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Padres Hunt for October

Discussion in 'All Other Sports' started by rexy2006, Sep 3, 2007.

  1. rexy2006

    rexy2006 Well-Known Member

    Dec 17, 2005
    Padres are currently on the front page of the ESPN MLB page:
    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/index "HOT TO TROT"

    Monday, September 3, 2007
    Padres hitters breaking out the heavy lumber

    <HR width="100%" noShade SIZE=1>
    By Jerry Crasnick

    PHOENIX -- Changing hitting coaches in the quest for an offensive upgrade seems like a knee-jerk move at best and classic scapegoating at its worst. If your team is looking for cosmetic change, why not just mow the infield grass a little lower or replace the silverware on the postgame food spread?

    When the San Diego Padres fired Merv Rettenmund on July 31 and replaced him with Wally Joyner, they weren't looking for a cure-all -- just a little more energy and a different voice.

    <TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR><TD width=5 rowSpan=2><SPACER height="1" width="5" type="block"></TD><TD width=275>[​IMG]</TD></TR><TR><TD width=275>[FONT=verdana, arial, geneva]Brian Giles circled the bases twice Monday night, hitting home runs in his first two at-bats.[/FONT]</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

    Rettenmund, a popular, veteran instructor and organizational good soldier, was slowed by a bout of mononucleosis in the spring. As the Padres labored to score runs in April, May and June -- losing to Colorado's Aaron Cook on a 74-pitch complete game at their nadir -- people around the team could see the strain of the job beginning to weigh on him.

    "Merv did everything he could," manager Bud Black said. "We just felt at the time that it might be a good thing to get a different perspective on a few offensive issues."

    In hindsight, San Diego's offensive resurgence has had more to do with Milton Bradley, Brian Giles, Adrian Gonzalez and the men swinging the bats than the guy standing behind the cage dispensing tips. But if there's such a thing as coach-player synergy, the Padres have it in abundance.

    The Padres put a new twist on the art of punctuation Monday, beginning their big three-game series against Arizona with an exclamation point. They beat up on Micah Owings with four early homers, handed things over to Greg Maddux and the bullpen, and blew out the Diamondbacks 10-2 before a Labor Day crowd of 30,531 at Chase Field.

    The NL West race, which until recently looked about as disheveled as Eric Byrnes' toiletry bag, is developing a semblance of order. The Padres have won four of their last five meetings with Arizona to take a one-game lead in the division. The Diamondbacks, 5-10 in their last 15 games, can now look down and see Los Angeles lurking just three games behind in the wild-card chase.

    And the Padres, officially in "seize the day" mode, are giving serious thought to pitching staff ace Jake Peavy on three days' rest in the series finale Wednesday. Peavy is 8-0 with a 1.22 ERA on the road this season, so that's not a welcome development for the Arizona hitters.

    "He's throwing as good now as he has in his career," general manager Kevin Towers said of Peavy, who's 16-5 with a 2.10 ERA.

    Of course, if the Padres keep hitting like this, they can pitch Lance McCullers and Frank Seminara in the next two games and it might not make a difference. Consider:

    • In August, the Padres ranked third in the major leagues in extra-base hits behind Atlanta and Pittsburgh and seventh in OPS at .816.

    • Giles, providing the spark at leadoff, went deep twice off Owings on Monday, including a mammoth 427-foot shot to right center field. After hitting two homers in the first four months, Giles has gone deep eight times since Aug. 10.

    • Since an 18-11 victory over Houston on July 29, the Padres are hitting .307 on the road. They've scored 105 runs in their last 15 games away from Petco Park.

    The Padres, as everybody knows, have been conflicted about Petco Park since Phil Nevin pronounced the place "Barry Bonds proof" and labeled the spacious right field gaps "ridiculous" in the spring of 2004. To this day, no one can say for sure whether Nevin or former Padres teammate Ryan Klesko hated the place more.

    San Diego's hitters have since reached an uneasy truce with their home park. The Padres are 171-143 at Petco, and San Diego's hitters know the team derives an advantage from the pitchers' comfort zone at home. But the place is still a stat killer no matter how you look at it.

    "If you put the best lineup in baseball in our park, the numbers would be bad," Gonzalez said. "When we get on that plane out of San Diego, every hitter is a happy hitter."

