<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - San Diego Padres]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcsandiego.com/feature/san-diego-padres http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.com en-us Thu, 24 Apr 2014 22:40:06 -0700 Thu, 24 Apr 2014 22:40:06 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Series Preview: Padres vs. Nationals]]> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 11:43:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/chris+denorfia.jpg

The Padres offense continues to be as dry as the state’s well reserves after the Friars dropped two of three from the Milwaukee Brewers while scoring a paltry seven runs in the series.

Now it’s off to the nation’s capital for a weekend set with the Washington Nationals, who have been equally challenged on the offensive side.

Before Wednesday’s 5-4 win over the Angels, the Nats had gone a week without scoring more than three runs. Of course, the Padres can top that. They have scored three runs or less in all but one of their 12 losses this season.

Fortunately, the Friars have one of the best pitching staffs in the league so far, boasting the fourth best ERA in baseball (2.82) and the fifth best batting average allowed (.221).

When they play: The four-game set starts today with a  4:05 p.m. game. Same for Friday night, then the teams play a pair of afternoon (morning) games over the weekend – Saturday at 10:05, Sunday at 10:35.

What’s at stake: Both teams are hovering around the .500 mark (Nats 12-10, Pads 10-12) and staying close – but not too close – in the division races. The Padres hope to tread water on this road trip as the return of big hitters Cameron Maybin and Carlos Quentin draw nearer.

Who is pitching: The Padres go with Eric Stults (1-2, 4.35 ERA) in the opener, followed by Robbie Erlin (1-2, 4.15) Then it’s the big guns over the weekend, as Andrew Cashner (2-2, 2.10) looks to bounce back on Saturday from his worst start of the season. Ian Kennedy (1-3, 3.60) goes on Sunday, looking to continue a quietly good season in which he’s given up more than three runs just once all year.

The Nationals’ big names go early in the series with Jordan Zimmermann (1-1, 3.92) and Steven Strasburg (1-2, 5.33) on Thursday and Friday. They are followed by surprising youngster Tanner Roark (1-0, 3.80) on Saturday. Taylor Jordan (0-3, 6.23) goes on Sunday, having gotten through the sixth inning only once in his four starts.

Who to watch: Chris Denorfia takes over from Everth Cabrera as hot Padres hitter of the week. He had five hits against Milwaukee, including a homer in the opener, and is hitting .400 over his last 10 games.

Seth Smith cooled off after his eye-opening homers in his first two at bats with the team, but is back in the zone with a five-game hitting streak that brought his average up 35 points to .274.

And at some point we’ll have to start talking about Nick Hundley, who has done himself well in the Padres’ three-headed catcher platoon. He has eight hits in 24 at bats and always seems to be doing something clutch when called upon.

Bryce Harper is the name you’re going to know in the Nationals lineup. But he’s been struggling lately, with just three hits in the last week. He has a lone long ball and just five RBIs on the season.

Shortstop Ian Desmond is leading the team with four homers but is hitting just .212 on the season.  First baseman Adam LaRoche carries a seven-game hitting streak into the series. Slugging third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is on the disabled list and won’t see any action this weekend.

What’s next: One more series on the road after this one, as the Padres head to NorCal for three games with the San Francisco Giants before coming home next Friday against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Matthew Wood covers the Padres for #OnFriar. Reach him at matthew.wood@nbcuni.com and follow him on Twitter @mcarloswood.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Punchless Pads Lose Again]]> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 10:42:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/179*120/485546525.jpg

Chase Headley and Jedd Gyorko went a combined 0-for-7 Wednesday night at Miller Park. Their batting averages this season are .188 and .135 respectively. Not surprisingly the Padres lost the rubber game of their series in Milwaukee 5-2. The Brewers have won five of six and have stretched their record to 16-6, the best in the bigs. The Padres slipped to 10-12.

Starter Tyson Ross (2-3) gave up 5 runs on nine hits over six inning for the loss. His big mistake was a three-run homer off the bat of Jean Segura in the second.

The Padres head to Washington for a three game series beginning Thursday.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Headley Belts Pads Past Brewers]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 06:19:19 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/chase+headley.jpg

Was it a pitching duel or merely a battle of inept offenses? Either way, the Padres and Brewers combined for 3 runs on 14 total hits with 25 strikeouts over 12 innings of baseball. 4 hours and 4 minutes after the first pitch by a combined 10 pitchers the Padres won it 2-1.

Chase Headley, who has been mired in a season long slump, went 2-4 and provided the winning hit. His solo homer in the 12th (measured at 447-feet) put the Friars up 2-1. Huston Street, the 6th Padres pitcher, struck out Ryan Braun looking to end the game. It was Street's 7th save of the season. Rookie Donn Roach, who pitched the 10th and 11th innings in relief, got his first big league win.

The series concludes Wednesday at Miller Park with first pitch scheduled for 5:10 PDT..



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Series Preview: Padres vs. Brewers]]> Mon, 21 Apr 2014 11:55:44 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/chase+headley.jpg

Now that’s more like it. The Padres looked impressive in taking a weekend series from the San Francisco Giants. They nearly swept the division rivals, but a late rally fell short on Sunday and they dropped the finale, 4-3.

It’s a good way to hit the road as the Friars embark on a 10-game road trip starting today in Milwaukee. The surprising Brewers have started off hot and lead the NL Central by three games, mostly due to a 9-1 road record. But the Pads get them at Miller Park, where they are a much more pedestrian 5-4 on the season.

When they play: Three games beginning tonight, all at 5:10 p.m. local time.

What’s at stake: It’s a big trip for the Friars, as they face three teams with winning records. The goal still has to be just to get through the month without falling too far behind and get some of the big names back in the lineup from injuries. Still in fourth place, the Padres are just three games out. Back-to-back series wins would do wonders for the team’s confidence.

The Brewers have to be pinching themselves after having everything go right this season. They’ve won seven of their last 10 after taking three of four from the Pirates over the weekend. They should concentrate on making no sudden movements so people don’t realize they have the best record in baseball right now.

Who is pitching: The Padres bust out the big guns for this series. Andrew Cashner (2-1, 1.27 ERA) has been nearly unhittable this season. He takes the mound for the opener. He’s followed by Ian Kennedy (1-3, 4.13) who has lost two straight despite striking out seven in each start. Tyson Ross (2-2, 2.13) goes on Wednesday, hoping to build on two straight impressive outings.

The Brew Crew counters with Wily Peralta (2-0, 1.96) on Monday, staff ace Yovani Gallardo (2-0, 1.46) on Tuesday and Cali native Kyle Lohse (3-1, 2.67) in the finale.

Who to watch: Leadoff man Everth Cabrera broke a nine-game hitting streak on Friday. So he went out and collected four more hits the rest of the weekend, boosting his average to .329 – good for 20th in the league.

Chris Denorfia has pushed his average above .300 for the year (.306) despite being limited to pinch-hitting duties over the weekend.

Struggling sluggers Chase Headley and Jedd Gyorko are starting to show some life at the plate. Headley has hits in his last three games and is up to .190 on the season. Gyorko (.145) is mired in a season-long slump, but leads the team with eight RBIs.

For the Brewers, Aramis Ramirez is putting behind an injury-plagued 2013 and is on a tear, hitting a whopping .352 and leading the team in RBIs (15). Ryan Braun is always the focal point of the team and is red hot right now. The controversial slugger had six hits over the weekend – three for homers – and has hits in nine of his last 10 games. The Padres will have to keep him down in order to tame the Brewers.

What’s next: After Milwaukee, it’s off to D.C. for a four-game weekend set with the Nationals. Then the boys head back to the West Coast for three with the Giants. They’ll be back at Petco next Friday when the Arizona Diamondbacks come to town.

Matthew Wood covers the Padres for #OnFriar. Reach him at matthew.wood@nbcuni.com and follow on Twitter @mcarloswood.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[2014 Padres Photos]]> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 11:31:54 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/amarista+new.jpg Relive all the great moments from the San Diego Padres' 2014 in photos.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Name New PA Announcer]]> Sun, 20 Apr 2014 11:24:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Alan_Miniak-pa.jpg

The Padres officially have a new voice, even if it isn't from San Diego.

Alex Miniak was named the team’s next public address announcer on Saturday night. He beat out more than 800 other candidates as the team held an open tryout for the position this year.

The New Hampshire resident was picked over two other San Diegans as the list was narrowed to three finalists this week. Each candidate worked an entire game during the team’s recent home stand.

The final decision was announced during the seventh-inning stretch of the Padres' win over the San Francisco Giants on Saturday night.

“Our intent for this process was to offer a true open casting call, with the possibility of discovering talent in even the least expected of places,” said Padres President and CEO Mike Dee. “In finding Alex, we accomplished that goal.”

Miniak is a Senior Account Executive with Gigunda Group, and is also the public address announcer for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the Double-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. He said he plans to move to San Diego for the new gig.

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<![CDATA[Padres Are Pitch Perfect]]> Sun, 20 Apr 2014 09:35:27 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/176*120/485695361.jpg

The Padres have found a workaround for their impotent offense: their pitching staff. And we're not just talking about the starting rotation.

It's high time the bullpen boys started getting a little bit of credit for the job they are doing, too. The Padres 'pen has the 3rd-best ERA in Major League Baseball. It lived up to expectations in Saturday night's 3-1 win over the Giants at Petco Park.

Of course, we can't just gloss over the fact Eric Stults was also fantastic. In what's becoming a trend, Stults made his best start of the year against the Giants. Six innings of 1-run ball for the lefty. But once again, he was in a tight game. Due to the Padres run-scoring woes.

Yonder Alonso drove in a run with a single and Everth Cabrera brought home another with a triple, but that was it for Stults, who left with a 2-1 lead. No problem for the relief corps.

Ramona High alum Nick Vincent got the 7th inning, and he got greedy. That's what he calls it when he has a chance to strike out the side, which is exactly what he did. Vincent plowed through Buster Posey, Michael Morse, and Pablo Sandoval in his one inning.

The 8th belonged to Dale Thayer, who only needed 10 pitches, nine of them strikes, to get out with no damage done. In the bottom half, the Padres got one more run on a beautiful suicide squeeze. Will Venable broke for 3rd base and Chris Denorfia put down a beautiful bunt to let the run score. It was nice to have a 3-1 lead, but it was not necessary.

Closer Huston Street was unavailable after a recent high workload, to the Padres just went to their "other" closer. Joaquin Benoit took over the job in Detroit in 2013 and helped the Tigers reach the playoffs. He picked up right where he left off on Saturday night, working a perfect 9th to get his first save as a Padre.

