguez flied out to end the inning.

It's been the lack of hitting with runners in scoring position that has given this Padres' team the most headache. Having runners on second or third with less than two outs and not getting that sac fly or not getting that timely base hit that would score that run.

After a 9-3 start, the Padres have gone 4-17 in their last 21 games, pushing them farther and farther out of the NL West and possibly making them sellers faster than anyone expected.

Prior to the start of the 2009 season, there were so many people talking about this Padres team losing 100 games or more but after a 9-3 start, the team was raising a lot of eyebrows. But, nothing has gone right for this team since then. Their pitching has struggled, their offense has been non existant at certain times and their bullpen has had trouble keeping teams off the scoreboard.

It's a trend that is quickly demolishing this team, a trend that will have this team losing more games than ever before in franchise history.

The two teams will be back at it tonight from Wrigley Field. The Padres will have 6'10" right hander Chris Young (2-1, 4.76) against Cubs' left hander Ted Lilly (4-2, 3.11).

Monday, May 11, 2009

San Diego Padres: Week in Review

The Padres came into the first week of May after suffering a four game sweep at the hands of the NL West leading Los Angeles Dodgers. They were getting ready for two game sets against the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks, needing to get back on track and show the kind of team they were.

That week wouldn't go the way they planned. They split both two game series against Colorado and Arizona then ending the week the way they ended the previous week, suffering a three game sweep at the hands of the Houston Astros.

May 4th: After the Rockies had taken a 5-4 lead in the fourth inning, the Padres would regain the lead in the top half of the fifth thanks to a three run home run off the bat of Scott Hairston. But, after Padres' reliever Edwin Moreno loaded the bases in the seventh, Cla Meredith was brought in and promptly gave up a grand slam home run to Rockies' catcher Chris Ianetta. Padres lose 9-6.

May 5th: Padres held a 1-0 lead for seven innings and it looked like young Padres' right hander Josh Geer was going to pick up his first win of the season, but Rockies' catcher Chris Ianetta would again go deep, hitting a solo shot in the eighth inning to tie the game. It would go into the tenth inning where Brian Giles would hit a walk off RBI double, scoring Edgar Gonzalez from first. Padres win 2-1.

May 6th: Jake Peavy was crusing, having pitched five shutout innings and was striking out everyone in sight, but that didn't last long. D-Backs' right fielder Justin Upton finally got to Peavy in the sixth, lining a two run shot to left center to put Arizona ahead, 2-0. The Padres had their chances to break through against Arizona starter Jon Garland, but four double plays killed any rally they could have put together. Padres lose 3-1.

May 7th: The Padres, down 2-0 going into the home half of the fifth, got two RBI singles from Edgar Gonzalez and Scott Hairston to tie the game, 2-2. Arizona went ahead 3-2 on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Eric Byrnes but San Diego came right back thanks to an RBI double from catcher Nick Hundley to tie the game at 3-3. The Padres loaded the bases in the tenth on a lead double from Kevin Kouzmanoff and walks to Nick Hundley and Chris Burke which brought up David Eckstein who lined a game winning single to right. Padres win 4-3.

May 8th: The Padres got a great pitching performance from Chad Gaudin, giving up just two runs through seven innings, but the Padres' offense never could get anything going against Houston starter Wandy Rodriguez. Padres lose 2-0.

May 9th: The Padres were down 3-1 going into the eighth inning, but thanks to an RBI single from David Eckstein and an RBI double from Chase Headley, the Padres would take a 4-3 lead. That lead didn't last long as the Astros would re-take the lead, and keep it, in the home half of the eighth inning on RBI singles from Carlos Lee and Miguel Tejada. Padres lose 5-4.

May 10th: Happy Mother's Day! Well, I'm sure Josh Geer's mom was hoping for a little better outcome in this one. The young right hander gave up seven runs through just three innings and although the Padres got home runs from Adrian Gonzalez, Jody Gerut and Chase Headley, the Padres just couldn't recover. Padres lose 12-5.

