<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - San Diego Padres]]> Copyright 2015 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 Sun, 29 Nov 2015 07:55:04 -0800 Sun, 29 Nov 2015 07:55:04 -0800 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Former Padres Manager Gets a New Job]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2015 17:27:17 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/183*120/Bud+Black+padres+Portrait.jpg

After getting, then turning down, the manager's job for the Washington Nationals former Padres skipper Bud Black is heading back to Southern California.

But, he's not taking over the Dodgers manager's spot, as has been widely speculated (more on that in a second). Black is reportedly going back to Anaheim in a front office role, likely as special assistant to the general manager.

Buddy was pitching coach for the Angels before being named the Padres manager prior to the 2007 season. He spent all his time in Anaheim under Mike Scioscia, who is still the manager there. A few weeks ago Black won over the Nationals but could not come to an agreement on a contract so Washington hired Dusty Baker to be their new skipper.

Black had then been linked to the Dodgers but L.A. seems to be more interested in a different member of the Padres' coaching staff. Word is Dave Roberts is one of two finalists for the Dodgers managerial spot. Roberts, a Rancho Buena Vista High School alum, worked on Black's staff in San Diego from 2010 through last season, first as the first base coach then as a bench coach.

The other finalist for the Dodgers job is Gabe Kapler, currently L.A.'s farm director. Interestingly, Roberts and Kapler were teammates in Boston in 2004, the year the Red Sox ended their 86-year World Series frustration.

Even if he does not earn the Dodgers job Roberts will not return to San Diego. New Padres manager Andy Green retained pitching coach Daren Balsley and third base coach Glenn Hoffman but is getting new faces to fill out his staff. Green and General Manager A.J. Preller have already added Alan Zinter, former hitting coach with the Diamondbacks and Astros, as their new hitting guru. Green is still looking for his bench coaches.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Trade Closer in 5-Player Deal]]> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 18:51:54 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/Craig+Kimbrel+Padres.jpg

The “Rock Star GM” is at it again.

If anyone was wondering if Padres General Manager A.J. Preller would be timid after last year’s whirlwind of activity failed on the field, the answer is an emphatic NO.

On Friday Preller pulled off a trade with the Red Sox, sending All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel to Boston for a package of four prospects: Logan Allen, Carlos Asuaje, Javier Guerra and Manuel Margot (more on them in a second).

The 27-year-old Kimbrel spent just one season in San Diego, going 4-2 with a 2.58 ERA and 39 saves in 43 chances. Kimbrel came over from the Braves (along with OF Melvin Upton Jr.) just before Opening Day of the 2015 season. In that deal the Padres gave up a pair of prospects and a draft pick, but the return for Kimbrel now might be better than what they surrendered to get him.

“If he came here and performed like he’s really always performed,” said Preller, “if we got to a point in the next few years that we wanted to turn the asset around we were going to be able to recoup a lot of value and put the organization in a better spot.”

So, let’s get to know the new guys with a little scouting report sprinkled in:

Logan Allen, LHP

18-year-old lefty out of IMG Academy, selected in the eighth, 231st overall in the 2015 Draft.  LHP fastball sits in low-90’s. Velocity has greatly improved over last year. Throws a change up and two different breaking balls.

Carlos Asuaje, IF

24-year-old from Venezuela, bats left throws right. Undersized, small, athletic frame. Short, compact swing. Excellent bat control with a knack for making contact. Makes pitchers work. Below-average power potential; plays best at second base, fringe-average arm strength. Soft hands, great instincts, has versatility and is being developed as a true utility player. Lacks standout tools but profiles as a bench utility player. Strong instincts (basically sounds a lot like David Eckstein)

Javier Guerra, IF

20-year-old from Panama. Slightly undersized (5’11”) but athletic, quick twitch athlete. Short, compact, line drive swing. Good bat control. Propensity for swing and miss, more gap power with plenty of doubles. Plus arm strength, quick release, able to make any throw from SS. Below-average run speed. Won’t be an impact bat but will more than make up for it with plus-to-elite defensive profile (perhaps an Andrelton Simmons-style player).

Manuel Margot, OF

21-year-old from Dominican Republic. Ranked as the 25th-best prospect in all of professional baseball by www.mlb.com. Medium frame with fast-twitch muscle and above-average athleticism. Fluid swing, quick hands, smooth load with little wasted movement. Plus bat speed, natural bat-to-ball skills. Presently a line-drive hitter with surprising polish to approach. Shows willingness to see pitches but likes to attack early in the count. Surprising power for size, average arm strength, quick release, plenty of arm strength for center field. Reads ball off bat well in center, shows understanding of how to take precise routes. Plus-plus speed, gets out of box quickly. Needs to improve reads when stealing bases. Potential for 30-plus bases at big leagues. Had a streak of 62 at-bats without a strike out to start 2015 season.

None of these four players have advanced beyond Double-A yet. The question now is what happens to the Padres bullpen in 2016?

The setup man (Joaquin Benoit) and the closer were dealt in back-to-back days, so there’s a big opening on the back end in San Diego. Preller said there will be a process of finding the man who can carry of the Padres tradition of dominant closers, mentioning Brandon Maurer, Kevin Quackenbush and Marcos Mateo as possibilities by name.

A.J. also said the extra financial flexibility (trading Benoit and Kimbrel freed up nearly $19 million in salary for 2016) gives the Padres the option of going out of the open market to find a free agent closer, or possibly strengthen the franchise’s infrastructure.

“Whether it’s programs, scouting front, amateur market, international market, I think we’re going to look at all those avenues as ways to be a championship team,” said Preller. “I think this gives us some flexibility financially to move some money around and really invest in certain areas and I’m definitely looking forward to going about that.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres, Yankees Make a Deal]]> Wed, 11 Nov 2015 17:38:00 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/185*120/GettyImages-479472456.jpg

The Padres need all kinds of help on their infield. At the end of the 2015 season they did not have an established, every day starter at any of the four infield spots.

Plus, there’s a real debate on who should be starting behind the plate; Derek Norris or Austin Hedges? So Padres General Manager A.J. Preller has lots of questions.

Might Jose Pirela be one of the answers?

The Padres swung a trade with the Yankees to land Pirela on Wednesday. The 25-year-old native of Venezuela played in 37 games for the Yankees last year, hitting .230 with a home run and five RBI. He earned a call-up with a solid run at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he hit .310 with three home runs, 23 RBI and 42 runs scored in 64 games. Most of his time was spent at 2nd base but he also plays 3rd base, shortstop and both outfield spots.

Pirela has been in the Yankees system since signing as a 16-year-old back in 2006. In nine minor league seasons he’s played in a whopping 860 games and actually made an appearance at every spot on the field except pitcher and catcher. That either means he’s versatile or doesn’t have a natural position.

To get Pirela the Padres had to give up Ronald Herrera, a 20-year-old pitcher who went a combined 8-7 with a 4.08 ERA, 104 strikeouts and 42 walks over 26 games (25 starts) between Single-A Lake Elsinore and Double-A San Antonio. Another Venezuelan, the Padres acquired Herrera in 2014 as the “player to be named” in the Kyle Blanks trade.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tony Gwynn Remembered in San Diego]]> Tue, 17 Jun 2014 14:27:10 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Gwynn-Fans-4.jpg Legendary San Diego Padres baseball player Tony Gwynn was honored by fans after he died Monday morning.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Season in Images]]> Wed, 06 Aug 2014 10:30:09 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/padres+pics+85+8.jpg Relive all the great moments from the San Diego Padres' 2014 season in photos.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[How Padres Pitcher Ian Kennedy Can Make MLB History]]> Fri, 06 Nov 2015 21:03:52 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/Ian+Kennedy+Padres+Delivery.jpg

The Padres offered outfielder Justin Upton a qualifying offer on Friday. That comes as no surprise.

When Upton inevitably rejects the one-year, $15.8 million offer the Friars will have a chance to negotiate a long-term deal with him, but so will every other big league team. So odds are the Padres will be getting a compensatory 1st-round draft pick for their All-Star left-fielder.

However, Upton is not the only one to whom the Padres extended a deal. Starting Pitcher Ian Kennedy was also given the qualifying offer, creating quite the interesting situation.

Kennedy is coming off a year where he started terrible, then got pretty darn good, then fell off again. He finished giving up more than four runs a game with a 9-15 record, not exactly the kind of numbers that typically get you nearly $16 million bucks a season.

With names like Zack Greinke, David Price and Jordan Zimmermann on the market it’s likely Kennedy will not be the first choice of most teams in free agency, so he’ll seriously consider the offer and hope to have a great season to build value working into next year’s off-season. If he rejects it, then Ian enters the free agent waters hoping for a multi-year deal on the open market with no guarantees the total value reaches that level.

Qualifying offers are almost never accepted. Actually, that is not correct. They are never accepted. No player has ever signed a qualifying offer sheet. This year a record 20 players were extended qualifying offers, and all of them are expected to say thanks, but no thanks … except Kennedy. Several factors come into play here.