Friars win 3-1, winning the series, securing a winning homestand, and getting back to the .500 mark at 9-9. They go for the sweep on Sunday with Robbie Erlin taking on Tim Lincecum.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Recap: Ross 'n' Roll]]> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 11:45:23 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/179*120/485546525.jpg

Padres right-handed pitcher Tyson Ross has made four starts this season. His first two were not very good.

Ross went 10.1 innings, allowing five earned runs, striking out nine, walking nine, and taking the loss in both games.

His last two starts were extremely good.

Ross has gone 15 innings, allowing one earned run, striking out 16, walking two, and getting the win in both games.

Friday night at Petco Park, Ross did everything he had to do to help a lifeless offense get a 2-1 win over the Giants.

"I thought his stuff was outstanding," said Padres manager Bud Black. "Really good movement on the fastball, made some pitches with the slider, mixed in some change ups, and overall was in a pitching duel with one of the proven National League pitchers in Matt Cain, and matched him."

Cain only gave up one unearned run, which came in the first inning when Chris Denorfia scored on a Hector Sanchez passed ball.

The Padres only other run came in the bottom of the 8th inning, when Black sent Yasmani Grandal up to pinch-hit for Ross. Grandal promptly smashed his first home run of the year to right field off Giants reliever Juan Gutierrez.

It turned out to be the game-winning hit. Huston Street gave up a solo home run to Brandon Belt in the 9th inning before striking out Sanchez to notch his 6th save of the season.

The Padres secure a non-losing record on their 10-game homestand with two to play. On Saturday they send Eric Stults to the mound against San Francisco starter Tim Hudson.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Series Preview: Padres vs. Giants]]> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 11:45:45 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/jedd+gyorko.jpg

The Padres have to be kicking themselves after squandering a golden opportunity to win a series against a division rival this week. Instead, they settled for a four-game split with the Colorado Rockies. It was the same story from the start of the season as the Friars’ bats failed to show – scoring just three runs combined in the two losses.

Now another NL West foe comes to town for the first time this season as the San Francisco Giants hit Petco for a three-game weekend set. The Giants took two out of three against the Dodgers to pull into a tie for first place with Los Angeles. The Padres are three games back.

When they play: The series opener is tonight at 7:10 p.m., followed by a 5:40 tilt on Saturday and a 1:10 p.m. start on Easter Sunday.

What’s at stake: The Giants look to keep pace with the Dodgers and win their third straight series in the division. For the Padres, just scoring some runs would be great. Even better would be a series win. They’ve only won one of those all season.

Who is pitching: The Friars send out the bottom of their rotation, with Tyson Ross (1-2, 3.12 ERA) looking to build on his first win of the season tonight. Eric Stults (0-2, 5.52) takes the mound tomorrow, followed by youngster Robbie Erlin (1-1, 3.18) on Sunday.

The Giants counter with Matt Cain (0-2, 4.00) tonight, who will try to break a two-game losing streak. Tim Hudson (2-0, 2.35) takes the hill Saturday followed by Tim Lincecum (0-1, 7.20)

Who to watch: Will leadoff man Everth Cabrera ever stop hitting? Will anyone else in the Padres’ lineup start hitting? The shortstop now has a 10-game hitting streak and is up to .333 on the year. After that, no regular in the Friars’ lineup is over the .300 mark. Jedd Gyorko and Chase Headley are both under .200 and have scored a combined six runs all season.

Poor Xavier Nady leads the team with three home runs. Unfortunately, he also has three RBIs on the season. Somebody get on base!

For the Giants, Angel Pagan has done his best Cabrera impressing, picking up a hit in eight of his last nine starts. Brandon Belt has cooled off after hitting three homers in the first week of the season. He still leads the team with five long balls.

All-Star catcher Buster Posey has been unseasonably cold lately, with just one hit in the last five games. Pablo Sandoval, aka the Kung Fu Panda, has been just plain cold, hitting just a buck-seventy-five this season.

Why go: Get your Jedd Gyorko replica jersey on Saturday night. With the way he’s been hitting, maybe you could hop on in the lineup while you’re at it (we kid, Jedd). You can also get a Padres pet bandana that night. Sunday is the usual kids and military festivities.

What’s next: The Padres hit the road for a 10-game trip starting Monday, playing the Brewers, Nationals and Giants again. They’ll be back home May 2, when the Diamondbacks come to town.

Matthew Wood covers the Padres for #OnFriar. Reach him at matthew.wood@nbcuni.com and follow him on Twitter @mcarloswood.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Waste Kennedy's Strong Start]]> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 11:46:18 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/168*120/485393353.jpg

Padres starting pitcher Ian Kennedy had one bad inning. The Padres offense had nine bad innings. That does not add up to a good day at the ballpark.

Kennedy did not allow a hit until the 6th inning, struck out seven in seven innings, and came up on the short end of a 3-1 loss to the Rockies on Thursday afternoon at Petco Park.

The only run the Padres offense could muster came in the 4th inning, when Xavier Nady smacked a solo home run to left. Nady only has 20 at-bats this season, yet leads the team with three homers.

The Friars only had five other hits, four of them singles, and grounded in to three double plays.

Kennedy's troubles came in the 7th inning. Corey Dickerson doubled and Troy Tulowitzki walked, then Justin Morneau hit a ball on the button right at Chris Denorfia in right field. Deno got a rare bad read, starting in only to watch the ball soar over his head for a double.

Dickerson scored to tie the game while Tulowitzki ended up on third base. In a tie game with one out and runners at 2nd and 3rd, the Padres decided to play the middle of the infield back. So, when Wilin Rosario hit a ground ball to Everth Cabrera, the shortstop decided to get the out at first while Tulowitzki scored what turned out to be the game-winning run.

The Padres and Rockies split their 4-game series. San Diego opens a 3-game set against the division-leading San Francisco Giants on Friday night at Petco Park.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cashner, Rivera a Dynamic Duo for Padres]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 00:08:31 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/cashner+rivera.jpg

Pitcher Andrew Cashner and catcher Rene Rivera would be compared to Batman and Robin, if only the Caped Crusader could throw a slider or the Boy Wonder could call for it low and away.

They have become a veritable dynamic duo for the Padres, keeping America’s Finest Gotham City safe from villainous threats like Miggy the Tiger and The Puig.

Dating back to last season, Cashner has thrown 10 straight quality starts (six-plus innings pitched with three or less earned runs). Rivera has been behind the plate for every one of those.

“His game-calling ability is incredible,” Cashner says of his battery mate. “We have a good relationship and friendship. And it translates to the game. If I’m struggling, he’s out there yelling at me.”

His last time out, Cashner mowed down 14 straight Detroit Tigers to start the game before allowing a single. That was the only hit the Tigers mustered all night against the burly right-hander.

For the only organization without a no-hitter, the 11-strikeout, two-walk outing was talked about as perhaps the most dominant pitching performance in Padres history. It was the second time during the current QS streak that Cashner has allowed just one hit. But still, it wasn’t a no-no.

"It's one of my goals. I definitely want a no-hitter," Cashner said.

Rivera is confident his pitcher will have more opportunities to put up all zeroes.

“I know he can do it,” Rivera said. “He’s the kind of guy who works hard and is competitive. He was Cashner (on Friday).”

Cashner looks to extend that streak tonight as the Padres take on the Colorado Rockies at Petco Park.

On a team carrying three catchers on the roster, Rivera seems to have found a niche that will get him in the lineup at least every few days, despite hitting just .154 on the season.

The Padres are 4-1 when he starts behind the plate, having allowed just nine runs in those five starts. He caught the Padres’ other win over the Tigers this weekend, a Tyson Ross start that won them the series over the defending AL Central champs.

Cashner credits Rivera’s “stick pitching ability” – the way he can make a pitch look good even if it’s not. He also points to his own maturation, knowing what he can and can’t do.

“For me, it’s not so much velocity anymore as it is movement,” Cashner explains “I can throw 90 and do more things with it. The biggest thing is to throw strikes. Eliminate walks.”

Rivera is happy to be along for the ride as Cashner’s dominance over the league continues.

“It’s great that people see what he can do on a daily basis,“ he said of the Padres ace. “Hopefully it continues. He has the stuff to do it.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Watching Padres and Tigers with Pops]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 15:27:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/father+son+padres+tigers+thumb.jpg

This weekend's series between the Padres and the Detroit Tigers at Petco Park marked the 30th anniversary of the two teams playing in the World Series in 1984.

It means so much more for me. Growing up in Michigan, I was a die-hard Tigers fan, a trait I picked up at an early age from my father. He took me to Game 4 of that series, one of my earliest and fondest memories from childhood.

For those who don’t recall, the Tigers won that series, four games to one, to win their first World Series in almost two decades.

So many things about that team stand out to me and will always be ingrained in my brain: Jack Morris throwing a no-hitter in the first weekend of the season (watched with my dad on the couch). Fans doing the wave at the old Tiger Stadium (watched with him when he took me to a game during the regular season). The way they rolled through the playoffs (he took me to the ALCS clincher too).

I remember watching the Padres win the National League Championship Series. I didn’t know much about the team back then. Their manager (Dick Williams) looked old, just like ours (Sparky Anderson). They beat the Cubs, but didn’t everybody? Their jerseys were ugly. Steve Garvey was an awesome player. And their relief pitcher, Goose Gossage, had a crazy mustache. These are the things that rattle around the head of a youngster.

I’ll never forget that Game 4. Alan Trammell hit two home runs. Jack Morris pitched the entire game for the 4-2 win. And all was well in my little kid world.

My dad actually had tickets to the next game of the series – the one where the Tigers clinched their first World Series since 1968 – but he decided to take his new girlfriend at the time. I’m not gonna lie and say I wasn’t mad. But I was able to let it go, especially since they’ve now been married for 25 years.

Especially because we were champs, and I was one happy kid.

After the Tigers won the clinching game, fans ran on the field to celebrate. Some of them threw chunks of sod from the outfield into the stands. My dad caught one of those chunks, brought it home and planted it in our back yard. There it grew for years. When we moved, we took the sod with us. That piece of Tigers history will be with us forever, growing in our back yard.

I was able to relive some of those memories this weekend. Pops flew out from Michigan and we went to all three games together. It was amazing.

It's such a cliche, but still so true: Baseball brings fathers and sons together. It always has, it always will.

In "City Slickers," Billy Crystal and his friends remember being a teenagers and having nothing to talk about with their dads except for the sport.

James Earl Jones waxes poetic in his booming voice in “Field of Dreams,” talking about the power of “BASE-ball” with an emphasis only he can provide.

It’s no different with us. The Tigers have always been a special bond. They will always be our team, just like any number of fathers and sons all over.

So we watched all three games, exploring Petco Park along the way and talking about great players past. We probably ate more hot dogs than is healthy for anybody in one weekend, but that’s the way it is.

For Tigers fans, it was not a series worth remembering. The Padres took two of three games, shutting us out on Friday and holding us to one run on Sunday.

