<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - San Diego Padres]]>Copyright 2016http://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.comen-usSat, 28 May 2016 04:55:23 -0700Sat, 28 May 2016 04:55:23 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Padres Bats Awaken In Arizona]]> Fri, 27 May 2016 22:20:48 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-534790532.jpg

We’ve grown accustomed to seeing the Padres hit, maybe, four home runs in one week so what went down in Arizona on Friday night was kind of like stumbling across a yeti.

The Friars offense erupted for four homers at Chase Field in a 10-3 blowout of the Diamondbacks. San Diego is 20-20, an even .500 on the season. Well, they are as long as you don’t count their games against the Giants. Overall the Friars are 20-29.

Padres switch-hitting 3rd baseman Yangervis Solarte paced the attack with a pair of home runs, one from each side of the plate. It took a few games for him to find his stroke after a stint on the disabled list but over the last three games Solarte has five hits, including three homers and a double, and has driven in six.

Solarte’s first blast came in the 5th inning and it was not alone. His shot was turned in to a Solarte home run sandwich. Matt Kemp hit one right in front of him and three batters later Derek Norris also went big fly. Kemp and Norris have struggled mightily in May but both had multi-hit games in Phoenix.

In all 10 different players got a knock in the Padres 18-hit attack, including starting pitcher Christian Friedrich. He didn’t need to be good with the bat because he was really good with his arm. Friedrich threw 7.0 innings, allowing no runs on three hits and punching out five.

The Padres snapped their four game losing skid and can start a winning streak on Saturday night when Cesar Vargas takes the mound against Zack Greinke.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Home-Grown Help Could Fix The Padres]]> Fri, 27 May 2016 18:34:29 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*121/GettyImages-530298626.jpg

The San Diego Padres start a three-game series in Arizona on Friday night. The Padres are, as usual, pitching really well. In fact, over the last month, the Friars’ arms have the 4th-best earned run average in baseball.

The only staffs that have been better are the Cubs, the Giants, and the Mariners. All three of those teams are in first place while the Padres have the 4th-worst record in baseball. How is that possible, you ask? The most likely reason is because right now their offense is, as usual, one of the worst in North American professional sports.

One possible way to fix this issue is start doing whatever the El Paso Chihuahuas are doing, especially in the outfield. The Padres' Triple-A affiliate has some dudes who are tearing up the Pacific Coast League.

Hunter Renfroe, the former first-round pick, went deep again on Friday night and already has 10 home runs and 33 RBI. What's really encouraging there is in his short pro career he's been better in the second half of the season.

Renfroe has been almost as good as Alex Dickerson. The Poway native spent a little time with the big club, but since being sent down he's gotten a hit in every single game he's played. Dickerson extended his hitting streak to 25 games on Friday and is batting .412. That's Ty Cobb territory.

Dickerson and Renfroe are a big part of the reason the Chihuahuas leads the P-C-L in runs, batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. El Paso is second in the league in home runs. They're also the reason you're going to be hearing a lot of rumors about Matt Kemp being on the trade block because if he's not clogging up right field one of these guys can get some playing time at Petco Park.

The Padres are at a crossroads. It sure doesn’t look like the Giants are going to come back to the pack and making the post-season this year is very likely not in the cards again. The best-case scenario for General Manager A.J. Preller is probably to have Kemp get hot in June and make himself attractive enough to deal, or have Melvin Upton Jr. or Jon Jay keep putting up good numbers and ship one of them out for some more prospects.

Heck, maybe have all three happen. That way you can start an outfield of Dickerson in left, Travis Jankowski in center, and Renfroe in right, with Manuel Margot and Jabari Blash also waiting in the wings.

It certainly would not make the record any worse than it is right now and it just might be the start of a special future for the Padres organization.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Gwynn Family Files Lawsuit Against Tobacco Industry]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 14:41:56 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/102871071.jpg

The tobacco industry used the late Tony Gwynn's addiction to chewing tobacco to turn him into a "walking billboard," his family alleges. 

"He never knew it but they were using him to promote their dip to the next generation of kids and fans who idolized him," Gwynn's daughter, Anisha Gwynn, said Tuesday in San Diego.

Gwynn’s family has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the tobacco industry, claiming the San Diego Padres legend was targeted to use the smokeless tobacco that led to the cancer that killed him.

The suit was filed Monday in San Diego Superior Court against Altria Group, Inc. (formerly known as Philip Morris USA) and several other defendants. Altria Group, Inc. makes Skoal chewing tobacco, the brand Tony Gwynn preferred and used extensively. 

The Gwynn family alleges the tobacco industry induced Gwynn to begin using smokeless tobacco when he was a star athlete at San Diego State University in the late 1970’s. 

When asked about the lawsuit, an Altria representative told NBC 7 San Diego, "We have no comment."

In the suit, the Gwynn family says the tobacco company "continued to deluge Tony during his college years with countless free samples of 'dip' tobacco products they purposely adulterated to make more addictive. All the while, they did not mention either the highly addictive nature of their products or their toxicity."

The suit alleges Gwynn used up to two cans of smokeless tobacco per day, claiming that is the equivalent of smoking four to five packs of cigarettes daily. In the suit the Gwynn family alleges the tobacco industry chose Gwynn specifically because it was trying to market its product to African-Americans, and that it intentionally misled Tony to use the product.

