Sunday, July 1, 2007
Only So Many 5 Run 9ths; Padres Forgotton for All-Star Game
Padres vs Dodgers
It is sometimes hard to say following a shutout loss to your rival, but, this was a pretty good weekend for the Friars. The Padres took 2 of 3 against Los Angeles this weekend, moving into sole possession of first place in the National League West with a 1 game lead over L.A. and a 1.5 game lead over Arizona. As for the series, is was what one would expect. Ultra-competitive with just a hint of September baseball in the air. The marquee matchup was Saturday night where Dodger ace Brad Penny went up against our man, Jake Peavy. The two pitched outstanding ballgames, both getting strikeouts when they had to have them. Notably, in the 7th and last inning for Peavy, with the bases loaded, Peavy struck out Saenz with a 94 mph to end the threat. In the end, neither pitcher would factor in the decision, both pitching 7 innings while giving up 1-run. Jose Cruz and Geoff Blum hit back-to-back doubles in the 12th to secure a 3-1 Padres win. Hoffman got the save, his 23 of the year. Peavy lowered his ERA to 2.09, behind only Brad Penny, and regained the National League in strikeouts with 119. Royce Ring picked up his first MLB win in this game.
While Saturday was the highlight matchup, the Padres also won on Friday, scoring 7 runs to take a 7-2 lead in a huge 6 run 4th inning. As it turned out, all 7 were needed, as the Padres gave 3 runs back in the 8th and another in the 9th.
As for Sunday, Germano suffered his second loss of the year while Billingsley pitched 3 hit ball over 7 innings, blanking the Friars.
Padres return home, alone in first, to take on Florida and Atlanta before the All-Star Break.
And speaking of that All-Star Game, the teams were announced today and predictably (and deservedly), Jake Peavy was named to the team. Now, seeing as the Padres are a first place team with the best record in the National League, one would imagine that Peavy would be followed to San Fran with a bevy of Friars. But, as is often the case in San Diego, the Padres were snubbed, as the only other Padres other than Peavy going to San Fran is Trevor Hoffman (at 23 saves already, a deserved spot). Which means that:
Chris Young with his 8-3 record and 2.14 ERA will not be attending. Instead, LaRussa took Cole Hamels who, while striking out many, is 9-4 with a 3.87 ERA. Nearly 2 full points above Chris Young.
Adrian Gonzalez with his .275 BA and 14 Home Runs and Gold Glove play will once again be watching from home. Instead, taking Derek Lee, who although hitting .346, has only 6 HR's and is 10 RBI's behind Adrian Gonzalez.
The downside to playing on the Left Coast. The upside? Rest, much needed for many players.
Look, I know the All-Star Game starters are picked by fans and to that end, its hard to get fans outside of San Diego to vote. Bigger markets, more people, more votes. But for reserves. That's picked by coaches, and coaches know better. They know how good this Padres team because they remember watching the Padres when the rolled in and took 2 of 3 from most of these coaches. Luckily, by October, the All-Star Game is a distant memory. Looking forward to it.
Milton Bradley was placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to June 21st, the last time he played. This is a somewhat expected move as Kevin Towers eluded to this weekend when discussing the trade with the A's.
Brian Giles was moved to the leadoff spot, a move I have said since last winter the Padres should make. No hitter on the Padres has better plate discipline, consistently makes contact, and is a smart (if not fast) base runner. The other plus is it moves Marcus to the more comfortable 2-hole for him. The Padres scored 7 runs in the first game with this configuration.
BEACH TOWEL DAY ON SATURDAY!!!
Some NL East teams come into Petco to close the first half of the season. Florida followed by Atlanta. Full reports on those series when they conclude.
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