For me, it was something I’ll never forget. It was me and my dad, watching baseball. Thirty years after that amazing season, we’re still making memories at the ballpark.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Matthew Wood covers the Padres for #OnFriar. Reach him at matthew.wood@nbcuni.com and follow him on Twitter @mcarloswood.

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<![CDATA[Gyorko, Padres Agree To Contract Extension]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 19:38:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/169*120/484635177.jpg

For years, one of the biggest frustrations for Padres fans been watching talented young players start their careers in San Diego, then blossom in to All-Stars (or sometimes legends) in other cities.

Ozzie Smith, Roberto Alomar, Sandy Alomar, John Kruk, etc. So Monday's news that 2nd baseman Jedd Gyorko is locked up for the long term is a nice, and long overdue.

The Padres and Gyorko agreed to a 5-year contract extension worth at least $35 million. It will keep Jedd in San Diego through at least the 2019 season.

Gyorko led the Padres in RBI as a rookie in 2013, and he even missed more than a month of the season with an injury. The West Virginia native also played above-average defense at 2nd, a bonus given the fact it was his first full season playing the position.

"When they approached me, a big part of why I wanted to do it is I wanted to stay in San Diego," said Gyorko on Monday. "My family loves it here. People have treated us like family so it made it an easy decision."

The contract numbers break down like this:

$2 million in 2015.
$4 million in 2016.
$6 million in 2017.
$9 million in 2018.
$13 million in 2019.
Club option for 2020 at $13 million, with a $1 million buyout.

Now, Padres fans, I already know what you're thinking: Sure, the deal looks great, but they will inevitably trade him before it runs its course anyway.

I counter with this: Padres Executive Chairman Ron Fowler has said since his ownership group took over that the team's payroll would be increasing. So far, he has lived up to his word, another reason Gyorko cited for committing to San Diego.

"I love how the ownership is. Their vision is something I want to be a part of. I think this team is capable of doing big things."

It is squarely within the realm of possibility the Padres are, indeed, on the brink of big things like contending for World Series titles with players the drafted and developed.

I mean, John Elway eventually won a Super Bowl. Phil Mickelson eventually won a major title. Roy Williams eventually won an NCAA Basketball title. Even the Washington Generals eventually beat the Harlem Globetrotters.

In sports, anything can happen.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres-Rockies Series Preview]]> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 11:50:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/everth+cabrera+padres.jpg

Could this be the start of something good? The Padres look to build on their first series win of the season  as the division rival Colorado Rockies come to town for a very winnable four-game set starting tonight.

The Padres’ pitching dominated a robust Tigers lineup over the weekend, shutting them out in the opener and holding them to a single run in the rubber match as they took two of three games against the three-time AL Central champs.

Read more: Watching baseball with dad

The bats even got warmed up in the process, something that bodes well against a Rockies rotation that nobody will mistake for Cy Young candidates.

The Rockies (6-7) actually lead the Friars (5-7) by a half-game in the standings, but have lost three of their last five, including two games in a weekend series against the San Francisco Giants.

When they play: This is the middle series of a 10-game homestand at Petco Park. The teams play night games on Monday through Wednesday, starting at 7:10 p.m. Thursday’s getaway game will be at 3:40 p.m.

What’s at stake: Both teams are jockeying for position in the NL West behind the Dodgers and Giants, who square off in San Fran this week. If one team can take three or four games in this series, they can get right up in the mix early on in the division race.

Who is pitching: The Pads look to build on some strong performances over the weekend, including a dominating one-hitter from Andrew Cashner (1-1, 1.29 ERA) on Friday. He takes the mound Wednesday, meaning the bottom of the rotation must get it done early on in the series. Eric Stults (0-2, 5.59) gets the call in the opener, looking to turn out his first quality start of the season. He’s followed by Robbie Erlin (1-0, 1.35), who  threw a gritty six innings to beat the Cleveland Indians last week. Ian Kennedy (1-2, 4.24) takes the mound Thursday in the finale.

For the Rockies, Jordan Lyles (2-0, 3.86) will try to stay perfect on the season tonight with Juan Nicasio (1-0, 3.75) following on Tuesday. Jorge De La Rosa (0-2, 9.69) has looked like anything but an ace so far this season, giving up 14 earned runs in three starts. He will try to right the ship against Cashner on Wednesday. Thursday’s starter has not been announced.

Who to watch: How about those Padres bats! Everth Cabrera continues to bolster the top of the San Diego order, despite striking out a team-high 16 times. He’s on a six-game hitting streak, pounding out five hits over the weekend.

De-facto cleanup hitter Jedd Gyorko drove in runs in all three weekend games, jacking his first long ball on Sunday. Catcher Yasmani Grandal is making a case for more playing time, with a pair of hits in his only start over the weekend. And how about Xavier Nady – two hits, both for home runs this season.

For Colorado, Charlie Blackmon (who?) is absolutely on fire with 20 hits in his first 41 at-bats (.488). Michael Cuddyer has picked up where he left off last year when he won the league batting title. He’s hitting .354 with three long balls. And you can’t talk about the Rockies lineup without mentioning Carlos Gonzalez. CarGo leads the team with four homers and 13 RBI.

Why go: Tuesday is Jackie Robinson Day throughout the league. All players will wear No. 42 on their jerseys to honor the baseball pioneer. It’s also the season’s first Taco Tuesday. Get tacos for a buck. Tickets are available for all three games.

What’s next: The Giants come to town this weekend in another key division matchup. Will the Padres be in striking distance of first place by the time they get to town? Well, let’s just take it one game at a time.

Matthew Wood covers the Padres for #OnFriar. Reach him at matthew.wood@nbcuni.com and follow him on Twitter @mcarloswood.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Win First Series Of Season]]> Sun, 13 Apr 2014 20:35:44 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*122/484635171.jpg

Padres 2nd baseman Jedd Gyorko has not been a 2nd baseman for very long. He did not move to the position full-time until just before 2013 Spring Training.

It has not taken the former 3rd baseman long to adjust to his new spot.

Gyorko made a pair of fantastic defensive plays on Sunday, helping the Padres to a 5-1 win over the Tigers at Petco Park. The Friars won their first series of the season 2-1.

In the 3rd inning, Gyorko ranged far to his left to field an Ian Kinsler grounder and keep a run from scoring. In the 5th he made a fully extended dive to his right to rob Max Scherzer of a base hit.

If Scherzer ever sees Gyorko again, it'll be too soon. Jedd also crushed a fastball 385 feet to left field in the 2nd inning, a solo shot that gave the Padres a 1-0 lead. It was Gyorko's first home run of the year.

"Yeah, I should do that more often," he deadpanned after the game.

All of Gyorko's work helped Tyson Ross get his first win of the year. Ross struggled in his first two starts against the Dodgers and Indians, issuing nine walks in 10.1 innings. He worked with pitching coach Darren Balsley during the week and was sharp against Detroit.

Ross only walked one and allowed one run in seven innings, striking out seven.

Tyson was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the 7th inning. That guy was Xavier Nady, who promptly hit a solo home run on to the beach in right-center. His last three MLB hits have been home runs.

Two of them have come this year with the Padres. The one before that came back in 2012, when he hit one off Padres closer Huston Street at Petco.

The Padres continue their 10-day homestand on Monday when they start a 4-game series against the Colorado Rockies.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[San Diego Padres 2013 Season in Images]]> Tue, 20 Aug 2013 13:29:33 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Nick-Hundley-176717499.jpg Check out the best images of the Padres this season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jedd's Getting More "Jedd-Like" at the Plate]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 07:04:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Bud-Black-04132014.jpg San Diego Padres manager Bud Black talks about Jedd Gyorko's hit in the team's 5-1 win over the Tigers at Petco Park. ]]> <![CDATA[Gary Sinise, Wounded Vets Honored at Padres Military Day]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 03:57:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Gary+sinise+veterans+padres.JPG

 Petco Park offered a packed line-up of events Sunday during its Military Opening Day, including appearances by actor and military advocate Gary Sinise and a wounded Marine who biked all the way across the country. Oh yeah, and then there was some Padres baseball.

First up to bat, Sinise – a.k.a Lieutenant Dan to you “Forrest Gump” fans – was recognized for his foundation’s work with veterans.

“I've just interacted with the military community for so long and been involved with supporting our wounded since I played a wounded veteran in 'Forrest Gump' that I just can't stop,” said Sinise.

The Gary Sinise Foundation is working to build two Smart Homes in San Diego for severely wounded veterans and their families.

The homes are designed to help the service members lead more independent lives.

One will be going to triple amputee Nick Kimmel, who said he got to pick out the Pine Valley plot of land on which his specially designed house will sit.

“It will make everything so much easier, like doing laundry or getting stuff out of the fridge or the stovetops that lower – just stuff that you couldn’t remodel to get. You’d actually have to design into it, and that’s what Gary does,” said Kimmel.

For Sinise, the foundation’s work is about raising awareness and giving back to those who have given so much to their country.

"There's a lot of need after a dozen years of war, and we're just trying to pitch in and help out," Sinise said.

Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band will be back to perform at Petco Park on July 6 as a fundraiser for wounded veterans.

Sinise, Kimmel and two other home recipients joined service members from all branches on the field Sunday as the Navy Band Southwest performed the National Anthem.

But the ceremonial first pitch went to another guest of honor: Marine Combat Engineer Rob Jones, a double amputee who rode into Petco Park on the same bike that took him across the country.

On Saturday, Jones completed a six-month journey from Maine to California as a fundraiser for wounded veterans like himself. He lost both legs in an IED explosion while on deployment to Afghanistan in 2010.

As if riding so far isn’t impressive enough, the 28-year-old Jones did it without the use of his lower legs.

Unlike able-bodied cyclists who rely on their calves and quadriceps to pedal, he could only use his gluteal muscles.

Jones told NBC 7 the chance to throw the first pitch was a great recognition of his service.

"It makes it feel like it's all worth it. You don't want to go somewhere and sacrifice this really big chunk of your life and then come back and realize it was all for nothing. And so letting people know that they're sacrifice is appreciated and it was for something is a big thing," said Jones.

He raised about $115,000 on his ride, but he will continue to leave his website up for people who want to continue to donate to Ride 2 Recovery, Semper Fi Fund and Coalition to Salute America's Heroes.

Among the packed stands were roughly 1,500 people who received free tickets through local military nonprofits, donated by Northrop Grumman.

Throughout the season, military personnel and first responders can get $6 off any ticket above $13 for all regular season home games, and $10 tickets are available for all Sunday home games for service members and their families.

As for Sunday’s game, the Padres outperformed the Detroit Tigers for the second time this week, winning the game 5-1 and the series 2-1.