"Tony Gwynn was the Defendants' marketing dream come true," says the lawsuit. "They knew youngsters looking up to Tony would hope to one day hit like Tony, and be like Tony, so they would also want to 'dip' like Tony."

On Tuesday, Gwynn's daughter Anisha spoke of her dad's legacy, saying the baseball legend “wouldn’t want to see another player or any other person have to get sick and die."

Gwynn used smokeless tobacco for 31 years, despite seeing signs it may be harming his health as early as the 1990’s. Gwynn admitted an addiction to the substance and when he tried to stop using he reportedly needed prescription drugs to fight the anxiety and cravings he felt in its absence.

In recent years, Gwynn had multiple surgeries on his neck to remove both an abscess and a malignant tumor. He died in 2014 from salivary gland cancer at the age of 54.

Tony Gwynn was an elite athlete who “cared about his body,” his son said Tuesday.

“If he had known how addictive and harmful to his health dip was he would not have started using in college,” Tony Gwynn, Jr said of his dad.

The lawsuit does not ask for specified damages, instead requesting a jury trial to rule on grounds of negligence, fraud and product liability by the tobacco industry.

Gwynn’s death has brought about a change in some part of baseball. Multiple young players have either stopped using smokeless tobacco or simply not picked up the habit because of what happened to Mr. Padre.



Photo Credit: Getty Images for Pepsi MLB Refre]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Make Organizational Change]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 15:27:46 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/201*120/Lance+Burkhart.jpg

The Padres have made a change to their player-development staff. Lance Burkhart is the new manager of the Single-A Lake Elsinore Storm.

Burkhart takes over for Francisco Morales, who resigned last week for undisclosed reasons. Morales was suspended by the Padres organization for the start of the 2016 California League season because of an incident that took place at San Diego’s academy in the Dominican Republic. It is unknown if his resignation is related.

The 41-year-old Burkhart gets the promotion to Lake Elsinore after serving as the Low-A Fort Wayne TinCaps hitting coach since 2015. He was part of the staff that helped the TinCaps to a Midwest League Eastern Division championship. Burkhart’s only managerial experience came in 2014 when he skippered the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs to a 68-72 finish in the independent Atlantic League.

A 15th round selection by the Montreal Expos in 1997, Burkhart played eight seasons of affiliated baseball, reaching as high as Triple-A.

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<![CDATA[Padres Walk Away Winners]]> Sat, 21 May 2016 23:50:01 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/167*120/GettyImages-533382434.jpg

On Friday night the Padres got the biggest of blasts, a walk-off home run by Melvin Upton Jr. to beat the Dodgers at Petco Park. On Saturday night they walked off the Dodgers again. This time, quite literally.

Yangervis Solarte, who was taken off the disabled list before the game, drew a bases loaded walk from Dodgers reliever Chin-Hui Tsao to force in Wil Myers with the game-winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning to give the Padres a 3-2 win and a chance to sweep Los Angeles.

For most of the game the Padres hitters were like human windmills against Dodgers pitching. They were swinging a lot but hitting nothing but air. Dodgers starter Alex Wood struck out 13 in 6.0 innings. San Diego batters whiffed 19 times total.

But the Padres were able to push across a couple of runs on sacrifice flies by Matt Kemp and Alexi Amarista and that was good enough to keep it close because Cesar Vargas was nails.

The Padres rookie gave up just two runs and whiffed seven in 7.0 innings. A trio of Friars relievers combined to throw another 4.0 innings of no-hit ball and in the 11th it was the Dodgers bullpen that blinked.

Tsao allowed a single to Myers and gave up a long fly ball to Upton, whose bid for back-to-back walk-off bombs ended just in front of the left field fence. Tsao then loaded the bases with two more walks before giving Solarte his free pass on four pitches.

San Diego can complete their weekend sweep on Sunday behind Colin Rea, who takes the mound against Kenta Maeda.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Blash Returns to Padres]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 16:46:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-520695484.jpg

Jabari Blash is going to stay with the San Diego Padres.

The power-hitting outfielder who made the team as a Rule 5 draftee out of Spring Training was designated for assignment and offered back to his original team, the Mariners, last week. But Seattle and San Diego were able to come to an agreement on a trade on Wednesday. The Padres get Blash back in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Blash led the Padres in home runs in Cactus League play but only started three games with the big club. He was hitting .120 with 13 strikeouts in mostly pinch-hitting situations. Blash has been assigned to Triple-A El Paso and will be eligible for a call-up if the Padres need more outfielders.

Also on Wednesday the Friars reinstated Alexi Amarista from the 15-day Disabled List. Amarista suffered a hamstring strain in late April. To make room on the 25-man roster the Padres optioned right-handed reliever Tayron Guerrero to El Paso. Guerrero made his MLB debut in Tuesday night’s loss to the Giants, allowing one run in 2.0 innings of work.

Amarista is not in the lineup for Wednesday night’s game against San Francisco at Petco Park.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Will Bud Black Land in Atlanta?]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 12:17:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/174*120/GettyImages-472887446.jpg

The Atlanta Braves are looking for a new manager and former Padres skipper Bud Black is reportedly the front-runner to land the job.