If a player who received a qualifying offer chooses to sign elsewhere, their former teams get a compensatory pick in this year’s MLB Draft, which is one reason the Padres would extend the offer. In addition, the team that signs the player has to give up a Draft pick as compensation. So ask yourself this … is Ian Kennedy, a pitcher at Petco Park who had a WAR (Wins Above Replacement) of a paltry 0.8 in 2015, really worth a long-term deal in the $20 million range PLUS a draft pick?

Most likely not, so it’s going to be tough for Ian to get a big pay day outside of San Diego which makes the guaranteed $15.8 million awfully enticing. Keep in mind, Kennedy’s agent is Scott Boras so odds are he’ll take the free agent route.

All the players who received a qualifying offer have until November 13 to make a decision. Let the Hot Stove season begin!

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Should Let Upton Walk]]> Wed, 04 Nov 2015 22:20:33 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/Justin+Upton+Padres+On+deck+circle.jpg

NBC 7’s Derek Togerson takes a look at one of the Padres’ biggest off-season questions in this commentary

What should the Padres do about Justin Upton?

Depending on which baseball evaluator you talk to, Justin Upton is either an elite talent who’s on the brink of a breakout season or an elite talent who’s never going to fully live up to his potential. He’s either about to blossom in to a perennial a 40-homer-a-year guy or an over-swinger who strikes out too much and gives away at-bats.

So … What should the Padres do about Justin Upton?

He’s either a 28-year-old with solid numbers and all five tools or a guy who’s been in the league for nine years and lacked consistency. He’s either a middle-of-the-order masher who you can build a lineup around or a complimentary bat you need to pair with another, more dangerous hitter to be truly successful.

I ask again … What should the Padres do about Justin Upton?

I’ll tell you what they should not do. They should not give him the kind of contract he’s going to get on the open market and that kind of narrows things down a bit. Most industry experts agree Justin Upton will command somewhere around $125-$150 million over six or seven years as a free agent.

That’s some serious cash and the Padres lineup certainly will lose some of its pop if he’s gone (of course, that’s not saying all that much on one of the most listless offenses in the game). But MLB history tells us signing an outfielder to a 9-figure deal is a recipe for disaster.

As we enter the free agency period there are 10 outfielders who have contracts worth at least $100 million:

1)    Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) $325 million
2)    Matt Kemp (SD) $160 million
3)    Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY) $153 million
4)    Mike Trout (LAA) $144.5 million
5)    Carl Crawford (LAD) $142 million
6)    Shin-Soo Choo (TEX) $130 million
7)    Jayson Werth (WAS) $126 million
8)    Josh Hamilton (TEX via LAA) $125 million
9)    Matt Holliday (STL) $120 million
10)    Ryan Braun (MIL) $105 million

Trout might be a bargain at his price. He’s the most exciting young talent in baseball. I could make an argument that Stanton is worth his deal because he has the potential to hit 60 homers every year and it’s hard to put a price on putting rear ends in seats (what else do Marlins fans have to watch?). So let’s throw those two guys out and focus on the other eight.

Choo had a solid season and Braun was alright, but certainly not commensurate with their bloated paychecks. The other guys were flat-out stealing money.

The eight players on that list not named Stanton or Trout combined for a WAR (wins above replacement) of 8.8. Trout alone had a WAR of 9.0. Would you like to know how much MLB teams paid for those 8.8 wins?

Just last year alone the Padres, Yankees, Dodgers, Rangers, Nationals, Cardinals and Brewers paid a grand total of $128,642,857 for 8.8 more wins than random dudes most likely making the league minimum would have brought them. That’s $3,267,517 more than the Royals paid their entire roster to win the World Series.

That circles us back to Justin Upton. Baseball economics dictate he’ll get a big payday. The Padres are going to make him the qualifying offer of around $15.8 million, which they have to do by Friday November 6 and is really a no-brainer. If he shocks the world and accepts it San Diego gets him for another year at a decent price. If he doesn’t and signs elsewhere the Friars end up with a high-quality compensatory draft pick.

But the second the negotiation heads north of nine digits General Manager A.J. Preller needs to say, “Thanks but no thanks. We appreciate your hard work. Good luck on the remainder of your career.” It’s crazy to think but San Diego probably could afford that kind of deal and Ron Fowler’s ownership group has shown the desire to raise payroll in an attempt to win. As much fun as it is to watch Upton hit, the Friars should let him walk away.

Upton might hit 40 homers and drive in 130 runs in 2016. He certainly has that kind of potential. However, the Padres need to play the percentages on this one and look somewhere else for a left fielder. Upton might be the guy who puts a contender over the top but the Padres have too many holes to fill to be in that class.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Going Green: Padres Introduce New Manager]]> Thu, 29 Oct 2015 19:50:56 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Andy+Green+1029.jpg

The San Diego Padres are going green - with a new energetic, young manager.

Padres Executive Vice President/General Manager A.J. Preller introduced 38-year-old Andy Green as the team's new manager in a Thursday afternoon press conference.

Green served as the Arizona Diamondbacks' third base coach this past season and will be a 1st-time MLB manager.

The 38-year-old has spent a dozen years with the Diamondbacks' franchise.  Prior to serving as the club's third-base coach, he held manager jobs with the franchise's minor league teams for 4 years where his squads collectively finished 30 games over .500.

Green helped the Missoula Osprey win the 2012 Pioneer League Championship and was named the Manager of the Year twice at Double-A Mobile in 2013 and 2014.

As a player, Green was with the Diamondbacks from 2000 to 2006, the Cincinnati Reds in 2008 and the New York Mets from 2008 to 2010.

“Andy has the combination of intelligence and feel for the game that we are looking for to lead this team,” Preller said in a statement. “As a player, he displayed a strong work ethic and even stronger passion, earning everything he achieved."

Green takes over a team that underachieved in 2015 despite Preller's offseason roster makeover.

Even with all of the big name off-season signings, the Padres took a step backwards and finished a disappointing 74-88. San Diego has suffered through five straight losing seasons and last made the playoffs 9 years ago - in 2006.

In early October the club announced interim manager Pat Murphy would not be brought back in the same capacity with the club next season.

Murphy took over after Bud Black was fired in mid-June. The Washington Nationals plan to introduce Black as their next manager after the World Series comes to a close.

Photo Credit: Ben Rosehart/ NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[The Padres Should Vote No on Nevin]]> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 21:53:48 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/179*120/GettyImages-50919308.jpg

NBC 7’s Derek Togerson offers some advice to the Padres as they look for a new manager in this commentary

The Padres are piecing together their list of managerial candidates. General Manager A.J. Preller hinted that he was going to look in a lot of different places and not rule anybody out based on background or experience level.

So let me do that for him.

One name that keeps on coming up is Phil Nevin. It has not come up from the Padres front office but it sure as heck has been a popular go-to suggestion for the Friar Faithful.

Nevin was an All-Star for the Padres as a player in 2001 when he hit 41 home runs. He played seven of his 12 MLB seasons in San Diego (Nevin also had stops in Detroit, Texas, Minnesota, Anaheim, Houston and the north side of Chicago) with manager Bruce Bochy so he saw first-hand what a great manager does.

Two years after retiring Nevin started managing in the independent Golden Baseball League with the Orange County Flyers. It only took him one year to join the Tigers organization, managing their Class AA and AAA affiliates. Nevin spent the last two years at the helm of the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Diamondbacks.

Nevin only has one winning record in his seven years as a manager (2014) but he has a pretty good guy in his corner.

“He’s drawing a lot of attention because he’s rock solid,” Hall of Famer manager Tony LaRussa, the Diamondbacks’ Chief Baseball Officer, told the Arizona Republic. “He’s got a great background as a player, manager, infield, hitter and a leader. Triple-A is a tough place to manage. He was understanding and nurturing of the young guys but also had the respect of the veterans. He’s smart and has a good out-going personality that attracts people. And he runs a hell of a game.”

If Tony LaRussa vouches for you, people will listen. Nevin has already interviewed for the Marlins managerial job and he’s on the Nationals wish list. If Phil does get a MLB manager’s spot, more power to him. I’m rooting for him to do it.

I just hope it’s not in San Diego.

Maybe it’s because I saw how irascible he could be as a player and that’s poisoning my opinion. Maybe it’s because of that combined 54 games under .500 as a minor league manager, something that can be more a product of an organization’s lack of depth than a manager’s ability. Maybe it’s because I still don’t trust Tony LaRussa as far as I can spit a sunflower seed.

But the most likely reason is … it just doesn’t feel right.

Nevin could be the next Casey Stengel, I have no idea. I’m sure there are a lot of Padres fans who would love to get a guy in who might serve as a bridge to Bochy and his success. But for an organization that has veteran players entrenched for a few years a rookie MLB manager with a spotty minor league record and a nondescript playing career seems like an awfully big gamble.

