<![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 Sat, 04 Jul 2015 10:21:43 -0700 Sat, 04 Jul 2015 10:21:43 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[WATCH: Padres Manager Says, "Enough of This!"]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 18:08:52 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/177*120/GettyImages-479159930.jpg

The Padres lost to the Mariners 7-0 on Wednesday afternoon at Petco Park. Starter James Shields only allowed two runs in 6.2 innings but the game got out of hand when Kevin Quackenbush gave up four runs (three earned) in 1.1 innings.

However, that didn't matter because once again the Padres showed an alarming allergy to wood. In their short, 2-game set against Seattle, here's how the San Diego offense performed:

18 innings
4 hits
0 runs
17 K
0-7 with runners in scoring position

Now, we could write it up to just one of those little stretches where the Friars ran in to a couple of good pitchers who are throwing well, which they did. But when you consider the Padres have now been shut out a league-high 13 times this season (in 80 games) this is not just a rough stretch.

It's become painfully obvious that this is who this team is. At least, for right now. However, if things are going to change, that change could be coming immediately.

Manager Pat Murphy said when he arrived in San Diego that he was going to take a couple of weeks and get a good feel for what was going on in the clubhouse without being too invasive. It's a good plan: diagnose the problem before deciding on a solution. After Wednesday's loss Murphy shared what he thinks is ailing his team in a refreshingly honest way.

(you can see it in the video below)

With 82 games left to play the Padres are six games under .500 and are staring down by far their toughest road trip of the season, a 10-game jaunt through St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Texas. This is one of those roadies that do one of two things to a season: kill it or resuscitate it.

If Murphy is going to institute his law, this is the time to do it.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Get Just One Hit in Loss to Mariners ]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 22:52:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-479102158.jpg

The Padres managed just one hit in a listless 5-0 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night at Petco Park.

The lone base knock was a Yangervis Solarte ground-rule double to left in the seventh. Other than that, Mariners starter Mike Montgomery was spectacular, striking out seven while walking just four in the complete game shutout.

Mike Zunino got Seattle (35-42) on the board with a solo home run in the third. Austin Jackson drove in a run with a seeing-eye single in the fifth that just got under the glove of Clint Barmes. Instead of a potential double play, that led to a three-run inning after Brad Miller hit a two-run shot in the next at-bat.

Ian Kennedy gave up the four runs for the Padres (37-42) in just five innings of work. He allowed just five hits and struck out five in the outing.

The two teams finish their quick two-game series Wednesday afternoon.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres About To Enter "The Crucible"]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 13:49:13 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*126/GettyImages-478904310.jpg

With just two weeks remaining until the All-Star break, multiple questions surround the Padres. Some are good, others are scary.

After Sunday's 6-4 loss to the Diamondbacks, NBC 7's Derek Togerson found insights from Padres radio analyst Bob Scanlan. Among the topics they discussed:

Is Derek Norris going to be an All-Star?
How are the players responding to new manager Pat Murphy?
Is the change working?

And of course the most daunting of all questions ... Will their upcoming 10-game road trip kill their season and prompt a trade deadline fire sale or launch them back in to playoff contention?

As always, Scanlan pulls no punches and offers his insider knowledge.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tony Gwynn Remembered in San Diego]]> Tue, 17 Jun 2014 15:27:10 -0700 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 11:30:09 -0700 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[Norris Has A Big Day But Padres Lose]]> Sun, 28 Jun 2015 16:57:50 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/186*120/GettyImages-478900380.jpg

The Padres and Diamondbacks each hit three home runs on Sunday afternoon at Petco Park. The difference is; Arizona hit theirs with more runners on base.

The D-Backs beat the Padres 6-4 to avoid getting swept over the weekend. All 10 runs were scored via the long ball.

Matt Kemp led off the game for the Padres with a dinger. Since moving the leadoff spot on Wednesday in San Francisco, Kemp is 7-20 (.350 average) with a pair of home runs. Padres catcher Derek Norris hit a pair of big flies, the second multi-homer game of his career. Norris smacked a 2-run shot in the 4th inning and a solo job in the 6th. All three of the Padres home runs came off Diamondbacks starter Chase Anderson, but the Friars only had two other hits in the game.

Norris continued his push to be on the National League All-Star team. Giants catcher Buster Posey leads in fan balloting but Norris has certainly caught the eye of San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy, who will have a hand in selecting the reserves.

Arizona’s long balls did a little more damage. Wellington Castillo hit a 3-run blast off Padres starter Odrisamer Despaigne to put the Diamondbacks up 3-1. Despaigne also surrendered a solo shot to David Peralta.

In the 6th inning Padres manager Pat Murphy pulled Odrisamer to put in left-hander Frank Garces against the left-hand hitting Jake Lamb. Lamb ripped a 2-run blast to right field, giving Arizona the cushion they needed for the win.

The Padres have Monday off before playing two games against the Mariners at Petco. Then they hit the road for 10 games (four in St. Louis, three in Pittsburgh, three in Texas) leading in to the All-Star break.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Show Signs of Life]]> Sat, 27 Jun 2015 23:10:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/174*120/GettyImages-478828602.jpg

In baseball you really aren’t sure if a team is on a roll until it’s well in to a winning streak. Given what the Padres have done this season it would be borderline irresponsible to say they’re rolling right now.

But they sure are doing things better than they’ve done them recently.

The Padres beat the Diamondbacks 7-2 on Friday night at Petco Park. It’s their second straight win and their first series win under interim manager Pat Murphy. In fact, it’s the first time the Padres have won a series against a National League West opponent since they swept the Rockies at home from May 1-3 (they lost six straight NL West series in between).

Starting pitcher Andrew Cashner finally got his first win of the season at home with his 7.0 innings of work. Cash allowed two runs and struck out six. He was finally helped out by some run support, too.

Matt Kemp continued to thrive in the leadoff spot and Justin Upton found his home run swing. Those two hitting at the same time is a very good thing for the Padres, who are now 9-2 when both Kemp and Upton drive in a run. Both guys had a pair of hits. In all, six different Padres had at least two knocks in the game.

The one negative from the game is the health of second baseman Cory Spangenberg, who was hit hard on a slide as turned a double play in the first inning. Spangenberg stayed in the game but was visibly hurting as he ran out a double in the fourth inning. Murphy took the rookie out of the game and revealed Cory will have an MRI to determine how bad the injury is.

<![CDATA[Padres Start Homestand on Right Track]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 23:59:13 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/167*120/GettyImages-478686360.jpg

This is the way the Padres imagined things would go when they started the season. Get a good start, have the bullpen bridge the gap to a dominant closer, while the offense does enough damage to get a win. Rinse and repeat.

Tyson Ross locked up the Arizona Diamondbacks for the second straight start, three relievers threw hitless innings and Cory Spangenberg sparked the offense in a 4-2 Padres win on Friday night at Petco Park.

Over his last two starts, both against the D-Backs, Ross has gone 15.0 innings and allowed a total of three runs. That's not too shabby.

Spangenberg went 3-3 with three singles, scored a pair of runs and stole two bases. In the third inning it was Spangenberg's hustle that tied the game at two. He stole third and came home on a bad throw by Arizona catcher Wellington Castillo.

