Sunday, June 24, 2007
Meet Us in October
If this was a World Series preview then we are in for some competitive games come October. Boston took the rubber match at Petco Park today 4-2 with Josh Beckett out dueling Jake Peavy and becoming MLB's first 11-game winner in front of 44,000 plus. The much anticipated series with Boston provided three well played, competitive games with the unfortunate sidebar that San Diego came up short in 2 of the 3 games. I was lucky enough to be down at the game this afternoon and the atmosphere was unbelievable. Playoff atmosphere is the only way to describe it. And the Red Sox fans were out in full force, doing what they do best...being loud. There was a time, not to long ago, that the Red Sox were treated to taunts of "how many rings?" and other World Series "curse" taunts. It seems winning one World Series in the past 100 years gives a teams fan base carte blanch to repay the favor. Full disclosure here now. Today I was sitting next to two Red Sox fan's and both very pleasant, knowledgeable and genuinely fun to be around. That being said, the Red Sox fans were everything you would think they would be but now with cockiness. The line between Sox and Yankees blurs even further.
Enough of that. A great series, great atmosphere, and, although losing 2 of 3, showed the Padres belong in the World Series conversation. The Padres were never blown out and were in every game.
Game 1: Dice-K returns to the spot of his WBC MVP and championship and simply baffled the Padres batters. Greg Maddox was the tough luck loser in this game, giving up only 2 runs. Red Sox 2, Padres 1
Game 2: Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield didn't fool Padres batters as they put of a 6 spot. Most notably from this game, and most enjoyable, was the reception Doug Mirabelli received. As posted before, Mirabelli is not so liked here and Padres fans let him know it on Saturday night. His first time up the boo's were so loud he tried to call time. It wasn't granted and Young grooved a strike right down the heart of the plate. Two pitches later, Mirabelli was down on strikes. Maybe the most enjoyable moment of the weekend. Padres 6, Red Sox 1
Game 3: Marquee matchup of Peavy vs. Beckett (a pitching matchup you may see in a few weeks in San Francisco). Beckett got the best of Peavy today, going 8IP and giving up 2 runs. The Padres had chances, most notably in the 5th when they scored 2 runs but had the 3 (and at the time, tying run) on 3rd with 1 out but couldn't bring him home. Kouzmanoff missed tying the game in the 7th by about 3 feet, Varitek hit a BOMB and Papelbon did what Papelbon does. Red Sox 4, Padres 2
Some things to take away from this series:
-Royce Ring has been outstanding since being called up. In 4 games, Ring has giving up only 2 hits while striking out 8. Ring is a left hander, almost submarine pitcher with a killer curve that starts behind left-handed hitters. As the Padres are low on left handers, here's hoping Ring is up with the big club for awhile.
-The Padres pitching staff rose to the challenge of facing the best offense in baseball, holding the Red Sox to 7 runs in 3 games, but...
-The Padres offense was stifled, making 2 run deficits seem insurmountable.
-Brian Giles begins a Minor League rehab assingment Monday and if all things go well, Giles should be back for the Dodger series next weekend in L.A.
-Trevor Hoffman didn't get much work, finally coming into the 9th inning today in a non-save situation. Facing the Red Sox 2,3,4 hitters Hoffman recorded a 1,2,3 inning.
-Russell Branyon cannot be the starting left fielder much longer. He is a situational pinch-hitter.
-Adrian Gonzalez had a tough homestand, going 0 for 4 again today.
-Chris Young's first start since "the fight" was stellar, striking out 11 while only giving up 1 run, lowering his league leading home ERA to 0.98.
-Padres end interleague this year going 6-9.
The Padres return to the National League and return to Division play. Starting tomorrow the Padres are in San Francisco to visit with Bochy, Klesko and Roberts as the Padres take on the Giants. Next weekend San Diego goes up I-5 to L.A. to face the Dodgers