Sunday, June 24, 2007

Padres - Games 71 to 80

After 70 games, my Padres have a record of 41-29 (home 21-13, road 20-16). They are tied for first place with Arizona (42-30) and are 1/2 game ahead of the Dodgers (at 40-31). The Pads have scored 316 runs, opponents 238. The Pads have 65 KR, the opponents 36. The team BA is 0.246, the opponents 0.240. The Pads team ERA is 3.04, the opponents 4.02.

As this period starts, the Pads have just split games with the Orioles, and have a 3-game series coming up with the Boston Red Sox over the weekend. After that, they go off to San Francisco and Los Angeles for 3-game series.

Game 71, Thursday, June 21, Baltimore at SD: O's win, 6-3. The Pads faced another starter with great stuff - Eric Bedard, who gave up 2 runs, 5 hits, 0 BB and had 9 K's in 6 innings. The Pads got runs in the 3rd, 6th and 9th. The O's got single runs off David Wells (loser 3-5, 6.1 innings, 10 hits, 3 runs, 3 BB, 4 Ks) in the 4th, 5th and 6th, plus 2 in the 8th and one in the 9th. The game was close until Chris Gomez drove in 2 in the 8th after a hit batter, a strikeout-wild pitch, and a walk loaded the bases against Heath Bell. After 71 games: Won 41, Lost 30 (home 21-14, road 20-16), Runs 319-244, Homers 65-37, Lost 2 in a row, won 5 of last 10 games.

Game 72, Friday, June 22, Boston Red Sox at SD: Sox win 2-1. This was a classic "student bests the master" game. Daisuke Matsuzaka ("Dice-K") walked the bases loaded in the 1st, but only gave up one run on a single to left. That was it for the Pads, as Dice-K went 6 innings, gave up 1 run on 5 hits, walked 5 and struck out 9. Four relievers struck out 4 more Pads over the last 3 innings to wrap it up. Greg Maddux (loser, now 6-4) went 6 innings, gave up 2 runs, 7 hits, 2 BB and 2 Ks. The Sox scored 2 in the 4th on 4 line drive singles. The Sox fans were loud and sometimes dominant tonight. After 72 games: Won 41, Lost 31 (home 21-15, road 20-16), Runs 320-246, Homers 65-37, Lost 3 in a row, won 5 out of last 10.

Game 73, Saturday, June 23, Boston at SD: Pads win 6-1. We were there. Chris Young was masterful again (winner, now 7-3, went 7 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 2 BB, 11 Ks). Tim Wakefield baffled the Pads with his knuckleball through 4 innings. The Pads scored one in the 2nd on Cameron's bunt single and stolen base and a timely hit by Josh Bard. In the 5th, the wheels came off for Wakefield as Kahlil Greene hit a solo homer to left, and Marcus Giles drove in Kevin Kouzmanoff with a double off the fence in left. In the 6th, Josh Bard hit a two-run homer off the foul corner of the Western Metals Building and then Greene cracked another homer to left. The Sox averted a shutout by scoring a run in the 9th off Justin Hampson. The Sox cheering section died down after the Padres homers. The intensity level was playoff caliber this night. After 73 games: Won 42, Lost 31 (home 22-15, road 20-16), Runs 326-247, Homers 68-37, Won 1 in a row, lost 3 of last 4, won 6 of last 10.

Game 74, Sunday, May 24, Boston at SD: Sox win 4-2. This was a matchup of premier pitchers, Jake Peavy (9-1) against Josh Beckett (10-1) and it lived up to its billing until the 3rd. The Sox punched 5 singles to score 3 runs in the 3rd off Peavy, who had to cover the bases twice and was on his belly twice. Due to the high pitch count, he only went 5 innings (loser, 9-2). Royce Ring went 2 innings, Scott Linebrink gave up a Jason Varitek homer in the 8th, and Trevor Hoffman set the Sox down in the 9th. Josh Beckett (winner, 11-1) went 8 innings, giving up only a 2-run double to Terrmel Sledge in the bottom of the 5th to make it close. The Pads stranded him at 3rd base, and never had another threat. Beckett was excellent, and Jonathan Papelbon threw a perfect 9th for his 18th save. Another playoff caliber game. After 74 games: Won 42, Lost 32 (home 22-16, road 20-16), Runs 328-251, Homers 68-38, Lost 1 in a row, lost 4 out of last 5, won 5 out of last 10.