On Saturday the Padres can do something they have not done since Pat Murphy took over as manager ... win a series. Andrew Cashner gets the start against Jeremy Hellickson.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Brews at the Ballpark: 2015 Padres BeerFest]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 12:24:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/padres+beerfest+2.JPG

Brews and baseball is the name of the game Friday as Petco Park hosts its summer BeerFest ahead of the Padres vs. Diamondbacks match-up in downtown San Diego.

The San Diego Padres BeerFest begins with the first pour at 5 p.m. The crisp, sudsy lineup includes two samples from nearly 20 local and national breweries including Ballast Point Brewing Co. (pouring Calm Before the Storm and Grapfruit Sculpin), Pizza Port (tapping Chronic and Swamis IPA) and Heml’s Brewing Co. (pouring Batten Down Brown and OG Wheat), among many others.

All beers are $5 and must be purchased with “Friar Funds” included in BeerFest ticket packages. A $60 Field Box package includes one Field Box ticket to the ball game and four Friar Funds good for four beers at the fest. A $40 Right Field Lower Reserved package includes one Right Field Lower Reserved ticket to the game and four Friar Funds good for four brews.

If you can’t make it to Friday’s Padres BeerFest, it’s not a complete strike out.

Petco Park will host two more BeerFests in the coming months: one on July 24 and another on Sept. 4. Ticket packages to those events will also include entry into the ballgame and Friar Funds good for four brews at the BeerFest. Score.

<![CDATA[Padres Make Roster Moves]]> Wed, 24 Jun 2015 16:47:15 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/Brandon+Morrow+Padres.jpg

The Padres made a slew of roster moves before Wednesday night's game against the Giants in San Francisco, all of them involving pitchers.

Perhaps the most discouraging information comes on starting pitcher Brandon Morrow. He was moved from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list due to inflammation in his right shoulder. Morrow was tremendous out of the gate. The Padres won all five of his starts before the shoulder problem showed up.

Reliever Dale Thayer was also placed on the 15-day DL with a strained right shoulder (retroactive to June 17). Thayer's spot in the bullpen will be filled by right-hander Marcos Mateo, who is up from Triple-A El Paso. Mateo has not appeared in a Major League game since 2011 with the Chicago Cubs.

The Padres also recalled reliever Kevin Quackenbush and optioned reliever and Ramona native Nick Vincent to El Paso.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Gwynn's Big Father's Day Moment]]> Sun, 21 Jun 2015 18:37:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-466114584.jpg

The last time Tony Gwynn Jr. spoke to his late dad was a year ago ... on Father's Day. The Padres legend passed away the next day.

On Sunday, the first Father's Day for Tony Jr. without his dad, Gwynn delivered the perfect tribute. Now playing for the Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Nationals, Tony stepped to the plate in a tie game in the bottom of the 10th inning and did what members of the Gwynn family do.

(you can watch the video and hear a wonderful play-by-play account below)

He lined a walk-off single to give his team the win. Coincidentally, it was the 19th RBI of the year for Tony. If that doesn't give you goosebumps, I don't know what will.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Play an Ugly Game In Arizona]]> Sun, 21 Jun 2015 19:08:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-478024384.jpg

One inning.

One inning is all it took for the Padres to do just about everything you're not supposed to do if you're trying to win a baseball game. Officially, here's how the bottom of the 2nd inning went down for the Padres in their 7-2 loss to the Diamondbacks in Arizona:

- Tomás struck out swinging.
- Lamb walked.
- Owings singled to right, Lamb to second.
- Saltalamacchia walked, Lamb to third, Owings to second.
- Ahmed grounded into fielder's choice to third, Lamb scored on throwing error by third baseman Middlebrooks, Owings to third, Saltalamacchia to second (1-0 AZ).
- Hellickson hit by pitch, Owings scored, Saltalamacchia to third, Ahmed to second (2-0 AZ).
- Pollock singled to left center, Saltalamacchia and Ahmed scored, Hellickson to second (4-0 AZ).
- Peralta safe at second on error by shortstop Barmes, Hellickson scored, Pollock to third (5-0 AZ).
- Goldschmidt singled to center, Pollock and Peralta scored (7-0 AZ).
- Goldschmidt stole second.
- Tomás struck out looking.
- Lamb grounded out to second.

When the dust had settled, the Padres had allowed seven runs on just three hits. The error by Middlebrooks was both physical and metal. With the bases loaded and one out, Nick Ahmed hit a hard grounder right out him.

Instead of going to second base to start a double play or stepping on the bag and throwing across for a double play, Will threw home and pulled Derek Norris off the plate. That option is the worst of the three when trying to turn a double play in the second inning of a scoreless game.

Starting pitcher Andrew Cashner has had bad defense behind him all year, but has also let setbacks get to him and allowed things to snowball, leading to big innings and losses. It really follows the same pattern the Padres have have set forth all season:

When things go well they go really well. When things go poorly they go really poorly.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Defang Diamondbacks]]> Sat, 20 Jun 2015 23:18:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/168*120/GettyImages-477950838.jpg

The Padres have only won three of their last 10 series. Now they have a chance to win a series in a building where they have not won a series since July of 2013.

Because, baseball.

The Friars got a tremendous start from Tyson Ross to beat the Diamondbacks 8-1 in Arizona on Saturday night. Ross threw his third career complete game, giving up one run on four hits while striking out nine. To round out his fantastic evening, Ross also clubbed his first career triple, a shot off the centerfield wall at Chase Field.

That blast was part of a 4-run 9th inning for the Padres. Melvin Upton Jr. capped the night with his first home run in a San Diego uniform, a 2-run shot off former SDSU star Addison Reed.

Padres catcher Derek Norris also went deep, his 9th homer of the year. The Friars win finally win a set in the desert on Sunday afternoon when Andrew Cashner takes the mound against Jeremy Hellickson.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Stung Again in Arizona]]> Fri, 19 Jun 2015 23:43:18 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-477826358.jpg

Padres starter James Shields reached a whole lot of milestones on Friday night in Arizona. He made his 300th career MLB start, pitched his 2,000th career MLB inning, and took his first loss in a San Diego uniform.

Two out of three ain't bad.

Shields threw 6.0 innings, allowing four runs and eight hits to come out on the wrong end of a game for the first time since joining the Padres. His counterpart, Rubby De La Rosa, was not markedly better but kept the Friars from getting any timely hits.

De La Rosa went 7.0 innings, allowing five hits and just one earned run, which he did to himself when he walked Justin Upton with the bases loaded in the 5th inning to bring home Shields. Rubby then got Matt Kemp to strike out.

The Padres had the bases loaded with one out again in the 8th inning. Cory Spangenberg brought in Justin Upton with a sacrifice fly, cutting the lead to 4-2. But then Brett Wallace, who was just called up from Triple-A El Paso before the game, grounded out to end the inning.

Wallace was added to the big league club instead of fellow infielder Jedd Gyorko. Perhaps one of the reasons is Wallace played his college ball at Arizona State University under current Padres interim manager Pat Murphy.

Or maybe that's just a coincidence.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Pull Off Win 3-1 Against Oakland A's]]> Thu, 18 Jun 2015 18:12:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-477633744.jpg

Athletics rookie pitcher Kendall Graveman used his recent demotion to the minors as motivation to get back on track.

If Oakland's offense could do the same thing, manager Bob Melvin's ballclub might have a chance to crawl out of the cellar in the AL West.