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<![CDATA[Verlander's Variety Beats Padres]]> Sat, 12 Apr 2014 22:34:57 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/177*120/484483575.jpg

Friday night at Petco Park, the Padres beat the Tigers behind their ace and six runs. Saturday night, it was Detroit's turn to use that approach.

A night after being shut out by Andrew Cashner, the Motor City Kitties rode Justin Verlander to a 6-2 win over the Padres in front of a sellout crowd in the East Village. Verlander punched out eight and gave up just two runs.

Padres starter Ian Kennedy was not bad himself, striking out seven in six innings of work. Kennedy got hurt by a couple of pitches in not quite the right places.

In the 4th inning, with the Tigers leading 2-1, Ian allowed a single to Verlander (who got the first two hits of his Major League career on Saturday) then another single to Ian Kinsler. With two outs, Kennedy threw a first-pitch fastball to Torii Hunter, who slapped it right back up the middle for a 2-run single.

"I tried to go low, down and away, and it just ran back over (the plate)," said Kennedy. "When you have a close ballgame like this one of us is going to have that one pitch you're going to think about. That was the situation where you need to make that little bit better pitch."

Verlander made just enough pitches to get the win, but the Padres did not make it easy on him. After stressing the Tigers star in a 30-pitch first inning that produced one run (on a Jedd Gyorko sacrifice fly to score Chris Denorfia), the Padres got the tying run to the plate in the 4th, 5th, and 6th innings.

Each time Verlander was able to pitch his way out of trouble. His crowning achievement may have been in that 6th inning. Catcher Yasmani Grandal singled with one out, then Verlander struck out Will Venable with three straight mid-90's fastballs up in the strike zone.

Padres manager Bud Black sent in Nick Hundley to pinch-hit for Kennedy and Verlander took everyone by surprise, flipping up a slider and three straight curve balls, the last one Hundley looked at for a called strike three.

"That combination is lethal, the high fastball and the good curve," said Black. "He's battle-tested, for sure, and he beat us."

If there's a silver lining, it's that Verlander gave up 8 hits and needed every weapon in his expansive arsenal to beat the Padres. The Friars can still win the series on Sunday when they throw Tyson Ross against Max Scherzer, the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[San Diego Rock City]]> Fri, 11 Apr 2014 23:06:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/170*120/484273419.jpg

The Padres entered Friday night's game against the Tigers owners of the lowest-scoring offense in Major League Baseball. So, it stood to reason that this is not a real good time for Detroit's pitching staff to toll in to town.

Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer (Saturday and Sunday's starters) both own Cy Young Awards. Friday's starter Rick Porcello was a first round draft pick who's shown flashes of brilliance, and he's the 5th starter.

Still, in the clubhouse before the game there was a palpable confidence in the Padres clubhouse.

"These are the types of guys you've gotta beat is you want to win in the playoffs," said catcher Yasmani Grandal. "They can be beat. We're big league hitters. We're expected to hit against these guys. Hopefully, at the end of the day, we can take two out of three. Or, the sweep."

He was smiling when he said that last little bit, but if they play anything close to the way they did in their 6-0 win over the Tigers at Petco Park, it's not out of the question.

The Padres put their own ace on the hill, and Andrew Cashner turned in the best performance of the season by any MLB pitcher.

Cashner struck out 11 Tigers hitters in a complete-game, 1-hit shutout. The only hit he allowed was on a Rajai Davis soft liner that diving 2nd baseman Jedd Gyorko missed by maybe an inch. Against a Detroit lineup that featured three All-Stars, including 2-time reigning American League MVP Miguel Cabrera, this start was one for the ages.

"He had tremendous movement with command," said Padres manager Bud Black of Cashner's outing. "He had command of the outside corner to right-handed hitters, he did a good job of getting in on the lefties."

What's crazy is, Cashner did it using mostly fastballs. He mixed a few sliders and changeups in to his 108 pitches, but the biggest weapon was the heater and the diversity with which he used it.

"You saw some fastballs at 90, and I saw some in the upper 90's," said Black. "That was a well-pitched game, as good as you'll see."

Cashner had the luxury of working with a lead, something that had not happened yet this season. The Padres scored twice in the bottom of the first inning, the first runs they've scored with Cashner on the mound in 2014.

Gyorko drove in the first run of the game with a triple to right field that scored Everth Cabrera. It was the first triple of Gyorko's big league career. Jedd scored when Chase Headley dropped a double in to the left-centerfield gap.

Gyorko was making his first appearance in the number three spot in the lineup while Headley made his first start as the cleanup hitter. You can't argue with the results.

Headley also ripped a 2-run home run, his first of the season. The Padres also have their first 2-game winning streak of the year. Not a bad way to start off their string of 20 games in 20 days.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Benoit Brings Experience to Padres Staff]]> Fri, 11 Apr 2014 12:35:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/joaquin-benoit.jpg

Having made his Major League debut in 2001, new bullpen acquisition Joaquin Benoit has a wealth of experience to offer the Padres. He brings something even more important to a young pitching staff: a history of playoff success.

The 36-year-old right-hander has been in the postseason four years straight, the last three making deep runs into October with the Detroit Tigers – who come to town tonight for a weekend series at Petco Park.

To put it into perspective, his 20 playoff appearances are seven more than the rest of the Padres staff combined.

“It’s a playoff mentality,” he said of pitching on the big stage. “You just have to do your job. If you have the mindset on the small things, everything will take care of itself. Some things you can teach, but some things just come with experience.”

Those appearances include three trips to the American League Championship Series and two scoreless outings when the Tigers were swept at the hands of the San Francisco Giants in the 2012 World Series.

He served as the closer for the Tigers last year, racking up 24 saves in 26 opportunities with an impressive 2.01 ERA. He also saved three games in the postseason, but is probably most known for his ill-fated grand slam served up to Boston slugger David Ortiz that got the eventual World Series champion Red Sox back in the ALCS.

Like any good reliever, Benoit doesn’t dwell on what has already happened.

“That’s over. Baseball is a present game. You can’t be living in the past,” said. “It’s baseball. It’s part of the game. That pitch is not coming back.”

Now he’s in San Diego, enjoying his role as mentor to a very young pitching staff.

“He adds another weapon to our bullpen,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “Age wise in his career he brings a great deal of experience to our staff. He’s a great sounding board for guys like (Nick) Vincent and (Donn) Roach.”

He also has a new role – same as the old role for much of a 14-year career – as a setup man. It’s something Benoit relishes.

“I really enjoy it. It’s where I feel I can help the team,” he said. “To get to the ninth, you gotta have a clean eighth.”

As he heads into the latter portion of his career, he has become more realistic about his goals for the season.

“I’m really trying to keep myself healthy,” said Benoit, who has made at least 55 appearances in all but one season since 2006. He has already taken the mound four times for the Friars this year – three of them scoreless outings. “I just want to try to help the young guys and myself.”

He downplays a reunion with his old teammates from Detroit.

“It’s baseball. It’s normal to get to see the guys you played with,” he said. “I’m gonna have time to chat and to catch up. But it’s part of the game. I just enjoy the ride.”

Padres fans can only hope the ride includes extending that playoff streak another year.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres-Tigers Preview]]> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 10:39:45 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/alexi-amarista.jpg

History buffs will love this weekend’s series at Petco Park. It’s a rematch of the 1984 World Series, as the Detroit Tigers come to town for the first time since 2008 for a three-game set.

You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone still in the game from that series, which the Tigers won four games to one. Both managers – Dick Williams of the Padres and Sparky Anderson of the Tigers – have moved on to the great ballpark in the sky. Each team has been back to the World Series since (Padres in ’98, Tigers in ’06 and ’12), but neither has won it.

For the Padres, the story remains the same: Somebody’s got to step  up and hit the ball. The team is 28th in the league in batting average (.209) and home runs (four) and 29th in runs scored (a mere 20 in nine games).

That’s not gonna get it done, especially against the Tigers, who have been to the American League Championship Series three straight years. But they are a much different team from years past, having traded away slugger Prince Fielder and picking up speedsters like Ian Kinsler and Rajai Davis. They still have a formidable pitching rotation, which the Padres will see in full force this weekend.

When they play: The series opens Friday night at 7:10 p.m., followed by a Saturday tilt at 5:40 p.m. The finale is Sunday at 1:10 p.m.

What’s at stake: The Padres just want to win a series. They’ve dropped two of three games in each of the first three matchups. This series begins a 10-game homestand where the Friars need to right the ship or risk falling too far behind the division leaders.

The Tigers did their best to help the Friars’ cause, splitting a pair of extra-inning nail biters with Los Angeles this week. They are heavy favorites to win the AL Central Division for the fourth straight year. Their 4-0 start was reminiscent of that ’84 season, when the team started a record 35-5 and ran away with the division. They’ve since lost two of three. But they haven’t lost a series all season, and head back to the Midwest after their set with the Padres for 10 straight home games at Comerica Park.

Who is pitching: The Padres throw their top three starters in the series, with Andrew Cashner (0-1, 2.25 ERA) starting Friday, followed by Ian Kennedy (1-1, 3.27) and Tyson Ross (0-2, 4.35). They’re going to need their A game as they battle a Detroit rotation that many consider the best in the league.

Friday starter Rick Porcello (1-0, 1.35) is probably the worst of the bunch, but has been lights out so far this season. Despite his struggles last year, Justin Verlander (0-1, 2.57) is an absolute horse, having won the Cy Young Award and AL MVP in 2011 and striking out at least 200 in five straight years. He takes the mound on Saturday, followed by 2013 AL Cy Young winner and 20-game winner Max Scherzer (0-0, 1.20).

Who to watch: The bats finally came alive for at least a few Padres while in Cleveland this week. Leadoff hitter Everth Cabrera had six hits and stole his first base in the series. Alexi Amarista is on a four-game hitting streak, raising his average to .333 on the season. Yasmani Grandal had a four-hit game on Monday, and leads the everyday players with a .368 average. … Now, if we could work on that power. Seth Smith hit homers in his first two at-bats with the squad. Since then, the rest of the lineup has a grand total of two long balls. Ouch.

For the Tigers, Torii Hunter is showing some much-needed power with three homers in his last four games. Austin Jackson is settling into his role in the bottom half of the order with 10 hits in seven games, including RBIs in each of the Dodgers games. But the lineup begins and ends with Miguel Cabrera, the MVP and Triple Crown winner from two years ago. He has struggled out of the gate, hitting just .286 with a single home run. Keeping him down will be the key to the series, as it’s only a matter of time before the superstar’s bat heats up.

Why go: Saturday’s game is the next giveaway night, as all fans will receive a Padres long sleeve t-shirt. On Sunday, players will sign autographs as part of Kids Fest. The team will also honor the military, wearing camouflage jerseys. Tickets are still available for all three games.