Matt Kemp, James Shields, Melvin Upton, Craig Kimbrel, Derek Norris … these are all guys who have established themselves in the game and probably aren’t going to listen to just anybody. If you’re going to go with a first time manager a guy like Jason Varitek makes a whole lot more sense. Varitek was the glue for a pair of World Series champions and one of the most respected players in the game. Just about anybody will bend to his will.

Former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire won six division titles in a nine year span with Minnesota. He would be a guy who commands respect in the clubhouse.

The Padres need somebody with name recognition. Phil Nevin certainly has name recognition … with the fan base. The Friars need someone the guys in the clubhouse will get excited about before they ever even meet him.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Announce Search For New Manager]]> Sun, 04 Oct 2015 17:04:51 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-488255468.jpg

Shortly after the Padres were swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers to end their season, the club announced interim manager Pat Murphy would not be brought back in the same capacity with the club next season.

A.J. Preller, San Diego Padres Executive Vice President/General Manager announced at the same time that the Padres will begin searching for a new manager immediately.

Despite all the big name offseason signings, the Padres finished a disappointing 74-88 missing the playoffs.

In the regular season finale, San Diego fell 6-3 to the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine.  The Padres dropped 6 of their final 7 games to close out the year.

Clayton Kershaw struck out his 300th batter of the season in his final tuneup before the playoffs. He sat down 7 Friars in 3.2 innings of work to finish the year with 301 total strikeouts.

Kershaw is the 1st MLB pitcher to reach 300 Ks since 2002 and joins Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling as the only three men to do so since 2000.

As for the Friars, Rookie outfielder Travis Jankowski provided all the offense with one swing of the bat. His 3-run homer in the 7th was his 3rd of the year since getting called up from Triple-A El Paso.

San Diego's Frank Garces gave up 2 runs in 2 innings of work in his first major league start. The Padres used a plethora of relievers to further evaluate their roles in the future.

Injured Padres Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, and Justin Upton did not play in the regular season finale. 

Upton is a free agent along with starting pitcher Ian Kennedy who pitched well in his final appearance earlier this week.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Lose 2-1]]> Sat, 03 Oct 2015 21:17:18 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/GettyImages-491065174.jpg

In a game where the Padres were playing for nothing but respect and a love of the game while the Dodgers were playing for home field advantage in the playoffs, the advantage went to the team that needed the win.

Zach Greinke allowed one run on four hits over eight innings for the Dodgers to earn the National League ERA title. His offense helped with a Justin Turner solo home run in the first inning and an Adrian Gonzalez RBI ground out in the fourth to give them a 2-0 lead.
The Padres cut the Dodgers lead in half in the fifth when Austin Hedges hit his third home run of the season making it 2-1 L.A. But they couldn’t capitalize in the ninth. Jedd Gyorko singled and Kenley Jansen hit Brett Wallace to put the go-ahead run on, but Alexi Amarista and Hedges both had fly outs to preserve the Dodgers win.
With the New York Mets getting swept by the Nationals in a doubleheader, L.A. is ensured home field advantage for the Division Series.
Frank Garces (0-0, 5.00 ERA) is on the mound to prevent the sweep for the Padres tomorrow against Clayton Kershaw (16-7, 2.16 ERA). First pitch is at 12:10 p.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Drop Another One in L.A.]]> Fri, 02 Oct 2015 21:48:49 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/GettyImages-491065174.jpg

The Padres started the 2015 season at Dodger Stadium with hope, hype and high expectations. They're finishing the 2015 season at Dodger Stadium with agony, anguish and angst.

Somewhere in between ... the truth lies.

The Dodgers won 6-2 in the first game of their season-ending 3-game series against the Padres. Well, season-ending for San Diego. Los Angeles is going to the playoffs for the third straight year. San Diego will finish with a losing record for the fifth straight year.

Padres starter Casey Kelly had a rough 3rd inning. After Adrian Gonzalez singled home a run to put the Dodgers up 1-0, Kelly got Justin Turner to hit a check-swing grounder to Cory Spangenberg at second base. The rookie tried a backhand flip to start a double play but the ball got away from him and floated in to left field.

The error let one run score and Kelly couldn't overcome it. The Dodgers scored five times in the inning and, given the fact the Padres have failed to score five runs in a game in more than a week, the game was pretty much already over.

Padres 1st baseman Cody Decker, who has become a fan favorite, drove in his first Big League run with a sacrifice fly in the 7th inning.

The Dodgers are 5-12 against the Padres this year. L.A. has won every series they've played and with Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw going the next two games it's a good bet that trend will not change over the weekend.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[For Padres, the Scoreboard Says it All]]> Thu, 01 Oct 2015 05:47:07 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/185*120/GettyImages-490766822.jpg

I really hope the Padres are shut out at least one more time in their last four games of the 2015 season. Finishing the year with 19 shutouts just seems sick and wrong.

That number means far too much to have it in any way associated with this level of ineptitude. The Friars were blanked again on Wednesday night, losing to the Brewers 5-0 in the next-to-last game of the year at Petco Park.

Milwaukee rookie Zach Davies gave up five hits and struck out six in his 7.0 innings of work. For the Padres is was just more of the same stuff we've grown aggravatingly accustomed to. They went 0-6 with runners in scoring position, squandering what few opportunities they had to push runs across.

As if the final score was not nauseating enough left fielder Justin Upton might not play again this year (or for the Padres ever again). The team's home run leader ran headfirst in to the left field wall chasing a triple by Logan Schafer. He needed help to make the walk from the warning track to the clubhouse.

If Upton is not available for the series finale against the Brewers or any of the final three games at Dodger Stadium he becomes a free agent and could very well be too pricey for the Padres to bring back.

The last home game of the year starts at 3:40 Thursday afternoon. Ian Kennedy takes the mound in what might also be his final appearance in a Padres uniform against Taylor Jungmann.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Make Broadcasting Changes]]> Wed, 30 Sep 2015 16:45:50 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/196*120/Don+Orsillo+Red+Sox.jpg

Changes are coming to the Padres broadcast teams. Hall of Fame announcer Dick Enberg will retire at the end of the 2016 season. The team has already found his replacement, and it is a good one.

Former Red Sox play-by-play man Don Orsillo will be joining the group on a limited basis next year before taking over full-time in 2017. Orsillo is a fan-favorite and one of the most popular broadcasters in Boston history. After 15 years in the booth for the Red Sox, the team surprisingly decided not to bring him back.

That upset the Beantown fan base and that is not the group of people you want to get mad at you. Sox fans got more than 60,000 signatures on a petition to keep Orsillo around after NESN made the news public.

Orsillo’s personality should go well with Padres color analyst Mark Grant, who will return for his 21st season on San Diego broadcasts.

“We are excited to add Don to our broadcast lineup,” said Padres President and CEO Mike Dee. “Over his 15 years broadcasting Major League Baseball, Don has established himself as one of the premier play-by-play men in the game. We look forward to both his fun-loving personality and outstanding play-calling ability resonating with Padres fans during what we expect will be a very long career in San Diego.”

There will also be a change in the radio booth. While Ted Leitner returns for his 37th season calling Padres games, his partner Bob Scanlan will not return in 2016. Scanlan, one of the most well-liked members of the Padres broadcast team, will be replaced by Jesse Agler, who moves over from hosting Padres Social Hour on FOX Sports San Diego.

Agler has filled in on TV and radio broadcasts in a play-by-play capacity. The Padres don't see the radio side having a true "color analyst," instead envisioning Leitner and Agler together co-playing the role of play-by-play and color commentator.

Eduardo Ortega, celebrating his 30th season as the Spanish-language voice of the Padres in 2016, will return to the booth for an expanded schedule of Spanish-language telecasts on FOX Deportes San Diego. He will be joined once again by former Padres catcher Carlos Hernández in the role of color analyst.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Fall 6-3 to DBacks]]> Fri, 25 Sep 2015 21:43:49 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/174*120/GettyImages-490060342.jpg

Padres right-hander Casey Kelly made his first major league start in three years Friday night at Petco Park against the Diamondbacks. After a rough start, Kelly calmed down but it was too late for the Padres.

Kelly struggled early giving up two runs in the first inning. The big hit was a second inning grand slam off the bat of Arizona’s A.J. Pollock to make it 6-0. But Kelly settled down retiring the next 11 hitters. He went five innings giving up six earned runs walking one.
The Padres got on the board in the fourth when Matt Kemp scored on a Jedd Gyorko ground out. Wil Myers added another run in the fifth with an RBI single and Alexi Amarista made it exciting cutting the Diamondbacks lead to 6-3 the next inning with an RBI single of his own.
But the Friars couldn’t complete the comeback dropping them to 72-82 on the season. Game two is tomorrow at 5:40 p.m. local time.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Why Should Anyone Watch the Padres This Weekend?]]> Fri, 25 Sep 2015 13:07:40 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/Alexi+Amarista+Walkoff+Winner.jpg

The twilight of the Padres 2015 season is upon us as the Friars host their final weekend home series. With the team eliminated from the playoffs, or hopes of a winning season, people are asking why they should go to a game. Well here is a list of reasons San Diegans should head to Petco Park this weekend to support the Friars during their final weekend home series of the year against Arizona.
1.)  We’re lucky to even have a Major League Baseball team to be disappointed in. Only 28 cities in the U.S. and Canada are lucky enough to host at least one of the 30 MLB teams. Think about all those other cities that don’t have a team to vent their frustrations at?