When you look back at every game this past week, you realize how many of those games were winnable, how many of those games the Padres had taken a late lead just to have the bullpen give it right back. The chances to break through against another starter when their own starter was keeping the other team in check, but those timely hits just didn't come. What could have been...never was. Padres end the week at 2-5 and end their 17 game stretch with a record of 4-13.

Padres-Astros: Geer Roughed Up, Padres Swept by Astros

The schedule was supposed to get easier, the Padres were facing a series against the 11-17 Houston Astros, the team was supposed to break through and show their real character.

Three days later, the Padres are looking back at yet another series sweep, except they were on the losing end of that sweep, losing the finale 12-5 on Sunday afternoon despite home runs from Adrian Gonzalez, Jody Gerut and Chase Headley.

This wasn't a series the Padres had no chance in, they were in every single game with the exception of the finale. They dropped game one on Friday night, 2-0 but they had more than a few chances to jump ahead but the team's lack of offense doomed them once again.

They had a late lead in game two on Saturday night, but the bullpen couldn't hold the lead and the Padres lost, 5-4.

Then, on Sunday afternoon, it was Padres' starter Josh Geer that had his problems, giving up seven runs (five earned) on seven hits, walking three while not striking out a single batter. It didn't help that Geer didn't get help from short stop Chris Burke. Burke had two throwing errors in back-to-back innings, leading to four unearned Houston runs.

One of those errors, starting the second inning with the Astros already leading 3-0, came on a ground ball to short stop off the bat of pitcher Roy Oswalt. It should have been the first out of the inning but thanks to the first error from Burke, Oswalt was safe at first. The next two batters, Kaz Matsui and Michael Bourne, flied out and grounded out respectively so it should have been the end of the inning with no damage done.

Instead, Geer walked both Hunter Pence and Carlos Lee to load the bases, then gave up a two run single to Miguel Tejada, scoring Oswalt and Pence to push the Astros' lead to 5-0. It was Tejada's third and fourth RBI of the game, having hit a two run homer in the first inning off Geer.

So, after coming into the three game set against Houston at 13-16 and looking to feel better about themselves as a team with an off day coming after the conclusion of the series. Instead, they drop all three games, fall to 13-19, and they're left wondering if they'll ever pull themselves out of this hole.

It doesn't get any easier from here as the Padres travel to Chicago on Tuesday to start the first of a three game set against the Chicago Cubs. This series won't be without it's share of drama as well.

You might remember all of the trade rumors that had Jake Peavy on his way to the Cubs this past December, but trade talks broke down and Peavy remained with the Padres. With the Padres reeling, those rumors may start to surface again, especially with San Diego in Chicago for those three games.

The Padres will start Peavy (2-4, 4.27) on Tuesday against Rich Harden (3-1, 4.83). On Wednesday, the Padres will have Chris Young (2-1, 4.76) on the hill against Cubs' left hander Ted Lilly (4-2, 3.11). In the series finale, the Padres will have former Cub Chad Gaudin (0-2, 4.08) against Randy Wells (0-0, 0.00) who will be making his second start for the Cubs.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Padres-Astros: Padres Bullpen Unable to Hold Late Lead, Lose to Astros

It's becoming a familiar saying, something Padre fans are becoming a little too used to during the 2009 season. The offense grabs a late lead and it looks like they're going to win a game this team normally wouldn't win, then the bullpen gets a hold of the game and lets it slip away.

Such was the case on Saturday night against the Astros. The Padres took a late 4-3 lead in the eighth inning thanks to an RBI double from Chase Headley, celebrating his 25th birthday last night.

That 4-3 lead was short lived as Cla Meredith, brought into the game for Luke Gregerson, gave up a game tying single to Carlos Lee and, with the bases loaded, fielded a grounder from Miguel Tejada but with Hunter Pence running on contact, Meredith couldn't get a clean hold on the ball to get Pence at the plate, allowing him to score and giving the Astros a 5-4 win.

It was another one of those games where they got good pitching effort from right hander Kevin Correia who gave up just two runs on four hits, striking out four and walking three through his six innings of work, but his offense was only able to put up one run in support. Correia has received a no decision in four of his six starts this season.