    Gonzalez, San Diego's resident hammer, was bad regardless of venue during an extended slump earlier this summer. He hit four home runs in 201 at-bats in June and July.

    In hindsight, Gonzalez attributes his problems to paralysis caused by overthinking. If a pitch was outside, he was intent on hitting it the opposite way. If it was inside, he was intent on pulling it. In his desire to go with the pitch, he had become almost robotic in his approach.

    "Before you know it, things aren't happening because there's too much going on," Gonzalez said. "I'm just kind of a dumb hitter right now. I go up there and say, 'If I get the fastball, I'm going to try and get the head out.' That's all."

    <!-- PULL-QUOTE (BEGIN) -->[​IMG] I'm just kind of a dumb hitter right now. I go up there and say, 'If I get the fastball, I'm going to try and get the head out.' That's all. [​IMG]

    --Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez

    <!-- PULL-QUOTE (END) -->
    Joyner, a Rettenmund protégé, adheres to many of the same mechanical tenets and philosophies as his predecessor, so the Padres haven't had to make much of an adjustment on that front.

    But Joyner does place special emphasis on what Towers calls a "patient-aggressive" approach -- urging his hitters to work deep into counts and wait for the right pitch before finding one they can drive.

    The Padres have also been impressed with Joyner's upbeat, enthusiastic demeanor.

    "When you play in our ballpark, it can drag on you," Gonzalez said. "I think it took its toll on Merv. When you bring in a new face, he hasn't seen that failure yet. Wally came in with that positive attitude -- that we're going to get it done. He gave us confidence."

    Ultimately, the Padres know they'll go as far as their pitching takes them. Peavy, Chris Young and Maddux are a potentially formidable threesome in a postseason series. And while the San Diego bullpen has had a few hiccups, it's still stronger than most relief contingents in baseball.

    It's the sight of all those Padres hitters tearing into balls and circling the bases that makes you wonder what's gotten into these guys lately. Giles, Gonzalez, Geoff Blum and Kevin Kouzmanoff all had a chance to work on their home run trots Monday.

    "I think we're gonna have the league in here tomorrow testing us," Blum joked.
  2. rexy2006

    rexy2006 Well-Known Member

    Dec 17, 2005
    <TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD class=yspsctnhdln>Peavy wants it now

    </TD></TR><TR><TD height=7><SPACER height="1" width="1" type="block"></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><STYLE type=text/css> td.yspwidearticlebody { font-size: 13.5px; }</STYLE><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD class=yspwidearticlebody>By Tim Brown, Yahoo! Sports
    September 3, 2007

    PHOENIX – Thirty minutes after Greg Maddux won for the first time in 11 career starts here, after the San Diego Padres moved into the National League West lead by themselves for the first time in two months, after they'd put a 10-2 beating on the Arizona Diamondbacks, their ace, Jake Peavy, nodded his head at the arguments against him risking fastball life and precious limb to pitch here Wednesday night.
    The Padres are winning again.
    He is pitching as well as he ever has.
    He is healthy.

    Nearly a month of games remain, all but eight against NL West opponents, none without significance.
    Peavy has pitched on three days' rest only once before, when his right arm was three years younger.
    So why alter the methods by which they have won eight of 11 games, and in three weeks have gone from five back to one up, all but burying the Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers, and just now getting started on the Diamondbacks?

    Peavy threw 99 pitches in seven innings Saturday against the Dodgers, allowed two hits, won his 16th game and lowered his ERA to 2.10. The wins and ERA lead the league.

    Now Peavy wants the ball back Wednesday against the Diamondbacks. The franchise pitcher wants a shot in this series, behind Maddux on Monday afternoon and Chris Young on Tuesday night, in the thick of the division race.

    General manager Kevin Towers and manager Bud Black are considering it. They are thinking of the example it would set in the clubhouse, they are struck by the conviction of Peavy's request and, of course, they wouldn't mind putting another game or two between themselves and the Diamondbacks.

    "You look at the situation, there are pros and cons," Peavy said. "It's a chance that needs to be taken. I'd love a chance to compete in this series, if that's the way it plays out. I'd love that chance."

