Thursday, April 30, 2009

Padres-Rockies: Two Home Runs From Gonzalez Not Enough in Loss to Rockies

Padres' first baseman Adrian Gonzalez would be the first to tell you that setting a team record doesn't mean as much as his team getting a win. So, when he set the team record for most home runs in the month of April (9), you could understand why his mood was a little somber.

Adrian was responsible for three of the Padres' five runs, hammering a solo shot in the seventh inning and followed that up with a two run blast in the eighth for his eighth and ninth home runs of the year, but it was too little too late as the Padres dropped a 7-5 decision to Colorado Wednesday afternoon.

Rockies' starter Aaron Cook just had to pick the Padres to have his best outing of the season, shutting out the Padres for six innings before giving up three runs in the seventh inning off home runs from Adrian Gonzalez and catcher Henry Blanco.

Padres' right hander Kevin Correia had his usual outing, giving up three runs through his five innings of work but his walks continue to get him into trouble, walking four for the third time in his first four starts. He at least kept his team in the ballgame, but says he wants to get his pitch count down to be able to pitch deeper into games.

"I'm not giving up too many runs," said Correia. "I'm just not staying in the game long enough. I had a couple longer innings, and my pitch count's just too high right now. I got to find a way to get it down."

It took just two swings of the bat for Correia to fall behind. In the second inning, Correia had a full count to Rockies' catcher Chris Ianetta with two outs and pitcher Aaron Cook on deck. Correia tried to throw a slider but missed with his location and Ianetta got enough of it to hit it over the left field fence for a two run home run to put the Rockies ahead 2-0.

In the very next inning, Rockies' first baseman Todd Helton got a hold of a 3-1 offering from Correia for a solo shot to extend the lead to 3-0 but would keep them off the scoreboard in the fourth and fifth innings, departing after completing the fifth inning.

That's when the game got out of hand. Cla Meredith would give up an RBI single to Chris Ianetta and a sacrifice fly to Dexter Fowler before being pulled in favor of newly called up Arturo Lopez. Unfortunately, Lopez didn't fare any better, giving up two walks and a two run single to Todd Helton to extend the Rockies' lead to 7-0.

It was too much for San Diego to overcome, although two home runs from Adrian Gonzalez and one from Henry Blanco brought them close but not close enough.

Miraculously, even though San Diego is just one game above .500, they remain in second place in the National League Western Division behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. Shows how competetive, or lack thereof, the NL West is in 2009.

Speaking of the Dodgers, the Padres will be in Los Angeles for the first of a four game set starting tonight. Young right hander Josh Geer (0-0, 4.91) will try to rebound from his rough relief appearance a few days ago, giving up four runs in three innings as he gets the start tonight against the Dodgers.

As for LA, James McDonald (1-1, 7.11) will make his third start of the season, though he didn't have much luck in his first two starts. He gave up five runs on two hits while walking three in just two and one third inning in his first start against Arizona.

He had more luck in his second start against Colorado, going four and a third shutout innings, giving up just four hits but didn't pitch long enough to earn a decision in a 14-2 win.

McDonald made another start against the Rockies six days later and didn't fare nearly as well. He gave up four runs on five hits in five innings of work, getting his first win of the season.

Additional Padre notes: Adrian Gonzalez extended his hit streak to eleven straight games with his solo home run in the seventh inning. He's now reached base safely in all 21 games.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Padres-Rockies: Pinch Hit Single Lifts Padres Past Rockies

With the game tied at 3-3, the last person you'd think Padres' manager Bud Black would call upon was a guy who had spent Sunday and Monday in a San Diego Hospital after suffering an allergic reaction to calamari, not to mention only having one hit in his last nineteen at bats.

But Black turned to short stop Luis Rodriguez in the ninth inning asked him to get that one hit that would put the Padres' back in front of the Rockies. So, with Nick Hundley standing on third after a lead off triple, and the Rockies' infield drawn in, Rodriguez did just that, hitting a Manny Corpas sinker just past the diving Todd Helton that would give the Padres a 4-3 lead heading into the ninth inning.

It was all the room Padres' closer Heath Bell would need, closing out the game for his major league leading eighth save of the season and assuring a 4-3 Padres' win.

Newly called up Chad Gaudin, making his first start for San Diego, was very impressive through his five innings of work giving up just three hits and striking out five, not giving up his first hit until the fourth inning. He was expected to be on a pitch count of around 90-100 and after hitting 88 pitches after five innings, manager Bud Black decided to go to his bullpen.

"He had a pretty good fifth inning, but I just thought that at that point it was best to give [Edward] Mujica a clean inning," said Black. "In case there was a baserunner or two in the sixth and I felt as though I had to go get Chad, I didn't want to throw that on a reliever at that point. Mujica was fresh. Give him a clean inning. And Chad can walk away from this one feeling pretty good about his outing."

The Padres would take an early lead in the third inning, thanks to a two run home run from center fielder Scott Hairston, his third of the season to put the Padres ahead 2-0.

Just when it looked like the Padres were going to hold the Rockies off all night, it was their bullpen that faultered. Edward Mujica would give up a solo home run in the sixth inning to Seth Smith, then Luke Gregerson gave up RBI singles to Ryan Spilbourgh and Todd Helton in the seventh to put the Rockies on top 3-2.

The Padres are getting used to coming from behind, having done it on numerous occasions already this season, Tuesday night was no exception.

Second baseman David Eckstein led off the eighth with a double to left off former Padre Alan Embree. Brian Giles would fly out followed by a ground out from first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, moving Eckstein to third. With two outs and Eckstein standing on third, Chase Headley would rip his eleventh RBI single of the season, a single to right to tie the game at 3-3.

In the home half of the eighth, Padres' reliever Duaner Sanchez, making his first appearance since being sidlined with a sore pitching shoulder, got himself into trouble by loading the bases with just one out, but he would get Troy Tulowitzki to ground into an inning ending double play to end the Rockies' threat.

That set the stage for the Padres' comeback and a win this team desperately needed.

The two teams will be back at it tonight from Coors Field in Denver, CO. The Padres will have right hander Kevin Correia (0-1, 4.50) on the hill while the Rockies will go with right hander Aaron Cook (0-1, 8.35). Cook has struggled over his first four starts, giving up three runs or more in each of those starts including giving up five runs through four innings against the Dodgers and six runs through two and a third innings against Arizona.

Additional Padre Notes: Adrian Gonzalez extended his hit streak to 10 games with a single in the sixth inning. He also extended his on base streak to 20 straight games.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

San Diego Padres: Is a Shakeup Needed in San Diego?

After the Padres slit a four game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers to start the 2009 season, they went on a run that included winning seven of their next nine games. That's where the fun has ended.

Since they're 9-4 start, they have dropped six of their last seven that have included back-to-back bad starts for Jake Peavy, giving up six runs in just five innings in his last start against the Pirates. Not to mention Chris Young's worst outing of his career, giving up eight runs in just three innings of work on Monday night in Colorado against the Rockies.

With the Padres currently sitting at 10-10, fans becoming more and more frustrated with this team, could it be time for a shakeup in San Diego?

Padre fans remember all the rumors that were flying around about Jake Peavy being traded to Atlanta and then to the Chicago Cubs, both trade possibilities fell by the wayside. As much as I hate to admit it, but I've started to wonder who the Padres would have gotten in return had they shipped Peavy to Chicago and gotten that deal done during the off season.

With Peavy struggling in his last two outings, is he doing this team more harm than good by keeping him around only because this is where he got his start?

I have to admit that I was one of the those fans who thought it was diplorable that Kevin Towers and the Padres' brass were even looking into the possibility of trading the young right hander. Now, I'm not so sure they shouldn't have made that move.

This team has the offense to win games, they've proved that time and time again this season and they continue to put up runs, but it's their pitching that continues to lose leads and lose games. Padres' closer Heath Bell seems to be the only one that has been effective over their first twenty games, saving seven of those games in seven chances. The only other guy out of the bullpen that has the same kind of effectiveness is sidewinder Cla Meredith, although Luke Gregerson has really impressed over his ten relief appearances, sporting a 2.25 ERA.

The problem with trading Peavy now is this, the Padres won't get near as much back for him now as they would have in November or December, especially not after his back-to-back rough starts. The Braves and Cubs openly stated that the Padres were asking for too much in return, reportedly asking for 5 or 6 prospects, something they won't get close to now.

One team that is desperate for pitching is the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. If Kevin Towers is smart, I'd be on the phone working a deal to send Peavy just an hour up the freeway from San Diego to Anaheim in return for possibly infielder Brandon Wood, currently riding the pine in Anaheim, outfielder Reggie Willits in Triple-A Salt Lake or maybe Gary Mathews Jr if the Angels will pick up most of his remaining salary. Although, I doubt the Padres would bring on Mathews unless they can send one or both of Scott Hairston and Brian Giles somewhere.

The Angels need pitching, the Padres need to shake up their roster and keep themselves in the race. It's a great fit for both sides.

If the Padres want to make a big splash and make big changes, changes that might actually make them better right now without going the trade route, they need to promote some of the young players in Triple-A, guys like Kyle Blanks, Will Venable and Chad Huffman just to name a few.

This team does have something to look forward to on their own roster however, something that may bring them out of this funk that they're currently in. They do have players expected to return to the team from the disabled list, starters Cha Seung Baek and Walter Silva sometime in May as well as reliever Mike Adams, due back in June.

Baek has yet to make his first start for San Diego after an injury prior to the start of this season.

Silva was injured a few starts into the 2009 season and could be back by the start of next month. Both pitchers could be a huge lift for this pitching staff that is already decimated by injuries.

Mike Adams missed the 2008 season after undergoing Tommy John Surgery but he's due back with the Padres sometime in June if everything goes as planned. He'd be a definite breath of fresh air if he can pitch like he showed in 2007.

If San Diego continues to lose games like they have, Kevin Towers and Padres' management needs to step in to rectify the situation and do it quickly, not wait until they fall so far behind that they have no choice but to wave the white flag on the season. This team won't be able to get themselves out of a free fall, they couldn't do it last season and they won't be able to do it this season. Fix it now before it gets out of hand.