Atlanta is off to a 9-28 start and fired Fredi Gonzalez on Tuesday. Black has a good relationship with Braves President of Baseball Operations John Hart (they worked together in Cleveland) and a familiarity with parts of Atlanta’s personnel. There are six players on the Braves 40-man roster who were with the Padres when Buddy was the manager.

Black is currently working in the front office with the Los Angeles Angels but would be allowed to leave for a Major League managerial spot. The Braves are also expected to consider in-house candidates, including hitting coach Terry Pendleton and third base coach Bo Porter, who used to manage the Houston Astros.

Black interviewed for, and reportedly was offered, the manager's job with the Washington Nationals in the off-season but the two sides could not work out a contract. The Nats hired Dusty Baker instead.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Quarter-Season Awards]]> Mon, 16 May 2016 16:49:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/166*120/GettyImages-526937910.jpg

The Padres had an off day on Monday. They start a 3-game series at Petco Park against the first-place San Francisco Giants on Tuesday. At 17-22 they’re only 4.5 games out of first place and with 39 games under their belt the Friars have basically played one quarter of their season.

Mike Janela, host of Padres Social Hour, asked Bill Center and me to come up with a list of the Quarter-Pole Padres Award winners. Here’s where I stand on the issue. See how many you agree or disagree with:

MVP: Alexei Ramirez

It’s hard to argue with the offensive production of outfielder Matt Kemp. But I’m going with shortstop Ramirez because while his offensive numbers are not anything special, his defense (aside from one drop in Chicago) has been stellar. Last year the Padres were one of the worst fielding teams in baseball. This year they’re in the top-10 in run prevention and Ramirez is a big reason why. It’s especially impressive when you consider he’s the only starting infielder who has not gotten hurt this year and he’s worked with a bunch of different pieces around him without missing a beat.

CY YOUNG: Drew Pomeranz

Remember in Spring Training when we all thought Pomeranz was going to be one of the top relievers on the Padres staff? Yeah, we were wrong. The lefty leads the team in wins (4) and strikeouts (51 in just 40.0 innings) and has only walked 19. Pomeranz has a 1.80 ERA, putting him squarely in the conversation to be the Padres’ representative at the All-Star Game at Petco Park in July. Fernando Rodney also warrants consideration here.

ROOKIE OF THE (QUARTER) YEAR:
Ryan Buchter

Quick, tell me how the Padres landed Buchter? Don’t worry; I had to look it up, too. Padres General Manager A.J. Preller signed Buchter to a minor league contract in December to very little (OK, no) fanfare. He made the Opening Day roster and has been stellar out of the bullpen, allowing just one run in 19 appearances and that run was a solo homer by Trevor Story in Colorado in April, back when Story was swinging the bat so well he’d have taken the 1985 version of Dwight Gooden deep twice a game. Buchter, who had made just one career appearance in the big leagues prior to 2016, is on a 15.1 inning scoreless streak and got his first MLB save last week in Milwaukee.

BIGGEST SURPRISE: Melvin Upton, Jr.

And what a pleasant surprise he is. Offensively, defensively, clubhouse presence … you name it and Upton is doing it well. He’s hitting .281 with five home runs and is playing an above-average left field. Upton has stopped all the questions about whether or not he’s worth his big contract and become a player who other teams will likely be asking about acquiring at the trade deadline.

BIGGEST LOSS: Tyson Ross

You can’t have as many injuries as the Padres have suffered without feeling it. I think Ross is the one that’s been missed the most. He was supposed to be the team’s ace, the guy who stops the losing streaks, the guy who sets the tone for the entire rotation, and he hasn’t seen the mound since Opening Day. The guys who have filled in, chiefly Robbie Erlin and Cesar Vargas, have done an admirable job but you can’t lose the guy you deem the best pitcher on your entire staff and not feel it. Yangervis Solarte, who was hitting .375 when he went down with a hamstring injury, also gets votes here.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT:
Whoever is in charge of hamstrings

I don’t know what the deal is but this has reached the point of ridiculousness. Try stretching, or drinking more water, or whatever. This has to stop.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Come Up Short in Milwaukee]]> Sun, 15 May 2016 15:31:24 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/177*120/GettyImages-531600318.jpg

The good news is the Padres are coming back from their 7-game Midwest road trip with a winning record. The bad news is they could have done a whole lot more than just go 4-3.

The Friars fell 3-2 to the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on Sunday afternoon, splitting their 4-game series in Wisconsin. This was a reminder of why Padres fans can be so thoroughly frustrated with their team. San Diego was one run shy of sweeping the Cubs, who have the best record in baseball … then they dropped a pair to the Brewers, one of the few teams in the National League who have a worse record than they do.

Padres rookie pitcher Cesar Vargas started and only allowed two runs in 5.0 innings. He struck out seven but the two runs that came in were both on ridiculously long solo home runs. First Chris Carter smashed one 443 feet to centerfield in the 3rd inning.

The Padres were able to tie it in the top of the 4th when Travis Jankowski, who was starting for the second straight game in place of Jon Jay, tripled and scored on a Derek Norris sacrifice fly. Jankowski had a pair of hits but there is concern about Jay, who fell hard on a defensive play in Friday’s 1-0 loss and has reported a sore right shoulder.