These three games were playoff caliber, with excellent pitching, decent defense and not much power hitting. The Pads finished 6-9 in inter-league play, and seemed to be outhit by Seattle, Tampa, Baltimore and Boston. The bullpen got roughed up by everybody but Boston.

Game 75, Monday, June 25, SD at SF: Giants win 4-3 in 11 innings. This was a winnable game. Justin Germano gave up two early runs, but went 6 innings (3 hits, 2 runs, 1 BB, 4 Ks) and left with a no decision. Linebrink blew his 3rd save with a run in the 8th, and Hampson gave up a run in the 11th to lose it (now 2-2). Tim Lincecum was great - 7 innings, 0 runs, 4 hits, 4 BB, 8 Ks). However, Mike Cameron hit a 3-run homer in the 8th to put the Padres ahead, briefly. After 75 games, the Pads have won 42, lost 33 (home 22-16, road 20-17), Runs 331-255, Homers 69-39, Lost 2 in a row, Lost 5 of last 6, lost 6 of last 10.

Game 76, Tuesday, June 26, SD at SF: Pads win 3-2 in 10 innings. David Wells pitched one of his best games of the year, going 6 innings (1 run, 6 hits, 3 BB, 3 Ks), but got a no decision. The Pads had solo homers by Mike Cameron and Kahlil Greene to go ahead 2-1 in the 7th, but Scott Linebrink gave up a run in the 8th. Kervin Kouzmanoff hit a solo homer in the 10th to put the Pads ahead. That made a winner of Cla Meredith (now 3-5), and Trevor Hoffman has his 20th save. Barry Zito went 8 innings and pitched well. After 76 games, the Pads have won 43, lost 33 (home 22-16, road 21-17), Runs 334-257, Homers 72-39, Won 1 in a row, lost 5 of last 7, won 5 of last 10. Record in one-run games is 13-17.

Game 77, Wednesday, June 27, SD at SF: Padres win, 4-2. Greg Maddux (now 7-4) threw one of his best games this year, givng up only 1 run on 5 hits over 7 innings. The Pads scored 1 in the 4th and 3 in the 8th on an RBI single by Jose Cruz and a 2-run error by the Giants SS Frandsen. Heath Bell gave up a run in the 8th, and Trevor Hoffman efficiently saved his 21st game. Matt Cain pitched well for the Giants, who don't score many runs for Cain. After 77 games, the Pads have won 44, lost 33 (home 22-16, road 22-17), Runs 338-259, Homers 73-40, Won 2 in a row, lost 5 of last 8, won 5 of last 10.

Game 78, Friday, June 29, SD at LA Dodgers: Pads win 7-6. This was a strange game - the Pads were behind 2-1 when they erupted for 6 runs in the 4th inning against Hong-Chih Kuo. The big hit was a 3-run homer by Kevin Kouzmanoff. Then, the bullpen gave up 3 runs in the 8th and 1 in the 9th to make it too close for comfort. Chris Young pitched just OK (won, now 8-3, went 6 innings, 2 runs, 7 hits, 1 BB, 9 Ks) and Trevor got his 22nd save. The Dodgers' bullpen was effective with 5.2 innings of 3 hit relief. After 78 games, the Pads have won 45, lost 33 (home 22-16, road 23-17), Runs 345-265, Homers 74-40, Won 3 in a row, won 5 of last 10. Pads lead the Snakes by 1/2 game and the Dodgers by 1 game in the NL West.

Brian Giles is back off the DL, and Chase Headley went down to AA again. The Pads traded AAA starter Andrew Brown to Oakland for the rights to Milton Bradley, an oft-injured mercurial player who may have some pop in his bat. We'll see who goes on the DL (Sledge?) or gets demoted to AAA.