What’s next: This is the start of a 10-game homestand for the Friars. Up next is the Colorado Rockies for four games, followed by the division-leading San Francisco Giants in town for the weekend.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Reasons for Padres Fans to Love Cleveland]]> Tue, 08 Apr 2014 11:52:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/cleveland+rocks.jpg

Apparently some Cleveland fans took a little offense to my preview of the Padres-Indians series. You guys didn't like when I said: “What’s worse than starting the season 2-4? How about going to Cleveland in early April?”

So, what did Cleveland do? It went out and rained all day Monday, postponing the first game of the series until this afternoon.

But I don’t want Clevelanders to think I’m hating on your town. In fact, I’m a big fan – just maybe not in April. No offense, but it was 82 and sunny here yesterday.

Anyway, let me extend an olive branch and offer up some reasons why we love your fair city.

-- Ron Burgundy ain’t got nothing on Drew Carey.

-- The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame … even if the only real rockers to come out of your town are Trent Reznor and the two guys from Guns ‘N Roses not named Axl or Slash. (Sorry, didn't mean to bring them up.)

-- Willie Mays Hayes. He runs like Mays, but he hits like ... well, you know.

-- John Rocker only pitched there for half a season.

-- LeBron James used to live there. Then he moved. But don’t feel bad. The Clippers used to live here. Then they moved too.

-- We have a lot of wildfires. But that’s nothing. You guys had a whole river catch fire.

-- You guys made the playoffs last year. For a game.

-- Halle Berry is a native. No really. We’re not even mad, we’re just impressed.

-- The Browns won the Super Bowl! Oh wait, that was the Ravens.

-- Cedar Point is the best amusement park in the country. And it doesn’t even have any whales.

-- The most awesome tourism video ever!

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tweet Strikes Nerve With #Tribe]]> Tue, 08 Apr 2014 07:32:23 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Cleveland-Indians-Tweets.jpg

A Twitter feud between NBC 7's main account and #OnFriar blog and Cleveland Indians #Tribe makes one wonder what did opponents of San Diego professional sports teams do before "Anchorman" coined its famous phrase? 

When a post on #NBC7's Twitter feed struck a little too close for Cleveland fans, there were a few gems amongst all the "stay classy" comments.

We wanted to share.

UPDATE: Monday's game was delayed due to weather. Blue skies and 90 degrees at Petco Park. #Justsayin

Check out the Storify here

 

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<![CDATA[Kennedy, Amarista Stop Padres Slide]]> Mon, 07 Apr 2014 00:03:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/169*120/483086863.jpg

It wasn't the offensive outburst we've been hoping for, but it's a start! When the Padres woke up in Miami on Sunday morning, they were one of only two teams in baseball that had not scored at least 10 runs yet.

The other was the Cubs (and, historically speaking, you don't want to share too many lists with the Cubs). Adding to the worry was the fact they were facing the Marlins, the only team in baseball to have scored 40 runs already.

So it comes as a bit of a surprise that the Friars snapped their 4-game losing streak with a 4-2 win at Marlins Park.

A big tip of the cap goes to Padres starter Ian Kennedy. The former 21-game-winner got re-acquainted with his old Uncle Charlie. Padres manager Bud Black said after the game Kennedy's curve ball was the best he's seen it since San Diego acquired him from Arizona at last season's trade deadline.

Kennedy gave up one run and struck out five Marlins in six innings of work. Three of his whiffs came on the curve ball. However, Kennedy was en route to suffering a loss because once again the Padres offense was punchless.

Miami led 1-0 in the top of the 7th inning. At the time, the Padres were working on an 18-inning scoreless streak. So with two on and two out, Buddy pulled Kennedy for pinch-hitter Alexi Amarista.

Amarista worked Marlins starter Nathan Eovaldi deep in to the count, fouling off six pitches, before finally lifting a slider up and over the right field wall for a 3-run home run. It was Amarista's first homer of the season, and the first pinch-hit homer of his career.

With that one swing of the bat, Alexi also tied Yonder Alonso for the team RBI lead with three.

Baby steps, folks. Baby steps.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres-Indians Preview]]> Mon, 07 Apr 2014 15:34:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/robbie+erlin+pitcher.jpg

What’s worse than losing your first two series’ and starting the season 2-4? How about a trip to Cleveland in early April?

That’s what the Padres get after avoiding a sweep to the hands of the Miami Marlins on Sunday afternoon. Now they play three at the Indians (3-3) in their first interleague action of the year.

Things could be worse: It's supposed to rain this week, but at least it will be in the 40s in the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We’ll see if the Padres’ lineup continues to be one-hit wonders. Let’s take a look inside the series.

When they play: The teams take the field at 7:05 Eastern time (4 p.m. for us) on Monday and Tuesday, followed by an afternoon (or morning) tilt at noon (9 a.m.) on Thursday.

What’s at stake: More than anything the Padres want to win a series for psychological value. They also don’t want to lose too much sight of the division-leading Giants, who are off to a hot start (5-2). This is the only time the Friars and Tribe will see each other this season.

Who is pitching: It’s a battle of the back end of the rotations as neither team will be throwing their aces. We get to see Robbie Erlin make his first start of the season for the Padres on Monday. He threw 2/3 of an inning in relief against the Dodgers. The lefty battles Corey Kluber (0-1, 13.50 ERA), who got roughed up in his season debut against the Oakland A’s.

On Tuesday, Tyson Ross (0-1, 5.40) tries to get on track against Zach McAllister (0-0, 6.75).

On Wednesday, Eric Stults (0-1, 11.25) will try to put a dreadful start against LA behind him as he squares off against Danny Salazar (0-0, 3.18).

Who to watch: The Padres get their first chance to use a designated hitter, although with the way this lineup has been swinging, maybe they just want to let the pitcher hit. No regular starter is hitting above .300. Will Venable or Chris Denorfia will most likely flip between right field and DH for the series. Or maybe one of the three catchers will get the call. Nick Hundley and Yasmani Grandal each have three hits each in limited action.

Everth Cabrera has probably been the hottest at the plate with five hits in his last four games. Jedd Gyorko finally got off the schnide with a pair of hits against Miami.

For the Indians, Michael Brantley has been red-hot, hitting .375 with 6 RBIs. Jan Gomes hit a pair of homers over the weekend against Minnesota, but those account for half of his hits on the season.

Homeward bound: The Friars get the heck out of the Midwest and return to Petco Park for a 10-game homestand. It starts Friday with three games against the Detroit Tigers, followed by four games against Colorado Rockies and a three-game set with the San Francisco Giants.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Shut Out In Miami]]> Sun, 06 Apr 2014 00:04:05 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/482997193.jpg

You don't need me to tell you how bad the Padres offense has been through the first five games of the season. But when a shutout is not only not surprising, but partially expected, things have dipped to a serious low.

The Padres faced Marlins ace Jose Fernandez on Saturday night. The reigning National League Rookie of the Year has the kind of stuff legends are written about, so not a whole lot of people gave the San Diego offense much chance to out slug Miami.

Fernandez did not disappoint, striking out eight Padres in 6.2 shutout innings to lead the Marlins to a 5-0 win. Padres starter Andrew Cashner was solid, but not quite able to match Fernandez (who has never lost in 17 career starts at Marlins Park).

Cashner went six innings, whiffing six while giving up two runs. The first scored when Giancarlo Stanton's ground ball got by 3rd baseman Chase Headley in the third inning, bringing home that Fernandez kid.

It's usually not a good sign when the pitcher you are facing scores more runs than he allows. For the night, the Padres only mustered five hits. The only time they threatened to score was in the top of the third, when Fernandez allowed a hit then walked two straight hitters to load the bases with one out.

The "rally" ended one pitch later, when Seth Smith grounded in to a double play to end the inning.

The Padres have scored a mere eight runs in five games and have not scored more than two since their season-opening win against the Dodgers.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Lose Big In Miami]]> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 20:22:29 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/174*120/482813259.jpg

Over the last few years, the Padres have not been good in April. From 2011 through 2013, they have gone 26-50 in the season's first month.

The last time the Friars had a winning record in April was ... SURPRISE!

2010, when they opened 15-8 and were in the pennant race all the way to the last day of the regular season.

So, after winning on Opening Night in March, the Padres are frustratingly falling in to a familiar pattern, dropping their first three games of April.

"Every manager, every organization, wants to get off to a great start. That's common sense," said Padres manager Bud Black on Friday night. "Our guys are doing the best they can every night to win a ballgame."

However, Friday night's 8-2 loss in Miami was particularly not good.

"Right now our offense is a little stagnant, there's no doubt about that," said Black.

The Marlins offense, however, is looking a lot like MLB's version of the Oregon Ducks football team. Miami leads the league with 35 runs scored in just five games. Padres starter Eric Stults had his first bit of trouble in the first inning, letting a fastball slip out over the middle of the plate to OF Giancarlo Stanton.

The ball landed 458 feet away, after traveling over an elevated beer garden in left field at Marlins Park. So far this young season, that is the difference between the Padres offense and pretty much everyone else.

Facing Marlins starter Tom Koehler, the Padres could not get anything going, even though they had some pitches to hit. Their best chance came in the 5th inning, when the Friars were already down 5-0.

Three singles loaded the bases with one out. Black sent in rookie Tommy Medica to pinch-hit for Stults. He worked the count to 3-1, then saw a pair of fastballs up in the strike zone. One was fouled back, the other ended in a pop-up to first base.

Everth Cabrera followed with a groundout, and the Padres were basically done for.

"We just couldn't get the big hit tonight," said Black. "That was our opportunity to get back in to it."

San Diego has now scored eight runs in four games. Don't expect to have an offensive explosion on Saturday, either. They run up against Jose Fernandez, the reigning National League Rookie of the Year who struck out nine Colorado Rockies over six innings in his first start of the season.

The only saving grace for the Padres is they have their number one, Andrew Cashner, taking the mound. If Cash can keep the game close and put the game in the hands of the bullpens, the Padres will have the advantage.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padre Nick Vincent Cherishes Custom Cleats]]> Thu, 03 Apr 2014 18:01:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Vincent-Custom-cleats.jpg Padres reliever (and Ramona native) Nick Vincent has some custom cleats that reveal his mantra -- and can never be duplicated. NBC 7's Derek Togerson speaks to Vincent about these special shoes.]]> <![CDATA[Padres-Marlins Preview]]> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 09:56:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/seth+smith.jpg

After an emotionally charged – and run-depleted – opening series against the rival Dodgers, the Padres embark on their first road trip of the season. It starts this weekend with a three-game stint against the red-hot Miami Marlins.

Wait, what?

That’s right, the lowly Marlins won three of their first four games against the Colorado Rockies and carry some hot bats into their set with the Friars. Here’s an inside look into the series.