Padres-Rockies: Young Can't Stop the Bleeding, Padres' Loss

The last time Padres' ace Jake Peavy struggled, their number two man Chris Young came out and was dominant in his outing. Only problem was he left with a no decision and the Padres ended up losing that game to the Giants.

This time around, both pitchers struggled and both in a big way. After Peavy gave up five runs against the Pirates on Sunday afternoon, the Padres were hoping Chris Young would be able to come out and stop the bleeding and keep the team from their third straight loss and sixth loss in their last seven games. Unfortunately, it didn't go the way they or Young had hoped as the Padres were thumped by the Colorado Rockies 12-7 from Coors Field on Monday night.

The Rockies jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the very first inning, but the Padres would rally for four runs in the third inning to take a 4-2 lead, a lead that Chris Young usually holds, but not on this night.

Young would give up eight runs (all earned) on seven hits in just three innings of work, his ERA now up to 5.74 in just four starts. If you were to tell me that Jake Peavy and Chris Young would both have an ERA close to 6.00 after just four starts each, I would have told you the Padres would be struggling mightily, and they are.

With Chris Young's loss last night, it marks the fourth straight game the Padres have lost with either Peavy or Young on the mound, both pitchers sporting a 5.74 ERA and it marked Young's second implosion in his last three starts.

Over the past few seasons, it's been the offense that has given their pitchers a lack of support, only scoring one or two runs a game. This time, it's their pitching that can't hold leads.

The offense had given them leads against Philadelphia just a few weeks ago, a lead that disappeared in just one inning, a game they eventually lost.

They had a lead against the Pirates on Sunday afternoon after a two run home run from Adrian Gonzalez, a lead Jake Peavy quickly gave up and then some.

And then there was last night, down 2-0 after one inning, to come back and score four runs in third to give your starter a 4-2 lead just for him to turn around and give those four runs right back and have the lead vanish just like that.

So, if Peavy can't stop the bleeding and neither can your number two guy in Chris Young, who is going to step up and take the initiative? Will it be Kevin Correia, who seems to be the Padres' most affective pitcher to this point? Will it be Josh Geer, who had a terrific first start last week but had a disastrous relief appearance on Sunday afternoon? Or will it be Chad Gaudin, the man who is slated to start against Colorado after being called up from Triple-A Portland yesterday?

The Padres need to figure out something and quickly. Their starters have only worked into the seventh inning just a few times this season, one of those being Josh Geer's start last week. Their bullpen is overworked, which would explain the struggles of Duaner Sanchez (7.11) and Edward Mujica (4.15), not to mention Luis Perdomo (6.43).

Since the Padres 9-4 start to the season, they've lost six of their last seven and they currently sit at 10-10 with no sign of recovery in sight.

All this team can do is hope that Chad Gaudin can hold the Rockies in check and let their offense do what they've done well so far this season, put up runs. If they can do that and if Gaudin can work into the seventh inning and hand the lead over to the Padres' bullpen, San Diego might be able to stop the free-fall they're currently experiencing.

If he can't stop the losses, don't expect that same free fall to end any time soon.

Additional Padre notes: Padres' first baseman Adrian Gonzalez extended his hit streak to eight straight games with an RBI double in the top half of the sixth inning. He has reached base safely in all 20 games this season.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Padres-Pirates: Peavy Struggles Again, Padres Lose 8-3

Jake Peavy cruised through the first three innings, striking out four batters and only giving up two hits and with a 2-run home run from first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, his seventh of the year, it looked like the Padres would have an easy time in the rubber match against the Pirates.

But it wouldn't go the way the Padres, or ace Jake Peavy, wanted it to go as the Pirates got to Peavy for five runs in the fourth and fifth inning as they beat the Padres 8-3 on Sunday afternoon.

The trouble started for Peavy in the fourth inning, giving up a lead single to left fielder Brandon Moss and then walking first baseman Adam LaRoche, both runners advancing on a wild pitch. Peavy then got Eric Hinske and Andy LaRoche to strike out and just when it looked like he would get out of the inning unscathed he would give up a two out two run single to Robinson Diaz, tieing the game at 2-2.

In the fifth inning, Peavy got himself in trouble the same way he did in the fourth inning, giving up a lead single Nyjer Morgan and walking Ramon Vazquez. He would get Brandon Moss to pop out for the first out of the inning, but Adam LaRoche put the Pirates ahead for good as he launched a first pitch fastball to right for his fourth home run of the year to put the Pirates up 5-2. LaRoche would add his second home run of the game, and fifth of the year, off rookie Luis Perdomo in the ninth inning.

For Peavy, it wasn't the start he or his team wanted to see from their ace. With the loss, he'll drop to 2-3 on the year and his ERA is 5.74 which is not Peavy-like at all and something that may concern manager Bud Black. Peavy showed his frustration after the game saying, “This is as frustrating as it gets. We have to come in today with a better effort and that starts with me.”

This was a loss this team couldn't afford, they wanted to build their momentum back up as they finished their three game home stand against the Pirates, but they will head back out on the road after losing two of three and five of their last six games.

The Padres will start the first of a three game series Monday night against the Colorado Rockies (6-11) from Coors Field in Denver before coming back out west to Dodgers Stadium for a three game set against the NL West leading Los Angeles Dodgers (13-6).

The Padres will turn to their number two man, Chris Young, to stop the bleeding and keep the Rockies at bay and hope that the offense gives Young some breathing room.

On Tuesday night, Chad Gaudin will make his San Diego Padres debut as he makes his first start since being signed by the team to a minor league deal. Gaudin has looked strong through two starts for Triple-A Portland, not giving up a run on just four hits through both of his starts (8.2 IP).

In the final game of the series on Wednesday night, the Padres will have right hander Kevin Correia (0-1, 4.50) on the hill. The one thing that has gotten Correia in trouble is the same thing that got Peavy into trouble on Sunday afternoon, the amount of walks he's issued. If he can keep those down, he should be ok but if he elevates the wrong pitches and the Rockies get the ball into the thin Colorado air, it won't go well for Correia.

This should be the series to get the momentum back as the Rockies are coming off losing two of three from the Dodgers and getting outscored 74-46 from April 11-25, their team batting average dipping to .222 during that stretch before breaking out Sunday afternoon in a 10-4 win over the Dodgers where they got to Clayton Kershaw for nine runs through just four and two-third innings.

Additional Padre notes: Edgar Gonzalez, older brother of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, also homered in yesterday's game, his first of the year.

Speaking of Adrian, he continued his hitting streak in Sunday's game. His home run in the first inning extended his hitting streak to eight straight games, it was his fourth home run in the last seven games. Gonzalez also has at least 1 RBI in five of his last seven games.

After right hander Shawn Hill was put on the disabled list, Kevin Towers was quoted as saying that he is not going to look outside the organization to address their pitching needs. They have already called up Chad Gaudin to start on Tuesday night against Colorado.

With Gaudin coming up, the Padres will have to make a roster move to make room for Gaudin. They could part with reliever Eulogio De La Cruz who walked five batters and allowed two runs against the Pirates. He currently has an ERA of 5.40.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Padres-Pirates: Zach Duke Dominates Padres in 10-1 Win

The Padres ran into a buzzsaw on Saturday night by the name of Zach Duke. The Pirates left hander was absolutely dominant, pitching 8 1/3 innings giving up just one run as the Pirates beat the San Diego Padres 10-1.

The Pirates wasted no time jumping on Padres' starter Shawn Hill. Hill walked the first batter he faced then followed that up with a single from Freddy Sanchez and an RBI double from Craig Monroe to give the Pirates an early 1-0 lead. That lead was pushed to 2-0 on an RBI groundout from Andy LaRoche.

Hill was never able to recover after that and there ended up being a reason for him looking uncharacteristically bad. He was removed after just two innings of work with what's being called "soreness in his right biceps muscle." It's an injury the Padres didn't need, especially with two starters (Walter Silva, Cha Seung Baek) already on the disabled list, Hill is likely to join them.

Manager Bud Black and the rest of the Padre brass huddled after the game to figure out what they were going to do about their rotation. Most likely, the Padres will purchase the contract of Chad Gaudin from Triple-A Portland to make the start on Tuesday night against the Colorado Rockies. A start that was supposed to be made by right hander Josh Geer, but Geer was called upon to pitch four innings of relief after Hill was pulled from the game.

If you want to find a silver lining in the game last night, Padres' first baseman Adrian Gonzalez collected a hit last night, extending his hit streak to seven games. Gonzalez has reached base safely in all seventeen games this season and has at least one hit in fifteen of those seventeen games.

So, either by Sunday afternoon prior to them closing out a three game set against the Pirates or sometime late Sunday night a decision will have to be made by the Padres on their rotation. Besides calling up Gaudin, where else can they turn?

Right hander Cha Seung Baek likely won't be ready until late next week after he makes at least one rehap start before he makes his comeback, though it's likely he'll have more than one rehab start.

Geer now will be pushed back because of his four innings on Saturday night and you really can't look to any other pitchers in Portland as guys like Wade LeBlanc (0-2, 5.28) are struggling, although Ceasar Ramos has showed promise so far with his 1-1 record and 4.00 ERA in 18 1/3 innings pitched.

When the decisions are made, whether it's internally or General Manager Kevin Towers looks to make a trade, we'll pass the news along as it comes down the wire.

As for the Padres and Pirates, they will finish the last of a three game set on Sunday afternoon from Petco Park. Padres' ace Jake Peavy (2-2, 5.13) will take the mound against Pirates' right hander Ross Ohlendorf (1-2, 3.00).

San Diego Padres: Injury Updates

The Padres don't need another injury, but that's exactly what they'll have to deal with after Shawn Hill was pulled Saturday night after just two innings with soreness in his right biceps muscle. Manager Bud Black says Hill will likely be headed to the disabled list, joining fellow starters Walter Silva and Cha Seung Baek.