The game was scoreless through five innings until David Eckstein broke through against Astros starter Brian Moehler in the top half of the sixth with an RBI double, scoring Correia who had doubled two batters earlier.

The Astros would take the lead in the home half of the sixth, thanks to an RBI single from Carlos Lee and a sacrifice fly from Miguel Tejada, putting the Astros ahead, 2-1.

The very next inning, the Astros would extend that lead to 3-1 on a wild pitch from Padres' reliever Luke Gregerson, scoring Darin Erstad who had doubled earlier.

That's when the Padres' comeback began. Short stop Chris Burke would get a lead double to start the eighth inning off Houston reliever Geoff Geary. Burke would score on an RBI single from David Eckstein to pull the Padres to within a 3-2 score.

Geary would then be relieved by Alberto Arias who got Scott Hairston to strike out. Arias was then pulled in favor of Wesley Wright who gave up a one out single to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. LaTroy Hawkins was then brought in to elleviate the damage, but Chase Headley roped a two run double to right center, scoring Eckstein and Gonzalez to give the Padres a 4-3 lead.

Unfortunately for San Diego, the game would get away from them, leading to their 15th loss in 19 games. These are the types of losses that will lead San Diego to go from "buyers" to "sellers" prior to the trade deadline in July.

The two teams will finish up their three game set from Minute Maid Park in Houston on Sunday afternoon. The Padres will have young right hander Josh Geer (0-0, 3.96), still looking for his first win of the season, on the mound against Astros' ace Roy Oswalt (0-2, 4.26).

Friday, May 8, 2009

Padres-Diamondbacks: Eckstein Walk Off Sends Padres Past D-Backs

David Eckstein got the chance to be a hero yesterday afternoon, in front of a crowd of 18,921 at Petco Park, and he made the most of that opportunity. Eckstein laced an RBI game winning single in the tenth inning to give the Padres a 4-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday afternoon.

You might have to look at the at bat just before Eckstein's game winning single. It was a 10-pitch at bat by Chris Burke, that ended in Burke being walked, that loaded the bases and set the stage for Eckstein.

Burke fell behind quickly 0-2 to D-Backs' reliever Esmerling Vazquez but fouled off six pitches, one of which was just out of the reach of Arizona catcher Chris Snyder that landed by the Padres' dugout. That at bat allowed Eckstein to watch the at bat and see what Vazquez was throwing.

Vazquez started Eckstein off with two straight fastballs, working the count to 1-1, but when he tried to throw a third fastball on the outside corner, Eckstein went with the pitch and laced it past first baseman Josh Whitesell for the game winning hit.

Although Eckstein had the game winning hit, he also made a big defensive play in the top half of the tenth inning. Recently called up Josh Whitesell grounded a 1-0 pitch from Paders' reliever Cla Meredith back up the middle, but 2nd baseman David Eckstein made a back hand grab and was able to make a throw on the run to get Whitesell at first to end the inning.

The game was won as a team effort, which is a funny thing to say after the Padres' offense went AWOL on starter Jake Peavy a night earlier. This time, after falling behind 2-0, the Padres battled back, getting two runs in the fifth inning on RBI singles from Edgar Gonzalez and Scott Hairston to tie the game.

In the sixth, Arizona would get the lead back on a sac fly from Eric Byrnes to put them ahead, 3-2, but that lead was short lived.

In the home half of the sixth, after a lead single from Kevin Kouzmanoff, one of this three hits on the day including a lead double in the deciding tenth inning, Padres' catcher Nick Hundley roped a double down the left field line and Kouzmanoff just beat the throw home to tie the game, 3-3.

The Padres also got a great effort from their bullpen, something that hasn't been said in quite some time.

Relievers Edwin Moreno, Luke Gregerson, Heath Bell and Cla Meredith combined for four shutout innings, not giving up a single hit over those four innings while striking out four. Meredith got the win for San Diego, his record now 4-0 on the season, oddly enough he leads the team in wins.

