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?