Game 79, Saturday, June 30, SD at LA: Padres win 3-1 in 12 innings. This was one of those pitching matchups you wait for - Jake Peavy vs. Brad Penny. Both went 7 innings, gave up 1 run on 5 hits, Peavy had 6 Ks, Penny had 7 Ks. Then it went to the bullpens, and the Pads scored 2 runs in the 12th off Brett Tomko. Trevor Hoffman closed it out for his 23rd save. The winning run scored when Kahlil Greene singled, was bunted to second, and scored on a Jose Cruz hit to LF that Andre Ethier barely missed. Geoff Blum then doubled to bring Cruz home with the 3rd run. After 79 games: Won 46, Lost 33 (home 22-16, road 24-17), Runs 348-266, Homers 74-41, Won 4 in a row, won 5 of last 10.

Game 80, Sunday, July 1, SD at LA: Dodgers win 5-0. Bummer - another one that got out of hand early. Justin Germano (lost, now 5-2) gave up 3 runs in the 3rd, 1 in the 4th and 1 in the 7th. Chad Billingsley shut the Pads out through 7 on 3 hits and the Dodgers bullpen finished it off. After 80 games: Won 46, Lost 34 (home 22-16, road 24-18), Runs 348-271, Homers 74-43, Lost 1 in a row, won 5 of last 10.

The All-Star team was announced - only Jake Peavy and Trevor Hoffman are going from the Pads. Chris Young also deserved a spot.

So after 80 games (one game shy of half the season):

The Padres are in 1st place in the NL West, with a one game lead on the Dodgers (46-36), 1-1/2 on the Snakes (46-37), 8 on the Rockies (39-43) and 11 on the Giants (35-45). Their record of 46-34 is 1/2 game behind the Milwaukee Brewers (47-34) and even with the NY Mets (46-34). They are 19-13 against the NL West, 40-25 in the NL, and 6-9 against the AL. They are 5-6 in extra inning games, and 13-16 in one-run games.

As a team, the Pads are 16th in the NL in Batting Average (0.243), 11th in runs scored, 9th in home runs hit, 1st in ERA (3.03), 1st in shutouts (11), with an opponents BA of 0.243. The Pads walk 9.8% of the time (opponents walk 7.8% of the time, and strike out 23.0% of the time (opponents strike out 19.7% of the time).

The BA-HR-RBI of the starters are:

Brian Giles (0.281 - 1 - 12, 178 AB)
Marcus Giles (0.251 - 4 - 30, 303 AB)
Adrian Gonzalez (0.272 - 14 - 51, 320 AB)
Mike Cameron (0.266 - 10 - 38, 308 AB)
Michael Barrett (0.255 - 9 - 31, 243 AB)
Kahlil Greene (0.241 - 13 - 45, 290 AB)
Kevin Kouzmanoff (0.218 - 7 - 33, 211 AB)
Jose Cruz (0.259 - 5 - 20, 224 AB)

The W-L, ERA, IP, H, BB and Ks of the starting pitchers are:

Jake Peavy (9-2, 2.09 ERA, 112 IP, 87 H, 31 BB, 119 K)
Chris Young (8-3, 2.14 ERA, 96.2 IP, 69 H, 36 BB, 90 Ks)
Justin Germano (5-2, 3.12 ERA, 60.2 IP, 50 H, 11 BB, 31 Ks)
Greg Maddux (7-4, 3.66 ERA, 98.1 IP, 105 H, 16 BB, 52 K)
David Wells (3-5, 4.48 ERA, 86.1 IP, 106 H, 21 BB, 48 K)

It's great to be in first place at the halfway point. If they can hit better, continue the excellent pitching and play steady defence, the Pads have a real chance to be in the playoffs. The last month has been one where the Pads, dodgers and Snakes have jumped in and out of the lead in the NL West. The Pads can't afford to come in 3rd in the NL West...

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