Graveman allowed five hits and two runs over seven innings, but the A's sputtered at the plate, managing only five hits off San Diego starter Ian Kennedy and three relievers in a 3-1 loss to the Padres on Thursday.

"A game like that when you give up a couple runs, you expect to be in a better position," Melvin said. "We just didn't do enough offensively off Kennedy to get him on the other side."

A day after setting season highs for runs (16) and hits (20), Oakland couldn't get much going.'

Josh Phegley homered leading off the sixth but the A's had only one other runner get past second base. Stephen Vogt doubled with two outs in the ninth and advanced on a wild pitch before Padres closer Craig Kimbrel struck out Billy Butler to end the game.

Graveman (3-4) allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings, struck out six and walked one. He has a 2.27 ERA in six starts since getting called back up from the minors on May 23.

"When you get up and experience some failure, you actually have to understand what you are doing wrong," Graveman said. "There's a growing process no matter how long you play the game. I understood that when I went down there I had to work on a few things."

Pat Murphy got his first win as San Diego's manager while Derek Norris homered against his former team.

Matt Kemp hit his second home run in three days, and San Diego stopped a four-game losing streak. The Padres fired manager Bud Black on Monday and hired Murphy the following day.

They had lost two straight under Murphy and four overall before beating the A's.

"We needed to win this game right here," Kemp said. "We've played pretty good baseball here and there, but last night was pretty tough."

Kennedy (4-5) gave up one run and four hits in six innings, allowing only one runner past second base. Kennedy, who struck out Stephen Vogt with the potential tying run at the third in the sixth, has a 2.63 ERA in his last four starts after compiling a 7.15 ERA in his first eight.

Kimbrel pitched a one-hit ninth for his 17th save in 18 chances, completing a five-hitter.

San Diego struck out eight times, raising its total in four games against Oakland this week to 40.

Oakland right fielder Josh Reddick went down hard after colliding with center fielder Billy Burns while chasing Melvin Upton's triple in the eighth. Reddick -- who appeared to get hit in the face by Burns' gloved hand and absorbed a knee to the groin -- lay on the warning track for several moments as manager Bob Melvin and a team trainer rushed out from the dugout. Reddick remained in the game.

A day after setting season-highs for runs (16) and hits (20), Oakland couldn't get much going.

Kemp homered in the fourth and Norris doubled the lead when he homered leading off the sixth. He had been hitless in six at-bats at the Coliseum since he was traded to San Diego in December.

Phegley homered in the sixth for Oakland, which had won four games in a row.

Melvin Upton Jr. tripled and scored on brother Justin Upton's sacrifice fly into foul territory in the eighth.


Athletics: 1B Ike Davis (strained left quadriceps) played for Triple-A Nashville on Wednesday and is expected to be activated from the disabled list as early as Friday.


Padres: RHP James Shields (7-0) pitches the series opener in Arizona on Friday and is third in the NL in strikeouts. Shields has fanned six or more in all but two of his 14 starts this season.

Athletics: RHP Sonny Gray (8-3) takes his major league-low 1.60 ERA into Friday's start against the Angels.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Lose 16-2 to Oakland A's]]> Wed, 17 Jun 2015 22:22:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-477517726.jpg

The Padres remained winless since firing manager Bud Black, losing 16-2 to the Oakland A’s on Wednesday night.

It’s the second straight loss for new manager Pat Murphy and third straight since Black got the axe earlier this week. Things got so bad on Wednesday, shortstop Alexi Amarista came on to get the last out in the eighth inning.

“I thought I’d pick the guy lowest to the ground,” Murphy joked about the 5-foot-6 Amarista. “You gotta make the decision somehow. Sometimes games happen like this.”

Amarista had one of the lone offensive highlights for the Padres (32-36) with a solo home run in the sixth inning. Will Middlebrooks also homered.

Padres starter Odrisamer Despaigne gave up six runs in six innings, allowing a three-run homer to Billy Butler in the first that got things going for the A’s.

Cory Mazzoni took the brunt of the damage for the Friars’ bullpen, giving up seven runs while getting just two outs.

The two teams finish their series tomorrow afternoon in Oakland.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Surgery Scheduled for Padres Star]]> Wed, 17 Jun 2015 21:49:06 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-472636928.jpg

I’m already starting to feel really bad for Padres manager Pat Murphy. Since he arrived on an interim basis he’s had to share almost nothing but bad news.

Before Wednesday's game against the Oakland A's, he informed us that Wil Myers will have surgery to remove a bone spur from his left wrist on Thursday, hoping to eliminate a condition that has bothered him since his junior high school days. Myers is expected to be able to resume baseball activities in eight weeks and should rejoin the team in early September.

Myers was leading the National League in runs scored when the spur caused ligaments in his hand to become inflamed, hindering his ability to swing the bat. Wrist ailments have cut short each of Myers’ last two seasons.

He had moved from the outfield to first base and said he was feeling comfortable on the infield before the wrist flared up again. Despite playing in only 35 games, Myers is still 4th on the Padres in runs scored this season. While he is gone Yonder Alonso is the everyday starting 1st baseman while Melvin Upton and Will Venable will share time in center field.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres GM and Players React to Black Firing]]> Mon, 15 Jun 2015 17:45:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Padres_GM_and_Players_React_to_Black_Firing_1200x675_465054787574.jpg Padres General Manager A.J. Preller addresses his decision to fire Bud Black. Plus, Padre players weigh in on losing their manager. NBC7's Todd Strain reports.]]> <![CDATA[Padres Back in Town for 3-Game Series Vs. Dodgers]]> Fri, 12 Jun 2015 18:51:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/san-diego-padres-generic-sp.jpg

The San Diego Padres kicked off a three game set against the first place Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park Friday night. The Friars are hoping to get above .500 after returning from a winning road trip at 31-31 on the season.

Here are some notes for the homestand:

Wil Myers made a start at first base Friday. He's normally in center field but he's said that he likes playing first, he feels comfortable there, so a little bit of a platoon situation perhaps with Yonder Alonso, who's hitting .400 since coming off the disabled list.

Myers was hitting .291 with five homers, 19 RBIs and three stolen bases before going on the disabled list with left wrist tendinitis. He was activated and joined the team in Atlanta.

Another switch: Alonso was taking ground balls at third base, while Will Middlebrooks (normally at third base) was taking ground balls at shortstop – (confused yet?) -- so ... could this infield be something we see in the future?

Manager Bud Black said: “Possibly" ... Mysterious, but normally, that means yes.

One last note: Pitcher Cory Luebke was in the club house Friday; he'll be making his first rehab start in Lake Elsinore this weekend.

The lefty was at the top of his game until he injured his elbow. The last time he pitched in a game was April 2012. He's had two Tommy John surgeries since.

So, a long road for Luebke, good to see him getting back on the mound.

<![CDATA[Padres Lose to Atlanta Braves]]> Wed, 10 Jun 2015 17:46:03 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-476489008.jpg

The Padres let one slip away Tuesday night, and in the process prevented starter James Shields from winning his eighth straight decision.

Shields gave up a five-run lead as the Atlanta Braves rallied for a 6-5 win at Turner Field.

He was sharp early, striking out six. But a nightmare five-run sixth inning did the Padres (30-30) in.

Will Venable had three hits, including a home run in the third, finishing a triple shy of the cycle. Derek Norris added an RBI double to make it 5-0 in the top of the sixth.

