The offense was great and combined with clean defense (no errors!) and solid pitching, this was by far the best played game of the young season. Luebke pitched 7 innings, scattering 7 hits and gave up just one run, showing signs of being the true ace of the staff, and worthiness of his spring training contract extension. Andrew Cashner came in the game in the 8th inning , and after giving up a walk and a hit, settled down and got out of the inning, before Micah Owings closed out the game with 9 pitches, 8 of them for strikes while collecting 2 strikeouts. A solid performance all around from a team looking for them.
Its good seeing Nick Hundley turn it on. After starting the season 0 for 21, he is now 4 for his last 6. Chase Headley has hit safely in 8 straight games, as his three hits, all doubles raised his average to .263, his slugging to .553. These are the veterans that the Padres need to be able to count on. The rest of the team needs to contribute, and today they all did. The strikeouts were at a minimum (3 tonight, 2 for Cameron Maybin, and 1 for Andy Parrino) which is encouraging. After collecting 18 K's on Saturday the night, the team has 8 combined over the last 2 games, with two players (Maybin, Jesus Guzman) the main culprits with 3 each. Alot of positives to build on today. Perhaps the biggest positive? NO ORLANDO HUDSON IN THE STARTING LINEUP!!!!!
It's no secret my disdain for O-Dog. I was initially excited to have him come to the Padres, but whether slowed by injury or just getting old, he's not the same player he once was. He has started the season hitting .113 and has just one BB in 35 AB. Alarmingly low for a player who on his career walked once per 10 AB. It's early, and maybe he can turn it around, but I'm losing faith that he will. Okay, I've lost faith. I know its a small sample size but he also has 8 strikeouts and 3 GiDPs. Its assumed he will kill any rally the Padres attempt. Parrino may not be the answer, but I just think I'd like to see him play and bring up Everth Cabrera, while the Padres do something reminiscent of last year when they released Jorge Cantu.
Speaking of veteran hitters signed in the off season, Mark Kotsay came off the DL today. Kotsay played for the Padres from 2001-03, and in his 15 year career has a .278/.335/.410 slash line. Most recently he played for the Milwaukee Brewers where he posted a line of .270/.329/.373. Clearly on the down swing of his career with numbers below his career while playing in a hitters haven, I'm not sure how I feel about Kotsay. After seeing some failed experiments lately with Cantu and Brad Hawpe, I'm a bit skeptical, but I hold out hope. He is by all accounts a good clubhouse guy, perhaps the anti-dote to Hudson. I would imagine he is expected to fill a pinch-hit part time playing role like Matt Stairs did for the Padres in 2010. Here's hoping!
To clear the roster space for Kotsay, Brad Brach was optioned to AAA Tucson to clear a roster spot. Brach pitched in 5 games, with 5.1 IP, posting an ERA of 5.01 while walking 7 and striking out 3. The kid does have some good stuff but some control issues early (combined with the end of 2011) shows he has some work to do. Good luck kid and get back here. The move apparently surprised some Padres fans. Many had thought that lefty Aussie Josh Spence would be sent back down, while some were, perhaps irrationally, hoping Edinson Volquez would be sent down.
I initially called this thought absurd, but I did approach with an open mind. The person's argument was that our bullpen seems thin, and that this depleted it further. While I agree with that assessment, we are missing 2 of our starting pitchers and really can't afford having a third one being sent down to save the bullpen, particularly with top prospect Casey Kelly being sent to San Diego for an MRI and evaluation of a sore elbow that has him on the minor league 7 day DL. In the course of discussion, I continued to think about it, and when Stauffer comes back who do I really want to see pitching? I still think Volquez has good stuff, but he needs to cut down on the walks and work deeper into games. If Wieland and Bass continue to build on their performances, Volquez could become expendable, particularly if he doesn't improve. Those are, at this time, ifs though. Right now Volquez would be in my starting five however you cut it, but I am approaching with an open mind. I may do more research into the stats and repertoire that each starting pitcher candidate has, but I might give it a few weeks to get a better sample.
A good day, with lively discussion of topics from Dale Scott, to Padres Pitching, and even better with a win. Thanks for reading..Until next time , Keep the Faith!