Friday, May 1, 2009

Padres-Dodgers: Costly Error Leads to Padres Loss

After everything seemed to be going right for the San Diego Padres to start the 2009 season, it's all come crashing down around them.

The Padres had won 9 of their first 13 games and looked to be one of the biggest surprises of the season, but going into their game against the Dodgers on Thursday night, the Padres had dropped six of their last eight games and were hoping to get back on the right track.

Padres' starter Josh Geer didn't have the greatest start for San Diego, giving up four runs, three of which came on back-to-back home runs from Orlando Hudson, a two run shot, and Manny Ramirez, on seven hits and striking out four without walking a batter in six innings of work. He would depart with the Padres behind 4-3, but an RBI double by Adrian Gonzalez and fielder's choice groundout by Kevin Kouzmanoff put the Padres ahead 5-4, putting Geer in line for the win if their bullpen could hang on.

That lead would be short lived. Padres' reliever Luke Gregerson came on in the seventh and promptly gave up back-to-back singles to Matt Kemp and Casey Blake and would then face former Padre second baseman Mark Loretta. Loretta made his former team pay, lining a game tying RBI single to right center, scoring Matt Kemp.

After getting Rafael Furcal to strikeout, Orlando Hudson would single to right. Right fielder Brian Giles came up throwing but the ball not only got past catcher Nick Hundley but also pitcher Luke Gregerson, who was backing up the play, allowing Casey Blake to score the go ahead run.

Gregerson stayed in the game just long enough to intentionally walk Manny Ramirez, who had homered earlier in the game, and then would be replaced by Edward Mujica who got Andre Ethier to ground into an inning ending double play.

The Dodgers would get to Mujica in the eighth inning, getting an RBI double from Matt Kemp and RBI single from Casey Blake to put them even further ahead, 8-5.

In the ninth, the hard throwing Jonathan Broxton would come in and after allowing a lead walk to outfielder Scott Hairston would strike out Adrian Gonzalez and Chase Headley looking and Kevin Kouzmanoff swinging to end the game and finish off his seventh save in eight chances.

For the Padres, it's another of many frustrating games they've been through. They've gotten the offensive output, something they didn't get in 2008, but it's been their starters and their bullpens that have give up leads or given up too many runs for their offense to overcome.

General Manager Kevin Towers is going to have to make some changes to their bullpen because besides closer Heath Bell, the rest of their guys just aren't getting it done. After the Padres' bullpen posted an 2.52 ERA in their first twelve games, they've posted a 6.87 ERA in the last ten games, a stretch that has seen this team go from 9-3 to 11-11, a 2-8 record.

In that same ten day stretch, the bullpen has given up 26 earned runs in 25 2/3 innings.

A change that did happen last night was right fielder Brian Giles being moved from the number three spot in the lineup to the leadoff spot after struggling to a .169 average going into the last night's game. That change didn't help much as Giles went hitless (0/3) for the third straight game, dropping his average down to .163.

If this continues, the Padres may look to Triple-A Portland and move Giles to reserve outfielder role until they can either trade him or place him on waivers.

The Padres and Dodgers will be back at it tonight from Dodger Stadium. Padres' ace Jake Peavy (2-3, 5.74) will try to rebound from two straight bad outings against a team he usually dominates.

The Dodgers will counter with Clayton Kershaw (0-2, 7.29) who the Padres dealt with earlier in the season and were handcuffed. Kershaw held the Padres to just one run through five innings, giving up just two hits while striking out six.

Additional Padre notes: Adrian Gonzalez extended his hit streak to twelve straight games with a single in the top half of the second inning. He's now reached base safely in all 22 games.

No comments: