2011 is officially over, and 2012 has begun. With that comes a new beginning to the San Diego Padres season. We’ve said our goodbyes to Heath Bell, Jed Hoyer and Mat Latos, and we’ve welcomed Huston Street, Carlos Quentin, Edinson Volquez and of course, Mark Kotsay. There still might be some moves to be made, but it’s time to put the business aside and get down to the game.
We are about three months away from Opening Day.
As usual, I look ahead to the season with excitement, but also a lot of questions.
Are we going to hit? Is our rotation going to be okay? How’s the bullpen going to pan out? Will we still have Anthony Rizzo by the start of the season? And when will the Padres sign Kevin Kouzmanoff already? (He’s currently a free agent.)
Truth is, I have no idea how this team is going to look on Opening Day. I have a good idea of what players will be there, but there are a lot of new guys. I don’t know how well the team will play together or how strong of a team we’ll be.
I don’t think we’re going to do exceptionally well, but we might not do terribly either. It’s all up in the air right now. This year’s team is already looking a ton different from last year’s team.
As always, it’s going to be an adventure.
The Padres traded for Huston Street mere days after Heath Bell signed with the Marlins last week.
The former Oakland A and Colorado Rockie brings a more veteran presence to the Padres. He has been in the majors for seven years and has 178 saves. I think this is a great move by the Padres. I’m just glad we didn’t try to replace Heath with some minor league player.
But forget the numbers. This guy is CUTE. Yes, I did just do a Google search to see if he was single. Not that I’m interested or anything, it’s just weird to have an obsessive crush on a baseball player who is taken. (Kouz, as far as I can tell, is single. No, my obsession is not creepy.)
I’m not saying that this guy might become my new favorite player, since I have yet to see him close a game. But all signs point to a potential new favorite player for me.
I’ve been a Padres fan for about five years, and I’ve seen the team go from full of star players to no better than a minor league team. Those star players didn’t help out on the winning side, but the Padres were much more glamorous five years ago.
In the past five years, we’ve lost Jake Peavy, Trevor Hoffman, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Chris Young, Greg Maddux, Adrian Gonzalez, Khalil Greene, Brian Giles, Mike Adams and now finally Heath Bell.
The Padres don’t have any starpower anymore. You could probably argue for someone like Mat Latos or Nick Hundley, who have been here for a while, but they don’t have the kind of appeal Jake Peavy and Trevor Hoffman had when they were here. The organization has officially been left faceless. They have officially become a minor league team.
They’ve been playing like a minor league team long enough, and now our last real star player is gone, so that brings us down a level.
It’s so sad.
Then there’s another thing. We got rid of Mike Adams in July. Who on earth is going to close for us? At least we still have Luke Gregerson.
I say let’s bring back Trevor Hoffman. I’m sure he’s still got another season in him.
Well, Heath, we are going to miss you. Not only were you a decent closer, but you were a really entertaining guy. Best of luck with the Marlins and their strange-looking new uniforms.
Kouz has now been called up to the Rockies!!! Yay!!!! I’m really, really happy for my boy. It’s good to see that he’s going to finally get back in the majors. And guess what? We’re playing the Rockies next weekend at home. Oooohhh…an idea comes to mind. I need to go!
ANYWAY, the Padres won last night! It was so great. Gotta love beating the Giants. We won 7-5. The Giants tied the game 5-5 in the bottom of the eighth, but thankfully, we got two runs in the top of the ninth, and Heath Bell got the save.
Speaking of which. Heath Bell got placed on waivers yesterday, and the Giants claimed him today. I don’t think he’ll actually go over to them, but it would be kind of funny. No, not really. I love having Heath here. It would be really sad if he went away.
Tim Stauffer against Tim Lincecum tonight.
In all the Trevor Hoffman excitement yesterday, the actual game sort of flew under the radar. But it’s worth knowing about, because it was a seriously great game.
Cory Luebke started it, and he carried a no-hitter to the fourth inning with two outs, just like he did on his outing before (on Tuesday.) The no-hitter was broken up by the Marlins’ Mike Stanton hitting a solo home run in that fourth inning.
But rewind to the bottom of the first, with leadoff hitter Will Venable starting off the game. With a count of 2-0, he hit a solo home run to right field.
An out later, Cameron Maybin walked. An out after that, Orlando Hudson singled. Then Kyle Blanks doubled in both Maybin and Hudson for a 3-0 Padres lead.
Cory and the Padres cruised through the seven innings. Other than the home run, not much happened. The Padres did leave quite a few runners on base, but we had a solid lead and we’re feeling pretty good.
In the top of the eighth, the Marlins’ John Beck hit a sacrifice fly to move Florida within one run of a tie. Heath Bell came in because there were two outs, and got the final out.
Then the top of the ninth was when the craziness started. Heath Bell got two quick outs when Mike Cameron came to the plate. And. He. Hit. A. Freaking. Home. Run. I couldn’t believe it. I could not believe that he hit a solo home run to tie to game.
“You did not just do that,” I said over and over again. “You did NOT just do that.”
I was not happy. We were literally within one out of winning that stupid game and Mike came in and stole it away from us. Garrrr.
But then we got to the bottom of the ninth. Whew. Thank goodness for the bottom of the ninth.
Nick Hundley, who has been on fire since he came off the disabled list, hit a triple to lead off the inning. SOO exciting.
Then Edward Mujica, who was pitching for the Marlins, intentionally walked the next two hitters to load the bases (Logan Forsythe and Alberto Gonzalez.) We booed him, of course. I knew that it wouldn’t help him at all. Because guess who was coming to the plate? That’s right. Will Venable, the man who started off the game with a home run, was about to finish the game with another bang.
Single over the head of the right field. Nick Hundley scored. Padres win.
It was a great game. Even Heath blowing it gave us the opportunity to finish off the game with excitement. So everything turned out well in the end.
Yesterday was a great day to be a San Diego Padres fan. Thank you to the Padres organization for such a wonderful day at the ballpark.
The Padres have had a bad past two days.
Last night, we had a 8-6 lead when Heath Bell came in to get the save but instead gave up three singles, two wild pitches, and three runs to give the Mets a 9-8 come-from-behind walk-off win.
Then, tonight, Chad Qualls gave up a solo homer in the bottom of the eighth, and then Josh Spence gave up two runs to give the Mets a 5-4 lead and win.
Usually, our bullpen isn’t like this. And two fails two nights in a row? Unheard of.
Hopefully they can pull it back together for the last game of the series. Let’s not get swept!
Today is Trevor Hoffman’s 43rd birthday. This year was a big one for Trevor as he got his 600th save with the Brewers. But he only got 10 saves total this year, which was not that great. He blew a whole bunch and then was demoted from his role as closer. I think the years are finally catching up with him, but he’s still an amazing guy. He’s probably not going to be with the Brewers next season, so Padres, hint hint hint.
Sure, we probably won’t have him replace our Delivery Man of the Year, Heath Bell, but before Trev retires, he’s gotta come back to his Padres.
We love you, Trevor. Hope you have a day!!! And hey, come back to San Diego soon, yes?
Did you know that Mat Latos is leading the Majors in ERA? Not just the National League, but the Majors?? I just discovered this yesterday and thought, where on earth have I been? Mat Latos has been absolutely amazing, but I guess I didn’t realize just how amazing. He sure showed me last night.
I can’t say enough about Mat’s performance last night. It was totally amazing. He went seven innings, allowing one run on four hits with 10 strikeouts. His ERA is now 2.21. This guy has got to be at least in the running for the CY Young.
We didn’t do much on the offensive side, but we did get a sac-fly from Aaron Cunningham and a double from Adrian Gonzalez for our two runs. Thanks to the pitching, that was all we needed.
Heath Bell closed out the game and we won 2-1!
It was so good to be able to win another game after breaking the losing streak. It was one thing to win to stop the losing streak, but quite another to make sure that we would keep winning. It’s such a relief to have won the series and to have the chance for a sweep tonight!
Amazing job, Mat. You are incredible.
The kid Cory Luebke is pitching tonight against Chad Billingsley. It’s going to be intense.
GO FIRST-PLACE PADRES!!! SWEEP!!!!
After losing the series to Atlanta, we went into Pittsburgh, which was a really good move by the schedule makers. We needed to get back on track, and we did this weekend with a sweep of the Pirates.
Kevin Correia started the game on Friday, which was sweet. We got four runs in the top of the second, a great team effort. K-Cor allowed three runs, but it wasn’t a problem. Our pitching was super solid, so we won the game 5-3. Ernesto Frieri, Luke Gregerson, and Heath Bell threw three scoreless hittless innings. Amazing!
The second game was REALLY great because Mat Latos was back. He was put on the DL right before the All-Star game because of a side strain of some sort, but it was more of a roster move than a serious injury. It was really good to have him back! I love this guy 🙂 He went six innings, allowing two runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts. The two runs were actually solo home runs, which did break a pretty long streak of Mat’s without home runs, but that’s okay. It’s not the end of the world. Great outing by Mat.
Now the question is, how much longer can he pitch? The Padres really want to conserve his innings so that he doesn’t burn out to quickly. We want this guy to be our ace for a long time. But at the same time, we might be making a playoff run pretty soon. Do we let him keep pitching until then, or do we hold him back and wait until we really need him? I think if I were the Padres, I would let him keep pitching every fifth day, but give him an inning or pitch count limit. If he only went say, five innings every start, he could still stay sharp pitching-wise while saving some for later at the same time. I don’t think we can just shut him down and then start him up again when we go into the stretch. Anyways, it will be very interesting to see how the Padres deal with this.
‘Cause if you think about it, I want this guy when we’re in the playoffs. It’s definitely not like he’s the only starter who can actually pitch, but I like our chances when he’s out on the mound. Guys like Kevin Correia, Jon Garland, and Wade LeBlanc are doing their jobs very well, but having Mat is a huge bonus. If we’re going to win the NL West, I want Mat Latos on that roster. Make it happen, Padres.