Then it all came crashing down. Andrelton Simmons hit a two-run double and Jonny Gomes knocked him in with a single to tie it.

Padres reliever Joaquin Benoit gave up a game-winning homer to pinch-hitter Joey Terdoslavich in the eighth.

The teams play again Wednesday at 4:10 p.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Alonso, Kemp Power Padres to 4th Straight Win]]> Sat, 06 Jun 2015 21:19:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-476142950.jpg

The San Diego Padres bats picked up starter Andrew Cashner to secure a series win in Cincinnati. Cashner struggled again giving up 7-earned runs over five and two-third innings.

It was 7-3 Reds in the top of the 7th when Yonder Alonso stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs. Alonso, who has been a spark for the Friars offense since coming off the disabled list Tuesday, battled with Reds relief pitcher Tony Cingrani before sending his second homerun of the season over the right field wall tying the game at 7. That was the Padres Major League leading 4th grand slam of the season.

Two-innings later it was Matt Kemp with a bases loaded single off Jumbo Diaz to put the Padres up 9-7. Kemp finished the day with 5-RBI’s.

Padres win 9-7. This is the first time this season the Friars have won 4-games in a row.

Odrisamer Despaigne gets the start for the Padres tomorrow against Johnny Cueto as San Diego goes for a series sweep. First pitch is 10:10 a.m. local time.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The Padres Are Still Going to the Playoffs]]> Mon, 01 Jun 2015 10:52:23 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/170*120/GettyImages-475464722.jpg

NBC 7's Derek Togerson explains why he thinks we should still expect good things from the Padres in 2015 in this commentary

The Padres host the Mets for a 3-game series starting Monday night at Petco Park. New York comes in with a 28-23 record, putting them just a half game behind the Nationals in the NL East. If it seems like the Padres have played nothing but really good clubs in 2015 … well, that’s not too far from the truth.

Through the first two months of the Major League Baseball season the Padres are 25-27, in third place, 5.5 games behind the first-place Dodgers. Not at all where most of us were expecting the team team would be on June 1, given the complete overhaul General Manager A.J. Preller made over the off-season.

However, when you look at the teams they’ve played maybe that record is not so bad after all:

Dodgers (29-20) = 9 games (3-6)
Giants (30-22) = 7 games (4-3)
Diamondbacks (23-26) = 7 games (4-3)
Rockies (22-26) = 7 games (5-2)
Cubs (26-22) = 6 games (3-3)
Astros (31-20) = 3 games (0-3)
Mariners (24-26) = 2 games (1-1)
Nationals (28-22) = 4 games (1-3)
Angels (27-24) = 3 games (2-1)
Pirates (26-24) = 4 games (2-2)

Not a bad list. Of the 10 teams the Friars have played, only three hit June with a losing record. The Padres are 10-6 in those games. Granted, that leaves them 15-21 against the kinds of teams they’re in playoff contention against, but those teams that are in playoff contention have had a chance to beat up on the likes of the Brewers, Phillies and Marlins.

It’s not going to get a whole lot easier before the All-Star break, either. Only 15 of the Friars’ next 38 games are against teams that currently have losing records. Their final 10 heading in to the break are diabolical; four games in St. Louis against the Cardinals (best record in baseball), three in Pittsburgh and three in Texas against the Rangers.

Now, once the All-Stag game is over, things get a lot easier. To start the second half of the season the Padres play just six of their first 32 games against teams with winning records and three of those are at home against the Giants, a team the Padres tend to handle well at Petco Park (as long as Tim Lincecum is not pitching).

So, if the Padres can just avoid not falling completely apart before the break and stay in contention they could have a big second-half run in them. Traditionally under manager Bud Black the Padres have been dramatically better down the stretch than they are early in the season.

The Friars have had a losing record in the second half only twice in eight years under Buddy. His 287-282 record post-All-Star break is a shade better than his 355-425 mark pre-All-Star break. When you take in to account the dramatically easier schedule and Black’s propensity for late-season improvement, the Padres are still very much in the thick of the playoff hunt.

Plus, as Buddy himself said after Sunday night’s 7-1 win over the Pirates, odds are his offense is only going to get better (watch the video to hear the explanation).

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Padres Pound Pirates at Petco Park]]> Sun, 31 May 2015 20:57:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/174*120/GettyImages-475465340.jpg

Like it’s been all year, when the Padres are good they’re REALLY good. When they’re bad, they’re … well you get the picture.

The former was true on Sunday night against the Pirates at Petco Park. The Padres jumped on Jeff Locke early and got a great start from Odrisamer Despaigne that ended with a 7-1 win and a series split with Pittsburgh. The Pirates came to San Diego riding a 6-game winning streak.

Second baseman Jedd Gyorko delivered a 2-out, 2-RBI, bases loaded single in the first inning to put the Padres on top 2-0. After a miserable April where he hit just .135, Gyorko was much better in May, finishing with a .279 mark for the month.

The Padres got an unearned run in the second then tacked on a trio in the third. Third baseman Will Middlebrooks smacked his 7th home run of the season, a 2-run shot to score Matt Kemp and give the Friars a 5-0 lead. Later in the inning shortstop Clint Barmes singled up the middle to score Will Venable, all but putting the game away. Barmes had three hits against his former team.

The Padres final run came in the 4th inning on a Middlebrooks sacrifice fly to score Derek Norris, who had another 2-hit night.

Despaigne took it from there, allowing just one run in 8.0 innings and making the case again that, even when Brandon Morrow returns from a shoulder injury, he might need to stay in the starting rotation.

The Padres improve to 25-27 on the season and sit in third place in the NL West, 5.5 games back of the first-place Dodgers. San Diego opens a 3-game series in the East Village on Monday night against the Mets with Andrew Cashner on the mound against Jacob deGrom.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Plundered At Petco Park]]> Sat, 30 May 2015 23:50:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*129/GettyImages-475342648.jpg

Not to sound like Captain Obvious here, but the Padres need a winning streak. The last time they won more that two straight games was May 1-3 when they swept the Rockies.

A team needs to be a lot more consistent than that if it wants to compete for the playoffs. The Friars failed to build on the momentum of Friday night's walk-off grand slam, losing 5-2 to the Pirates on Saturday at Petco Park.

Tyson Ross took the loss despite allowing just three runs (two earned) in 6.0 innings. The San Diego offense was punchless again, managing a mere four hits for the game. The offensive struggle was crystallized in the 8th inning when Pittsburgh left-hander Tony Watson came on in relief of starter Charlie Morton (who went 7.0 innings ans allowed just two runs).

For Watson, facing the Padres was elementary. He stared down three straight right-handed pinch-hitters. Clint Barmes, Abraham Almonte and Jedd Gyorko all struck out.

The Pirates put it away in the 9th inning when Andrew McCutchen smoked an RBI double to left with a couple of runners on and Starling Marte brought home a run with an RBI groundout off Kevin Quackenbush. For the night the Pirates went 5-11 with runners in scoring position while the Padres went 0-5.

San Diego can split the 4-game series (and take another stab at starting a winning streak) on Sunday night. The game will be a 6:10 p.m. start so Downtown can be cleared out a bit after the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. Odrisamer Despaigne gets the start against Jeff Locke.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Have A Grand Old Time At Petco Park]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 23:04:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/190*120/GettyImages-475207340.jpg

One of the many amazing things about baseball is; a bad night can become a great night in the blink of an eye.