When they play: The series starts Friday with a 4:10 p.m. (local time) game, followed by another on Saturday at 4:10. The finale is Sunday at 10 a.m. Those crazy East Coasters.

Who to watch: The marquee pitching matchup will be Saturday, when Padres ace Andrew Cashner battles phenom Jose Fernandez. The second-year starter gave up just one run while picking up the win in the Marlins’ opener. He was the lone bright spot for an awful Marlins squad that lost 100 games last year, posting a miniscule 2.16 ERA while going 12-6.

Cashner held his own in the opener against the Dodgers, pitching six strong innings to earn a no-decision in the Padres’ lone win of the season.

The rest of the series matches up like this: Eric Stults vs. Tom Koehler (making their first starts of the year) on Friday and Ian Kennedy (0-1, 5.40) against Nate Eovaldi (1-0, 3.00) on Sunday.

New addition Seth Smith is the only Padre to put the ball out of the park so far, hitting home runs in his first two at-bats with the team. His 162-homer pace slowed after an 0-for-3 series finale. We’ll see if he can keep up the hot stick.

Everyone else will be looking to do something – anything – at the plate. The only two extra-base hits from the rest of the lineup are from catcher Nick Hundley and  shortstop Everth Cabrera, who really should’ve been thrown out after an ill-advised decision to stretch a single in the eighth inning on Wednesday.

Topping the list of those in need of some hits: Infielders Chase Headley (1-for-12) and Jedd Gyorko (0-for-10).

Maybe the Padres could ask to borrow some runs from the Marlins? The Fish have already put up 27 this season. Giancarlo Stanton (eight) and Casey McGehee (seven) have both driven in more runs than the Friars have scored as a team (six) this year.

Can they keep that up against a real pitching staff? (No offense, Rockies.)

What’s next: After they take their talents to South Beach, the Padres head to the Rust Belt for a three-game set with the Cleveland Indians. The interleague fun continues after that as the Detroit Tigers come to Petco to kick off a 10-game home stand starting next weekend.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Drop Series to Dodgers]]> Thu, 03 Apr 2014 09:15:44 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/baseball17.JPG

The Padres had a chance to take the season-opening series from the rival Dodgers on Wednesday night. Instead, they fell behind early and couldn’t get much of anything going on offense in a 5-1 loss at Petco Park.

Tyson Ross was touched up for three runs in the first for the Padres (1-2), which was all Los Angeles needed as Dan Haren scattered four hits over six innings to pick up the victory in his Dodgers debut.

"His stuff was good, he just really couldn't command his fastball early in the game," Padres manager Bud Black said of his starter.

Ross didn’t help himself out. After a Carl Crawford double, he committed a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt by Yasiel Puig. Hanley Ramirez followed that with a two-run double and Adrian Gonzalez added an RBI single to give the Dodgers all the runs they would need.

The Padres’ lone run came in the fourth, when Yonder Alonso drove in Everth Cabrera to start a potential big inning. But Haren put out the fire with strikeouts of Jedd Gyorko and Will Venable.

Cabrera had a pair of hits, including a double in the eighth. But he was stranded and the Padres didn’t threaten again.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Get Pitching Insurance]]> Wed, 02 Apr 2014 20:01:03 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Bobby+LaFromboise.jpg

The Padres bought a bit of an insurance policy for their pitching staff on Wednesday, claiming left-hander Bobby LaFromboise off waivers from the Seattle Mariners.

He was optioned to the team’s Triple-A team in El Paso, but could see the big leagues if a staff that has already lost Josh Johnson to injury has any more players go down.

Padres manager Bud Black spoke highly of the 27-year-old, who had a 4.50 and a save in six appearances with Seattle last season.

“We’ve seen him just a little bit, but he adds to our pitching depth,” Black said. “He comes highly recommended by a number of our scouts who have seen him.”

Black even pronounced the pitcher’s name correctly – La-Fram-Boy – or at least came close.

LaFromboise is a California native, growing up in the Los Angeles suburb of Downey.

To make room on the roster, the team moved right-hander Joe Wieland from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list.

Black gave another injury tidbit before Wednesday's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He said outfielder Cameron Maybin, who has been out with an arm injury, will begin hitting in a simulated game in Arizona this weekend.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Navy Leapfrogs Land in Petco Park on Opening Day]]> Wed, 02 Apr 2014 12:18:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Navy-Leapfrog-San-Diego-Pad.jpg

Here's one of the coolest Opening Day jumps you'll see from a perspective you may never share.

The Navy Leapfrogs welcomed in the baseball season with a special jump that landed right in the middle of Petco Park for the San Diego Padres game against the Los Angeles Dodgers Sunday, March 30, 2014.

The video you see above was posted to YouTube.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Will Not Go Undefeated]]> Wed, 02 Apr 2014 09:37:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/baseball17.JPG

The Padres will not go undefeated.

The Dodgers beat the Padres 3-2 Tuesday behind a two-run first inning homerun from Yasiel Puig.

Ian Kennedy took the loss. He allowed three runs over five innings.

Zach Greinke went five innings for the win.

The two teams combined to use nine relief pitchers.

With two outs in the 9th inning, the Padres had the bases loaded against Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen who struck out Nick Hundley to earn the save and win the game.

The Padres are 1-1 on the season. The Dodgers are 3-1.

Padres have Tyson Ross on the mound against L.A.’s Dan Haren. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m.
 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Where to Eat and Drink at Petco Park]]> Tue, 01 Apr 2014 13:18:21 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/lucha+libre.jpg Here's a look at some of the vendors that will be serving up food and drinks at Petco Park for Padres games this season.]]> <![CDATA[Petco Park Food Will Keep Fans Happy]]> Thu, 03 Apr 2014 11:47:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/hodads.jpg

The Padres are hungry for wins this season. From the looks of the new food options at Petco Park, fans will be leaving games with full bellies no matter the outcome.

The club gave media a preview of the new dining options in the ballpark, and man they are good.

Let’s start with Lucha Libre Taco Shop. The wildly popular Mission Hills Mexcian joint hits the stadium’s Toyota Terrace (near Section 215) with Cali burritos that will knock your calcetines off.
Owner Diego Rojano said his Petco plans have been a long time coming. 

“It’s kinda been in the works for three years now,” he said. “We wanted a little more control of the kitchen. We wanted to make sure it was our guys in the kitchen.”

Now he has what he needs, which means good things for those willing to venture to their spot upsta. Rojano said he loves the space they have, and it’s just the beginning. They hope to add a Champions Booth, much like the eclectic restaurant. Rojano joked that they might also change the décor of their area to look like the restaurant as well.

“When the Padres aren’t looking, we’ll paint the walls pink,” he said. Maybe he’s not joking?

Phil's BBQ joins the team with a huge restaurant and seating area down the first-base line. Choose from pulled pork sandwiches, ribs and barbeque chicken plates, all served with sides like macaroni salad and fries.

Other new options include Rimel’s Rotisserie, which will be serving up chicken and fish tacos on the roof of the Western Metal Supply Co. Building – that area is open to the public this year.

Seaside Market will also be in the park this year, with a salad and juice bar along with a flatbread station in Section 107.

Stone Brewing opens up a mini-version of their bistro in the Upper Deck Terrace. It’s just beer for now, but food will be served later in the season.

Ballast Point will also have a full tap room, adding to what has to be the widest selection of beers in any ballpark. Inside, you can get burgers from Hodad’s, the iconic Ocean Beach spot with a second location downtown.

Hodad’s has been in the park for the past few years, which still makes owner Mike Hardin smile.

“I’m so happy to be here,” he said. “If people ask me what I want to return as in another lifetime, I tell them I want to come back as me.”

For wine options, check out Copa di Vino, an Oregon-based vineyard that will be serving a variety of wines in convenient plastic glasses with resealable lids. It might not satiate the most ardent wine snobs among us, but hey, it's a ballpark. It could be worse.

On chillier days you’ll want to check out Ryan Bros. Coffee, which has a cart and a stand in the park this year. They’ll have basic coffee and tea, plus some specialty drinks with a kick.

Get the Sombrero – tequila, Mexican chocolate, coffee and whipped cream. Or try the Nutty Umpire, another coffee-and-whipped-cream delicacy served with Jamson whiskey and white chocolate.

“We’re super excited,” said Harry Ryan, one of the café’s co-owners. “The Padres need a little Irish luck.”

For dessert, you will be kicking yourself if you don’t head up to the Baked Bear, an ice cream sandwich shop in Pacific Beach that makes its own cookies and ice cream, then smashes them together for a ridiculously decadent treat.

Shane Stanger, one of the owners, said they had a test run in the park at the end of last year that went well enough to come back again.

“It was pretty good last time. I’m feeling really good about it,” he said. “It’s as cool of a second location as I can think of.”

They will be located in right field, but not until the next homestand starting April 11.



Photo Credit: Matthew Wood/NBC7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Off-Season Trade Pays Immediate Dividends]]> Mon, 31 Mar 2014 15:26:53 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/172*120/481643177.jpg

From the moment the Padres traded popular and effective relief pitcher Luke Gregerson to the A's for left-handed hitting outfielder Seth Smith, a multitude of San Diego baseball fans questioned the sanity of General Manager Josh Byrnes.

Why send off your 8th inning specialist for a guy who has never driven in more than 59 runs in any of his seven MLB seasons? Well, I can't confirm this, but I believe the answer is ... Mark Kotsay.

In 2012 and 2013 Kotsay was the main left-handed bat off the Padres bench. While a tremendous clubhouse guy who helped the development of guys like Will Venable, time had worn down Kotsay's effectiveness on the field.

Byrnes saw several spots where a lefty pinch-hitting specialist would have won the Padres a game. So, he found the best left-handed pinch-hitter in baseball.

Smith has a career .574 slugging percentage as a pinch-hitter the highest in MLB history among players with at least 200 pinch-hit at-bats. Smith has a career .320 batting average as a pinch-hitter, with seven of his 74 career home runs coming in a pinch.

Seth made a difference in his very first San Diego at-bat, ripping a pinch-hit homer in the 8th inning off Dodgers reliever Brian Wilson to pull the Padres in to a 1-1 tie and sparking a game-winning, 3-run rally.

Gregerson will be missed, but he was replaced with veteran Joaquin Benoit, one of the very few players in the game today that qualify as an upgrade. With as many close games as the Padres play, having a stick like Smith in the arsenal might be that "missing piece" we've been hearing about.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Scenes from Padres' Opening Night Win]]> Mon, 31 Mar 2014 10:50:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/black+dugout.jpg

The Padres get a day off today after an exciting 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in front of a sellout crowd and a national television audience on Sunday night. So, while players and fans catch their collective breaths, let’s take a look at some news and notes from Opening Night:

What a crowd: Not only was it a sellout, it set a record for largest attendance in Petco Park’s 10-year history. A whopping 45,567 fans were in the park and they were loud. It was a playoff atmosphere all night. Of course, you’re going to get an extra rush when the hated Dodgers are in town, but this was even more than that. It seemed fans were on their feet cheering after nearly every play.

