Thursday, July 5, 2007
When Players and Coaches Can't Get it Right, Ask the Fans
Chris Young Heading to San Fran
It took 4.5 million votes, daily campaigning by his All-Star Teammates Jake Peavy and Trevor Hoffman and a little common sense to elect Chris Young to the All-Star Game today. In MLB's now traditional "Final Vote" competition (to elect the final player to each leagues team), Chris Young prevailed today, beating out Cubs Pitcher Carlos Zambrano.
Chris Young had a chance to make a lasting impression on Wednesday night as he got the start against the Marlins. Consider the message delivered loud and clear. Chris Young pitched 7 innings on Wednesday, giving up 5 hits, 0 runs and striking out 9. Chris Young lowered his now league leading ERA to 2.00 (lower currently than fellow All-Star Jake Peavy).
The Padres had gone all out throughout the week in an attempt to get Chris Young elected. It got to the point that even Chris Young's competition for the Final Vote thought he should get in. Carlos Zambrano said on Tuesday that he was surprised that Chris Young wasn't named to the team and believed he deserved it. So, on behalf of Left Coast Bias, congrats to Chris Young! A well deserved first, and hopefully the beginning of many more, All-Star selections!
The Padres dropped a 3-2 game to the Marlins this afternoon to split the four game series against the Fish. The most telling, and troubling, aspect of this series is unfortunately a common tale. The offense. Or, better put, the lack of offense. The Padres dropped today's game while racking only 3 hits. Padres 3-5 hitters went 0 for 10 today with 7 strikeouts. And who was pitching this Cy Young like game against the Friars. Byung Hyun Kim, who with his 4.50 ERA and 47 to 36 strikeout to walk ratio looked more Bob Gibson than Kim. A pitcher known this year for an inability to find the strike zone was made the benefit of over anxious hitters. The Padres, outside of Brian Giles, continue to swing at first pitches and bad pitches. Today's game was no different.
The Padres are also struggling to hit with runners in scoring position with an overall team batting average of .241, good enough for 29th out of 30 MLB teams and a slugging percentage of .388, good enough for 26th. Hardly numbers one expects to see from a first place team.
The lack of hitting leads to the Padres playing close games. Many close games. That leads to pressure on the pitchers, requiring the Padres pitchers to be perfect every time out due to lack of run support. Jake Peavy was the latest victim of this offense today, giving up 3 runs in 7 innings. Hardly Peavy-like numbers, but 3 runs qualifies as a quality start and usually translate to wins. In Peavy's last 4 starts he has gone 1-2 with a no decision. Peavy gave up 3 earned runs to the Red Sox on 6/24, a game in which the Padres slugged out 2 runs. Peavy gave up only 1 run 5 days ago in L.A against Brad Penny while the Padres mustered only 1 run. The Padres went on to win this game in extra-innings, a position they wouldn't have been in had it not been for Peavy. And then there was today, where the Padres had an outburst of 3 hits. On the 4th of July the Padres won a 1-0 game, thanks to an error in the 9th to score the winning, and only, run.
This is a recipe for more disappointment in October. Michael Barret has added some offense and eventually the Padres will add Milton Bradley to the lineup. Will that be enough? Hard to say. The lineup is slumping, most noticed by Adrian Gonzalez, the Padres best pure hitter, who has hit a serious slump. In the last 10 games, Adrian has 4 hits...total. That's a 4 for 39 slump.
Moving Brian Giles to the leadoff spot has helped, providing a base runner every few innings. But free swinging and too many strikeouts is making that move moot.
For many of these hitters, the All-Star break can't come soon enough. Here's hoping for more offense in the second half!!!
Atlanta comes into town for yet another reunion of Greg Maddox with his former team. This three game set ends the first half for the Padres.
Chris Young dropped his appeal and began serving his suspension today for the fight against Derrek Lee.
We are within a month of Tony Gwynn being inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame!!!