That wasn't the only bad news the Padres received last night. Short stop Luis Rodriguez was rushed to Scripps Green Hospital in nearby La Jolla, CA due to an allergic reaction to something he ate prior to the Padres' game against the Pirates. Bud Black says he's resting comfortably but will be kept for observation to make sure there aren't any lingering affects.

Updates on other Padre injuries. Outfielder Cliff Floyd underwent an MRI on Friday and his minor league rehab stint was put on hold for an undisclosed amount of time. Floyd, as of last Thursday, had his right knee drained for the second time in three weeks and he could possibly be out until mid-May if not longer. The Padres were hoping that he'd be able to provide that big bat off the bench or make a spot start or two to make the Padres' lineup that much stronger. We'll see if that ever happens.

Short stop Everth Cabrera underwent surgery on his hand on April 21st and is expected to return to the team sometime in mid-June.

Pitcher Walter Silva, on the DL for a right forearm strain, was expected back in late April but now it seems he may be out longer than that, possibly until mid-May.

One promising note for the San Diego, reliever Mike Adams could return to the Padres in May. The right handed reliever missed all of 2008 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. It's reported that Adams has been throwing every other day, so that is definitely a good sign for a very good reliever out of San Diego's bullpen.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Padres-Pirates: Giles' Walkoff Single Lifts Padres Over Pirates

Brian Giles has been in one of his biggest slumps and in the position of the batting order that he currently occupies, it's created offensive trouble for the Padres.

But on Friday night, Giles picked the right time to come through for San Diego. In the eleventh inning, with Chris Burke on second base and David Eckstein on first, Giles ripped a Matt Capps fastball to right field, scoring Burke and sending the Padres and their fans home happy with a 4-3 victory. That win snapps the Padres' three game losing streak and also slowed the Pirates fast start, winning five of their first six including a sweep of the Florida Marlins.

Pirates' starter Ian Snell wasted no time in helping his own cause, hitting an RBI single in the second inning to give the Pirates an early 1-0 lead.

That lead was short lived as Padres' first baseman Adrian Gonzalez hammered a first pitch fastball from Snell over the left center field wall for a solo home run. It was his sixth home run of the year and third in his last five games. Gonzalez is currently riding a six game hit streak and even more impressive than that, has at least one hit in fourteen of the Padres' sixteen games, going hitless just twice all season long.

Padres' starter Kevin Correia looked like he was going to give his bullpen a break after all the work they've had to do lately. His pitch count was a lot lower than his previous two starts and was given a 3-1 lead, but Correia couldn't hold it as the Pirates would come back to tie the game at 3-3 with two runs in the sixth inning. Correia would end his night pitching five innings and giving up three runs on just three hits, but walks got him trouble as the right hander issued four on the night.

The game would stay 3-3 into the eleventh inning. Padres' Chris Burke would draw a pinch hit walk and would steal second after Jody Gerut popped out. Padres' second baseman David Eckstein would also draw a walk and that brought up Brian Giles.

Pirates' reliever Matt Capps had already thrown Giles three straight fastballs, two of which Giles could only foul off. On the fourth one, Giles got all he needed of it, lining past Pirates' right fielder Eric Hinske, scoring Burke from second with the game winner.

It was a hit that Giles, who came into last night's game hitting .159, desperately needed. Time will only tell if this will be the start of the Brian Giles that Padre fans know or if this slump will continue. If it does, it may not be long before the Padres look to Triple-A outfielders Will Venable or Chad Huffman to take over.

The two teams will continue their three game set tonight at Petco Park. The Padres will have right hander Shawn Hill (1-0, 3.60) on the mound against Pirates left hander Zach Duke (2-1, 2.95). First pitch will be 7:05pm.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Chad Gaudin Looking Strong in Portland

The Padres may not keep right hander Chad Gaudin down in Triple-A much longer, especially with the way he pitched last night for the Beavers in their 3-0 win over Sacramento.

Gaudin held Sacramento scoreless on just two hits while striking out seven during his five innings of work.

Gaudin hasn't given up a run on just four hits and striking out ten through his first two starts (8.2 IP), good for a 0.69 ERA.

I would expect him to get at least one more start in Portland before San Diego decides to call him up. They will probably want him to pitch deeper into a game than five innings as they currently have two pitchers (Correia, Hill) who have only pitched five innings in each of their two starts. They need a pitcher who will lessen the workload of the bullpen.

Speaking of the bullpen, the Padres may want to look at Portland's bullpen if Edwin Moreno and Edward Mujica continue to struggle. Jon Ellis pitched two scoreless innings for his second win of the season and closer Greg Burke closed out the ninth inning for his third save of the season.

In other notes from the Beavers' game last night. Outfielder Will Venable hit his fourth home run of the year, his third in the last three games, a two run shot in the sixth inning after a lead double from Emil Brown. Brown also had an RBI single in the seventh inning.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

San Diego Padres: 2010 Free Agents

It's never too early to take a look ahead at what the 2010 San Diego Padres might look like. Here's the list of players that will be free agents after the completion of the 2009 season.

Henry Blanco
David Eckstein
Chris Burke
Cliff Floyd
Emil Brown
Brian Giles
Mark Prior
Duaner Sanchez

Henry Blanco - Blanco was signed to a 1 year $750,000 contract during the off-season and so far, he and Padres' ace Jake Peavy have a chemistry I haven't seen since former A's catcher Ramon Hernandez was behind the plate in 2004 and 2005.

The Padres don't have much in the way of catchers in their minor league system. There are plenty of free agent catchers that will be available during this upcoming off season, but it wouldn't surprise me if the Padres negotiated another one year deal to keep Blanco in San Diego in 2010.

David Eckstein - Eckstein has been one of the bigger surprises this season for San Diego. The second baseman is currently hitting .321 (17/53) and has seemingly ended the "2nd base curse" that hung on since Mark Loretta departed after the 2005 season. It ushered in the likes of Josh Barfield, Marcus Giles and prospect Matt Antonelli, neither of the three had any success at the position.

Barfield was traded to Cleveland, Giles was released after struggling gadly and Antonelli was sent back to Triple-A Portland after he had struggles both offensively and defensively.

Look for Eckstein to be signed to at least a two or three year deal before this season is over, especially since the Padres don't have good options in their minor league system. Although, the Padres have shown interest in bringing back Mark Loretta as well as having interest in Mark DeRosa this past off season. Eckstein is the better option and I expect the Padres believe that as well.

Chris Burke - Chris Burke was a player the Padres brought in as another option in case Luis Rodriguez or Everth Cabrera struggled but that didn't happen so Burke was traded to Seattle a days prior to the start of the 2009 season.

After Cabrera's injury, putting him on the shelf for 6-8 weeks, Burke was traded back to San Diego and is currently the backup to Luis Rodriguez, though he could get some playing time to give Rodriguez a break.

I don't expect Burke to be around after Cabrera returns. He'll either be sent to Triple-A Portland, traded or released outright.

Cliff Floyd - One name Padre fans have yet to see due to injuring his shoulder during spring training, may have to wait even longer according to Rick Eymer of Floyd has had fluid drained from his right knee twice in the last three weeks and is now scheduled to undergo an MRI on Thursday afternoon in San Diego.

Once Floyd returns, look for him to get some significant time in right field especially with current right fielder Brian Giles having a slow start to the season (.159). If Floyd shows his bat is just as strong as it has been in years past and shows no ill effects from his shoulder injury, he could prove to be a strong addition to the lineup.

I don't see Floyd being with San Diego past this season, especially with young prospects like Will Venable and Chad Huffman ready to battle for a starting spot in San Diego.

Emil Brown - Brown is currently playing with Triple-A Portland and is currently hitting .256 with one home run and seven RBI. He's another one of those guys who could be brought up at any point during the 2009 season if Brian Giles is traded but I don't expect to see him in San Diego until late this season, if at all.

Don't expect Brown to be a long term fixture in San Diego.

Brian Giles - Speaking of Brian Giles, he has been the biggest disappointment so far this season. I know we're only three weeks into it but I expect a guy like Giles to be hitting better than .159 at this point. Not only that, but Giles has yet to hit his first home run of the year.

Giles stats in situation hitting aren't great either. With the bases empty, Giles has just two hits in twenty-seven at bats, good for a .077 average. With runners on, not necessarily in scoring position, Giles is 8-for-36 (.222) and with runners in scoring position he's 6-for-24 (.250). The Padres expect better from their number three hitter, especially hitting in front of Adrian Gonzalez, Chase Headley and Kevin Kouzmanoff.

I fully expect Giles to be traded some time in June or July. It could be a lot sooner if he continues to struggle. If the Padres want to stay in the race, they can't have Giles batting third at a .159 clip. Young prospects Will Venable and/or Chad Huffman would be better options than Giles at that point.

Mark Prior - Another name that Padre fans have yet to see, even though Prior is in his second season with San Diego and he's yet to throw one pitch in a game.

Anything the Padres get from Prior they will gladly accept. He is still very much a large presence on any mound in the big leagues and if he gets back any of what he had prior to his shoulder problems, it could resurrect what was supposed to be a Hall of Fame career.

If Prior doesn't quite make a comeback in 2009, I don't expect the Padres will bring him back unless they is more promise to his rehabilitation and they get a good report from the doctors.

Duaner Sanchez - It looked like Sanchez would be a diamond in the rough find for general manager Kevin Towers, especially after his first three appearances against the Dodgers, Giants and Mets where he didn't give up a hit in each of those appearances.

Since then, he's given up four runs, including two home runs in his last 2 1/3 innings. Unless he can turn this around soon, Towers may be looking to make another trade to bring in another reliever.

As much as teams talk about trading players or adding payroll close to the trading deadline, I think the Padres will be adding instead of subtracting. I believe the Padres will be in this race and I think another piece or two could make put this team over the top.

Cliff Floyd is still yet to make his debut, Shawn Hill has been better than expected as a starter, the Padres will be getting Cha Seung Baek back from injury soon as well as reliever Mike Adams. This team is going to be just fine, so hang on Padre fans, it's going to be a fun ride.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Padres-Giants: Padres Drop Third Straight, Swept By Giants

Padres' starter Chris Young bounced back from his bad start against the Phillies (3.2 IP, 7 ER) and kept the Giants off the scoreboard, giving up just two hits through his seven innings of work. The only problem was, the Padres offense took the night off.