The offense in that second game was great. We got nine runs, but they were all scored on singles, doubles, ground outs, or sac-flies. No big blast here. Adrian Gonzalez and Chase Headley each had two hits. Will Venable was walked twice and scored twice. Everth Cabrera and Oscar Salazar each drove in two runs.
We had a 42-minute rain delay. It was kind of funny because it was in the top of the eighth and we had the bases loaded with no outs. Talk about a threat. We ended up scoring five runs that inning.
We won the game 9-2, which was great. Especially after the Braves series, it was good to get the next series won right away.
The third game was great too. Wade LeBlanc started, going six innings, allowing three runs on eight hits. He didn’t walk any, though, and got two strikeouts.
The Pirates got two runs in the bottom of the second on a Ronny Cedeno home run. But in the top of the third, we struck back.
After Everth Cabrera lined out, Wade LeBlanc and Jerry Hairston Jr. singled. Chris Denorfia, who I’ll talk about later, doubled to drive them both in. Tie game. Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run homer, his 21st of the year. An out later, Yorvit Torrealba walked, stole second while Will Venable was batting, and scored on Will’s single. 5-2 Padres.
The Pirates got another run, but then we got another run. Chris Denorfia home run. That was all we needed. The offense, paired with amazing relief performances by Ryan Webb, Luke Gregerson, and Heath Bell, was enough for the sweep. Heath Bell got his 29th save of the year.
One thing I’ve really noticed this year is that our starting pitchers are not that bad with the bats. Kevin Correia drove in a run the other night, and Wade LeBlanc had two hits yesterday.
Kevin Correia: Four hits, three RBIs, four runs scored.
Jon Garland: Seven hits, one RBI, three runs scored.
Mat Latos: Six hits (including two doubles and a home run), three RBIs, three runs scored.
Wade LeBlanc: Nine hits, zero RBI, one run scored.
Clayton Richard: Six hits, five RBIs, three runs scored.
I don’t know about you, but these numbers really surprised me. I realized that they had done quite a bit of hitting, but I didn’t realize that it was this much. Amazing. Wow.
Now, Chris Denorfia. This guy has been seriously overlooked. I haven’t heard that much about him at all, but he’s been absolutely amazing for us this year. He’s hitting .287 with 39 hits and 23 RBIs. He’s contributed so much. I don’t think we would be here without him. Whoever decided to invite this guy to Spring Training is a genius.
Now we are coming home to face the Dodgers for three huge games. We’re actually playing them seven times in two weeks, which is going to be crazy. Never mind that the Dodgers are six games behind us. It’s the Dodgers. Petco Park is going to be crazy for the next three days.
Even though the Dodgers are like a million games behind us, I think this series is very essential. It’s not like they’re right on our heels and it’s a do-or-die series, but we’ve still gotta beat these guys. They’re our biggest rivals, and we need to beat the teams in our division. I don’t know if we’ll be able to sweep them, but two out of three sounds good. We need it.
GO FIRST-PLACE PADRES!!
Alright, we have a problem. Now that all the All-Star stuff is taken care of (Heath’s going…WHOO HOOO!!), we need to focus on the real goal: winning! Which we have not been doing against the Nationals. I think that absolutely stinks.
They are the Nationals. We are the first-place Padres. Do you see the problem here? The first-place Padres should have won the first two games of this series, but they didn’t. No, who won the first two games of the series were the last-place Nationals. Not good at all.
I don’t know what happened, really, but it seems to me like our pitching gave up a bunch of home runs. I think we gave up like four last night. We did hit three of our own, but still.
I don’t like to go into the details of losses like this, so I’m not, other to say that whatever wasn’t going right for the boys these past two days, they’d better get it going tonight. We’ve got a win to get.
We are one game away from getting our 50th win of the season. It’s about time that we get it.
So how are my boys doing, really? I just realized that I haven’t really talked about what’s going on with the players in a long time. I found out today that the Young family is about to have their second child, a boy. I haven’t heard any news from Chris in so long, and this is great news. Congrats to the Youngs!
More good news on Chris’ side. His throwing session yesterday went really well, so maybe, we’ll be able to see Chris out there on the mound sometime before the season ends.
Heath Bell is going to the All-Star game as a replacement for some guy from the Brewers. I am so happy! I’m sorry to say it, but I don’t know if we would have been able to get him there with the vote. We did put in a ton of votes for him and a lot of hard work, and we’ve been rewarded. I’m so happy for Heath! We need someone there to represent our amazing pitching staff, and who better than Heath Bell? I know he’s going to have a great time. Congrats Heath!
Tonight we’ve got Mat Latos going out there. He’d better have a great game! We really, really need to end this first half on a good note. How ’bout a sweep of the Rockies over the weekend? That would be great.
I’d like to point you guys out to a new book that’s coming out soon called, “What the Great Ate: A Curious History of Food and Fame”. It looks like a fascinating book, filled with anecdotes about food and famous people. You can check out some of the interesting stories about a few baseball players on the blog.
Well, big game against the Nationals tonight. We really really really need to win!!!
GO FIRST-PLACE PADRES!!!