Padres' starter Chris Young pitched six innings, giving up three runs on five hits, walking four and striking out six. He left the game with his team trailing 3-2, but thanks to the RBI double from Nick Hundley, got the no decision, which I'm sure he's much happier about than a loss.

San Diego (13-16) boarded a plane last night bound for Houston, TX as they get ready for a three game set against the Houston Astros (11-17) at Minute Maid Park.

In game one on Friday night the Padres will have Chad Gaudin (0-1, 5.06) on the mound against Astros' left hander Wandy Rodriguez (2-2, 2.19).

Game two the Padres will send Kevin Correia (0-2, 5.92) against the Astros' Brad Moehler (0-2, 14.00).

Game three, the Padres will have young right hander Josh Geer (0-0, 3.96) against Astros' ace right hander Roy Oswalt (0-2, 4.26).

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Padres-Diamondbacks: Missed Opportunities Abound in Loss to DBacks

The San Diego Padres had their chances, they had opportunities, but each of those chances and opportunities were missed in a disappointing 3-1 loss to Arizona on Wednesday night.

What's even more frustrating was the start that Jake Peavy put together last night, only making one mistake which Diamondback outfielder Juston Upton deposited into the left center field stands for a two run home run in the sixth inning.

Besides that, Jake was nothing short of dominant. The right hander struck out 12 in his seven innings of work, surpassing the 1,300 strikeout mark in the second inning after striking out Connor Jackson.

But, just like his last start against the Dodgers where Jake pitched eight shutout innings, his offense went AWOL, not putting up a single run in support. After winning two of his first three starts, Peavy is 0-3 in his last four starts with a no decision. Peavy could easily turn and point to his offense for not giving him anything to work with, not giving him a lead to work with, but that's not the way he opperates, Jake instead put the blame on himself.

"Bottom line, I have to be better," Peavy told the Associated Press. "If it means throwing a shutout, I’ll take full responsibility and need to do that. It’s just not possible to happen every time out.”

He may have took the blame for the loss, but Jake did say something that has become familiar to the press interviewing him after games like this. Although it wasn't a direct shot at the offense, you can read into this any way you like.

“I’ve pitched in these type of ballgames for years,” Peavy said. “You get a feel for a game, especially when one run or one pitch can beat you. Sure, there is some stress with every pitch you make, knowing that you probably shouldn’t let a run cross."

If Jake isn't willing to point a finger, we'll just point out all the missed opportunities to put runs on the board early, and often. Arizona tried to give the game away, committing four errors, two of which came on one inning.

In the second, Kevin Kouzmanoff would reach on an error by third baseman Mark Reynolds, moving to second on the throw. After Henry Blanco popped out, Luis Rodriguez would work a one out walk, which brought Jake Peavy to the plate. He attempted two straight bunts, both of which went foul and was unable to move the runners up. To add insult to injury, Peavy grounded into an inning ending double play.

In the fifth, after a lead single from Henry Blanco, Peavy would finally get a bunt down but would be safe at first thanks to a throwing error from Arizona catcher Miguel Montero trying to get the lead runner (Blanco) at second base.

Giles would then ground to first baseman Josh Whitesell, but Whitesell's throw pulled second baseman Augie Ojeda off the bag, loading the bases with just one out.

David Eckstein would then hit a fly ball to right field and it looked like the Padres were going to get on the board, but right fielder Justin Upton nailed Henry Blanco at the plate for a inning ending double play.

That would prove costly in the top half of the sixth. After Peavy struck out Felipe Lopez swinging, he would issue a walk to Ojeda, which brought up Justin Upton. Peavy left the first pitch too far in the zone and Upton got all of it, landing it a few rows deep in left center field, putting Arizona ahead, 2-0.

In the seventh, Blanco would work a one out walk an would be followed by a Luis Rodriguez single. Manager Bud Black decided that Peavy's night was done, going with Edgar Gonzalez as a pinch hitter with two on and one out. As the theme was most of the night, Gonzalez would ground into an inning ending double play, the third time of the night the Padres grounded into an inning ending double play.