2.)   Petco Park is gorgeous. From the views of the bay to the cityscape visible behind the Park at the Park, there isn’t a bad view in the house (except that eyesore of the National University sign). Plus there are plenty of food and drink options. My only gripe is that you can’t get a bucket of multi-colored cotton candy anywhere on the Upper Deck. I’ve been a season ticket holder for years and can’t find one.

3.)  Local guys are living their childhood dreams of playing for their hometown team and that’s just awesome. Relief pitcher Nick Vincent was born and raised in Ramona (Well born in Poway since we don’t have hospitals in Ramona but you get the idea). When he made his MLB debut in 2012 he became the first kid from our little town to make it to the big leagues. He’s worked hard to get where he’s at and since baseball is a business, who knows how long we can call him a hometown Padre before he gets sent somewhere else. Alex Dickerson is another local product. The Poway native got his first call up this year. You, your kids or your grand kids could’ve stood behind these guys in line somewhere in San Diego over the years and now they’re playing for the Padres, how cool is that?

4.)  Jon Edwards. The 27-year old relief pitcher battled cancer…this past December. Edwards was diagnosed with testicular cancer the week before Christmas. He had surgery days later, found out the cancer hadn’t spread and was back throwing after 3 weeks. Edwards and his wife Katelyn are expecting their first child in early November.

5.)  You could witness first hand, Cody Decker history. Every diehard Padres fan knows Decker’s story. After seven seasons in the minor leagues, Decker finally got his first Major League call up in September. He’s seen game action but has yet to get his first Major League hit. When he does, you know his teammates and fans will make it a big deal. Wouldn’t it be awesome to be part of Decker history?

6.)  Promotions-If you still need encouragement to make it to Petco Park this weekend, how about some festivities to lure you (free stuff!)?

FRIDAY - Fiesta in the Park before the game. The party starts at 4:30 (game at 7:10) and includes beer, wine, food, Mariachi and Folklorico dancers as well as a Selena tribute band, Como La Flor. Fill the ballpark and cheer for your Padres and you know they’ll be dreaming of you tonight.
SATURDAY - Star Wars Night! Count on Jedd(i) Gyorko to have a big night. The Padres encourage people to come dressed in costume so the people watching will be great. It’s also Team Photo Day so you can remember who played for the Padres in 2015 before they get traded away in 2016. I kid…kind of.
SUNDAY - There’s nothing better than a Padres Sunday home game when they salute the military and wear their camo jerseys. This Sunday is also Compadres Kids Sunday Signings where kids get the opportunity to meet the players.

7.)  You never know what’s going to happen. This season Matt Kemp became the first Padres to hit for the cycle. We’re still waiting on a no-hitter or perfect game. Casey Kelly, Robbie Erlin and James Shields are scheduled to start for the Padres, maybe one of them will have a historic day? You never know.

8.)  The Padres have no plans to leave San Diego. While the Chargers brass continues to threaten moving the team to Los Angeles, the Padres have always taken pride in being in San Diego. They’re active year in and year out in the community and only ask for our support in return.
I could go on and on but at the end of the day, you should just want to support your team. I get that it might be too expensive for some or others may live too far away. But if you have the opportunity to get to Petco Park this weekend (or for the final home series Tuesday-Thursday), go. Support your Padres and have a blast while doing it.

Hey, maybe we can get Pope Francis’ attention and have him bless the franchise for next season. The Friars have got to be his favorite team, right?

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Gives Birth to Petco Park's First Baby]]> Fri, 25 Sep 2015 14:54:16 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Petco-Park-Generic-Garske.jpg

Now this is a true love of the game.

A woman gave birth at Petco Park in downtown San Diego Thursday night around the third inning of the Padres vs. San Francisco Giants game.

The baby boy, named Levi, is the first to be born at the stadium, Petco Park officials confirmed via social media.

The very pregnant fan, who apparently did not have time to reach a hospital, had her son on a bench in the park's Palm Court Plaza. Some fans reported an off-duty nurse who happened to be at the ballpark helped deliver the baby.

The Padres rallied for the little guy, pulling off a 5-4 win in the 9th over the Giants -- an extra treat, provided his parents are San Diego fans.

The birth was announced over the loudspeaker at the ballpark to a roar of cheers from fans.

The newborn news surprised and entertained those in the stands and outside of the stadium. Many took to Twitter to talk about the ballpark birth.

“It was amazing, so amazing. It was beautiful. Go Padres!” an excited fan told NBC 7 after the game.

"He's a future Padre!" another man said.

“We were just sitting in our seats and one of our friends came back and said, ‘A baby is being born,’ and that it happened very fast and people were holding tarps around [the mother],” another Padres fan in attendance explained.

A trio of young Padres fans said the news of the baby boy being born at the ballpark was very cool.

“I’ve heard about babies being born on airplanes, but never at a ballpark,” one of the boys told NBC 7. “You’re legendary if you’re born at a ballpark.”

The enthusiastic young fans said they have big expectations for the little slugger.

“He’s legendary! He’s going to be a ball player,” said another boy.

Padres outfielder Travis Jankowski – who scored the game winning run Thursday night – was also happy to hear about the baby’s birth at Petco Park.

“Two pretty cool things that happened in one night,” Jankowski told NBC 7. “That guy might be our good luck charm. We gotta get him season tickets.”

The player said the baby is an honorary, mini member of the team now.

“That’s awesome. He’s a Padre!” Jankoswki added.

A security guard at the ballpark told NBC 7 the baby was due Friday, so the mother nearly hit a home run with the accuracy of her due date.

The San Diego Padres gave a shoutout to the newborn on the team's Twitter feed after the game, posting: "Great crowd of 31,137 were here tonight -- of course that doesn't include the baby boy that was born @PetcoPark around the third inning."

Photo Credit: Monica Garske
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<![CDATA[Padres Knocked Out of the Playoffs (Again)]]> Fri, 18 Sep 2015 22:03:08 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-488969262.jpg

You know that scene at the end of Return of the Jedi when Darth Vader discovers Luke has a twin sister that Obi-Wan tried to hide from him and when he realizes it Vader says, “Now his failure is complete,” you remember that?

That’s kind of what happened to the Padres in Colorado on Friday night. The Friars lost to the Rockies 7-4, becoming mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. So General Manager A.J. Preller’s failure is complete.

Still, I admire him for trying. The grand off-season experiment blew up but the vast majority of Padres fans would rather flame out in spectacular fashion than go away with a whimper, something the franchise has done far too many times in the past.

On Friday starting pitcher Ian Kennedy allowed four runs (three earned) in 6.0 innings. He was down 4-1 when Wil Myers smoked a solo home run to cut the lead to 4-2 and give the Friars a chance. But San Diego gave away far too many chances, going a miserable 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

The Rockies put the game away in the bottom of the 7th with three runs off a combination of relievers Jay Jackson and Marc Rzepczynski.

The Padres absorb their 79th loss of the year, meaning they’ll have to finish the season on a 12-2 run to avoid ending a fifth straight season with a losing record. Either way I think we can expect Preller to make another series of gigantic splashes in the off-season. I don’t know about you but I’ll be cheering him on all the way.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mad Bum Shuts Out The Padres]]> Sat, 12 Sep 2015 20:49:19 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/Madison+Bumgarner+vs+Padres.jpg

Madison Bumgarner is one of the best pitchers in baseball. For whatever reason the man gets better as the season wears on (just ask the Royals what it's like to face Mad Bum in the fall). So when the Padres had to face the Giants lefty in September, one had a pretty good feeling things would not end well for the Friars.

But even the most ardent of Giants fans would have predicted what transpired Saturday night at AT&T Park.

Bumgarner missed a perfect game by one swing of the bat in a 9-0 San Francisco win. The reigning World Series MVP struck out nine, walked zero and allowed just one hit in his latest masterpiece. That hit came with two outs in the 8th inning off the bat of Melvin Upton Jr. (who also broke up a no-hit bid by Giants starter Chris Heston with a 6th-inning single in July).

The elder Upton might have been the most unlikely man in the building to ruin Bumgarner's bid for perfection. In his career Melvin was 0-10 with six strikeouts against him (thanks to Corey Brock @FollowThePadres for that fantastic stat).

The Giants offense gave Bumgarner plenty of room to operate. San Francisco roughed up Padres starter Ian Kennedy with four runs in the 4th inning and three more in the 5th. Kennedy was yanked with two outs in the 5th inning, making him the second straight Padres starter to get an early hook (Andrew Cashner was pulled in the 5th of Friday night's loss).