Friday night at Petco Park the Pirates thought they were on their way to an 8th straight win. Then a couple of Padres had great games with one swing of the bat, and the Friars had themselves a walk-off, 6-2 win.

In the 7th inning the Padres were down 2-0. With runners at first and second with nobody out Abraham Almonte was sent up to sacrifice the runners over. But, after taking a pair of balls manager Bud Black took off the bunt and gave Almonte the green light.

Abraham lined the next pitch in to the left-centerfield gap for a game-tying, 2-run double. The game stayed tied until the bottom of the 9th inning, when the Padres almost gave up the most golden of opportunities.

A walk and an error put runners at second and third with nobody out. Cory Spangenberg was intentionally walked to load the bases, giving the Padres three shots at scoring the winning run.

Alexi Amarista pinch-hit and grounded a ball to second baseman Neil Walker, who threw home to get one out but Pittsburgh catcher Francisco Cervelli inexplicably held on to the ball instead of completing the double play.

It came back to haunt the Pirates. Yangervis Solarte also grounded out, which would have been the final out of the inning. Instead it kept the bases loaded for Derek Norris. The Padres catcher had struck out in his previous four at-bats. But that fifth one was glorious.

Norris ripped a 1-0 pitch from Rob Scahill over the centerfield wall for a walk-off grand slam.

“This guy’s got a lot of grit and a lot of heart,” said manager Bud Black. “He rose up at the most critical time.”

The second slam of Norris’ career gave the Padres the 6-2 win. Same teams tomorrow night at Petco Park; Padres starter Tyson Ross takes the mound against Pittsburgh’s Charlie Morton.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres: May Hasn't Been Kind to Ian Kennedy]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 11:47:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Ian-Kennedy-475030764.jpg

May hasn't been kind to Ian Kennedy.

The San Diego Padres right-hander lost his fourth straight start Thursday night, surrendering three home runs in the first three innings of an 11-5 defeat to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"We've had a good run of starts here and this was a severe bump in the road for our rotation," manager Bud Black said. "Nobody feels worse than Ian about this one. He just got some pitches elevated and they didn't miss them from the first inning on."

Jung Ho Kang hit a three-run homer, and Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco also went deep off Kennedy.

Kennedy (2-5) was chased by Andrew McCutchen's RBI double with two outs in the fourth. He lost his fourth straight start, allowing seven hits and seven runs, striking out five and walking two. Kennedy has allowed seven homers and 20 earned runs in his last four starts.

"It's been a roller-coaster for Ian this year," Black said. "We're trying to work through that. We're trying to get the consistency from Ian, and Ian's trying to do everything he can to string together some good starts."

"It's really frustrating," Kennedy said. "Fastball command was all over the place. They hit a couple of breaking balls for homers. It's really, really frustrating, really inconsistent, not what I like to do. As a pitcher, you try to go out there and be as consistent as possible. This has been a real test so far, the first month or so that I've pitched."

A.J. Burnett (5-1), who no-hit the Padres in 2001 while with the Marlins, won his fifth straight start. McCutchen, Neil Walker and Francisco Cervelli each had three of the Pirates' 15 hits.

The Pirates' first six runs scored on homers, including no-doubters by Kang and Polanco. Kang's shot with two outs in the first, his third, went an estimated 430 feet into the second deck in left field. Polanco led off the second with a 414-foot homer to center, his second.

Marte hit a two-run shot in the third, his 10th. McCutchen was aboard on a leadoff single.

Burnett allowed five runs, four earned, on eight hits in 5 2-3 innings, struck out six and walked two.

Josh Harrison and McCutchen hit RBI doubles in the four-run sixth and two runs scored on shortstop Alexi Amarista's throwing error.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Matt Kemp Leads Padres' 10th Inning Rally]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 23:02:31 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-474819462.jpg

Matt Kemp broke open a pitcher’s duel with a three-run double in the 10th inning, starting a four-run inning that led to a 4-0 win over the Angels in Anaheim on Tuesday night.

“It felt good, I needed a big hit right there,” said Kemp, who was just 3-for-25 over the past week heading into the game. “I haven’t done very much the last two or three weeks. The team needs me.”

Derek Norris followed with a single to score Kemp and cap the scoring. Kemp and Norris both had a pair of hits for the Padres (22-25). Albert Pujols had two hits for the Angels.

The rally saved a solid performance from Padres starter Odrisamer Despaigne, who struck out five and didn’t walk a batter over six innings. Dale Thayer got two outs in the ninth to get the win.

Both teams made some tremendous plays on defense. Will Venable robbed Mike Trout of a potential home run in the third inning with a leaping catch at the fence. An inning later, Angels third baseman David Freese made a big play on a line drive by Will Middlebrooks with the bases loaded.

The two teams play again in Anaheim on Wednesday night. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Offense Has Moment of Catharsis]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 16:46:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/172*120/GettyImages-474655986.jpg

Since beating the Nationals 8-3 at Petco Park back on May 14, the Padres had not played very well. They lost seven of their next eight games, scoring a total of 13 runs while being shut out three times.

Frustration bubbled over on Sunday at Dodger Stadium. The Padres got a grand slam in the first inning from Justin Upton and never stopped swinging in an 11-3 win over the Dodgers.

Upton's slam was the fourth of his career. Interestingly, three of them have come against L.A. Justin also had a 2-run double in the second inning, giving him 6 runs batted in for the day and pumping his season RBI total up to 35 (4th-best in the National League).

Dodgers starting pitcher Carlos Frias had a miserable day. After surrendering Upton's slam, Frias allowed four more runs in the second inning on Upton's double and a 2-RBI single by Derek Norris.

In the 3rd inning Frias was touched up for a solo home run by Will Middlebrooks. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly brought his pitcher's day to a merciful end in the 5th inning. The final line for Frias: 4.0 IP, 12 hits, 10 earned runs, no strikeouts.

The Padres didn't need a fantastic start from James Shields, but they got one anyway. Shields threw six scoreless innings but gave up three runs in the seventh. Shields walked away with his sixth win of the year (against no losses) and even had a single at the plate.

In fact, every Padres starter had a hit. Will Venable had four of them. The Padres tied their season-high with 20 hits in the game. Now, what San Diego fans would like to see is that carry over to the 3-game series with the Angels that starts Monday in Anaheim.

Instead of scoring 11 one day then one or two the rest of the week, breaking it up and getting four or five every night would be a good way to go.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Nearly No-Hit By Dodgers]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 22:27:23 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*123/GettyImages-474571428.jpg

Before Saturday night's game against the Dodgers in L.A., Padres manager Bud Black tweaked his lineup again. He put Will Middlebrooks at shortstop and juggled the batting order, admitted the team needed to try and generate some offense.

This particular configuration needs to never, ever happen again.

Yangervis Solarte led off the game with a single, then Dodgers starter Mike Bolsinger retired 24 straight hitters in a 2-0 Dodgers win.

Solarte was erased when Cory Spangenberg hit in to a double play in that first inning. Bolsinger only needed 92 pitches and struck out eight in his 8.0 near-perfect innings. When Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen threw a perfect 9th he ensured the L.A. pitching staff faced the minimum: 27 batters for 27 outs.

I really never thought I'd see the day I longed for the 2014 Padres offense, but that might actually be happening right now.