In the 5th inning Jonathan Lucroy hit a 435-foot laser off Vargas to put the Brewers back on top 2-1. That lead lasted until the 7th inning, when Brett Wallace ripped a solo homer to left-centerfield to chase Milwaukee starter Zach Davies. Wallace was a late addition to the lineup at first base when another Padre was sidelined with an injury.

Wil Myers felt tightness in his forearm and about 10 minutes before first pitch he was scratched from the lineup. Myers also had to be removed from Saturday night’s game with what was called a calf cramp.

The Brewers took the lead for good in the bottom of the 7th when Carter doubled off Kevin Quackenbush to bring home Lucroy. The Padres put the tying run on second base in the both the 8th and 9th innings but could not push the run across.

Manager Andy Green says he hopes both Jay and Myers will benefit from Monday’s scheduled off day and return to the lineup on Tuesday night at Petco Park against the Giants. Colin Rea gets the start against San Francisco ace Madison Bumgarner.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Wild, Wild Win For The Padres]]> Sat, 14 May 2016 22:07:13 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-531487364.jpg

There is no way to truly understand what happened in Saturday night’s game between the Padres and Brewers at Miller Park in Milwaukee. This game was simply odd. So let’s look at some numbers and try to make something resembling sense of it:

2 = number of times the Padres hit back-to-back home runs
4 = number of errors the Padres committed
8 = number of pitchers used by the Padres
20 = number of total players used by the Padres, leaving them zero position players left on the bench
39 = number of total players used by both teams
12 = number of innings played
1 = margin of victory

And that only begins to tell the tale. The Padres found a way to get an 8-7 win during one of the strangest ballgames we’ve seen in a while.

The Padres got a pair of runs in the first inning, one on a Matt Kemp single that scored Travis Jankowski and the other when Melvin Upton Jr. doubled home Kemp. San Diego needed to get off to a good start because injuries forced rookie Luis Perdomo in to the first start of his young MLB career.

Perdomo had trouble finding the strike zone, throwing just 32 of his 61 pitches for strikes, and left in the 3rd inning. In came Brad Hand, who was stellar in relief. Hand threw 4.0 shutout innings, striking out five, and was in line for the win when he left in the 7th.

The Padres built a 6-2 lead when Wil Myers and Matt Kemp hit back-to-back home runs in the 5th inning. Kemp had three hits and drove in three runs. Milwaukee got a couple back in the 7th inning but things went really nutty in the bottom of the 8th.

With two runners on, Brandon Maurer got Aaron Hill to ground out to shortstop to end the inning. At least, that’s what we thought happened. Padres catcher Hector Sanchez, making his first appearance in a San Diego uniform, was called for catcher’s interference (replays showed it was the right call) so Hill was safe at first and the bases were loaded.

Alex Presley hit a ground ball to first base, where Wil Myers couldn’t field it cleanly. The ball bounced towards second base, where Jose Pirela grabbed it and tried to throw to Maurer covering the bag but threw it over Maurer’s head and all the way to the backstop. Two runs scored, the game was tied, and on a night where the Padres used nothing but relief pitchers from the very beginning, went to extra innings tied 6-6.

In the 12th inning Derek Norris, who entered the game at first base as a defensive replacement for Wil Myers after Myers pulled up lame with a calf injury (the Padres expect him to be able to play in Sunday’s series finale), hit a monster home run to left field to put the Friars on top 7-6. Upton followed with another solo shot, which looked like insurance but turned out to be the game-winner.

Carlos Villanueva surrendered a solo homer to Jonathan Lucroy in the bottom of the inning but was able to hold on to get his first save of the season.

Cesar Vargas gets the start against Zach Davies on Sunday. Given the state of their bullpen, the Padres rookie might get to throw a few more pitches than normal.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Lose Another Starter to Injury]]> Fri, 13 May 2016 16:32:14 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*127/GettyImages-529323722.jpg

The Padres are being hamstrung by hamstrings.

Last Sunday the Padres had to take starting pitcher Andrew Cashner out of a loss to the Mets after he felt what was described as cramping in his hamstring. Cashner felt the discomfort after trying to score from first base on a double by Jon Jay. After the game manager Andy Green thought he had a positive prognosis to share.

“He’s fine,” said Green at the time. “Cramps in his hamstrings. Kind of what we’ve been through with hamstrings so far this year. As soon as we hear that we’re like, you’re done. But he’s fine. No limitations going forward, no issues at all.”

But this is the 2016 San Diego Padres and every hamstring issue is, indeed, an issue. The Padres placed Cashner on the 15-day Disabled List on Friday, the day he was scheduled to make his next start in Milwaukee. San Diego called up lefty Christian Friedrich from Triple-A El Paso to take the rotation spot. Green said on Friday that Cashner thought he could have played on Friday but the team thought it prudent just to be sure and let him rest longer.

Cashner could join teammates Yangervis Solarte, Alexi Amarista and Jemile Weeks, who are all on the shelf with the same issue, and form a hamstring quartet.

The Padres made a couple more roster moves on Friday. They added catcher Hector Sanchez, who was claimed off waivers from the White Sox on Wednesday, and designated outfielder Jabari Blash for assignment.