Angel Pagan and Brandon Belt both hit home runs for the Giants, who have outscored the Padres 17-1 in the first two games of the weekend series. Fallbrook High School alum Mike Leake will try to finish the sweep of his home town team on Sunday. Leake faces Padres starter Odrisamer Despaigne because promising young right-hander Colin Rea, who was scheduled to take the mound, reported soreness in his elbow and forearm.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Scanlan on What Ails the Padres]]> Mon, 07 Sep 2015 18:14:22 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/163*120/GettyImages-487245056.jpg

Give the Padres credit. They lost their fourth straight game on Monday afternoon but they did it in a really interesting way.

The Rockies handed the Friars their fourth straight loss, 6-4 at Petco Park on Monday afternoon. Here are just a few of the unique things that went down:

  • Rockies pitcher Kyle Kendrick hit his first career home run, a solo blast off Padres starter Ian Kennedy.
  • As a team the Rockies struck out 16 times and still won.
  • In one stretch between the 7th and 8th innings eight consecutive batters struck out (five Rockies, three Padres)

Those are the statistical anomalies. It goes deeper than that. In the 3rd inning Daniel Descalso lofted a fly ball to right field. Matt Kemp, who had hit a 2-run home run in the first inning to tie the game at 2-2 (and extend his streak to 27 straight games reaching base), settled under it at the wall and simply dropped it. Much like Nick Vincent’s throwing error in Sunday’s game against the Dodgers it was a play that you would never expect that guy to not make.

“I’m sure it was a tougher play than what fans can see,” said Padres Manager Pat Murphy. “Things went against him after the 2-run homer that made us even but he’s done so many great things for us all year we’ve got to pick him up.”

That’s one thing the Padres have simply not been able to do this year, but as Murphy said it’s not for a lack of trying.

“I wouldn’t challenge the effort,” said Murphy. “I would never challenge the mental makeup. I think the guys are going after it.”

Had it not been for a few feet the end result may have been different. In the 6th inning Wil Myers was batting with the bases loaded when he hammered a long drive that hooked just foul down the left field line. The grand slam likely would have won the game. Myers ended up striking out.

As Murphy said, it’s one of those things that typifies the 2015 Padres season. Things just don’t seem to go their way.

“This is Major League Baseball and as I’m finding out it’s tough to win games,” said Murphy. “Every team is close. Every team can beat you.”

Over the weekend I spoke with Padres radio announcer Bob Scanlan, a walking encyclopedia of baseball knowledge. We talked about what went wrong this year and what needs to happen in the off-season to make sure we don’t see it again next year.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Throw Another One Away]]> Sun, 06 Sep 2015 15:42:14 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*125/Nick+Vincent+Padres+Dodgers.jpg

“When a defining moment comes along, you define the moment ... Or the moment defines you.” – Roy “Tin Cup” McAvoy

How about this for a defining moment: 7th inning, bases loaded, two outs in a 2-1 game. All you need is one out to get out of the inning and steal a little momentum back. Then a ball that rolls about 30 feet turns in to a 3-run error.

Welcome to Padres baseball, 2015.

The Friars fell to the Dodgers 5-1 on Saturday afternoon at Petco Park. That very situation played out and it did not go well for the home team. Ramona native Nick Vincent was on the mound with the bases loaded and Andre Ethier at the plate. Ethier topped a nubber up the first base line. Vincent fielded it and lobbed the ball right over the head of 6-foot, 3-inch Wil Myers at first base. By the time it was tracked down all the runners had scored, Ethier was at third base and the Dodgers had their 5-1 lead.

It’s just how things seem to go for San Diego’s professional baseball team these days. The Padres got their only run on a solo homer by Jedd Gyorko, who has gone deep three times in the last four games. The lack of anything resembling an offense once again made a loser of a starting pitcher who deserved better.

Andrew Casher allowed just two runs in 6.0 innings with five strikeouts. Of the Dodgers’ seven hits in the game only one was for extra bases (a double by Justin Turner).

Los Angeles takes three of four games in the series and is now 11-5 against the Padres this season. The teams have one more series against one another, the final three games of the season at Dodger Stadium. That should be the final series the Padres play in 2015 but the Dodgers will very likely be just setting up their starting rotation for the playoffs.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Sign Practice Squad Players]]> Sun, 06 Sep 2015 12:25:09 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/172*120/GettyImages-484939560.jpg

The Chargers have signed seven players to their 2015 practice squad. Interestingly, each one plays a different position. The full list looks like this:

Greg Ducre, CB
Javontee Herndon, WR
Michael Huey, G
Ryan Mueller, LB
Adrian Phillips, S
Dreamius Smith, RB
Damion Square, DT

Ducre was a contender to make the 53-man roster until he suffered an injury during training camp. Herndon made a name for himself as a kickoff and punt returner, as well as showing well as a wideout.

NFL teams re allowed 10 men on their practice squads so the Bolts still have three spots available. They may be holding those for players who were released by other teams.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Get Shut Out Again]]> Sat, 05 Sep 2015 21:44:17 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*142/GettyImages-487062596.jpg

The Padres should have gone ahead and let Will Ferrell take the field again on Saturday night at Petco Park. They still would not have scored any runs but at least they would have been entertaining.

The comedian was in San Diego to host a preview of his HBO special “Ferrell Takes the Field” on the massive video screen at Petco Park. Alas, the man who helped make San Diego classy could not inspire the Padres bats to do anything against the Dodgers, leaving many Friars fans in a glass case of emotion.

Los Angeles won 2-0 despite a great start by Padres right-hander Tyson Ross, who for whatever reason cannot get a win against the Dodgers. He’s appeared in 10 games against L.A. (seven starts) and pitched to a 2.67 earned run average. That should be good enough to get you at least one win but Ross is now 0-6 against the Dodgers.

He was saddled with another “L” because Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford brought home Andre Ethier with a ground-rule double in the 4th inning and his offense could not figure out how to get anybody around the bases. The Friars had seven baserunners against L.A. lefty Alex Wood (three hits and four walks) but stranded all of them.

The one that hurt the most came in the 6th inning. Matt Kemp was on first base after a single, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate in the form of Padres home run leader Justin Upton. But Kemp got picked off and the Padres never got another hit. This is the 17th time they’ve been shut out this season, a number I would have thought was illegal.

San Diego falls 12.5 games out of first place with the loss. They can still split the series with a win on Sunday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Starter Suffers Another Setback]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 21:47:33 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Get_To_Know_Josh_Johnson_NBC_RSH-MCDS_1200x675_409572931639.jpg

Pitcher Josh Johnson was on the mound Friday night for his first rehab assignment with the San Diego Padres high Single-A affiliate the Lake Elsinore Storm in hopes of rejoining the big league club after his second Tommy John surgery. He was scheduled to pitch one inning for the Storm during their game in Visalia followed by another inning on Monday.

But Johnson couldn’t record an out before leaving the game. The 31-year old right hander threw four pitches, giving up a single to right field before he called his coaches and trainers to the mound. Following a quick conversation, Johnson left the game heading for the clubhouse.

The San Diego Padres haven’t given any word on why Johnson left early.

Before the 2014 season, the Padres signed Johnson to an $8 million deal. He missed the entire season after undergoing his second Tommy John surgery of his career that April. This season the Padres signed him to an incentive-laden $1 million deal. Setback after setback-including triceps tightness and a nerve issue in his neck-pushed Johnsons first rehab action back to Friday.

When the Padres initially signed Johnson, the plan was for him to be a top of the rotation starter. But after injuries plagued the two-time All Star, they thought moving him to the bullpen may suit him better. Plus after nearly two seasons on the disabled list, the Padres are just trying to get Johnson back on the field since he has not pitched in the major leagues since the summer of 2013.

<![CDATA[Home Run Bug Bites Padres]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 23:21:15 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*121/GettyImages-486618126.jpg

Have you ever had one of those days where nothing really goes exactly as you want it to? Like, you're not TOO far off but just uncomfortable enough to know what you're doing is not quite right? That's pretty much how Friday night was for the Padres.

The Friars lost to the Dodgers 8-4. Padres starting pitcher James Shields was finding either too little of the strike zone or too much of it. Shields issued six walks and gave up two home runs in his 5.0 innings of work, but still left with the game tied 3-3. Once he was gone the Padres bullpen let it slip away.

In the 6th inning Mark Rzepczynski gave up a pair of 2-run homers. First Justin Ruggiano got him, then three batters later Adrian Gonzalez rode one out. The Dodgers hit five home runs in the game.

The Padres also got all of their runs via the long ball. Matt Kemp hit a 2-run shot in the 1st inning to run his RBI total to 89. Kemp has quietly driven in the third-most runs in the National League. Jedd Gyorko and Brett Wallace added solo shots but San Diego's only other hit was a single by Yangervis Solarte.

The Padres and Dodgers play game three of their four-game set on Saturday night at Petco Park. After the game there will be a special screening of the comedy Ferrell Takes the Field on the massive left field video board. The special will air next week on HBO but since the Padres were one of the teams comedian Will Ferrell played for during Spring Training, San Diego fans with tickets to Saturday's game get to see it early.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Expand the Big League Roster]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 15:04:58 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/171*120/Alex+Dickerson+Padres.jpg

It's become a late-summer tradition in San Diego. As the Padres play out the string we get to see some young players who did well enough in the minor leagues to earn a MLB call-up (remember clubs are able to expand their rosters for the final month of the regular season). On Wednesday the Friars added three players to the group.