Giants' catcher hit a game-winning RBI double in the tenth to give the San Francisco Giants a 1-0 win and a two-game series sweep of the Padres, this coming after the Padres swept the Giants in San Diego during the first week of the season.

Barry Zito also rebounded from two straight bad outings, shutting out the Padres on just six hits through seven innings, like Young, earning himself a no decision but a start that he can build on for his next scheduling outing.

The Padres had their chances to break through and put the game away in both the sixth and eighth innings, but the same problem that has reared it's ugly head the past few seasons bit them again on Wednesday night.

In the sixth, David Eckstein would be on third base with two outs but Kevin Kouzmanoff would pop up to end the inning

In the eighth, Hairston led off the inning with a ground rule double and would then be sacrificed to third by David Eckstein but Giants' reliever Jeremy Affeldt would strike out both Brian Giles and Adrian Gonzalez to end the inning and the Padres' threat.

Both bullpens would hold through the eighth and ninth innings. Padres' reliever Luke Gregerson, who took over for Chris Young to start the eighth, didn't give up a hit through his two innings while striking out three.

Giants' relievers Bob Howry and Jeremy Affeldt combined for an inning and two-thirds giving up just one hit.

In the tenth, Padres' reliever Edwin Moreno, who had given up a walk-off game winning home run to Phillies short stop Jimmy Rollins, would get Juan Uribe to ground out and then a one out single to Andres Torres.

After Torres stole second base, Moreno would get Eugenio Valez to strike out and it looked like Moreno might get through the inning unscathed. But after an intentional walk to Fred Lewis, catcher Benjie Molina stepped to the plate and roped a ground rule double to left center, scoring Andres Torres and sending the Giants' fans home happy and sending the Padres back to San Diego with their third straight loss.

This was not a game the Padres could afford to lose, especially going back to San Diego for a three game series against a Pirates team that is coming off a sweep of the Florida Marlins. The same Marlins team that was off to the best start in the big leagues just a few days ago.

Instead, they'll send Kevin Correia (0-1, 4.09) to the hill to try and end the Padres' three game losing streak starting Friday night against Ian Snell (1-2, 4.24) of the Pirates.

In game two on Saturday night, the Padres will have right hander Shawn Hill (1-0, 3.60) against Zach Duke (2-1, 2.95).

The two teams will finish up their three game series with a Sunday afternoon affair. The Padres will have ace Jake Peavy (2-2, 5.13) against Pirates' right hander Ross Ohlendorf (1-2, 3.00).

San Diego Padres: Pedro Martinez, Come to San Diego

I tend to look at the rumor sheets quite a bit, see what team is interested in what player, which players are still left unsigned and how many interesting names are still out there looking for their 2009 teams?

Here's one name that I continue to come across and I'm surprised that he is still unsigned, Pedro Martinez. How many teams need a veteran starting pitcher and can get some quality innings out him?

One of those teams that definitely have a need in that area are the San Diego Padres. As it stands right now, besides Jake Peavy and Chris Young they have Kevin Correia, Shawn Hill and recently called up Josh Geer.

Correia and Hill haven't pitched more than five innings in each of their last two starts, prompting San Diego to go to their bullpen sooner than they would like.

Josh Geer was just called up on Sunday to make his first start against the Phillies and, although he struggled during spring training, he actually impressed a lot of people myself included. Geer gave up just two runs (one earned) on just six hits through seven innings of work, giving the Padres' bullpen a much needed break from the previous few nights.

The reports on Martinez are he's looking for a one year deal in the range of $5 million. A steep price for a pitcher who spent most of 2008 on the disabled list due to a strained hamstring while pitching for the New York Mets. In his four years with the Mets, Martinez finished with a 32-23 record and a 3.88 ERA, still nothing to scoff at if I'm a team needing a pitcher, especially in the National League.

The kind of money that Martinez is looking for may be too steep for the Padres to be willing to pay, but I don't see a problem with general manager Kevin Towers calling Martinez' agent to find out if there's any interest in him coming to San Diego. If he shows mutual interest and is willing to come down from his $5 million asking price, the two sides may be able to come to an agreement.

Think of it this way. Kevin Towers can't argue with having a starting rotation that boasts Jake Peavy, Chris Young and Pedro Martinez as their front three, they would go from predicted "cellar dwellars," to one of the favorite in the NL West.

The Bandwagoners Are Back

I can't say that I didn't see this coming. Prior to the start of the 2009 season, fans were complaining, screaming and yelling about the Padres' payroll being cut and fielding a "minor league" team as a lot of people called them.

As soon as the Padres start coming back and winning games in dramatic fashion, those same fans are starting to come out of the woodwork and act like they knew this was possible the whole time.

No dis-respect to us fans who are the eternal optimists and show up to the ballpark every chance we get, but I just don't get people who jump off the bandwagon before they've even played a single game.

I can somewhat understand the impatience of some of the fans, getting a taste of celebrating an NL West Championship and the first round of the playoffs where anything is possible, but when you get beat by a better team, you just have to dust yourself off and get ready for next season.

This season was a little different than the past few off seasons. The team was coming off 99 losses, Trevor Hoffman was no longer a Padre, there were rumors that Jake Peavy was on his way out and Khalil Greene was traded to St. Louis, not exactly the kind of off season I was expecting.

Still, the Padres have a guy like Heath Bell that can step in and fill the closer's role nicely and has done just that in dominating fashion, closing out his first seven saves in seven chances. Then you bring in a new guy like Duaner Sanchez and between him and submariner Cla Meredith, you have two guys that can dominant setup men in the eighth inning.

On the offensive side of things, you add a spark plug in David Eckstein, a guy who plays his heart out and leaves everything on the field. A guy like that just gives your whole team a boost just being around him.

You know what you're going to get from Adrian Gonzalez, you know that guy can carry an offense on any given day. You're getting a full season from Jody Gerut, Chase Headley is a more mature player and from talking to people who saw him during spring training they say he just looks stronger than he did last season and he's starting to show that.

One new addition that we've yet to see is former Mets' outfielder Cliff Floyd who's been nursing a shoulder injury that he suffered during spring training. You get that guy a few spot starts here and there, set him behind Adrian Gonzalez with Chase Headley or Kevin Kouzmanoff following him and you've got a much better offense than this team had in 2008.

One player I've been disappointed with is right-fielder Brian Giles. In fourteen games, Giles is hitting just .172 (10/58) and has yet to hit his first home run of the 2009 season. His home run numbers have declined every year since his first full season in San Diego (2004). He hit twenty-four home runs in 2004, fifteen in 2005, fourteen in 2006, thirteen in 2007 and twelve in 2008 while he had his third highest number of at bats (559) since joining the team, so you can't tell me that it's due to fewer at bats.

The two biggest question marks for this team that still remain are the starting rotation and the bullpen. Staff ace Jake Peavy struggled last night against San Francisco, giving up six runs through six innings, Chris Young struggled his last outing giving up seven runs through just three and two-third innings. After them you have Kevin Correia and Shawn Hill while Josh Geer fills in for Walter Silva who's on the 15-day disabled list.

The problem with both Correia and Hill is, neither has pitched more than five innings in each of their first two starts. The Padres need to have both pitchers extend themselves into the sixth and seventh innings to keep from overworking their bullpen which has already started to happen.

Speaking of their bullpen, with names that most people have never heard of, that "overworking" has started to wear on them. Luke Gregerson, Edward Mujica and Edwin Moreno have all struggled over their last few appearances, Moreno more recently giving up a walk-off home run to Phillies' outfielder Raul Ibanez just this past week in a game the Padres led the whole way.

Gregerson started off fast, having a couple of dominant outings before a wild outing against Philadelphia brought his "stuff" into question, but he made a few adjustments and has been ok recently.

Mujica has also struggled to keep runners off base, giving up a pinch hit home run to Phillies' short stop Jimmy Rollins to pull the Phillies to within one run (4-3), the game that ended up getting away from San Diego in a 5-4 Phillies victory.

It's not exactly the bullpen's fault, especially if they can't get their starters into the sixth and seventh innings, it will put a whole lot less stress on them to perform night in and night out.

One last thing for you fans to remember from last season. Jake Peavy and Chris Young missed a significant number of games due to injury, that had a lot to do with the team's struggles. If those two guys can stay healthy, they won't get close to 100 losses, and with a different look to their offense, they will win games they didn't win last year.

So for all of those Padre fans that jumped off the bandwagon and were quick to call this a "100+ loss season," you probably should have looked at what contributed to their struggles last season and looked at the changes that were made for this season.

What ever happened to the mantra "We Believe?" This San Diego Padres team will surprise a lot of people, so for those of you who have jumped back on the bandwagon, I'm glad to have you back. Enjoy the ride, it will be a better season than we saw in 2008.

Believe it!

Padres-Giants: Peavy Struggles in Loss to Giants

It was as simple as a pitch that didn't do what Padres' ace Jake Peavy wanted it to do, instead it stayed over the plate and Giants' short stop Edgar Renteria hit it out for a grand slam home run that led the Giants to an 8-3 win over the Padres.

The grand slam was the first ever given up by Peavy in his seven year career, but it was the the knockout punch delivered to San Diego.

Renteria had Peavy's number all night long, collecting three hits including a home run and five RBI's, raising is batting average to .455 against the Padres' right-hander.

San Diego took an early 2-1 lead in the top half of the fourth thanks to an RBI single from right-fielder Brian Giles in the first and an RBI double from Kevin Kouzmanoff in the fourth, Chase Headley was tagged out at the plate attempting to score on Kouzmanoff's double and you may look at that point in the game as a turning point.

Had Headley stayed at third, they may have had another chance to get him across to push the lead to 3-1, possibly giving Jake a little more breathing room and that big fourth inning for the Giants may not have happened.

But, as it stands now, Peavy will drop to 2-2 on the season. He would pitch six innings, giving up six runs on seven hits walking three and striking out three.