    He bunched his shoulders in a tiny shrug, adding, "I don't think it's that big a deal."
    But, then, he wouldn't have asked. He wouldn't have Black and Towers weighing the issues of risk and reward, of allowing Peavy to be what he is – a pitcher who hungers for the big game.

    Peavy has it all worked out. He'd pitch Wednesday against the Diamondbacks, miss the Colorado series, then pitch next Tuesday night in Los Angeles, on five days' rest, granting him extra recovery time. The schedule also would have Peavy pitch against only NL West teams for the final four weeks.

    In first place by those five games on the morning of Aug. 19, the Diamondbacks have lost nine of 14 since. They've lost six of their last eight. In the past eight days, they are 1-4 against the Padres, and also lost a series in Colorado.

    Peavy views it, probably, as an opportunity to press the Padres' advantage. Their pitching staff is the best in the National League. Their rotation's top end – Peavy, Young, Maddux – is the best of the league's potential playoff teams. :tup:

    The idea here is to pitch the Diamondbacks as far out of the race as possible, just as Maddux did Monday, needing only 82 pitches to get into the seventh inning. And the idea is to take advantage of an offense that is generally limited, but over the past 2½ weeks has averaged six runs a game, and Monday afternoon hit five home runs, four against Diamondbacks starter Micah Owings.
    It is tempting, Black, the first-year manager and former pitcher, acknowledged. It is a rare thing to possess a pitcher of Peavy's talent and desire, only 26 years old, not just willing to take the ball, but insistent upon it.

    "He's getting to be 'a guy,' " Black said.
    A guy who batters don't want to face.
    A guy who dominates when he feels right, and simply wins when he doesn't.
    That kind of a guy.
    "This could be a situation where you do it," Black said. "We just want to make sure he's rested and feels good."

    Before Maddux outpitched Owings, the talk was of bringing Peavy back early if they needed to avoid a sweep. Afterward, the talk was of him pitching for a sweep, if it came to that.

    Black tried to stay out of the conversation most of the day, and did again before he left the clubhouse. He knows what Peavy wants. He also knows that Peavy's body sometimes needs to be protected from Peavy's purpose.

    "I think we're going to sleep on it," Black said.

    Peavy will be waiting.
    "I've got no problem with it," he said. "Guys did it all the time back in the day. And it's not like they're not asking me to be Superman. They're asking me to come back a day early."

    Of course, they're not asking him.
    He's asking them.

  3. BFISA

    BFISA Well-Known Member

    Nov 16, 2005
  4. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2005

    :tup: :tup: :tup:
  5. stone86

    stone86 Well-Known Member

    Sep 7, 2006

    It's been a long time coming too.
  6. rexy2006

    rexy2006 Well-Known Member

    Dec 17, 2005
    Some GOOD news from the Padres website, dated 9-5-07:

    Friars notes: The Padres saw their streak of having allowing 32 consecutive steals end Tuesday when catcher Josh Bard threw out Chris Snyder on the back end of a double steal. The Padres allowed five stolen bases in the game. The 32 consecutive steals broke the franchise record of 29 set last season (June 29-July 18). ... Two of the Padres' Minor League teams -- San Antonio and Lake Elsinore -- started the playoffs on Wednesday. ... Black said that outfielder Scott Hairston, on the disabled list since Aug. 10 with a strained oblique muscle, could play as soon as this weekend in Denver. Second baseman Marcus Giles, on the disabled list since Aug. 25 with a left knee sprain, could play as soon as Sunday. :tup:
  7. rexy2006

    rexy2006 Well-Known Member

    Dec 17, 2005
    Only available for PH/running duties.

    Padres activate OF Hairston from disabled list

    September 8, 2007
    DENVER (AP) -- The San Diego Padres activated outfielder Scott Hairston from the 15-day disabled list on Saturday.
    Hairston has been out since Aug. 10 with a strained left oblique muscle. Manager Bud Black said that Hairston will be available as a pinch hitter or runner Saturday night.
    However, he may not start until later in the week.
    "It's all about having the mental confidence to go along with the physical," Black said.
    Hairston is hitting .400 with three home runs for the Padres since being acquired from Arizona for minor league pitcher Leo Rosales on July 27.
    Updated on Saturday, Sep 8, 2007 7:39 pm, EDT

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