Poway native Alex Dickerson got the call to come up from Triple-A El Paso. Dickerson can play the infield and outfield. Dickerson hit .307 with 12 HR and 71 RBI this year with the Chihuahuas. The 25-year-old made his MLB debut in August, getting one hit in two at-bats before heading back down to the farm.

Catcher Rocky Gale will make his MLB debut. He was in the mix to make the Padres Opening Day roster out of Spring Training after a solid Cactus League performance. Gale batted .307 for El Paso and threw out 35% of base stealers.

Jon Edwards is heading to Petco Park. He was the "player to be named" in the trade with Texas for Will Venable. Edwards is a right-handed relief pitcher who, in 37 games at the Triple-A level this year, was extremely effective. Edwards struck out 51 hitters while walking only 11. He converted 23 of 24 save chances.

Interestingly, Edwards has only been a pitcher since 2012. He was drafted in 2006 by the Cardinals as a high school outfielder but he didn't advance beyond high-A ball. After some time in the Independent Leagues he was signed by the Rangers to start his pitching career.

The Padres now have 30 players on the roster. They race another San Diego native, Rancho Bernardo High School alum Cole Hamels, on Wednesday night when they finish their 3-game series against Texas. The Padres send Ian Kennedy to the mound.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Lose Game And Playoff Hopes]]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 22:42:13 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*126/GettyImages-485621476.jpg

Before the Padres took off their East Coast road trip we asked a few of their players about the slim chances of making the playoffs. To a man they said they were "optimistic" they can still make a run.

I myself have been among those saying they're not out of it yet! Well after dropping two of three in Washington then losing 7-1 to the Phillies on Friday night it pains me to say the Padres are out of it.

Sure they're 9.5 games out of first place and the Dodgers have not acted like they have any interest in running off with the National League West. Mathematically the Padres are still very much alive for a post-season spot.

Realistically, however, the Friars simply don't have the horses to run to the front. There will be no late-breaking sprint to the front of the pack. After 128 games (yes I'm a slow learner) it's clear this team simply is not playoff-caliber.

Friday night the only run the Padres scored came on a solo home run by Justin Upton. The only other hit they got came on a double by Cory Spangenberg. Staring pitcher Ian Kennedy took the loss despite only allowing two runs in 6.2 innings with seven strikeouts. Philly did its damage with five runs against Marc Rzepczynski and Odrisamer Despaigne in a 5-run 8th inning.

The grand experiment by Padres General Manager A.J. Preller did not work out. But I will not give up hope that the fact they tried something new will lead to the right formula being assembled in San Diego soon.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Oldest Living Pearl Harbor Veteran Throws Out 1st Pitch]]> Mon, 24 Aug 2015 06:46:56 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/WW+II+Veterans+1st+Pitch.jpg

The oldest survivor of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor threw the ceremonial first pitch Sunday before the San Diego Padres game at Petco Park.

Raymond Chavez, 103, who served on the U.S. Navy coastal minesweeper USS Condor, was joined by Jack Paris, who served on the U.S. Navy battleship USS Colorado and was on it in Tokyo Bay when Japan surrendered to end World War II.

Chavez threw his pitch to reliever Kevin Quackenbush while Paris threw his to coach Dave Roberts. The crowd of more than 30,000 gave both men a standing ovation for their effort and to thank them for their service.

The Padres have a longstanding tradition of honoring the Military at home games on Sundays.

The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Padres 10-3, hampering their attempt to sweep their third series this season and second in a row.

<![CDATA[Cardinals Avoid San Diego Sweep]]> Sun, 23 Aug 2015 15:41:04 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/185*120/GettyImages-485028708.jpg

The start of the game could not have been a whole lot worse for the Padres. A walk, a throwing error, a fielding error, two singles and a triple put San Diego in an early hole and against a team like the Cardinals it’s borderline impossible to climb back out of something like that.

Padres rookie Colin Rea had his first bad outing and Cardinals ace Michael Wacha (one of their many aces) was good if not dominant in a 10-3 St. Louis win. The Cards avoided getting swept for the first time all season and snapped the Padres 5-game winning streak, in the process denying the Friars a chance to get back to the .500 mark for the first time since Bud Black was still the manager (that would be June).

In the first inning Rea walked Tommy Pham then made a pad pickoff attempt, throwing the ball up the line and letting Pham advance to third base. The rookie got Jhonny Peralta to hit a liner right at Yangervis Solarte but the 3rd baseman had the ball kick off his glove for another error that let Pham score and give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead they quickly expanded.

Jason Heyward singled then Yadier Molina singled to score Peralta. They both scored on a triple by Stephen Piscotti, running the lead to 4-0 St. Louis before the Padres ever got an at-bat. Rea was pulled after allowing five runs in 4.0 innings, takinng his first Major League loss. Piscotti added a long solo home run in the 7th and another 2-run shot in the 9th but by that point the game was already well in-hand.

Wacha threw 6.0 innings, allowed just five hits and one run while striking out three. He got his 15th win to tie Madison Bumgarner and Jake Arrieta for the National League lead. He got himself out of a few jams and benefitted from sheer good luck. In the 6th inning, for example, Justin Upton ripped a line drive double to left but then Wacha threw his glove up to catch what looked like a Yonder Alonso single … Melvin Upton Jr. hit a rocket that was tracked down by Piscotti in left … and Austin Hedges smoked a line drive right at Pham in center. A few feet difference on any of those drives and the Padres could have made a comeback.

Padres right fielder Matt Kemp was able to add a little bit of excitement with a 2-run single in the 9th inning to extend his hitting streak to 15 games, the longest active streak in the National League. The Padres fall to 61-63 on the season but remain 6.5 games behind the first-place Dodgers in the National League West. They have Monday off to fly to Washington and start a 3-game set against the Nationals. James Shields gets the start against San Diego native Stephen Strasburg.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Keep The Good Times Rolling]]> Sat, 22 Aug 2015 22:19:55 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/171*120/GettyImages-484921780.jpg

This might be a bit strong, but for the moment it's accurate: The Padres have the Cardinals number.

The Friars chased their series-opening 9-3 win over St. Louis from Friday night with an 8-0 blowout on Saturday in front of 44,816 fans in the East Village. The Cardinals may have the best record in baseball but for right now they can't seem to solve a team that's a game under .500.

In fact, there is only one National League team with a winning record against the Cardinals this season and plays its home games in San Diego. The Padres are 4-2 so far, with a chance to sweep on Sunday. But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.

Starting pitcher Ian Kennedy rewarded the Padres for pulling him back from the waiver wire with his best start of the season. Kennedy tossed 6.0 shutout innings, striking out a season-high 10 Cardinals hitters. Five relief pitchers threw the last three innings, adding six more punchouts. The staff had to be good because it was a close game.

Well, until the 7th inning it was a close game. That's when the Padres offense went nuts.

The inning started with San Diego up 1-0. It ended with them leading 8-0. In between they sent 12 hitters to the plate and burned through four Cardinals pitchers. Matt Kemp dealt the first blow with a line drive, bases loaded single to center to score two runs and put the Padres up 3-0. Then Justin Upton doubled to bring in two more runs. A couple of batters later Clint Barmes ripped an RBI double, followed by an Alexi Amarista RBI single. The scoring was capped by rookie Travis Jankowski's infield RBI single.

Jankowski had two more hits, becoming the third player in Padres history to have two hits in each of his first two MLB games. The others were John Sipin in 1969 and Juan Bonilla in 1981.

There was one negative in the game. Catcher Derek Norris suffered a bruised wrist when he was hit on the wrist. X-rays revealed no break but he's going to be day-to-day.

The Padres are now one game over .500 with Pat Murphy as manager. With the Dodgers losing again in Houston, the Pads are now just 6.5 games out of first place in the NL West.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Win 4th Straight Game]]> Fri, 21 Aug 2015 22:12:11 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*123/GettyImages-484805036.jpg

Travis Jankowski got a lot of "firsts" out of the way early. The Padres rookie made his Big League debut on Friday night against the Cardinals (who, remember, have the best record in baseball).

On the second pitch he saw, Jankowski laced a single to center off veteran pitcher John Lackey for his first MLB hit. That not being enough, the 24-year-old outfielder followed it up with another hit in the 5th inning for his first multi-hit game. That single to left brought home Andrew Cashner to give Travis his first RBI. He then scored on a Yangervis Solarte home run for his first run.

Not a bad night in The Show, especially when it comes in a 9-3 win that just happens to be the 500th Padres victory at Petco Park. San Diego is now 500-450 in their downtown playground.

Jankowski was just one of many Padres who had a memorable night. Solarte had a pair of hits and has now homered in three straight games. If he continues to stay unseasonably warm, his new El Nino nickname just might stick (even though he's not terribly fond of it).