Oh, if we could only have every game played against a heated rival from just a few hours away while playing on ESPN. Yeah, not gonna happen.

For the record, it broke the previous attendance record by just 71 fans (April 6, 2009, also against the Dodgers).

It wasn’t just inside the park. Bars in the Gaslamp Quarter were bumping before and after the game. The pre-game party in East Village looked like a rousing success, with two blocks of food and drinks for fans.

You are appreciated: The pregame ceremony honored local military. There were 120 service men and women on the field before the game mingling with players and watching an outfield-big flag unfurled. The Padres also wore their camouflage jerseys for the first time on opening day.

Star ceremony: It was a touching pre-game tribute to legendary announcer Jerry Coleman, who passed away over the offseason. Padres TV announcer Dick Enberg gave a nice tribute to his fellow broadcaster, who spent 70 years in baseball, 41 of those with the Padres.

“Jerry’s impact on our community was profound, and the Padres will not be the same without you,” Enberg said with a lump in his throat.

The plane flyover after the national anthem (sang by Chula Vista native and American Idol finalist Jessica Sanchez) was a 1943 SMJ 5 “Sassy” jet – the one Coleman flew in military training. Coleman served in both World War II and the Korean War.

The Padres also officially dedicated the press box to Coleman and will have a star hanging from a string that will come out after big plays.

Coleman probably would have appreciated the ceremony not going exactly as planned. Padres Chairman Ron Fowler’s speech about Coleman was interrupted by the U.S. Navy Leap Frog parachute divers landing in the outfield. Coleman’s daughter, Chelsea, threw out the first pitch to manager Bud Black. The pitch bounced in front of the plate and went through Blacks’ legs. Coleman might not have put a star on that one, but nobody seemed to care.

All in all, it was a fitting tribute to a beloved man.

Buddy speaks: Black’s first pregame press conference of the year focused on instant replay and injuries. For the record, Black is in favor of the league’s new replay rules, which allow managers to challenge at least one play a game.

“What we’ve seen from other sports, it’s time for baseball (to use replay),” he said. “This is a historic day.”

Well, not exactly. There were no replay challenges from either team in a game that was mostly without any controversial calls from the umpires.

Q update: Black didn’t sound optimistic when talking about outfielder Carlos Quentin, who missed much of last year with a knee injury, and is starting the season on the disabled list with a bone bruise in his other knee.

“I worry about Q,” he said. “He has knees that are banged up. But there’s motivation behind Q, that he wants to play.”

Black said Quentin most likely won’t be able to come off the DL when he’s eligible next week.
“It will go beyond that,” he said.

Praising Tommy: Black also gave high praise to rookie Tommy Medica, who not only made his first opening day roster but also was the starter in left field.

“He’s done a nice job over the past 3 1/2 weeks of getting up to speed,” Black said. “He’s played a little bit of left field in the past, but not a lot. … He’s fearless. Not tentative, not scared off by this.”
Medica had a hit and a walk while hitting sixth in the lineup.

No jitters: Ever wonder if players get extra nervous for opening day? Catcher Nick Hundley downplayed the pressure of the season’s first game.

“It’s just a part of the business,” said Hundley, who was taking part in his sixth season opener. “You just try to stay positive. It’s a little bigger, but you try to block that out.”

Beach bums: There were beach balls galore as Harrah’s Casino was giving them out to fans before the game. That led to at least a half-dozen instances of balls coming onto the field. Come on, Padres fans. Let’s keep it in the stands. Say what you will about Dodgers fans, at least they can keep the beach balls in the bleachers.

Fan participation: An over-exuberant fan jumped the fence down the third-base line in the middle of the seventh inning, running across the outfield and sliding in the shallow right-center field grass before he was quickly descended upon and roughed up by three security guards.

He was promptly handcuffed and arrested, presumably spending the rest of the night in the bowels of Petco Park and facing charges from the team. Was it really worth it?

Beat LA?: One more thing about the Padres-Dodgers rivalry. Can we just retire the whole “Beat LA” cheer? It’s unoriginal (every team west of the Mississippi does it now) and it only strokes LA fans’ egos. That’s the last thing anybody needs. Let’s focus on a Padres win, not a Dodgers loss, no?



Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Beat L.A. In Season Opener]]> Mon, 31 Mar 2014 06:46:56 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/174*120/481643661.jpg

For the Padres, the formula for success is the same it's been since the dawn of baseball time: Good pitching, good defense, do the little things right.

In Sunday's Opening Night game against the Dodgers, they were successful on all three. This time, that last one was running the bases effectively.

"Our style of play over the years has been, I think, we have to push a little bit to score runs," said Padres manager Bud Black after his team's 3-1 win over the Dodgers.

The biggest baserunning bonanza for the Padres came in the 8th inning. After Seth Smith tied the game with his pinch-hit solo home run off Brian Wilson (becoming the first Padre to hit a pinch-hit HR in the Opener since Rickey Henderson in 1997), catcher Yasmani Grandal drew a pinch-hit walk.

Everth Cabrera put down a good sacrifice bunt that Wilson could not handle, putting Padres at first and second with nobody out. Then Chris Denorfia then squared to bunt, so Dodgers 3rd baseman Juan Uribe charged.

"Deno missed the bunt, and Uribe went in really hard," said Grandal. "Hanley (Ramirez, the Dodgers shortstop) was nowhere near the bag and I didn't think Juan was going to be able to get back. So, I took the chance."

The gamble paid off with interest. LA played the infield in, allowing Cabrera to take second base. Both runners scored when Denorfia scorched a ball up the middle to plate the game's final two runs.

Grandal's steal was the first of his MLB career. In fact, it was his first in a very long time.

"This is actually the first stolen base I've had in my professional career," said Grandal. "I only had one in college (at the University of Miami)."

His team mates appreciated the heads-up play and effort, but also brought up an interesting counter-point.

"It's scary to think that he's leading our team in stolen bases," said 2nd baseman Jedd Gyorko. "We all were kind of in shock that he took off, but it worked out for us."

If Grandal is not the slowest member of the Padres roster, he's close. So, how long would you imagine his franchise stolen base lead lasts?

"Hopefully a day," said outfielder Will Venable, one of the fastest players on the team. "For the base stealers, you don't want those guys holding the title for long."

But, who knows? This could be a whole new dimension to Grandal's game. During his rehab work from the knee surgery, running was a big focus.

"I worked on my speed a lot," said Grandal. "My wife, the first thing she said was, 'You know it would be crazy if you stole a few bags this year.'"

Don't look for Buddy to start giving Yasmani the green light as often as, say, Cabrera. But, so far, who's to argue with the results?

NEWS AND NOTES:

Andrew Cashner threw six innings, allowing one run and striking out five but did not figure in the decision. He has appeared in 15 career games against the Dodgers (four starts) and is yet to earn a decision of any kind.

Smith's home run came in his first at-bat as a Padre.

Huston Street pitched a perfect 9th inning to earn the save.

Denorfia had two hits. Dating back to the end of the 2013 season, he has a hit in eight straight games.

The Padres have a day off on Monday. They play their "Opening Day" game on Tuesday against the Dodgers.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Meet Padres Infielder Tommy Medica]]> Sun, 30 Mar 2014 16:50:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/tommy+medica.JPG Tommy Medica made his first opening day big league roster Sunday as the San Diego Padres took on the LA Dodgers. NBC 7's Derek Togerson spoke to the Padres first baseman about his landmark game. ]]> <![CDATA[Padres Opening Day Block Party 2014]]> Sun, 30 Mar 2014 15:40:44 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Padres+Opening+Day+2014+Block+Party+%285%29.JPG Padres baseball fans took over the streets in front of Petco Park to celebrate Opening Day 2014.]]> <![CDATA[Padres Beat LA 3-1 in Home Opener]]> Mon, 31 Mar 2014 03:57:44 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/SethSmith.jpg

For one day at least, the moderate-payroll San Diego Padres are in first place in the NL West, ahead of the big-spending Los Angeles Dodgers.

Seth Smith hit a towering drive for a tying homer leading off the eighth and Chris Denorfia singled home two runs to give the Padres a 3-1 victory against the rival Dodgers in baseball's North American opener Sunday night.

Smith's first hit with the Padres came on a 2-0 pitch from Brian Wilson, who started the eighth after Hyun-Jin Ryu threw seven scoreless innings. It sailed an estimated 360 feet into the right-field seats. It was his seventh career pinch-hit homer. He was acquired in an offseason trade with Oakland for reliever Luke Gregerson.

Wilson (0-1) walked pinch-hitter Yasmani Grandal, who advanced when the veteran reliever couldn't handle Everth Cabrera's bunt for an error. Grandal stole third and Cabrera took second on indifference before Denorfia hit a bouncer up the middle to bring them both in.

"They're all just one game, but when you're facing a team like the Dodgers, full of great players, Brian Wilson, a guy who knows how to get it done in those situations, it's not easy to do what our hitters did," said Huston Street, who pitched a perfect ninth for the save. "To come back and get three right there in that situation, especially after leaving guys on base early, that's what this team is going to have to do to win. We're going to have to battle all year long."

The Dodgers set a record with an opening-day payroll of $234 million. The Padres are 23rd at just under $90 million.

Street said he has no problem with the discrepancy.

"They've got a lot of talent and their talent has earned those salaries," Street said. "They're not just given. At the same time, a lot of guys in this locker room are young guys. They haven't hit that free agency mark. They haven't hit those big salary years. We could be sitting on a higher payroll team. You don't worry about it too much just because baseball is such a game of execution."

Dale Thayer (1-0) pitched a perfect eighth for the win.

Smith was acquired to provide a left-handed bat off the bench. He went deep on a cutter.

"You get in the box and it's an at-bat," he said. "As a professional ballplayer you hope that you can kind of flush the fact that it's your first at-bat with your team or it's in a big spot or whatever, and just do what you've been practicing for the last six weeks."

Wilson said it was tough to deal with because Ryu "pitched such a marvelous game. It's a hard one to swallow."

He said he threw a pitch "that was a little bit uncharacteristic of me. Right then and there, the tire deflated."

The defending NL West champion Dodgers had started the regular season with a two-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks in Sydney.

Ryu got the start after reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw was scratched due to a swollen back muscle and then placed on the 15-day disabled list for the first time in his seven-year career.

In a scheduling quirk, the left-hander started consecutive regular-season games. He made his season debut a week earlier, when the Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks in their second game in Australia.