Padres starter Ian Kennedy was the tough-luck loser. He threw 6.0 innings and allowed only two runs. One of them came courtesy of a solo home run by Joc Pederson on a pitch that was up around his eyes.

The Padres fall to 20-24. They're in trouble of getting swept in L.A. On Sunday James Shields takes the mound against Carlos Frias.

<![CDATA[Padres Have No Room For Error]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 23:52:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/174*120/GettyImages-474442564.jpg

This has now taken on the look, feel and frustration of 2014. The Padres lost to the Dodgers 2-1 on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.

Entering the game at the Padres and Dodgers had not scored a run in a combined 45 straight innings. You almost have to the trying to be that bad offensively, but these two clubs had pulled it off.

With Andrew Cashner and Zack Greinke on the mound, not much changed in game one of the 3-game weekend series. Cashner and Greinke both threw well enough to win but neither man did.

Cashner tossed 6.0 innings, allowing one unearned run and striking out three. Greinke threw 7.2 innings, giving up one run on a Will Venable single that scored Derek Norris. Both Cashner and Greinke took a no-decision.

With the game tied 1-1 and extra innings looming, Padres 8th inning specialist Joaquin Benoit gave up a long home run to Dodgers rookie Joc Pederson. L.A.'s only earned run of the night turned out to be the game-winner.

San Diego falls in to 4th place in the National League West. At 20-23 they're 6.0 games behind the first-place Dodgers.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cubs Shut Out Padres 3-0]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 21:32:27 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/474318660.jpg

Kyle Hendricks pitched a five-hitter for his first career complete game and shutout, and Kris Bryant hit a two-run home run as the Chicago Cubs beat the San Diego Padres 3-0 on Thursday night to take two of three games.

Hendricks (1-1) struck out seven with no walks. Only one Padres baserunner advanced to second base.

Hendricks came in with six no-decisions in seven starts, including one against San Diego at Wrigley Field on April 18.

Bryant homered to straightaway center field on the seventh pitch of the game by Odrisamer Despaigne (2-3). Dexter Fowler was aboard on a walk for Bryant's fifth homer.

Bryant made his big league debut on April 17 against the Padres at Wrigley Field. He starred at the University of San Diego before the Cubs took him with the second pick overall in the 2013 amateur draft.

Bryant won the Golden Spikes award in 2013, when his 31 homers were the most in a season since toned-down composite bats replaced aluminum bats in 2011.

Bryant's parents, Sue and Mike, made the trip from Las Vegas for all three games.

Addison Russell homered leading off the seventh off Dale Thayer, his third.

Despaigne allowed two runs and six hits in six innings, struck out four and walked two.


Padres: RHP Brandon Morrow threw a bullpen as he tries to work his way back from right shoulder inflammation that landed him on the disabled list.


Cubs: LHP Jon Lester (4-2, 3.70) tries to improve to 5-0 in May when he faces the Arizona Diamondbacks in the opener of a three-game series starting Friday night in Phoenix. He has a 1.67 ERA this month. The Diamondbacks counter with Josh Collmenter (3-5, 5.36).

Padres: RHP Andrew Cashner (1-7, 3.24) gets the nod when the Padres open a three-game series at Dodger Stadium. He's taken the loss in each of his last five starts despite posting a 3.55 ERA in that stretch. The Dodgers answer with RHP Zack Greinke (5-1, 1.52).

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Harper, Nationals Crush Padres At Home]]> Sun, 17 May 2015 16:20:09 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/162*120/473788104.jpg

It started so well. It ended so horribly. The Padres lost to the Nationals 10-4 on Sunday at Petco Park, dropping three out of four games in the series and falling back under the .500.

Other than that … how did you like the play, Mrs. Lincoln?

San Diego starter Ian Kennedy took a no-hitter in to the 5th inning. He left the 5th inning with the loss. Kennedy gave up a leadoff triple to Bryce Harper, then served up a 3-run home run to Danny Espinosa to put the Nationals up 3-2.

Washington tacked on four more runs in the 6th. Kennedy walked the bases loaded with nobody out and was replaced by Frank Garces. The left-handed reliever looked like he froze Harper with a breaking ball for strike three but home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi called it a ball. Harper chopped the next pitch weakly down the 3rd base line for an infield single to score a run and things just unraveled.

Dale Thayer replaced Garces, getting Ryan Zimmerman to hit a sacrifice fly for the first out. Tyler Moore snuck a double down the left field line to score two more and put Washington up 7-2. It was out of reach even before Harper ripped his National League-leading 14th home run of the season to left in front of the Western Metal Supply building, a 3-run shot that gave the Nats 10 runs for the second game of the series.

The Padres had the lead thanks to some small ball and some big ball. In the first inning Abraham Almonte walked and stole second base against Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg (the former Aztec earned his 3rd win of the season). He took off for 3rd and Matt Kemp hit a ground ball up the middle. Almonte never broke stride and scored just in front of the throw from shortstop Ian Desmond to put San Diego up 1-0.

The other bright spot for the Friars was Justin Upton. The leftfielder hit a pair of solo home runs, giving him 10 for the season. Upton has hit eight of his 10 dingers at Petco Park.

The Padres fall to 19-20 on the year. They take Monday off before welcoming the Cubs to the East Village for a 3-game set starting Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mad Max: Fury In A Road Win Over The Padres]]> Sat, 16 May 2015 22:57:46 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/473665204.jpg

I'm really starting to feel sorry for Andrew Cashner. Not only do the Padres not play good defense behind him, they aren't scoring any runs for him.

The latest setback was a 4-1 loss to the Nationals on Saturday night at Petco Park. In his eight starts, the Friars have let in 11 unearned runs. That leads the National League in a stat no pitcher wants to lead the National League in.

In his seven losses, San Diego has scored a grand total of 12 runs. It's hard to put many digits in the "W" column when your offense contributes less than two runs a game, something the Padres did once again against Max Scherzer.

The Nationals ace was as good as his $210 million contract says he should be. Scherzer threw 7.0 shutout innings, allowing only four hits and striking out 11 San Diego batters. The Padres offense is in another one of its long funks.

They pushed across a run in the 9th inning when Alexi Amarista slapped a single to left field off reliever Aaron Barrett to score Justin Upton. It was their first run since the 4th inning of Thursday night's 8-3 win over Washington, a scoreless span of 21 straight innings.

The Padres can still salvage a series split, and avoid falling under the .500 mark, on Sunday afternoon when they send Ian Kennedy to the mound against San Diego native Stephen Strasburg.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rady Children's Hospital, Padres Celebrate Young Champions]]> Sat, 16 May 2015 20:17:54 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Padres_At_Celebration_Of_Champions_1200x675_446671427959.jpg

The work Rady Children's Hospital has done for years to help kids, not just in San Diego but around the world, is astonishing. It's not just the medical services that set them apart. It's the overall care and support for the families that's so admirable.

Saturday morning at Embarcadero Marina Park, the Padres helped with the 20th annual Rady Children's Hospital Celebration of Champions. It's a relay where 300 children who are fighting, or have beaten, cancer carried the "torch of life" an eighth of a mile each to raise money for the Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.

Justin Upton, Wil Myers, Yonder Alonso, Cory Spangenberg and more accompanied the kids. Over the last two decades, this even has raised more than $6.5 million for Rady Children's Hospital.

A Champion named James even taught Myers how to calf rope by practicing on a rock. Or, at least, he tried to.