On the Giants' side of things, Matt Cain finally gets a win against the Padres, his first since 2006. Not saying he hasn't pitched well enough against San Diego for a win, but his bullpen has erased the leads he's turned over and he's ended up with either a no decision or a loss. Cain moves to 2-0 on the season after giving up just two runs on nine hits, didn't walk a batter and struck out five through his six innings of work.

If there is a silver lining in this game for San Diego, it's the fact that they can thank the Houston Astros for breaking the Dodgers' eight-game win streak. Not that that really matters this early in the season, but the closer they can keep the Dodgers in their sights, the better chance they have in staying in the NL West race.

The Giants and Padres will finish their two-game set this evening from SBC Park. The Giants will have Barry Zito (0-2, 10.00 ERA) on the mound while the Padres are hoping their number two man, Chris Young, can bounce back from his worst performance this season.

Young gave up seven runs on nine hits through three and two-third innings against Philadelphia, but thanks to a tremendous effort by his teammates, the Padres would rally for an 8-7 win over the Phillies.

Zito on the other hand hasn't fared well at all in his last two starts, not pitching past the fifth inning in either of them. He gave up four runs in four innings in a 7-3 loss to San Diego in his first start, then followed that up by giving up six runs through five innings pitched in a 7-2 loss to the Dodgers.

The Padres need this win to get back on track, it would be a momentum boost for their return home as they'll open a three-game home stand against the Pittsburgh Pirates starting on April 24th.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Padres Re-Acquire Chris Burke

After the San Diego Padres learned that young short stop Everth Cabrera would have to miss 6-8 weeks with a broken hand, General Manager Kevin Towers started to work on bringing bringing in another player to back up Luis Rodriguez, who will take over as the full time short stop.

According to Dan Hayes of the North County Times, the Padres re-acquired Chris Burke, a player the Padres had in Spring Training but traded to the Seattle Mariners because they were going to keep both Rodriguez and Cabrera.

Burke, a first round pick of the Houston Astros in 2001, has been playing with Seattle's Triple-A team in Tacoma, where he was hitting .237 in 38 at-bats. He's expected to be in uniform when the team starts their series tonight against the San Francisco Giants.

In other Padre notes, the Friars game against the Philadelphia Phillies was rained out last night but no makeup date has been decided.

The Padres arrived in San Francisco late last night and will be well rested for their series opener tonight from SBC Park. Jake Peavy (2-1, 3.98 ERA), coming off a win against the NY Mets, is expected to get the start for San Diego while the Giants will counter with Matt Cain (1-0, 2.08 ERA).

Cain is about the only pitcher in San Francisco's rotation that isn't struggling. He also has given the Padres fits over his last 15 starts against them, but he hasn't gotten much run support in those games either. Cain holds a 2.92 ERA against the Padres in 15 combined starts as well as holding them to a .197 batting average against in those same number of games.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Could The Yankees Release Chien-Ming Wang?

I know this isn't a Padres story, but hear me out anyway. Could the Yankees be ready to release struggling right-hander Chien-Ming Wang?

Do they want to keep a guy who's 0-3 with a 32.50 ERA and no you didn't read that wrong. In three combined starts, Wang has given up twenty-three runs on twenty-three hits in just six innings pitched.

Don't be surprised if they do release him or try to trade him since Wang doesn't have any options left for the Yankees to send him down to Triple-A. With that being the case, do you think the San Diego Padres might have some interest in the right-hander? How many pitchers have resurrected their careers or pitched better than they ever have when they pitch in a place like Petco Park?

I think if the Yankees release him, they're on the hook for most of his salary so the Padres may be able to pick him up for cheap, especially seeing how much he's struggled. You bring him in to take a look at him, have pitching coach Darren Balsley work with him a little to see if it's his mechanics that are off and if there's something he can adjust, Wang may be a solid number three starter for San Diego.

If he can get back what he had in 2007 when he finished 19-7 with a 3.70 ERA in thirty starts for the Yankees, he could make for a lethal threesome with Jake Peavy and Chris Young. The Padres can move Kevin Correia back to the fourth spot and spot start Shawn Hill with Josh Geer and the Padres' rotation gets that much better.

I know this is just me throwing out theories, but I think Wang is someone Kevin Towers would definitely be interested in, maybe even through a trade. The Yankees can't ask for the moon for a guy that has an ERA over thirty.

Stay tuned....

Golfer Phil Mickelson Interested in Padres Ownership Group?

This past week, while the San Diego Padres were taking batting practice at Citi Field in New York, Kevin Towers mentioned that pro golfer, and native San Diegan, Phil Mickeson was interested in buying into the Padres' new ownership group, a group that includes former Cowboys' quarterback Troy Aikman.

When Mickelson was reached for comment he said, "I was approached by the new ownership group several times. I took a look at it and thought it could be a great deal for someone. But at this point I'm just not interested in being a part of any sports franchise."

Whether or not there's any truth to Mickelson's interest, I wouldn't be surprised to actually see another story about his interest after this season, especially if the Padres finish a whole lot better than they did in 2008.

Hey Tiger, we have room for you too ya know! Tiger and Phil buying into the same franchise, I can't imagine that would go over real well. They already don't like each other, imagine them talking about the future of the Padres while they're on the 18th tee.

Injury Report: Padres Lose Short Stop Cabrera for Up To Two Months

Something the San Diego Padres didn't want to deal with, but aren't exactly not used to, an injury to a short stop.

For the previous three years, the Padres had dealt with former short stop Khalil Greene missing a significant chunk of time due to injury and the majority of the time it was to his throwing hand. An injury that, because of the lack of depth at that position, would make a huge offensive and defensive impact on the team. It prompted the Padres to part with Greene, trading him to St. Louis this past off-season.

This time,it's young short stop Everth Cabrera who suffered a hand injury in Sunday's 5-4 loss to the Phillies and will miss at least two months of the season according to Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union Tribune.

Cabrera is scheduled to have a CT done on the hand later today, but the early prognosis was not good. He apparently suffered a fracture hamate bone during his 6th inning at bat against Phillies' pitcher J.A. Happ.

The hamate is a triangular bone at the base of the fifth metacarpal (little finger) near the wrist. Hamate fractures aren't unusual among a lot of players and there's no risk of not making a complete recovery from the injury.

In the interim, look for Luis Rodriguez and possibly Edgar Gonzalez to split starts during Cabrera's absence.

Look for Rodriguez to get most of the time at short stop, he doesn't have a batting average (.231) that will turn your head, but with an on base percentage (.395) that the Padre brass like, he's the odds on favorite to get the majority of the starts.

For a kid who hadn't seen time above low A-ball in the Colorado Rockies' system, the San Diego Padres took a risk on Cabrera and selected him in this past Rule IV draft. Cabrera wasted no time in impressing Padre coaches, not only with his athleticism but also in his tremendous speed, something this team hasn't had in quite some time.

He would make the usual mistakes, rushing his throws and trying to make too much happen at one time, but he worked as hard as any player during spring training and was awarded by making four starts in the Padres' first thirteen games, hitting .308 (4-for-13) with a double.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Padres-Phillies: Phillies Have Comeback of Their Own in Win Over Padres

I thought it was the San Diego Padres that were the king of comebacks. Well, this afternoon, the Phillies showed they were just as capable of coming back as Rual Ibanez hit a walk-off two run home run of Padres' reliever Edwin Moreno for a 5-4 Phillies win.

Through most of the game, it looked like the Padres were going to win their ninth in ten games, getting a strong pitching performance from recently called up Josh Geer. Geer pitched seven strong innings, giving up two runs (1 earned) on six hits, struck out for and didn't walk a single batter.

The Padres got on top first thanks to an RBI single from outfielder Jody Gerut and an RBI triple from second baseman Edgar Gonzalez to put the Padres on top 2-0. An RBI groundout from Brian Giles, scoring Gonzalez, gave the Padres a 3-0 lead after three innings.

The Padres would extend that lead even further in the top half of the fifth when Adrian Gonzalez unloaded on former teammate Chan Ho Park and sent his fifth home run of the year deep to right field for a 4-0 San Diego lead.

Phillies' second baseman Chase Utley would get the comeback started with a two run shot, his second in as many days, in the home half of the sixth, cutting the lead in half to a 4-2 deficit.

Jimmy Rollins was next, hitting a pinch hit solo home run in the home half of the eighth off Padres reliever Edward Mujica, the Padres lead was only 4-3 heading to the ninth inning.

After Padres' closer Heath Bell had already made three straight save appearances, manager Bud Black allected to go with reliever Edwin Moreno in the ninth inning.

Moreno allowed a lead off single to Phillies' first baseman Ryan Howard to start off the home half of the ninth, bringing up outfielder Raul Ibanez. Moreno missed on a first pitch slider and again with a changeup, but Moreno tried to throw another changeup and Ibanez was looking for it, sending it deep into the right-field seats and sending the Phillies' fans into a frenzy. A walk-off two run home run and a 5-4 Phillies victory.

The Padres had a few good notes from this afternoon's game, they know that Josh Geer has forgotten all about his struggles during Spring Training, the same struggles that had him starting the year in Triple-A Portland.

Adrian Gonzalez also continued his hot streak, hitting his third home run in five games, his fifth home run of the year. He's currently hitting .289 with five home runs and twelve RBI's.

The two teams will finish their series on Monday night Philadelphia, PA. The Padres will have Kevin Correia (0-1, 4.09 ERA) on the mound while the Phillies will go with Jamie Moyer (1-1, 6.55 ERA)

Padres-Phillies: Padres Use Late Home Run to Top Phillies 8-5

Phillies' closer Brad Lidge hadn't blown a save in 48 straight chances as he came into the game on Saturday night go for his 49th straight.

With one swing of the bat, Padres' third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff would end that streak as he sent a three-run shot deep into the left field seats to give the Padres an 8-5 win and yet another come from behind victory, their fourth already this season.