Ryu retired 16 in a row from the second inning until one out in the seventh. He then walked rookie Tommy Medica, who was then erased in a 3-6-3 double play.

Ryu allowed three hits, struck out seven and walked three.

The Dodgers grabbed the lead on a nice piece of hitting by Carl Crawford with two out in the fifth.

Crawford went the other way with an 0-2 pitch from Andrew Cashner, hitting it over third baseman Chase Headley to bring in Dee Gordon from second. Gordon had reached on a walk and advanced when Cashner fielded Ryu's bunt and forced A.J. Ellis at third.

Cashner allowed four hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked two.

NOTES: The Padres renamed the broadcast portion of the press box the Jerry Coleman Broadcast Center in memory of the Hall of Fame broadcaster who died on Jan. 5 at 89. His widow, Maggie, and daughter, Chelsea, threw out the ceremonial first pitches. ... Sunday night's attendance of 45,567 set the Petco Park single-game record. ... Padres manager Bud Black said LF Carlos Quentin's time on the disabled list will go beyond April 10, when he'd be eligible to be activated. He was placed on the DL on Saturday, retroactive to March 25, with a bone bruise in his left knee. Quentin was hurt diving for a ball in a spring training game. ... Monday is an off day. Tuesday's scheduled starters are Zack Greinke for Los Angeles and Ian Kennedy for San Diego.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Finalize Opening Day Roster]]> Sat, 29 Mar 2014 23:20:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/178*120/182173083.jpg

The Padres beat the Indians 9-8 at USD's Fowler Park in their final Spring Training game of 2014. Chase Headley and Seth Smith hit home runs and Yonder Alonso had a 3-run double in their tune-up for Sunday's Opening Night match up against the Dodgers.

So, all those exhibition games are over. Let's do this for real!

The game, the Padres made a few roster decisions to get down to the 25-man Opening Day roster.

Xavier Nady and Tommy Medica won the final bench spots, leaving fan favorite Kyle Blanks as the odd man out. Blanks was optioned to Triple-A El Paso.

The Padres had room in their outfield because they placed outfielders Cameron Maybin and Carlos Quentin on the 15-day disabled list. Right-handed pitchers Casey Kelly, Josh Johnson and Joe Wieland were also sent to the 15-day DL.

The full 2014 Padres roster is below:

PITCHERS (12)
56 Benoit, Joaquin
34 Cashner, Andrew
41 Erlin, Robbie*
22 Kennedy, Ian
39 Roach, Donn*
38 Ross, Tyson
46 Stauffer, Tim
16 Street, Huston
53 Stults, Eric
33 Thayer, Dale
54 Torres, Alex*
50 Vincent, Nick*

CATCHERS (3)
8 Grandal, Yasmani
4 Hundley, Nick
44 Rivera, Rene*

INFIELDERS (5)

23 Alonso, Yonder
2 Cabrera, Everth
9 Gyorko, Jedd
7 Headley, Chase
14 Medica, Tommy*

OUTFIELDERS (5)
5 Amarista, Alexi
13 Denorfia, Chris
21 Nady, Xavier
12 Smith, Seth
25 Venable, Will

* = Makes first Opening Day MLB roster.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Make (Almost) Final Roster Decisions]]> Fri, 28 Mar 2014 23:12:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/176*120/477945857.jpg

It was an eventful final Friday before the regular season for the Padres. At a workout inside Petco Park on Friday, manager Bud Black had all kinds of information to share.

Buddy confirmed LHP Robbie Erlin has made the team. Erlin will be the team's 5th starter until Josh Johnson returns from his forearm injury. Joining Robbie on his first Opening Day roster is rookie Donn Roach, the sinkerball specialist who came to the franchise (along with Alexi Amarista) in a trade with the Angels for Ernesto Frieri in 2012.

So, the pitching staff is set, but the position players are still awaiting word on who will be in uniform at Petco Park against the Dodgers.

OF Carlos Quentin's left knee is giving him trouble and it's a "possibility" he will start the year on the disabled list. Quentin bruised the knee going after a ball on March 16. If there's good news here it's this is not the knee Quentin recently had surgically repaired, and he's not expected to need a procedure for this latest ailment.

Fellow OF Chris Denorfia's shoulder injury has healed enough for him to get back on the field. Deno was DH for the Padres' night game against the Indians at USD's Fowler Park (he went 0-2).

It's probably a good thing he and Quentin were not in the outfield. They would have had a lot of balls to chase down.

The Indians batted around in the first and second innings and rolled to a 16-4 win. Padres RHP Matt Wisler started on the mound and only lasted one inning. The first seven Indians hitters not only reached base, but scored. Asdrubal Cabrera hit a 3-run home run to make it 7-0 before an out was recorded.

Wisler is one of top pitching prospects in all of baseball. The best thing for him is to forget what happened Friday night as fast as humanly possible.

Besides, he is certainly not the only pitcher to struggle against one of the most underrated lineups in the Majors. Veteran Blaine Boyer also gave up seven runs in the second inning.

Offensively for the Padres, Yonder Alonso had a pair of hits, including a home run, to run his Spring Training batting average to .449.

The Padres and Indians play one more time on Saturday afternoon in Linda Vista, then the games start to count.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bud Black On Opening Day and Little League]]> Fri, 28 Mar 2014 17:05:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Bud_Black_On_Opening_Day_And_Little_League_1200x675_209749571673.jpg Padres Manager Bud Black was asked if he rehearses his responses to the inevitable, "Are you excited about Opening Day?" questions and he took a trip down memory lane. NBC 7's Derek Togerson reports.]]> <![CDATA[Series Preview: Padres vs. Dodgers]]> Sun, 30 Mar 2014 10:34:13 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/179*120/476849193.jpg

After a long offseason of high expectations for both squads, we finally start the 2014 baseball season on a national stage between two division rivals. Here’s a look at the season-opening series between the Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers.

When they play: The teams kick off the Major League season with a nationally televised game on ESPN Sunday at 5:05 p.m. After a day off, they play Tuesday at 3:40 p.m. in the Padres’ “official” opening day. That’s followed by a 7:05 p.m. game on Wednesday.

Who to watch: Padres opening night starter Andrew Cashner takes his place atop a rotation the team hopes will be one of the best in the league. It will all start with him. If Cashner can handle the role of staff ace, it will take a lot of pressure off the back of the rotation that will be without Josh Johnson for a month with a forearm injury. Aside from one start, Cashner looked impressive in his spring outings.

He will be followed on the mound by Ian Kennedy and Tyson Ross in the series.

Outfielder Cameron Maybin is out for at least the first month of the season and probably more, and he will be replaced in center by Will Venable. Shouldering much of the offensive load in his absence will be Carlos Quentin, who is back from a knee injury that cost him most of last season.

It will be interesting to see if catcher Yasmani Grandal is in the lineup. He is recovering from an ACL injury but has looked ready to roll in spring training.

For the Dodgers, it’s more a case of who not to watch. The team boasts the highest payroll in all of baseball, but many of their big names are on the shelf to begin the season.That starts with ace Clayton Kershaw, arguably the best pitcher in baseball. He threw a gem as the Dodgers kicked off the season last week in Australia, but had back trouble and was scratched from opening night. It’s unlikely the Padres will see him in the first series.

The Dodgers haven’t name an opening night pitcher, but it will most likely be Hyun-Jin Ryu or Dan Haren. Why not fellow big-name (and big-money) starter Zack Greinke? He’s been battling a calf injury that apparently wasn’t just a ploy to get out of traveling to Australia. He will probably go on Tuesday.

Add Matt Kemp to the list of inactives. The outfielder is out until later in the month after last year’s disastrous season ended with ankle surgery.

So, who will be on the field? Cuban phenom Yasiel Puig is back in the lineup after missing some time with a back issue. He wowed fans as a rookie last season, helping lead the Dodgers to the NLCS. Shortstop Hanley Ramirez and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez are other stars in an L.A. lineup that has no shortage of household names.

Finally, outfielder Carl Crawford will be in the lineup after coming off the paternity list. His son, Carl Leo Crawford, was born last weekend.

Why go: Well, you better have tickets for Sunday’s game, as it’s sold out. Tickets are still available for the rest of the series. Giveaways include a schedule cling for all three games and an opening day hat for Tuesday. Sunday will also be military appreciation day, meaning the Padres will wear their camouflage jerseys and have a ceremony before the game.

There will also be a tribute to legendary broadcaster Jerry Coleman, who passed away in the offseason. His daughter will throw out the first pitch.

On Tuesday, former Padres David Wells, Brian Giles and Mark Loretta will throw out ceremonial first pitches as the Padres celebrate the 10th anniversary of Petco Park.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[10 Reasons to Get Excited About the Padres]]> Thu, 27 Mar 2014 18:20:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/padres+win+again+crop.jpg Opening day is just around the corner. If you're not getting Friars Fever yet, here are some reasons to get excited about the upcoming season -- or at least getting out to Petco Park.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Petco Park Ready for Big Baseball Business]]> Thu, 27 Mar 2014 20:55:53 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Gene6p0327_1200x675_208875587742.jpg With just 72 hours before opening day, vendors and contractors are cramming into Petco Park to be ready for the first pitch. NBC 7's Gene Cubbison has more on business of baseball.]]> <![CDATA[East Village Hosts Padres Opening Day Block Party]]> Sat, 29 Mar 2014 10:23:02 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Petco-Park-Generic-Garske.jpg

Padres baseball season is upon us, and so is one heck of a block party in downtown San Diego.

Opening Day is this Sunday when the Padres take on the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park. To celebrate the start of the season, a free Opening Day Block Party will take over downtown’s East Village – on J Street, between 6th and 10th avenues – from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The family-friendly outdoor event will feature live entertainment from local bands and DJs, interactive games and activities and food from various local eateries and food trucks. Between 7th and 8th avenues, a special country-themed block will host line dancing at 1:30 p.m.

A microbrew beer garden will set up shop between 8th and 9th avenues, boasting cold, delicious craft brews from Mission Brewery, Monkey Paw and Stone Brewery.

Now, while general admission tickets to Opening Day at Petco Park may be sold out, baseball fans still have a chance to swoop in on a limited number of VIP ticket packages available for the game through the East Village Association.

The package, selling for $250, includes two game tickets behind the Padres dugout and four drink tickets to the beer garden at the Opening Day Block Party. To nab this package, click here.

By the way, proceeds from the party will support the East Village Association and its mission to promote the downtown community. This year, the association is working hard to raise funds for their very own community landmark sign, just like the ones that currently mark hip, urban neighborhoods like Little Italy, North Park and Hillcrest.

Okay, San Diego, now play ball -- and have a ball at the party.
 



Photo Credit: Monica Garske]]>