Congratulations to everyone involved, and a heartfelt Thank You for the wonderful work you do.

(videos courtesy of the San Diego Padres)

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<![CDATA[Padres Pummeled at Petco]]> Fri, 15 May 2015 22:46:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/163*120/473541730.jpg

Padres pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne was amazing in his first few appearances of the year. He filled in wonderfully when Ian Kennedy was on the disabled list, allowing just three earned runs in 18.1 innings.

However, his second stint as a fill-in starter did not get off to as good a start. Despaigne allowed four runs in the first inning alone on Friday night against the Washington Nationals, who got him for seven runs in 3.0 innings on their way to a 10-0 shutout at Petco Park.

Despaigne threw a whopping 88 pitches in those three innings of work. He was relieved by Shawn Kelley, who threw 2.0 innings and only allowed one run on a long solo home run by National League HR leader Bryce Harper.

Harper's 13th dinger of the year flew over the Jack Daniel's Deck in right field. Washington tacked on two more against Frank Garces, who ate up 3.0 innings to help this game mercifully come to an end.

The Padres offense managed seven hits, all of them singles, and left seven runners on base. It seems when things go south for this year's Padres, everything goes really far south at the same time.

Saturday evening Andrew Cashner takes the mound against Max Scherzer.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres End Mariners' 4-Game Win Streak]]> Wed, 13 May 2015 22:26:33 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/473232950.jpg

James Shields became the first San Diego pitcher since 2007 to start the season 5-0, Will Middlebrooks homered for the first time in nearly a month, and the Padres ended the Seattle Mariners four-game win streak, 4-2 on Wednesday night.

Middlebrooks' solo homer leading off the third inning was his fourth of the season and first since April 19. Cory Spangenberg added a sacrifice fly in the third and Abraham Almonte had an RBI single in the seventh as the Padres split the brief two-game series.

Shields (5-0) struggled to get through six innings, but became just the sixth pitcher in Padres' history to win his first five decisions and first since Justin Germano in 2007. Shields gave up his major league-leading 12th homer to Brad Miller in the fifth inning but otherwise kept Seattle off the scoreboard a night after the Mariners hit six homers.

<![CDATA[What Is Wrong With The Padres Pitchers?]]> Wed, 13 May 2015 11:45:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/473099246.jpg

When the Padres finished Spring Training in Peoria, AZ, a couple of months ago we knew they were a much-improved team, but certainly not a perfect team. There was a long list of things that could make them struggle this season, including (but not limited to):

-    All the new pieces not fitting together
-    Lack of offensive production from the infield
-    Sub-par overall team defense
-    Injury concerns
-    Lack of a “true” leadoff hitter
-    Lack of an everyday starting shortstop
-    Not knowing where to play everyone or who fits best in to certain roles
-    A sink hole opening in the East Village and swallowing Petco Park
-    Zombie Apocalypse

What is not on the list is the San Diego Padres allowing the most home runs in Major League Baseball. After Tuesday night’s batting practice session where the Mariners hit six dingers, the Friars staff has surrendered 50 HR in 34 games. Seriously, the Zombie Apocalypse would have been more believable than this happening.

It comes completely out of nowhere. This staff only allowed 117 long balls for the entire 2014 season, and with the additions of James Shields, Brandon Morrrow and Craig Kimbrel you would have thought it got even better. Check out the home run totals for the Padres pitchers every year since Petco Park opened in 2004:

-    2014 = 117
-    2013 = 156
-    2012 = 162
-    2011 = 125
-    2010 = 139
-    2009 = 167
-    2008 = 165
-    2007 = 119
-    2006 = 176
-    2005 = 146
-    2004 = 184

This season they’re on a pace to allow 238 home runs, more than twice as many as last year. Want to know how crazy that potential number is? The National League record for most home runs allowed in a single season is 239, which was set by the 2001 Colorado Rockies.

We’re talking about Coors Field in the pre-humidor days, back when it gave pitchers nightmares. Has Petco Park really become akin to that launching pad a mile above sea level? Or is there something else at play here?

While we don’t have definitive answers yet there are plenty of things that are not working. One is on the pitchers themselves. One interesting statistical quirk is the Brewers have given up 49 homers, right behind the Padres. Care to take a guess which teams lead the National League in strikeouts?

If you said the Padres and Brewers, give yourself a hand. In fact, the high strikeout rate is very likely tied to the high home run rate. Pitchers who throw hard tend to get a lot of whiffs, but are also susceptible to giving up more home runs. That’s just physics; if you throw it harder and the batter connects it’s going to fly farther.

So far in 2015 the Padres pitching staff is averaging 93 MPH on its fastballs (average between 4-seam and 2-seam), making it the hardest-throwing staff in all of baseball. Last year, when they only gave up 117 long balls, the Padres staff averaged 91.7 MPH, putting them in the bottom third of the league in velocity.

The harder you throw, the farther it goes. But only if you’re not putting it where you want to, which brings us to another problem.

"I think, overall, we've been in too many bad counts and too many fastballs and breaking balls left out over the plate,” Padres manager Bud Black told mlb.com writer Corey Brock after Tuesday’s loss. “Right now, overall, the first month and a half here, too many pitches not executed. We've got to do a better job of making pitches.”

Far too many times the Padres pitching staff has left pitches up in the strike zone, where they’re able to be lifted out of the park. When you add the extra oomph on the heater to putting it in a spot where hitters can reach it, you have yourself a recipe for disaster.

Now, perhaps this is just an anomaly and revered pitching coach Darren Balsley will get his guys back under control. But if it really is a season-long issue and the Friars continue to watch opposing teams launch souvenirs in to the bleachers, then that new offense will have to figure out how to score runs on a more consistent basis to keep San Diego in playoff contention.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Long Balls Doom Padres in Rout ]]> Tue, 12 May 2015 22:50:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/473099256.jpg

The Seattle Mariners went deep early and often against the Padres on Tuesday, slugging six home runs in an 11-4 rout.

Kyle Seager got the long ball parade started with a three-run homer off Padres starter Ian Kennedy, who allowed five runs on eight hits and didn’t get through the fifth inning.

“I think the problem was too many balls in the middle (of the plate) and not getting enough on the corners,” Bud Black said of the team’s pitching woes.

The Padres (17-17) had chances, but left the bases loaded twice. Yangervis Solarte had a two-run single in the seventh to pull them within four runs. But the M’s (15-17) were right back at it with two more homers in the bottom of the inning.

Nelson Cruz hit his MLB-leading 15th home run in the eighth. James Paxton pitched six scoreless innings for the win. Mike Zuzino added a pair of long balls for the hosts.

The teams play again Wednesday night at Safeco Field before the Padres head home to host the Washington Nationals this weekend.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Explaining The Myths Of Baseball's Great Debate]]> Tue, 12 May 2015 00:39:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/174*120/472887446.jpg

Baseball history is sometimes defined by eras. No, not Earned Run Averages, I’m talking about the periods of time that represent the way the game was played.

You have the Dead Ball Era, which gave way to The Golden Era, and led seamlessly in to the Modern Era. But now it seems we have now entered a new time frame in baseball’s history and this one is still looking for a name. I think we can narrow the moniker down to two possibilities:

The Information Era or The Misinformation Era.

Advanced analytics and statistical analysis have crept in to baseball and taken root. The revolution known by many as Sabermetrics has influenced front offices for years, changing the way many teams evaluate talent. That much is undeniable and for the most part it works.