Blash became an almost instant fan favorite in Spring Training with his prodigious power from the right side of the plate but with outfielders Matt Kemp, Jon Jay and Melvin Upton Jr. playing well he never got consistent playing time. Blash went 3-for-25 with 13 strikeouts but only started three games.

The Rule 5 draftee will be placed on waivers and if he clears them, be offered back to the Mariners for $25,000. If Seattle declines to take Blash back the Padres will have the option of bringing him back to the organization and sending him to the minor leagues to get consistent playing time, an option they would be willing to explore.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Win 3rd Straight]]> Thu, 12 May 2016 22:26:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ShieldsPitching.jpg

Did you know the Padres are only two-and-a-half games out of first place?

That’s right. As of Thursday evening that is NOT a typo.

For a team that’s been shut out 8 times already this year, a 3-0 Padres victory over the Brewers was an encouraging sign. Especially since the team was coming off a doubleheader sweep of the NL Central-leading Cubs.

James Shields struck out 9 batters over 7 scoreless innings, and Melvin Upton Junior hit a solo homer to help San Diego win its 3rd straight contest in less than 48 hours.

Left-handed reliever Ryan Buchter also recorded his first career save in the majors as he worked a perfect 9th. Buchter has a remarkable 0.54 ERA in 17 appearances this season. 

Closer Fernando Rodney had the night off after picking up 2 saves against the Cubs on Wednesday.

San Diego will try to make it 4 in a row when Christian Friedrich takes the mound Friday against Milwaukee starter Junior Guerra.



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 Sweep Doubleheader at Wrigley]]> Wed, 11 May 2016 21:03:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ChristianBethancourt.jpg

On the same day that Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer tied a MLB-record with 20 strikeouts, Padres lefty Drew Pomeranz struck out 10 batters over the course of 6 shutout innings. 

One swing by Christian Bethancourt was enough to give the Padres a 1-0 victory in game 2 of their Wednesday doubleheader at Wrigley Field. Earlier in the day, San Diego defeated the Cubs 7-4 thanks to a late Brett Wallace homer.

Bethancourt obliterated a pitch by John Lackey in the 5th inning of game 2. He knew he hit it out too because he stood and admired it for a few seconds which Lackey did not take too kindly. Lackey had not allowed a hit until Bethancourt redirected that pitch out of the ballpark.

Kevin Quackenbush, Brad Hand, and Fernando Rodney helped navigate the final 3 innings. The trio stranded 4 Cubs on the basepaths and helped hand the Cubs their first back-to-back losses of the year. 

Hand struck out the side in the 8th, but had the added pressure of having to work out of a bases-loaded jam after two walks and a rare error by shortstop Alexei Ramirez.

Cubs fans must be infuriated after seeing Rodney notch two saves in one day against his former team.

The reliever from the Dominican Republic struggled last season with the Cubs and Mariners – so much so that some fans coined the hashtag “FernandoRodneyExperience” whenever he struggled at Wrigley.

Rodney however fired his second invisible arrow into the sky after giving up a single to Javier Baez in the 9th. He is now 10-for-10 in save opportunities this year and has yet to allow an earned run.

You can make a strong argument Pomeranz has been the Padres best starting pitcher thus far.

The southpaw raised his strikeout total to 51 on the season after silencing the Cubs lineup. That's the 11th highest total in the bigs. Pomeranz also improved to 4-3 and lowered his ERA to just 1.80. 

The Padres continue their 7-game road trip in Milwaukee on Thursday. 

James Shields (1-5) opposes Jimmy Nelson (4-2) when the two teams begin their 4-game series.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Snap Cubs Winning Streak]]> Wed, 11 May 2016 13:45:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-530734074.jpg

The Chicago Cubs had won eight straight games and are the owners of the best record in Major League Baseball. Their pitching staff had allowed the fewest runs in the league. In fact, the Cubbies had only allowed more than six runs in a game once all season.

Then on Tuesday night the Padres (yes, the team that has already been shut out eight times) put up a seven spot in a 1-run loss and followed that up with another magnificent seven in a 7-4 win at Wrigley Field on Wednesday in the first game of a double-header.

What is really shocking about this is the way the Padres got a lot of their runs.

The Cubs bullpen had allowed 27 earned runs in 81.1 innings coming in to their 3-game set against San Diego. The Padres got four runs in 3.0 innings on Tuesday night (all on an Alex Dickerson grand slam) and four more in 2.1 innings on Wednesday morning.

The Padres scored twice in the first inning against Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks, once on a throwing error by Chicago 3rd baseman Javier Baez and once on a Matt Kemp RBI single. Padres starter Colin Rea had trouble taking advantage of the early lead.

He allowed a run in the first on a single by Anthony Rizzo, another in the second on a single by Ben Zobrist (who was on base four times), and two more in the fourth on a pair of RBI doubles by Addison Russell and Tim Federowicz. Rea was listed after 5.0 innings and 110 pitches.

In the 7th inning the Padres got a gift when Baez made another throwing error to let Travis Jankowski score. Jankowski had reached on a bunt single and made a stellar running catch in centerfield to keep a few more Cubs runs from scoring. Had Baez made the throw the inning would have been over. Instead relief pitcher Pedro Strop was left in and he made a mistake. Strop hung a slider to Brett Wallace and the Padres 3rd baseman lifted it in to the left-centerfield bleachers to give the Padres a 6-4 lead.