In the 8th inning the Padres got a couple more big blasts. Brett Wallace hit a 2-run, pinch-hit missile that flew 431 feet to right field. His shot was followed up by another 2-run homer by Matt Kemp that sent the Padres faithful home happy.

Perhaps the happiest man in the ballpark not named (or related to a) Jankowski was Cashner. The right-hander who has had all kinds of tough luck was saddled with another unearned run in the first inning after an Alexi Amarista error. It was the 22nd unearned run Cash has been saddled with this season, nearly twice as many as any other pitcher in the game.

This time, however, he got enough run support to overcome it. Cashner locked up the Cardinals offense for the next five innings, striking out eight to get the win. The Padres have won four straight games and are 8-2 in their last 10.

Plus, with the Dodgers getting no-hit by Astros starter Mike Fiers, the Padres are now just 7.5 games out of first place. I know, I know, it'll take another 10 or so straight wins to get back in to playoff contention, but stranger things have happened.

Heck, if Donald Trump can be the frontrunner in a Presidential election, ANYTHING can happen.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres To Host 1st Official "Pride Night"]]> Fri, 21 Aug 2015 21:41:20 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/IMG_3168.jpg

For years San Diego's LGBT community has supported the Padres. Now the Padres have decided to show support for the LGBT community.

On Tuesday, September 1, the Padres will host the first officially sanctioned Pride Night at Petco Park. Prior to the first pitch against the Texas Rangers the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus will sing the National Anthem, something they have not done at Petco Park in eight years.

In addition to a limited edition hat giveaway that night, $5 of every Pride Night ticket will be donated to San Diego Pride, GSDBA and San Diego Gay Men's Chorus (tickets for the event can be purchased at www.padres.com/sdpride).

Since 2007, San Diego Pride has organized the annual "Out at the Park" event (which has actually been around a lot longer that that) which draws close to 1200 fans to a Padres game and nearly 500 to a pre-game tailgate. That event has never been officially associated with the team or MLB. This new one will.

"San Diego has long bee a city that embraces its diversity," said Stephen Whitburn, executive director of San Diego Pride. "We are so pleased that the San Diego Padres are creating this opportunity to officially celebrate San Diego's LGBT community and its allies. We are looking forward to a fun night at Petco Park."

<![CDATA[Upton Jr. Finds Rebirth In San Diego]]> Fri, 21 Aug 2015 16:11:02 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/162*120/GettyImages-484440962.jpg

When the Padres made that eve of Opening Day trade with the Braves to get closer Craig Kimbrel the really big negative in the deal, even more than parting with a pitching prospect as good as Matt Wisler, was taking on the contract of Melvin Upton Jr.

A few years ago the elder Upton brother was one of the best young players in baseball. Remember this is the guy who hit 7 home runs in 16 games of the 2008 post-season, helping the Rays reach their only World Series, and he was only 23 years old at the time.

Upton had a few more productive years in Tampa before signing a big-time free agent contract with Atlanta. That’s when those proverbial wheels flew off his career.

Upton only batted .198 in two seasons with the Braves, making his 5-year, $72.25 million deal look like one of the worst in baseball history. When Upton was dealt to San Diego, he got off to another slow start. But lately, quietly, he’s been looking like the Tampa Bay version of Melvin Upton.

“I just cleaned some things up and got things where I feel pretty consistent,” said Upton after helping his new team complete a sweep of his old team.

Over the last month (going back to July 20) Melvin Upton Jr. has put up a .281 batting average while slugging a robust .484. Those are interesting increases for a guy who’s coming to a ballpark not exactly know for offensive excellence. So … what’s gotten in to Melvin?

“Just seeing the ball better,” says Upton. “Nothing really big. Just getting in a comfortable spot and swinging the bat.”

Seeing the ball is something both Melvin and his younger brother Justin have said they do very well at Petco Park.

“The background is definitely pretty good, better than some other parks,” says Upton. “It’s a big blue wall out there so it’s a pretty good place to see the ball.”

But even more than that, the trade gave Upton a chance to hit the reset button on his career.

“It’s great to see Melvin really come in to his own and gain some confidence,” says Padres manager Pat Murphy, who was managing at Triple-A El Paso when Upton came through for a rehab assignment. “It doesn’t matter how old you are or how much experience you have. Confidence is such a key in everything you do and to see Melvin gain some confidence is pretty special.”

Melvin does not deny a change of scenery has been good for him.

“I think the fresh start has a lot to do with it. Unfortunately things didn’t go the way I wanted them to the last two years but, like I said, it’s a fresh start, a new club, the coaches here are behind me and I’m having fun.”

Melvin Upton Jr. turns 31 years old on Friday. If he keeps showing the form he has the last month in San Diego that albatross of a contract might end up being a decent deal after all.

<![CDATA[El Nino Washes Away the Braves]]> Wed, 19 Aug 2015 15:33:54 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/171*120/GettyImages-484513334.jpg

The Padres completed their 3-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves with a 3-2 win at Petco Park on Wednesday afternoon. In a season almost completely devoid of positives at least we have this little tid-bit for today:

The win gets the team back to 29-29 at home. Anything in 2015 that is associated with a non-losing record must be considered a good thing.

Third baseman Yangervis Solarte followed up his home run from Tuesday night with another big day at the plate. Solarte went 3-for-3 with a home run, a double and two runs batted in. He scored San Diego’s third run on a double by rookie catcher Austin Hedges.

In the post-game clubhouse Padres players and coaches took great glee in bestowing a new nickname upon Solarte. From “Slowarte” due to his lack of foot speed … to “Fastarte” after legging out a triple … Yan is now known to his teammates as “El Nino.” Not even he knows how, why or who came up with that one but if he's going to continue to swing a hot bat the moniker fits.

Tyson Ross made the start and only allowed one run in 6.0 innings, striking out five. He was relieved by Shawn Kelley, who struck out the side to get his second win of the year. Joaquin Benoit gave up one run in the 8th inning on a Nick Markakis double but closer Craig Kimbrel worked a perfect 9th on 11 pitches to get his 35th save of the season.

The Padres improve to three games under .500, but things get a lot tougher this weekend. The St. Louis Cardinals come to Petco Park for a 3-game series starting Friday night. The Cards have the best record in baseball, sitting 33 games over .500. Andrew Cashner gets the start for the Padres against John Lackey.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Top Padres Prospect Joins the Big Club]]> Wed, 19 Aug 2015 11:52:49 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/182*120/GettyImages-481411398.jpg

After trading Will Venable to the Rangers, the Padres had room on their roster for an outfielder. They filled it with Travis Jankowski, a 24-year-old who has been tearing up minor league pitching this year.

Jankowski started the season with Double-A San Antonio and hit .316 and scored 50 runs in 73 games. Then he was promoted to Triple-A El Paso, but took a quick jaunt up to Canada and helped the USA win a silver medal in the Pan Am Games.

Since getting back with the Chihuahuas, Jankowski has been unstoppable. He's hitting .392 with a .464 on-base percentage. That's enough to earn a call-up to the big club. Jankowski, who is also one of the best defensive outfielders in the system, is on the bench for the Padres' Wednesday afternoon series finale against the Braves at Petco Park.

<![CDATA[Melvin Upton, Jr Helps Padres Pummel Braves]]> Tue, 18 Aug 2015 21:41:23 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/melvin+upton+jr.JPG

Whatever Melvin Upton, Junior ate before Tuesday’s game he should probably put on the menu every night.

The artist formerly known as B.J. single-handedly crushed the Braves’ spirits with a pair of towering home runs against his former club, to help San Diego pummel Atlanta 9-0.

Padres pitcher James Shields also kept the visitors at bay with 7 strikeouts over 6 shutout innings to earn his first victory in over a month thanks to another offensive outburst by the Friars.

Yangervis Solarte smacked a 3-run bomb in the 6th a few batters after Upton’s first homer of the game. Upton then went yard again in the 7th and Derek Norris was along for the ride.

The Padres have now beaten Atlanta 9 straight times at Petco Park. San Diego improves to 6-2 in its last 8 contests and looks for the sweep Wednesday afternoon before getting Thursday off.

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Rea of Light for Padres]]> Tue, 18 Aug 2015 19:56:03 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-484368196.jpg

The Padres’ post-season hopes still look bleak in late August but rookie right-hander Colin Rea is providing a ray of light. The 25-year-old pitcher already owns a pair of victories on the mound after just two major league starts and is benefiting from strong run support early and often.

In Rea’s outings against the Reds and Braves, the Friars combined to rack up 14 runs – before the end of the 3rd inning. That extra wiggle room helps a young pitcher like Rea feel more comfortable when he makes a few mistakes which are inevitable. For example, former Padre Cameron Maybin unleashed the fury on a pitch Rea left over the plate Monday night, but that one swing doesn’t look so bad in the 4th when his club spots him a 3-0 cushion in the 2nd. It’s easier to shake it off and refocus with a 3-1 lead than a 1-0 deficit.

