Sunday, April 20, 2008

Twice Snake Bitten, Once Shy; Astros On Deck

This Just In: The Diamondbacks are good...real good. They hold the best record in baseball and their offense has scored more runs than any other team in the NL. That offense showed up on the first two days of this series, scoring 9 runs on Friday (including 6 in the first inning off Maddux, more on that in a second) and 10 runs on Saturday. To compound the problem was the sudden and drastic power outage that the Padres were facing. Being shutout on Friday 9-0 marked 17 straight innings without scoring a run (dating back to Thursday's 13th inning.)

As mentioned above, Maddux gave up 6 runs in the first inning. The Diamondbacks continually give the future Hall of Famer fits, as they continue to be the only team in which Maddux has a losing record against. That being said, Maddux deserves a ton of credit. As we wrote here at LCB and was blogged and reported about throughout the country, the Padres played 22 innings the night before, using nearly everyone in their bullpen. Maddux on Friday pitched 7 innings and threw 113 pitches (when was the last time he did that?). Did he give up 9 runs? Yes. Did he take one for the team though? Absolutely. And for that he deserves a ton of credit.

We won't mention the grand total of 3 hits that backed Maddux up.

CY got the start Saturday and frankly deserved a better fate. 6 innings and only gave up 2 runs. For that he was rewarded with a no decision and ultimately a 10-3 loss for the Padres. This belies a larger issue, the bullpen. Currently, the bullpen ranks 16th out of 16 in the NL, after finishing first in the NL a year ago in bullpen ERA. And for the second time in a week, the Padres bullpen turned a close game into a laugher in the manner of an inning. (Colorado lead 3-2, won 10-2 and then Saturday).

Get away day Sunday! Randy Wolf may go down as the pickup of the winter for Kevin Towers. Another great start for Wolf on Sunday, working into the 7th inning and giving up 4 runs. More importantly, the bats came to life:

- G'Day! Justin Huber got his first HR of his career, a 3-run shot off of Randy Johnson.

- The Padres have to figure out a way to get Calix Crabbe in the lineup. For a team sorely lacking in speed, Crabbe is a legit burner on the base paths.

- Hard to put a price on how important AGon is to this lineup. The guy just rakes.

- 9 runs is a new season high for runs scored in a game. Let's hope for more of the same in Houston.

The Jim Edmonds Situation

There is no reason, whatsoever, that Jim Edmonds should EVER hit 5th in this lineup. I don't fully know what the answer is, but I'm pretty confident that Edmonds is not it. At the plate he is a shell of his former self and frankly, looks lost in center.

Now there aren't a lot of options to fix this outfield problem. Hairston has come back down to earth and it seems that the book on Hairston's affinity to fastballs is out. Huber and Crabbe, while having nice games on Sunday, are likely not everyday options. That leaves the original option from spring: Chase Headley.

Chase Headley in Portland: .230 BA and 1 HR so not exactly raking it.

Chase Headley in Spring: .349 BA with 4 HR in 43 AB's so he CAN rake.

Maybe he's not ready, but the Padres are, and there's little time left for them to continue to watch Edmonds struggle. Moving Hairston or Crabbe into Center and giving Headley a chance in LF is the right move...considering there really are no other moves.

The Padres head to Houston for a quick 2 game series against the struggling Astros.

Final notes: Clay Hensley is set to begin a rehab start at Single A; the Padres, at 9-10, are below .500 for the first time since 2006. I might add though, that being above .500 all of 2007 got the Padres to Game 163 and that's it. In 2006, the Padres won the West, so maybe this isn't the bad omen it's made to seem like.

See you in Houston! Bring your birth certificates!

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