Padres' starter Shawn Hill had another impressive outing, giving up just two runs on three hits through five innings, he's becoming the pitcher the Padres knew he could be. The one thing that has to still concern the Padres is he has only pitched five innings in each of his first two starts, that's going to start wearing on their bullpen if they can't stretch him to six or seven innings.

Speaking of their usual strong bullpen, it was the Padres' bullpen that twice gave up the lead last night. Right-hander Luke Gregerson came into the ballgame in the top half of the sixth with the Padres leading 3-2, but promptly gave up a solo home run to Phillies 1st baseman Ryan Howard to tie the game at 3-3.

The Padres would re-take the lead in the top half of the eighth on a Nick Hundley single, scoring Chase Headley to give the Padres a 4-3 lead.

That lead was short lived. Right-hander Duaner Sanchez came into the game in the home half of the eighth and would give up a solo home run to 2nd baseman Chase Utley, to tie the game at 4-4, then a sac fly from Raul Ibanez gave the Phillies a 5-4 lead.

Right-hander Cla Meredith would replace Sanchez with one out in the eighth inning and would get the final two outs, eventually getting credit for his third win of the season after Heath Bell worked a perfect ninth inning for his league leading seventh save.

The San Diego Padres, since losing two of their first three games against the Los Angeles Dodgers to start the season have won eight of their last nine games including a sweep of the San Francisco Giants, winning two of three in New York against the Mets and now winning the first two games of a four game set against the Phillies.

The Padres will go for the sweep, and their ninth win in ten games, as they finish their series against the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday afternoon.

Right-hander Walter Silva was put on the 15-day DL by the Padres a few days ago, taking his place and getting the start today for San Diego will be right-hander Josh Geer who was called up from Triple-A Portland. Getting the start for the Phillies will be former Padre Chan Ho Park.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Padres-Phillies: Padres Rally From Six Runs Down For 8-7 Win

If I told you that Padres' starter Chris Young would only pitch three and two-third innings and would give up seven runs on nine hits, would you think the San Diego Padres had any chance to come back and win? They did just that, coming from behind for an 8-7 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Over the last few weeks, I think this team has made believers of all of us. Down 7-1 after three innings, it looked like the Phillies were using the emotion of losing long time announcer Harry Kalas to jump all over San Diego.

That emotion may have gotten the best of them as the Padres clawed their way back into the game thanks to two-run home runs from Scott Hairston and Nick Hundley to pull them to within 7-5 after six innings.

In the top half of the eighth is when things came unraveled for the Phillies. Chase Headley, who had a three-hit game, would start the inning off with a single and then be moved to second base when Kevin Kouzmanoff grounded out to first baseman Ryan Howard. With Headley on third and short stop Luis Rodriguez on first after a walk, pinch hitter Jody Gerut with single home Headley to cut the Phillies lead down to just a single run, the comeback was almost complete.

Scott Hairston, already with a two-run home run under his belt, would put the Padres ahead for good with a 2-run double, a seven-run rally just needed one final touch, a Heath Bell close out.

Bell wouldn't disappoint the Padre fans watching and cheering. He would get Ryan Howard to strike out swinging and after a Raul Ibanez single, Bell would get Jayson Werth to fly out to right, leaving Matt Stairs as the Phillies last hope. That hope would be dashed as Bell would get Stairs to strike out looking to end the game, his 6th save in as many chances, closing out an unbelievable 8-7 victory.

This is definitely not the Padres' team that us fans have been used to seeing. The normal Padres team would pack it in down six runs, but over the last week and a half, the Padres have had three come from behind victories, all three of them have been from three runs down. This was more than even I thought they could undertake.

The more surprising stat, you ask? Clean up hitter Adrian Gonzalez was a non-factor all night long, not getting his first hit until the top half of the ninth inning, he would strike out twice and leave four runners on base, not the atypical night for the Padres' first baseman.

The Padres' bullpen came up huge tonight as well. After Chris Young's struggles, the combination of Luis Perdomo, Luke Gregerson, Cla Meredith, Duaner Sanchez and Heath Bell combined to shutout the Phillies over the final five and one-third innings, giving up just five hits.

After Gregerson's wild night against the Mets on Wednesday night, he settled down and pitched a 1-2-3 sixth inning, striking out Phillies' first baseman Ryan Howard to end that inning.

Padres' reliever Cla Meredith would get credit for the win, he'll improve to 2-0 on the season, the loss goes to Phillies right-hander Ryan Madson (1-1) who gave up three runs on three hits in his one inning of work.

The real story tonight was the touching tribute to long-time announcer, the late Harry Kalas. Kalas’ three sons, Todd, Brad and Kane, threw ceremonial pitches to long time Phillies' third baseman and Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt, John Kruk and Jimmy Rollins. The Phillies plan to honor Kalas all season long by playing "That ball's outta here," over the ballpark's public address system after each home run the team hits.

The two teams will be back at it on Saturday night. The Phillies will have Brett Myers (1-1, 5.54 ERA) take the ball against Padres' right-hander Shawn Hill (1-0, 3.60 ERA). Game time is scheduled for 7:05pm EST.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Padres-Mets: Bullpen Implodes in 7-2 Loss to Mets

It took one bad inning for everything to go south last night and when I say it went south, it was one of those 'hold your head in your hands unable to watch' kind of innings.

San Diego Padres' starter Kevin Correia had another good outing, giving up two runs on five hits walking two and striking out five through his five innings of work. He left the game with the team only down 2-1 and in a good position for their offense to jump ahead. But everything went south from there and in a hurry.

Padres' reliever Luke Gregerson would relieve Kevin Correia to start the sixth inning and had his usual smooth 1-2-3 inning, striking out David Wright and getting Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran to ground out. In the seventh inning is where his trouble began. Gregerson couldn't find the plate, walking both Gary Sheffield and Brian Schneider without throwing a strike to either of them. Then two more pitches that missed the strike zone to Luis Castillo before Padres' manager Bud Black pulled him in favor of Edward Mujica.

Mujica didn't fare much better, allowing a bunt single to Luis Castillo to load then bases then throwing a wild pitch out of the reach of catcher Nick Hundley that allowed Gary Sheffield to score to make it a 3-1 game. After striking out Ryan Church and intentionally walking Jose Reyes to re-load the bases, a sacrifice fly off the bat of David Murphy would score Brian Schneider and send Luis Castillo to third.

With 2 on and 2 out, Nick Hundley came up throwing trying to throw out the speedy Jose Reyes at 2nd base but Hundley's throw sailed over 2nd base allowing both Castillo and Reyes to score to push the Mets' lead to 6-1. The Mets would add an insurance run in the home half of the eighth when Carlos Delgado welcomed Padres' reliever Luis Perdomo to the big leagues when he launched a home run to left to give the Mets a 7-1 lead.

So three walks, a wild pitch and an error would cost the Padres four runs, an inning the Padres were unable to overcome as they dropped a 7-2 decision, breaking their 5-game win streak.

For the Mets, starter Oliver Perez had a much better second start than he did his first start, giving up just one run on three hits through six innings picking up his first win of the 2009 season and giving his team their first ever home win at Citi Field.

On what seems to be the only good note for the San Diego Padres last night, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez hit his 2nd home run of the series last night and his third of the year. The reason that is note worthy is it was Adrian's 100th career home run.

The two teams will finish up the series tonight at Citi Field, game time is set for 7:10pm EST. The New York Mets will have right-hander John Maine (0-0, 3.60 ERA) on the hill while the Padres will go with ace Jake Peavy (1-1, 3.52 ERA).

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Chad Gaudin to Make First Start Saturday in Portland

The San Diego Padres' newest addition, right-hander Chad Gaudin, is scheduled to make his first start for the Portland Beavers when they play their home opener on Saturday April 17th. To make room for Gaudin, the Beavers placed pitcher Josh Banks on the disabled list with a sprained right ankle.

Gaudin was signed to a minor league deal by the Padres on April 12th after being released by the Chicago Cubs on April 5th. The only way Gaudin was going to sign with the Padres was being given the chance to be a starter. So, Kevin Towers signed him knowing he could be an insurance arm should they lose Kevin Correia, Walter Silva or Shawn Hill to injury.

Gaudin has played all or part of the last six seasons with Tampa Bay (2003-04), Toronto (2005), Oakland (2006-08) and the Cubs (2008), posting a 28-25 record and a 4.45 ERA in 185 appearances (50 starts).

With Silva struggling to get out of the 5th inning against the Mets on Monday night, giving up four runs and being unable to finish the inning, we may see Gaudin in San Diego sooner rather than later.

I know the Padres are anxious about Kevin Correia's start tonight and they're hoping he doesn't struggle with his command like he did in his first start against the Dodgers in which he walked four batters including walking in the Dodgers first run of the game. He would finally settle down and get his command back, but received a no decision in a 4-3 Padres win.

Shawn Hill, former Washington National, isn't scheduled to start again until Saturday night in Philadelphia against the Phillies. The Padres like Hill and what he brings to the club, if he can impress the way he did in his first start against San Francisco, he may have a permanent role in the rotation.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Heath Bell Blasts ESPN

If you haven't read this or seen it on the San Diego Union Tribune's website, you need to.

Padres' closer Heath Bell was a tad turned off by ESPN's Baseball Tonight and wasn't afraid to voice his displeasure.

Among his rant, here was just a few things he said:

“I truly believe ESPN only cares about promoting the Red Sox and Yankees and Mets – and nobody else,” said the closer, a former Met. “That's why I like the MLB Network, because they promote everybody. I'm really turned off by ESPN and 'Baseball Tonight.' When Jake Peavy threw 8 1/3 innings on Saturday, they showed one pitch in the third inning and that was it. It's all about the Red Sox, Yankees and Mets.”

Padres-Mets: Padres Have List of Firsts in Win Over Mets

The San Diego Padres were the first visiting team in the New York Mets' new stadium, Citi Field, on Monday night and they wasted no time introducing themselves to the new park.

The first batter of the night, Padres' outfielder Jody Gerut, sent the third pitch he saw over the right field fence for a solo home run. It marked the first time a lead off batter had ever hit a home run in a new ballpark in Major Leage history. “Very cool,” Gerut said. “Maybe at the end of the season when I look back on this, I’ll have a greater sense of what happened here. But at the time, all I’m thinking is that it put us ahead.”