Even some of the best veteran pitchers in the bigs start to press when they don’t get an iota of run support. Rancho Bernardo product and current Texas Ranger Cole Hamels knows all about that during the past few seasons. Even back in 2010 while with Philadelphia, the Phillies did not score a single run in one-third of the games Hamels started when he was on the mound.

It’s just two starts so let’s not get carried away here. But Rea appears to have the makeup and the demeanor of a starting pitcher that can carve out some staying power in San Diego. And at a towering 6-foot-5, the Iowa native stands tall on the mound peering towards the batter’s box. If Andrew Cashner can turn the corner, James Shields, Rea and Cashner could be integral parts of the Padres rotation for years to come.

Rea is scheduled to close out this homestand with his 3rd big league start Sunday against the Cardinals. As Morgan Freeman’s character says in the movie Shawshank Redemption, “Hope is a good thing… maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” As the 2015 campaign winds down, maybe the Padres have a little bit more hope for the future thanks to this “Rea” of light as September unfortunately gets closer to San Diego than the standings.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Trade Venable to Texas]]> Tue, 18 Aug 2015 17:25:51 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/470491188.jpg

The Padres traded longtime outfielder Will Venable to the Rangers Tuesday for minor league catcher Marcus Greene Jr. and a player to be named later.

Greene is 21 and a .250 liftetime batting average in parts of three minor league seasons since being drafted by Texas in the 16th round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of New Mexico Junior College.

The Palm Springs native is currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Prior to undergoing the surgery, he spent this entire season with Single-A Hickory of the South Atlantic League, where he hit .218 (17-for-78) with five doubles, five home runs, nine RBI in 25 games.

As for Venable, the Austin, Texas, native had spent his entire professional career with the Padres organization since being selected in the seventh round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft out of Princeton University. He owns a lifetime .252 batting average in parts of eight Major League seasons with the Friars.

Venable has been the subject of trade rumors for the past few seasons, but this move comes at a curious time with the Padres more than 10 games back of the second wildcard spot.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Spoil Maybin's Return to San Diego]]> Tue, 18 Aug 2015 15:17:15 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-484373242.jpg

Cameron Maybin enjoyed his return to Petco Park, but the Padres had the last laugh Monday night.

Despite a solo shot by the former Padre and current Atlanta Brave, the Friars earned a 5-3 victory as they open up a six-game homestand.

Rookie pitcher Colin Rea was solid in his second straight outing. With the exception of that one mistake he left out over the plate for Maybin, Rea struck out four batters in 5.2 innings and improved to 2-0 already in his young major league career.

He was happy to get some help from his teammates in the field as Justin Upton hauled in a fantastic catch in left-field, crashing into the wall to rob Pedro Ciriaco of extra bases in the 8th.

Jedd Gyorko also started at shortstop and flashed the leather on multiple occasions – making his case for more playing time in the hole over the next few weeks.

As for the offense, the Pads jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the 2nd inning. Will Venable provided a 2-run single with 2 on and 2 out after Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez elected to pitch to Venable in the 8-spot with the pitcher on deck.

Maybe next time Atlanta’s skipper will remember that where there’s a Will, there’s a way. Matt Kemp and Yonder Alonso also provided some insurance in the form of solo homers.

Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta’s all-time saves leader, navigated his way through a shaky 9th inning against his former squad, earning his 34th save of the season. On most occasions, Kimbrel has been as good as advertised since coming to Southern California along with Melvin Upton, Jr in that 6-player off-season trade this past April.

The Padres improve to 5-2 in their past seven contests, but as of Tuesday morning they still trail San Francisco by a hefty 11.5 games for the second wildcard spot.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Beat Cincinnati ]]> Wed, 12 Aug 2015 16:03:26 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/padres1.JPG

Starter Colin Rea won his Major League debut on Tuesday night as the Padres held on for an 11-6 victory over the Cincinnati Reds at Petco Park.

Jedd Gyorko led the way with a two-run single to kick off the scoring in the first, then added a two-run home run in the second to help the Friars (54-60) score the first 11 runs of the game.

Things got a little hairy in the ninth, as the Reds cut the lead to five and put two runners on base. But Rich Garces was able to shut the door on the victory.

Rea pitched five innings, striking out four while allowing three earned runs. He also notched his first big-league hit with a single in the second inning. Yonder Alonso and Justin Upton each had RBI doubles in the second as the Friars pounded out five runs in the frame.

Todd Frazier had a pair of RBI for the Reds (49-62) with a double in the fourth and a solo homer in the ninth.

The two teams finish their series Wednesday afternoon starting at 12:40 p.m.


Photo Credit: NBC7]]>
<![CDATA[Spin Class at Petco Park Benefits Cancer Research]]> Thu, 06 Aug 2015 17:47:01 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Spin+at+the+Park+1.jpg

Stationary bikes will take over Petco Park next month as the San Diego Padres cycle in a new fundraiser for local cancer researchers.

The inaugural Pedal the Cause Radio-Telethon and Spin at the Park will take place Saturday, Sept. 12.

In the outfield, organizers will hold a one-hour spin class open to the public at 6:05 p.m., just as the Padres start playing the Giants at San Francisco’s AT&T Park. Spinners will be able to watch the game on the park’s large video board.

If they make it through the heart-pumping class, participants will be treated to an on-field after-party.

Starting at 2 p.m., volunteers will be accepting donations as the radio-telethon is broadcast on FOX Sports San Diego and The Mighty 1090. Donations will be taken through the Padres’ game that night. Those who wish to contribute can call 1-844-PEDALSD or text “Pedal” to 41444.

Tickets for Spin at the Park are $50 and include the class, a custom towel, one beverage ticket, free parking and two tickets to the Padres versus Arizona Diamondbacks game on Sept. 26.

Proceeds will benefit local organizations like Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health, Sanford-Burnham-Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Rady Children’s Hospital.

Photo Credit: San Diego Padres]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Fall to Brewers]]> Tue, 04 Aug 2015 22:30:31 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-482965394.jpg

After a four-game winning streak, the Padres have now lost two of three after falling to the Brewers in Milwaukee on Tuesday night. The 4-1 victory snapped the Brewers' six-game losing skid.

Padres starter Andrew Cashner pitched well enough to win, scattering two runs on eight hits over six innings. But he was outdueled by Jimmy Nelson, who allowed just three Padres hits in 6 2/3 innings.

The Friars (52-55) got their lone run on a sacrifice fly by Yonder Alonso, scoring Matt Kemp in the fourth.

Alexi Amarista had a pair of hits, including a leadoff double in the eighth. Yangervis Solarte followed that with a single to stretch his hitting streak to 10 games. But the Padres were unable to score, as Alonso and Jedd Gyorko struck out to end the inning.

Both teams play again tomorrow night.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Will Ferrell to Screen Baseball Movie at Petco Park]]> Mon, 03 Aug 2015 12:32:29 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP468324219163_FerrellPadres.jpg

Months after Will Ferrell donned a San Diego Padres uniform in a spring training stunt, the comedian's HBO special based off his experiences will be screened at Petco Park. 

In March, the comedian played all nine positions and coached for 10 teams in five Arizona ballparks in a spring-training blitz chronicled for the special.

The movie will be screened Sept. 5 immediately following the game between the Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers as a part of Baseball Night in San Diego. All fans at the game will have the opportunity to stay and watch the screening. 

Ferrell will introduce the special, created by Funny or Die in partnership with Major League Baseball. The movie will debut on HBO at 10 p.m. on Sept. 12. 

The special is dedicated to the fight against cancer through the charity Cancer for College. Ferrell will also honor former professional baseball player Bert Campaneris. 

Fans can buy tickets for the game by clicking here.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Comeback Falls Short]]> Sun, 02 Aug 2015 14:43:10 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-482783714.jpg

The Padres have made a habit of winning games with late-inning magic lately. Sunday afternoon in Miami they pulled another rabbit out of their hat, then watched as the Marlins used that strategy against them.

The Marlins got a 3-run, walkoff homer from shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria to win 5-2 and avoid getting swept out of their own building. The big blast came off Padres reliever Brandon Maurer, who walked two batters to set the table for Hechavarria.

Had it not been for another unlikely comeback, that situation would have never developed. Miami had a 2-0 lead in the 9th inning when catcher Derek Norris, who seems to be in the middle of every big rally lately, rapped a leadoff single. Two batters later shortstop Alexi Amarista, the most unlikely non-pitcher on the field to go deep, went deep to tie the game 2-2.

Amarista was oh-for-25 entering the game and only had five hits in the entire month of July. On Sunday he had a triple and a home run and get starter James Shields a no-decision.

Shields gave up two runs in the first inning but only allowed two baserunners over the next five innings. He was bested by Miami ace Jose Fernandez, who struck out 10 in 6.0 innings and has never lost at Marlins Park.

The Padres head to Milwaukee to start a 4-game set on Monday. The Brewers are 20-33 at Miller Park, giving them the worst home record in the Major Leagues. Tyson Ross gets the start against Wily Peralta.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>