Pitching Still Needs Some Work, But Hitters Are Ready
The third week of San Diego Padres spring ball has gone by. Pitchers are getting in their work, hitters are getting some swings, and fielders are flashing some leather. Here’s the roundup of the Padres’ week.
On March 8 th, the Padres played against the Rockies. Chris Young started and threw two innings, giving up five hits and four runs. But the rest of the pitching was very solid. Nick Schmidt, Mike Ekstrom, Mat Latos, and Will Inman did not give up any runs. Latos’s two inning outing was very encouraging. He had been hit hard in his previous two outings, so the scoreless innings were very good for the young pitcher’s confidence. On the offensive side, Travis Denker and Matt Antonelli drove in runs for the Padres. Nick Hundley had a double and Chris Burke went 2-for-3. The Rockies topped the Padres, 4-2.
March 9 th was the first time the Padres faced their NL West rivals, the Arizona Diamondbacks, this spring. It was a great game for the Padres. Cha Seung Baek pitched three innings of one-run one-hit ball. Justin Hampson gave up two runs, but the rest of the pitching was very good. Our hitting was solid. Eliezer Alfonso, a catcher who will be starting the season at Triple-A, hit a three-run bomb. Kevin Kouzmanoff had three doubles in four at-bats. Brett Dowdy had a three-run double. Brian Giles, Will Venable, Drew Macias, Matt Antonelli, and Cedric Hunter each drove in a run. The Padres pounded the Diamondbacks, 16-3.
On March 11 th, the Padres played Team Korea in an exhibition game. Kevin Correia started, throwing four innings, giving up one hit and one walk. Wade LeBlanc then threw three scoreless innings. LeBlanc has not been the best in the spring so far, so it was good to see him have a solid outing. Ivan Nova had the worst outing of the pitchers, giving up four runs. Brian Giles had three hits and drove in two runs. Chase Headley had two two-run doubles. It was a great 10-4 win!
March 12 th marked the second time that the Padres faced the Brewers this spring. Once again, former Padre Trevor Hoffman did not pitch against his former team. Josh Geer started and pitched three no-hit shut-out innings. Cla Meredith had a great inning. Cesar Carrillo gave up six runs. Chris Britton and Matt Buschmann each gave up two runs. On the offensive side, Emil Brown had a two-run double. Kyle Blanks had a three-run homer. Kevin Kouzmanoff slammed a two-run homer. Chase Headley and David Eckstein each had two hits. The game went ten innings, but it ended in a 10-10 tie.
The Padres played the White Sox on Friday the 13 th of March. Yes, that day. Well, it was not in any way “unlucky” for the White Sox. Chris Young started for the Padres and gave up two runs in three innings. Mike Ekstrom gave up six runs. Mark Worrell gave up a two-run home run. Greg Burke gave up four runs. Joe Thatcher gave up a run. Scott Patterson had the only scoreless inning of all the pitchers. On the hitting side, there wasn’t much. Cliff Floyd hit a solo homer. Nick Hundley, Luis Rodriguez, and Cedric Hunter each drove in a run. The White Sox pummeled the Padres, 15-4.
On March 14 th, the Padres had two games, split-squad style. One of the games was played against the Indians in Peoria. Cha Seung Baek started the game and threw four innings, allowing two runs on two hits. Justin Hampson gave up four runs. Arturo Lopez gave up two runs. On the hitting side, Drew Macias had three hits and drove in a run. Cliff Floyd drove in two runs. Luis Rodriguez also drove in run. This half of the Padres lost, 8-6.
The other game was against the Giants in Scottsdale. Cesar Ramos started the game, throwing three scoreless innings. Walter Silva, pitching in his first outing of the spring, threw two scoreless innings. Jae Kuk Ryu and Will Inman each gave up two runs, though. Nick Hundley and Chase Headley, who have been getting into their hitting grooves lately, each had a two-run double. Kyle Blanks hit a two-run homer. The other half of the Padres (the batter half?) beat the Giants, 8-4.
Not that it matters, but the Padres are 4-8-3 on the spring so far. The pitching is still doing terribly. I don’t know if it’s just that it’s early in the spring, or that they are genuinely this bad. Hopefully they will improve as the spring goes on, and that the Padres will have a solid pitching staff this year. As Padres broadcaster Jerry Coleman says, if you don’t have good pitching, you don’t win. It’s as simple as that. The Padres have a lot of great arms in camp right now, but it’s no secret that General Manager Kevin Towers is still looking for some more pitchers. They might need them.
Our offense has been decent. We are scoring quite a few runs, and all of the guys are looking good. Frankly, I think the hitters are ready to go. But the Padres still have a lot of decisions to make regarding the roster, so it’s good that these guys are out there showing what they can do. One guy that has impressed is rookie and prospect Kyle Blanks. He won’t make the team out of Spring Training, but with the absence of Adrian Gonzalez at first base, he has been given a lot of playing time. He’s got some power, all right. He might be a call-up in September. But of course, his glaring problem is that he’s a first baseman. That Adrian Gonzalez guy has pretty much got first base covered, and hopefully will for many years. Blanks might have to start learning a new position soon.
The Padres players in the World Baseball Classic have been doing very well. Adrian Gonzalez has been swinging a hot bat for Team Mexico. He’s been playing a lot of baseball over the last year: every game in the Padres’ 2008 season, the Caribbean World Series, and now the WBC. I think he’s ready for the regular season. Pitcher Jake Peavy has not been throwing the best for Team USA. But then again, I don’t think he did the greatest the last time around. I’m actually concerned about him. I think he needs to be back in camp with the team, getting ready for the season with his team and at a good pace. I am very concerned that he is pushing himself too hard too soon. Hopefully it will not affect his season in a bad way.
The Padres will have a lot of decisions to make in the weeks ahead. GO PADRES!!
By Kaity Bergquist MLBCenter.com San Diego Padres Correspondent