San Diego got their last run on a sacrifice fly by Kemp then let the bullpen hold the lead. Closer Fernando Rodney tossed a perfect 9th to get his 9th save. Rodney has still not allowed an earned run in a Padres uniform.

The Padres can hand the Cubs just their second series loss of the year if they take the second half of the doubleheader. It would also mark the first time in 2016 Chicago has lost back-to-back games.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Poway’s Dickerson Hits Grand Slam in Padres Loss]]> Wed, 11 May 2016 21:07:21 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/PowayDickerson.jpg

The Padres came close to knocking off the best team in baseball Tuesday.

But even an unlikely grand slam couldn’t prevent the Cubs from winning their 8th straight contest, this time by a count of 8-7.

Chicago improved to 25-6, which just so happens to be the best record for any MLB team through 31 games since the Detroit Tigers’ hot start in 1984.

The Padres fell behind 5-0 in the 3rd inning when the top part of the Cubs lineup went to town on young pitcher Cesar Vargas. 

Former USD product Kris Bryant smacked a 2-run double and later scored on a single by Ben Zobrist. Zobrist finished 4-for-4 while Vargas only lasted 4 innings and gave up 6 runs on 10 hits.

The highlight of the game for the Friars was a pinch-hit grand slam by Alex Dickerson in the 8th inning.

The Poway native got his team back in the ball game to make it 8-7. But the Padres could not get any closer after that.

"A special moment for me and all the work I've put in to this point," said Dickerson, who was promoted from Triple-A El Paso just last week.

The fact that it happened at Wrigley Field - which opened in 1914 - meant a great deal.

"This is really a historic place," Dickerson added. "A very big spot in baseball, so many famous players have played here and it's such an old park. It's really special to be able to make my mark in my career at a place like this."

Melvin Upton Junior hit a solo homer to give him 3 jacks on the year and Jose Pirela added 2 hits and started at second base. 

Shortstop Alexei Ramirez also left the game with a leg cramp after hitting a RBI double in the 5th inning, but manager Andy Green said afterwards that Ramirez “gave a thumbs up” at the chance of being in the lineup on Wednesday. 

Hopefully that is the case because otherwise San Diego would be without 4 of its infielders. Cory Spangenberg (quad), Yangervis Solarte (hamstring) and Jemile Weeks (hamstring) are all currently unavailable while nursing injuries.

San Diego will send Colin Rea to the mound in game one of the scheduled doubleheader at noon PT. Kyle Hendricks gets the nod for the Cubs. 

Game 2 will feature Padres starter Drew Pomeranz against Jon Jay’s former Cardinals teammate John Lackey.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Get First Look at World Series Favorites]]> Mon, 09 May 2016 15:04:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/205*120/GettyImages-529433316.jpg

Baseball fans are well aware of the fact the Chicago Cubs have not won the World Series since 1908. That team from the North side with the iconic ballpark has not even been in the World Series since the year World War II ended.

So despite the fact the Cubs are off to one of the greatest starts in the history of Major League Baseball, a start that suggests they are destined to end the longest championship drought outside Leicester City, folks are holding off on getting too excited yet.

Chicago is 24-6 through 30 games. In the last 80 years only eight teams have started that well and four of those won it all. Over the weekend the Cubs played a 3-game set against the Washington Nationals, who had the 2nd-best record in the National League, and swept the Nats out of Wrigley Field.

The Cubs have already outscored their opponents by 102 runs, becoming the fastest team in MLB history to reach a triple-digit run differential. The Cubs have scored the most runs in baseball and allowed the fewest runs in baseball. That's a combination of pitching and hitting that is astonishingly dominant.

I tell you all this because on Monday the Cubs start a 3-game set at The Friendly Confines against the San Diego Padres. At 13-19 the Friars have the second-worst record in the National League so this series has the potential to be a bloodletting.

“They are running over everybody in baseball right now so we’re well aware of that,” said Padres manager Andy Green. “We’re well aware of that but the Mets were pretty hot when they came in here and we took two games from them to start the series from them. I don’t think we’re going to shy away from the competition. I think we’ll try to rise up and meet it.”

New York came to Petco Park winners of 10 of their last 12 games before dropping those two to the Friars and in baseball stranger things have certainly happened than San Diego taking a series in Chicago this week.

Padres outfielder Jon Jay knows better than most just how good the Cubs are. He spent the first six years of his career with the Cardinals, the Cubs’ biggest rivals. He saw the construction project on the shore of Lake Michigan and knew it was only a matter of time before it took baseball by storm.

“Oh, definitely,” said Jay. “You’ve seen the pieces here and there and what they were able to do last year; I saw that first-hand. They’ve got a good team over there but so do we so it’s going to be a fun series.”

The good news for the Padres is they don’t have to face Cubs ace and reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta in the 3-game set. The bad news is Chicago still has a whole lot of accomplished arms to throw at them, starting with Jon Lester. The lefty is 3-1 with an ERA of 1.58 this season. He gets a look at Padres youngster Cesar Vargas, who has only allowed two earned runs in his first three career starts but is still looking for his first Big League win.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Colon Clubs Padres At Petco]]> Sat, 07 May 2016 20:47:46 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/163*120/GettyImages-529033016.jpg

At times Padres starter James Shields has been the victim of poor run support and lost games he should have won. On Saturday night at Petco Park Shields did himself in by making a bit of dubious history.