The Padres jumped all over Mets' starter Mike Pelfrey, putting up five runs on eight hits through just five innings and just when it looked like the Padres were going to get an easy win in the first game ever at Citi Field, back came the Mets.

With two men on in the home half of the fifth inning, Daniel Murphy would single to right bringing Gary Sheffield around to score to make it a 5-2 game. Then David Wright would tie the ball game with one swing of the bat, sending a deep shot to left field for a game-tying 3-run home run off Padres' starter Walter Silva.

The Padres would re-take the lead in the top half of the sixth thanks to a 3-base error, allowing Padres' shortstop Luis Rodriguez to advance to third and then a balk by pitcher Pedro Feliciano would bring Rodriguez home to give the Padres a 6-5 lead.

That's all the room the Padres' bullpen would need. Relievers Edwin Moreno, Duaner Sanchez and closer Heath Bell would allow just two hits over four shutout innings to give the Padres the first win ever at Citi Field 6-5.

Former Mets' reliever, and current Padres closer, Heath Bell probably got the most joy out of not only a Padres' victory but also getting the first ever save at Citi Field. The Mets traded Bell to the Padres in November of 2006, telling him that he'd never be a Major League closer. Well, Bell got to prove the Mets wrong last night, closing out the Padres 6-5 win with a 1-2-3 9th inning for his 4th save of the 2009 season.

The two teams will have an off day today before playing games 2 & 3 on Wednesday and Thursday nights. The Mets will have Oliver Perez on Wednesday night and John Maine on Thursday while the Padres will counter with Kevin Correia and ace Jake Peavy.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Citi Field Opens With a Bang

It didn't take long for Citi Field to give up its first home run, in fact it didn't even get past the first batter.

Padres' outfielder Jody Gerut launched the first home run ever in Citi Field history to right field, against Mets' starter Mike Pelfrey, to give the San Diego Padres an early 1-0 lead over the New York Mets.

Corey Brock Q & A

San Diego Padres' beat writer Corey Brock stopped by for another Q & A. He talks about Peavy's relationship with his catchers, the additions of Chad Gaudin and Luis Perdomo as well as whether or not this Padres team can stay in the NL West race in 2009.

SwingingFriar: On Saturday night, Peavy was his old dominant self striking out 10 through 8 1/3 innings. Talk about the chemistry between Jake and catcher Henry Blanco and does it remind you of the days of when Ramon Hernandez was behind the plate with the chemistry those two had?

Corey Brock: I wasn't here when Hernandez was here but Jake commented that Blanco, more or less, "gets it" as well as anyone he's worked with. That starts with sitting down before each start and mapping out how they want to approach/attack hitters. This happens with everyone who catches Peavy but he told me that sometimes you would get in games and catchers would seemingly forget all that ... like they had, in Peavy's words, "cotton in their ears." I think the relationship between pitcher and catcher is one of those unseen things by fans that is very important to the overall good of the team. Of course, the pitcher still has to make pitches ...

SwingingFriar: Of the three new starters behind Peavy and Young, which of those have you been the most impressed with?

Corey Brock: Shawn Hill. I liked what I saw like in Spring Training from him. Scouts have told me on several occasions that "if this guy can stay healthy ..." That leads me to believe they like his mechanics, his stuff and his way of going after hitters. He's a ground-ball guy who got a few balls up in his last start. He's still getting stretched out and likely will go 80 or so pitches in his next start.

SwingingFriar: It seems like General Manager Kevin Towers isn't quote done tinkering with the bullpen, signing Chad Gaudin and Luis Perdomo in recent weeks. What do these two guys bring to the table and do they make the bullpen that much stronger?

Corey Brock: Gaudin will be a starter. He's going to Portland this week to get stretched out. That's the only way the Padres got him. Everyone else wanted him in the bullpen. He was originally a starter with a few plus pitches. He's there in case Silva, Correia or Hill falter. A nice piece to have for $400,000. Perdomo was on the Giants roster until a few bad outings late in Spring Training. Power arm, good sinker, slider. I expect they'll give him a "soft landing" ... meaning up by a lot or down by a lot, to see what he's capable of before they trust him with important innings.

SwingingFriar: Speaking of the bullpen, talk about having guys like Cla Meredith and Duaner Sanchez in front of closer Heath Bell. Are these three as dominant a back end of a bullpen as any in the National League West?

Corey Brock: I don't know if these guys are really dominant guys. They're not "power arms" but they can get guys out. I think Meredith is more a right-handed specialists at this point and Sanchez just keeps getting outs. I wouldn't be surprised to see Mujica in the eighth inning at some point or even Gregerson. They've both been impressive so far and have more "plus" pitches between them.

SwingingFriar: You do live updates through your blog How much fun do you have doing that during the game and do you enjoy the fan interaction you get from it?

Corey Brock: It's always nice to hear from fans. Honestly, I wish there were more of them. I'm Twittering during games at well (@followthepadres) so that's fun and an easy way to give quick updates. We have a lot on our plate for content with notes, stories, etc. My hope is that at and we can be the place where people turn for all their Padres news.

SwingingFriar: I know it's still early and it may be way too soon to start making predictions or educated guesses about this team. But from what you've seen so far, could this team be strong enough to stay in the NL West race in 2009?

Corey Brock: With the history of this division, yes. As we've seen, no one has run away with this division in a while. The Padres simply have to play better against their own division this year. That killed them last season. I don't see why they can't hang around. The hitting still scares me a little at times and I haven't seen this bullpen handle things over a larger sample size to know if this team can approach .500 or not.

Big thanks to Corey Brock for the interview. You can follow him, and his in-game updates, all season long on his blog ( or you can find him on Twitter (

A Successful First Week For The San Diego Padres

Looking at the schedule to open the first week of the Major League Baseball season, most "experts" would have only given the San Diego Padres 1 win, maybe two if they played well enough. I'm sure those same "experts" would have also said they wouldn't be surprised to see them lose all seven games they played during Opening Week.

Here we are a week after Opening Day and the San Diego Padres have not only proved those "experts" wrong, but they've done so with a come from behind win, timely hitting and excellent pitching performances from their starters as well as their bullpen. They've not only won more than one or two games, but they've go into the 2nd week of the season sporting a 5-2 record, good for first place in the National League West.

During Spring Training, there were a whole lot more questions than there were answers. The only sure thing about their starting rotation was the front end with Jake Peavy and Chris Young. There were young pitchers like Wade LeBlanc and Josh Geer, but with both of them not having much success, the Padres were forced to look at trades or at the waiver wire to get something done.

So, Padres' General Manager Kevin Towers would bring in right-handers Kevin Correia, Walter Silva and Shawn Hill.

Kevin Correia pitched for the San Francisco Giants from 2003 - 2008, going between being a starter to coming out of the bullpen. After career highs in appearances (59) and a career best ERA (3.45) in 2007, Correia struggled in 2008, finishing with a 3-8 record and a 6.05 ERA in 25 games (19 starts).

Walter Silva, on the other hand, wouldn't have been on this had it not been for the brothers Gonzalez. During the World Baseball Classic, Adrian and Edgar Gonzalez were teammates with Silva and were impressed with what they saw from him. They called Kevin Towers and told him that Silva would be worth a look. Towers and Manager Bud Black were also impressed and eventually gave him the shot that landed him in the Padres' starting rotation.

Shawn Hill could be the better of the three pitchers added to the rotation. Hill was picked up by the Padres after being released by the Washington Nationals and didn't let the Padres down with a good first start against the San Francisco Giants. The right-hander gave up just two runs on seven hits, walking one and striking out three through his five innings of work, getting the victory in a 7-3 Padres win.

With the rotation seemingly filled out, it was the bullpen that needed to be addressed. The Padres brought in guys like former Mets' reliever Duaner Sanchez and guys most fans have never heard of like Luke Gregerson, Edwin Moreno and Edward Mujica. But regardless of how well we know these guys or how little we know about them, they have gotten the job done for the San Diego Padres. They held close leads, they've gotten those leads to closer Heath Bell or have been able to close out games where Bell wasn't needed.

It's been one guy doing his job and allowing the next guy to do his, a team effort that has led the Padres to four straight wins as they head into Citi Field for a 3-game set with the New York Mets. The Padres may not be stronger offensively than the Mets, but if they pitch like this team has against the Dodgers and Giants, it could be a very good series.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Padres Break Out the Brooms, Sweep Giants Out of Town

The San Diego Padres are riding a big wave of momentum, even if it is just the first week of the Major League Baseball season, but it's a ride they're currently enjoying.

The Padres rode a great pitching performance by Chris Young to a 6-1 win over the San Francisco Giants this afternoon, completing a series sweep.

The 6'10" Young pitched seven strong innings giving up just an unearned run on four hits, he didn't walk a batter and struck out seven. On the other side of things, Giants' starter Tim Lincecum has had two consecutive bad outings. Lincecum gave up four runs on a career high ten hits, he walked three and struck out five through five and one-third innings.

Like the last few wins for the San Diego Padres, it was the offense that has picked up their pitchers. In the third, after an Adrian Gonzalez RBI single, left-fielder Chase Headley would hit his 2nd home-run in as many days, a 2-run shot that landed in the short porch in right field, giving the Padres a 3-0 lead.

Leading the Padres' offensive charge was Nick Hundley. The 25-year old catcher finished with his best performance as a major leaguer, going 4-for-4 with an RBI single in the 7th inning. Luis Rodriguez with add 2 RBI's of his own, both coming on sacrifice flies in the 6th and 7th innings.

The San Diego Padres will ride their 4-game win streak into New York as they will help the New York Mets open their brand new ballpark, Citi Field, on Monday night. Game one of their three game set is scheduled to start at 7:10pm, but with all the ceremonies and festivities, I wouldn't expect the first pitch to be thrown until sometime around 7:30 - 7:45pm EST.