Padres' reliever Duaner Sanchez would come into the game in the eighth inning and got Augie Ojeda to fly out for the first out of the inning, bringing up Justin Upton who had homered earlier in the night. Sanchez left a 1-1 pitch over the plate and letter high and Upton, again, got every bit of it, hammering a solo shot to dead center field, giving Arizona a 3-0 lead.

San Diego had one more chance in the ninth inning. Diamondback's closer Chad Qualls came into the game and promptly gave up back-to-back singles to Adrian Gonzalez and Jody Gerut and would then hit Kevin Kouzmanoff with a pitch, loading the bases with noone out. Surely, the Padres couldn't blow this opportunity, could they?

But, as was the theme all night long, Blanco would ground into the Padres' fourth double play of the game, scoring Adrian Gonzalez to put the Padres on the board, 3-1.

Luis Rodriguez would work a two out walk, bringing up Chase Headley for the first time with runners on the corners and two out, but Headley would strike out swinging to end the game.

The Padres will try to rebound tonight as they will wrap up a two game series with Arizona before they head out on the road with sets against the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs.

Padres right hander Chris Young (2-1, 4.81) will try to get this team out of their current funk, a funk that has seen San Diego drop 13 of their last 16 games. For Arizona, they will go with their hot hand, right hander Dan Haren (3-3, 1.47). First pitch is scheduled for 12:35pm PST.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Padres-Diamondbacks: Pre-game Lineup and Analysis

The San Diego Padres picked up a much needed win on Tuesday night against the Colorado Rockies. It's hopefully a start for this team to get back on the right track and the Padres need to carry over the momentum and adrenaline over to Wednesday night's game as they welcome in the last place Arizona Diamondbacks, who are coming off a three game losing streak.

Getting the start tonight for San Diego is right hander Jake Peavy, who is coming off his best start of the year against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Peavy threw eight shutout innings, giving up just two hits but his offense didn't give him the help he needed and he ended up with a no decision in a game the Padres ended up losing.

Here are the starting lineup for the San Diego Padres against Arizona starter Jon Garland (2-1, 4.94)

San Diego Padres

Brian Giles (.168) - Right Field
David Eckstein (.260) - 2nd Base
Scott Hairston (.351) - Left Field
Adrian Gonzalez (.313) - 1st Base
Jody Gerut (.221) - Center Field
Kevin Kouzmanoff (.228) - 3rd Base
Henry Blanco (.161) - Catcher
Luis Rodriguez (.222) - Short Stop
Jake Peavy (2-3, 4.58)

Keys to the game for San Diego

You know what you get with Jake Peavy on the hill, you know you're going to get 110% effort from the kid from Alabama. If Jake comes out and goes right after the Arizona hitters, he'll have the same success. Jake is at his best when he challenges hitters with his 2-seam fastball and then puts them away with his nasty slider. Peavy needs to mix up his pitches, not rely so heavily on his fastball because Arizona will start waiting on that pitch. If he mixes in a changeup and a curveball in the right count and keep the ball low in the zone, he can keep Arizona off the board.

The offense needs to step up tonight and put runs on the board against Garland, who's coming off a pretty good outing in Milwaukee. He pitched 6 1/3 innings, giving up just two runs on seven hits, a game the Diamondbacks ended up winning late, 5-2.

They have patience at the front of the lineup with guys like Giles and Eckstein and then power behind those two guys in Hairston and Gonzalez as well as Jody Gerut at certain times. If Giles and Eckstein can get on base or at least work deep into counts and wear down Garland early, Hairston and Gonzalez will be able to watch those at bats closely and take advantage of it.

The guy that's had the most success against Garland is the man starting in center field for the Padres, Jody Gerut. Gerut, in 13 at bats, is hitting .308 against the Arizona starter. Luis Rodriguez, starting at short stop tonight for San Diego, has the second most at bats against Garland (7) and is hitting .286 against him.

The one thing the Padres have to be hoping for is a better crowd than they received the previous two nights. On Monday night, a crown of 14,717 was announced and if that wasn't bad enough, Tuesday night saw an even smaller crown. An announced 13,646, the smallest crowd ever since Petco Park opened in 2004.