Now there’s a push to start using statistical analysis in every day baseball life. Fans want managers to follow the numbers and projections when making in-game decisions. Many are already doing that, like the Cubs’ Joe Maddon and the Padres’ Bud Black.

Speaking of Buddy, he’s the reason this piece is being written. During a recent loss to the Diamondbacks Black left pitcher Andrew Cashner in to hit for himself with the bases loaded and two outs in the 6th inning of a game the Padres trailed (and would eventually lose) 2-1. This decision caused a titanic backlash on social media, a debate I briefly took part in.

One side says it was a galactically stupid call by Black because the analytics dictate you pinch-hit there. The other side says there are other factors to consider and maybe the call was not all that bad.

I wondered … what do the people who make the analytics think?

“If this was October and the game was of significant importance we would say, analytically, that’s probably the wrong call,” says David Cameron, managing editor and a senior writer at www.FanGraphs.com, one of the most commonly referenced analytics sites for baseball fans. “Historically the numbers show that the difference in expected runs going from even a good starting pitcher to a mediocre reliever is smaller than going from a pitcher hitting to any kind of position player, especially if you have a Matt Kemp or a Derek Norris on the bench. The upgrade in that one at-bat is worth more runs than handing the ball to a 6th or 7th-inning reliever for an inning.”

Black did indeed have both Kemp and Norris available to pinch-hit. This is the point most often cited by fans of the analytics. However, Cameron is smart enough to take the next step in the thought process, which is to realize people who are not in the clubhouse are not fully in the know.

“From our perspective, the best thing people can do is understand what we know and what we don’t know, especially when it comes to manager critiques,” said Cameron. “We don’t do it very often on the site; very rarely, in fact. Maybe in the post-season if there’s something really egregious.”

In the specific case of Black not pinch-hitting for Cashner several other factors must be accounted for, like the fact the Padres were playing with a short bullpen that day.

“We know that we don’t know anything about player health, especially about what pitcher was available on a certain day. There are all kinds of playing time decisions that have numerous factors that we can’t possibly know. This is one of those instances where it’s May, the bullpen is exhausted and he’s playing the long game and he says, you know what, trying to win this one game or pushing my percentage points three or four or five percent to win this one game isn’t worth potentially blowing out one of my reliever’s elbows. I’m short-handed today and trying to give these guys rest. At that point I would say let him do whatever he wants. It’s May. The game does not matter nearly as much as keeping his guys healthy for the next 130 games. If this was September or October and it’s the Wild Card game and it’s elimination, he should have pinch-hit. But it’s May he can do what he wants.”

Cameron and his crew at FanGraphs are not the only ones who feel this way.

“I have seen a number on instances where I felt like the manager pulled out all the stops to win that game to the detriment of the team,” says Vince Gennaro, President of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), and author of Diamond Dollars: The Economics of Winning Baseball. “Buddy’s gotta manage this thing for a 162 game marathon. If he thinks going to someone else in the bullpen is going to be a big problem for him in terms of containing runs, I can see the point of not wanting to manage the game like it’s Game 7 of the World Series. You want to win but you’ve got to take in to consideration the bigger picture.”

Ah, yes. The bigger picture. That’s the thing that seems to have been lost in this (Mis)Information Era. Fans of the numbers tend to discount the feel or gut instinct a manager has. Old-school baseball folks are hesitant to validate numbers because they either don’t understand them or can’t believe a computer printout understands the pro game more than 20 years of playing it.

Like most things in life, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

“Even if they read FanGraphs or Baseball Prospectus, fans often have a fraction of the information that a manager or general manager has when he’s making a decision,” says Gennaro. “It’s important that teams are looking at all sorts of data points when they’re making decisions, but they’re also looking at a great deal more than what is in the public domain and those factors have to figure in to the decision.”

Aside from injury factors is something often overlooked in the game: baseball players are people, too. They’re not chess pieces you can certainly move around on a board at will and expect to perform the same way every time. A manager has to be as much of a therapist as he is a tactician.

“You’ve got to consider those personal factors when you’re making decisions that go beyond what the data might tell you. The data is filled with assumptions,” says Gennaro. “I’ve seen a lot of managers in the National League do similar things to what Buddy did. It’s so hard from where we sit to second-guess that.”

But second-guessing is part of the fan’s right. Heck it’s part of the fan’s job. But if it’s going to be done it must be done intelligently and with a touch of humility. Fans are armed with more information than they’ve ever had access to before. They simply need to be careful with how they use it.

“Obviously some people are going to care about context and some people aren’t,” says Cameron. “Our goal is to educate and provide tools to people to understand and enjoy the game a little bit better.”

“We all do it as fans,” says Gennaro. “We sit there and say, I can’t believe he did that. But from being around the game I’ve learned that there are so many other factors that figure in to it. I think those are important things.”

Eventually, one day down the road, analytics and experience will live harmoniously in baseball. Perhaps the first manager to use them synergistically will end up in the Hall of Fame.

Questions like, “to pinch-hit or not to pinch-hit” will forever be a part of the game. Fans today are lucky enough to have a wonderful new way of looking at those dilemmas and are more educated than ever on the subject. However, trying to assume one way of analyzing it superior to another way when all the pertinent factors are unavailable to you is irresponsible.

I mean, you wouldn’t want anyone making a decision that turned out to be wrong because he or she only looked at one part of the situation, would you?

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<![CDATA[Questionable Decisions Doom Padres]]> Sun, 10 May 2015 17:53:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/171*120/472887432.jpg

There will be a lot of second-guessing about the Padres’ 2-1 loss to the Diamondbacks on Sunday. Most of it involves replacing players, which has Padres fans calling for a replacement of the manager.

Andrew Cashner was, once again, the tough-luck loser. He allowed two earned runs in 7.0 innings, both on solo homers, but watched his record fall to 1-6, which is criminal for a guy with a 3.07 ERA (insert frustrating rant about how useless the WINS stats is for pitchers here).

Cashner was involved in one of the game’s more controversial decisions, but not on the mound. In the 6th inning the Padres had a rally going. Jedd Gyorko had doubled in a run to cut the D-Backs lead to 2-1 and was standing at 3rd base with the bases loaded and two outs when Cashner’s spot in the order came up.

Padres manager Bud Black decided to let Cashner hit for himself instead of sending in either Matt Kemp of Derek Norris, who were both getting a day off to rest but available to pinch-hit. The thinking was; Cashner was throwing well and San Diego’s bullpen was on fumes after a string of outings so making them go at least four innings would be difficult. Cashner hit the ball hard but right at shortstop to end the inning and the threat.

In the 8th inning, Buddy made another curious decision. With runners at first and second and one out he let Alexi Amarista hit instead of going with a pinch-hitter. Amarista is batting .167 with runners in scoring position this season. Of the guys on the bench, Kemp is hitting .256 with RISP; Norris is batting .419 and Yangervis Solarte, a fellow infielder who could step right in and not burn another player in a switch, is hitting .444 with runners in scoring position.

Amarista grounded in to an inning-ending double play and the game was basically over. The first situation with Cashner was a complete toss-up with no right answer. The one with Amarista, however, seems to have been a blown call by Buddy.

San Diego falls to 17-16 on the year. They take a day off and head to Seattle for a quick two games starting on Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>