The rotation will look a little different during this three game set as well. Tonight, the Padres will have Walter Silva on the hill (0-0, 3.60 ERA) while the Mets will counter with Mike Pelfrey (1-0, 7.20 ERA). Game two match up will be Kevin Correia against former Padre Oliver Perez and in game three, Jake Peavy will be back on the hill for San Diego against Mets' right-hander John Maine.

Silva is coming off an impressive start against the Los Angeles Dodgers, giving up two runs on five hits, he walked four and struck out one through five innings of work.

Pelfrey, on the other hand, didn't have quite the success that Silva did although Pelfrey did pick up a win. The Mets' right-hander would give up four runs on five hits, walked four and struck out two through his five innings of work in a 9-7 win over the Cincinnati Reds on April 8th.

Henry Blanco's Two-Homer Game Leads Padres Past Giants

If you couldn't tell how much chemistry Jake Peavy has with catcher Henry Blanco, it was certainly evident last night.

The San Diego Padres' right-hander pitched 8 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on seven hits while striking out ten, not to mention he didn't walk a batter all night as Peavy would pick up his first win of the season in a 6-3 Padres' victory.

His catcher, former Cub Henry Blanco, wouldn't allow Jake to steal the show. With the game scoreless in the third inning, Blanco would get his first home-run of the season giving the Padres a 1-0 lead. In the home half of the 5th inning, game tied at 1-1, Blanco made sure Giants' starter Jonathan Sanchez remembered his name as Blanco sent a fastball into the upper deck in left field giving the Padres a 2-1 lead. Later that inning, with the bases loaded, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez gave the knockout punch with a bases clearing double for a 5-2 lead.

For Jake Peavy, it was his 28th career start in which he finished with double-digit strikeouts. You can also tell that Peavy enjoys the chemistry that he shares with his catcher. "I think communication is the big thing. I spent a lot of time talking about what I do to be successful. He's as good as anyone I've been with talking about before the game and going out and executing. We really do follow pitch-by-pitch what we want to do."

It also didn't hurt that the Padres gave Peavy the run support that they didn't give him in his first start against the Los Angeles Dodgers. After their third straight win last night, the momentum is certainly there, it's how they carry it into each and every game that is going to be the most important. The rotation has been better than expected, the bullpen has given up just three runs in their 16 innings of work thus far and closer Heath Bell is 3-for-3 in save chances. Things are going the right way for this team, how the rest of the season goes is yet to be seen.

The San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres will be back at it again tonight from Petco Park. The Giants will have young ace Tim Lincecum on the hill tonight against Padres' right-hander Chris Young.

Padres Sign Chad Gaudin

Just hours after the San Diego Padres defeated the San Francisco Giants for the 2nd straight night, Padres' General Manager Kevin Towers added yet another reliever to their bullpen.

The Padres signed 26-year old Chad Gaudin to a minor league contract after he was released by the Chicago Cubs on April 6th.

Gaudin really struggled during Spring Training with the Cubs, allowing 19 earned runs on 26 hits in just 16 2/3 innings. They will still owe him $1.2 million of his $2 million salary in 2009.

The Cubs had obtained Gaudin in the trade that sent Rich Harden to Oakland. Gaudin was 4-2 with a 6.26 ERA in 24 appearances for the Cubs in 2008. He has a career record of 28-25 and a 4.45 ERA in the Major Leagues.

Why The San Diego Padres Could Win The NL West

So the headline caught your attention, as it would a lot of baseball fans, especially those that are fans of teams in the National League's Western Division. A division that, and maybe rightly so, has been called the weakest division in baseball over the past few years. Well, regardless of whether or not that's true, it makes it a much more interesting race as October draws nearer.

All the talk at the beginning of the 2009 season was about the Los Angeles Dodgers and how they were the odds on favorite to win the division. Well, not to steal a line from ESPN College Gameday's own Lee Corso but, "not so fast my friend." Could the San Diego Padres possibly make a run at the Dodgers in 2009? I think they can and I believe they will.

After a 2008 season that saw the San Diego Padres lose 99 games, Padres' General Manager Kevin Towers knew that they would have to make some changes if they were going to improve on that record and make sure they didn't have a season like that again. It didn't start the way he or the team had hoped with all the rumors swirling around ace Jake Peavy and his possible trade to a team like Atlanta or Chicago. Just as it looked like Peavy might be headed to the Cubs, negotiations broke off and Peavy remained in San Diego.

As Spring Training began, there were more questions than answers. The rotation was anything but set, the bullpen had more holes than a golf course fairway after I've played and the Trevor Hoffman era would come to an end after 15 seasons when the team elected not to re-sign the long time closer. So where would Kevin Towers turn and who could he possibly bring in to fill those holes?

As spring wore on, the team began to take shape, new faces started to emerge and the roster was widdled down until there were down to their official 25-man roster as Opening Day was just a few days away. New faces like David Eckstein, Duaner Sanchez, Walter Silva and Kevin Correia would try and put the Padre fans at ease, try to prove that they could help this team win.

It wouldn't take long for any of those guys to make their presence known. Eckstein has already had a few key hits, especially in a come from behind victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 9th when the team rallied from 3-1 down to win 4-3.

Duaner Sanchez has done his job out of the bullpen, having yet to give up a hit in either of his two appearances.

Walter Silva made his first start for the Padres on April 8th against the Dodgers and would be equally as impressive, pitching five strong innings giving up two runs on five hits but getting a no decision in a 5-2 loss.

Kevin Correia would make his own mark in his first start as a Padre against the San Francisco Giants. Although he struggled with his command at times, he still kept the Padres within striking distance of the Dodgers and it eventually led to their come from behind 4-3 victory over the Dodgers. Correia would go six innings giving up three runs on five hits and striking out five.

The one thing that this Padres team lacked over the last few seasons has been their offense. Leaving runners in scoring position, not getting the timely hits when they needed them and not giving their pitchers any run support. Through their first three games, it looked like it was going to be the same old story, but a come from behind victory over the Dodgers and two straight wins over the Giants and it looks like they have a new found confidence.

There's no doubt that Jake Peavy and Chris Young will anchor the Padres' rotation, but when guys like that have the confidence to pitch six or seven innings,getting run support from their offense, lights out pitching from bullpen guys like Duaner Sanchez, Cla Meredith and new closer Heath Bell, it could make the Padres a team to be reckoned with in 2009.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Padres-Giants: Padres jump on Zito early, beat Giants 7-3

The San Diego Padres wasted no time getting their offense going against Giants' left-hander Barry Zito, scoring three runs in the home half of the first inning including an RBI double from right-fielder Brian Giles and an RBI single from third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff.

Zito would only last four innings, giving up four runs on seven hits, walking two and striking out four as the Padres outlasted the Giants, and a 51-minute rain delay, for a 7-3 win at Petco Park.

The two teams were in the sixth inning with a light rain already falling, but that light rain turned into a downpour and the teams were ordered off the field with the Padres leading 4-2.

In the eighth inning, against Giants' reliever Merkin Valdez, Scott Hairston provided the knockout punch as he hammered a hanging slider for a three-run homer to dead center. Hairston would be responsible for four of the teams seven runs in their victory.

Another new Padre pitcher would impress as well. Shawn Hill, who the Padres signed after being released by the Washington Nationals, pitched five strong innings giving up two runs on seven hits, walking one and striking out three. After Hill departed after the fifth inning, the Padres' bullpen would shut down the Giants through the remaining four innings. They would allow just one hit and one run (unearned), walking two and striking out two.

In 2008, the Padres' bullpen was shaky at best, you never knew what you might see from them. That has all changed in 2009 with new additions like Duaner Sanchez, who's yet to give up a hit in his two relief appearances. It has given manager Bud Black a whole lot more confidence in going to his bullpen in tight situations and close leads. He knows they'll get the job done.

The two teams will be back at it tonight from Petco Park. The Giants will have left-hander Jonathan Sanchez on the hill, the Padres will counter with their ace Jake Peavy. Jake will be looking for the kind of run support they didn't give him in his first start against the Dodgers. Look for him to have a big game tonight and look for the Padres to carry their confidence over and keep their momentum.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Padres-Dodgers: Adrian, Edgar Gonzalez lead Padres to victory

The Padres have come up with late inning heroics before, but it didn't look like it was going to come this afternoon. With the Padres trailing 3-1 heading into the home half of the eighth, it seemed the Padres were going to mail it in, having only scored 1 run on three hits, two of those coming off the bat of 2nd baseman David Eckstein.

That's when the drama started, the comeback began and the Gonzalez brothers stepped to the plate. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez got things started, hammering a 2-2 fastball deep into the left field seats to pull the Padres to within one run. Two batters later, older brother Edgar Gonzalez tripled to right-center before being replaced by pinch runner Everth Cabrera who would score on a Nick Hundley single to left, tying the ballgame.

By the time the inning ended, the Padres had taken a 4-3 lead thanks to an RBI double from third baseman Luis Rodriguez. But the drama wasn't over then.

Out sprinted Padres' closer Heath Bell to try and close out the game and the win for the San Diego Padres. It didn't start the way he hoped, giving up a leadoff triple to Orlando Hudson. Bell would re-group, getting Manny Ramirez to ground out and leaving Hudson at third. He would intentionally walk Andre Ethier, electing to face Dodgers' catcher Russell Martin.

Bell got the better of the match up, getting Martin to ground into a game ending double play, sending the Padre fans home happy and salvaging a series split.

Padres' starter Kevin Correia and Dodgers' starter Clayton Kershaw were impressive, both however would get no decisions.

Correia would pitch six strong, giving up three runs on five hits, walking four and striking out five. Kershaw would go five innings, giving up one run on three hits, he also walked four and struck out five Padre batters.

Up next for the Los Angeles Dodgers, they will travel to Phoenix, AZ for a three game series, to take on the Arizona Diamondbacks who had today off after losing two of three at home to the Colorado Rockies.

For the San Diego Padres, they will remain at home as they welcome in the San Francisco Giants for a three game set. New Padre starter Shawn Hill is expected to make his San Diego debut Friday night against Giants' left-hander Barry Zito.