Shields gave up a home run to Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon in a 6-3 New York win. It was the first home run of Colon’s 19-year MLB career. Granted, he spent a lot of time in the American League so this was only his 226th career at-bat but still, it is not the kind of thing a guy who thinks of himself as an ace should allow to happen.

Shields also surrendered a 2-run homer to Yoenis Cespedes, a guy you’re used to seeing drive the ball out of the yard, in his 6.0 innings of work. Shields struck out eight but walked five and took the loss, dropping his record to 1-5 on the season (although his ERA is a respectable 3.60).

The Padres made it close in the 3rd inning when Jon Jay hammered a 3-run homer off Colon to cut the New York lead to 4-3. The Friars put runners in scoring position in both the 7th and 8th innings but had three different hitters strike out to end the threats.

In the 9th the Mets put it out of reach with back-to-back home runs by David Wright and Michael Conforto. Padres reliever Carlos Villanueva gave up both of those gopher balls. San Diego can still win the series on Sunday afternoon. Andrew Cashner takes the mound against Matt Harvey.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Secure Winning Homestand]]> Fri, 06 May 2016 23:43:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/171*120/GettyImages-528777764.jpg

If Padres manager Andy Green was asked to draw up the perfect way for his team to win a ballgame, I don't think he'd say starting pitcher throws way too many pitches and gets pulled after five innings … four relievers have to come in and throw an inning each … offense gets only one extra-base hit … and starting outfielder gets in to a slap fight with the right field wall.

But I don’t think he’d argue with it, either.

The Padres beat the Mets 2-0 on Friday night at Petco Park. After being shut out eight times in 2016 you had to figure eventually the Friars would hold someone else scoreless.

Starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz tossed 5.0 innings of 1-hit ball but needed 98 pitches to do it. He’s only allowed one run in his last 12.0 innings on the mound. This time his offense got him just enough help to win a game.

Jon Jay led off the game against Mets stud Noah Syndergaard with a double. Jay moved to third on a Wil Myers ground ball and scored on a Matt Kemp sacrifice fly. Jay had three hits and drove in the San Diego’s other run with an RBI single in the 5th inning.

Once Pomeranz was out the bullpen kept putting up zeroes, but needed a little help from the defense to do it. In the 6th inning Kevin Quackenbush left a pitch up and out to Yoenis Cespedes and the Mets slugger ripped it to right field. Kemp tracked it down on the warning track on a dead sprint, made the catch, and in the emotion of the moment gave the padded wall in right-center a big right-handed slap.

Ryan Buchter, Brandon Maurer and Fernando Rodney followed with a scoreless inning each to secure the win. Rodney has still not allowed an earned run this season and now has eight saves on the season. The Padres are 4-1 on their 7-game homestand with a pair of games left against the Mets this weekend.

On Saturday James Shields takes the mound against Bartolo Colon.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rea Dominates The Mets]]> Wed, 11 May 2016 20:42:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ColinReaNearNoNo.jpg

Will Myers admitted before Thursday’s game that he had never faced the New York Metropolitans since getting called up to the majors.

Neither had young Padres pitcher Colin Rea.

Apparently they both enjoyed getting a chance to meet the Mets.

Rea brought a no-hitter into the 7th inning and helped the Padres top New York 5-3. The Iowa native only allowed 3 hits and a solo shot in 8-plus innings of work.

He did not allow a base hit in his first 6.2 innings of work until Yoenis Cespedes sent a single through the right side of the infield. Rea would exit in the 9th inning after 107 pitches while limiting the Mets to just 3 hits and one measly run.

The Padres jumped in front in the first frame rather quickly. 

The first pitch Mets starter Jacob DeGrom threw to Myers went right through his swing for strike one. But Myers swung at the second pitch he saw too.

This time the ball landed over the centerfield wall for Myers’ 6th homer of the season. Myers looks like he is healthy and comfortable at the plate – which explains why he has hit safely in 17 of his last 19 games.

For the second time in 24 hours, Jon Jay showed why he is a huge defensive upgrade for the Padres in centerfield. The veteran outfielder made a smooth sliding catch to rob Curtis Granderson of extra bases in the 3rd and preserve the no-hit bid in the early going.

Derek Norris also broke out of his slump with a 3-for-3 performance at the plate. The Padres catcher finished a triple shy of the cycle and his solo home run in the 6th helped Rea to a 5-0 advantage.

Drew Pomeranz will try to become the first Padre to toss a no-hitter when he gets his shot against Noah Syndergaard and the Mets Friday evening.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Offense Disappears Again]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 15:22:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/176*120/GettyImages-528263362.jpg

Padres starting pitcher Cesar Vargas is a prime example of why Major League Baseball needs to seriously consider eliminating the Win-Loss stats. In his young MLB career Vargas has made three starts.

In those starts he has thrown a combined 16.1 innings, allowing two earned runs (an ERA of 1.10) with 12 strikeouts. Every time he took the mound he was good enough to give his team a win and every time his team did not get him the win.

In fact, Vargas even took his first big league loss in Wednesday’s series finale against the Rockies at Petco Park, a 2-0 Colorado win. Vargas allowed just one run in 6.0 innings but the Padres hitters could not solve Tyler Chatwood, who allowed just three hits in 8.0 innings.  

The Rockies scored what would turn out to be the game-winning run in the 5th inning when Vista native Tony Wolters came in on a groundout by Cristhian Adames. Colorado got their other run in the 9th inning on a squeeze play. Yes, the Rockies got both of their runs on plays where the ball never left the infield.

It’s the eighth time the Padres have been shut out (in 28 games) this year. Let’s put that in to a big of historical perspective, shall we? The Padres are on a pace to go scoreless 46 times this year. The Major League record for most times being shut out in a single season is 33, set by the 1908 St. Louis Cardinals team that went 49-105. So at the moment this offense is not just bad, it's worse than the dead-ball era.

It’s also the second straight series the Padres have had a chance to complete a sweep and been shut out, which may be an indicator of another problem. The Padres have been good at starting a series but had a few issues finishing up a series. This statistic will open your eyes:

The Friars have played nine series in 2016. They are 6-3 in the first games of those series … and 0-9 in the final games of those series.

So, the odds of a Padres win on Thursday are pretty good. San Diego opens a 4-game set against the defending National League champion New York Mets at Petco Park. Colin Rea gets the start against Jacob deGrom.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Injuries Update: Status Report from the Skipper]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 07:26:22 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/177*120/GettyImages-490576632.jpg

The Padres are back at Petco Park this week. Monday the Friars played the first of a seven-game, seven-day homestand with the first of three against the Colorado Rockies.

Before Monday night’s game against Colorado, we saw several familiar faces from the long list of players on the disabled list. Manager Andy Green was excited to see some of his starters out on the field.

Green was upbeat about their progress saying, "We got here early today and had three of the rehab guys out here taking batting practice and actually running on the ground for once. It was exciting to see Cory Spangenberg, and Solarte and Amarista running around, and hopefully those guys are getting close to getting out in the field for us in a game. That gets you optimistic when you see those guys moving."

A refreshing and unexpected sight in the Padres Clubhouse today was that of Austin Hedges. The Padres Minor League catcher had a great spring but ultimately stayed in Triple-A El Paso, falling just shy of making the final roster.

Hedges was doing well with the Chihuahuas until he hurt his hand in late April. What appeared to be a left hand contusion was actually a fractured hamate.

According to Green, Hedges underwent surgery a few days ago here in San Diego and will be working with the Padres.

In what capacity, you ask?

"We brought him around," Green said. "I think he’s going to help and just listen and learn, be part of the advance process a little bit. We’ll get him digging into scouting reports and stuff to just help his education since he can’t technically do anything with his hand."

Hedges was in good spirits and says he’s happy to be around the team. There is no specific date for his return to El Paso but the typical recovery from this type of surgery is anywhere from six to eight weeks.

Hedges, who didn’t seem bothered by his cast, says he’s not focused on the time frame but rather on his progress.

"I’m just doing a little bit each day to try and strengthen up the hand and get back as quick as I can," he said.

Green also touched base on opening day starter Tyson Ross and his progress. Green says Ross is still in the rehab phase where there is no throwing but he is feeling better.

Green is keeping a close eye on Ross’ recovery saying, "I talked to him today and he says he feels great, which is the first time I’ve heard that word come out of him so that’s a good sign. Hopefully here in the near future, the reevaluation period comes and we can get him throwing a baseball."

Green also mentioned pitcher Robbie Erlin underwent an MRI for his strained elbow on Monday morning. The Padres are still waiting for the results.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kershaw Silences Padres Bats Again]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 15:40:03 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-526937906.jpg

Everybody knows Clayton Kershaw is good. On Sunday the Dodgers ace was better than the Padres with both his arm and his bat.

Kershaw showed the world why he owns three Cy Young Awards in a masterful shutout of San Diego. The L.A. lefty allowed three hits and struck out 14 Padres hitters, including leadoff man Jon Jay four times, and did not walk anybody in a 1-0 win. He threw 101 pitches, 75 of them for strikes.

It’s the second time in a week the Friars have lost a game 1-0 and the seventh time they’ve gone scoreless in 2016. Keep in mind: they've only played 25 games.

Kershaw also drove in the only run of the game with an RBI single in the 3rd inning off Padres starter Drew Pomeranz. The San Diego lefty made arguably his best start of the season, going 7.0 innings with five whiffs and only one walk, but he still takes the loss.

The Dodgers had lost six straight games and Kershaw did what an ace is expected to do, going out and stopping the skid on a day when the offense couldn't get much going.

The Padres took two out of three in their weekend series at Dodger Stadium and on what could be considered a positive note, San Diego is 2-0 against L.A. when they score runs. Of course, that means they’ve already been shut out by Dodgers pitching four times.

The Padres come home from their 2-4 road trip to start a week-long homestand on Monday night against the Rockies. James Shields gets the start against Jon Gray.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Take Series at Dodger Stadium]]> Sat, 30 Apr 2016 21:37:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*122/GettyImages-526686250.jpg

In their season-opening series at Petco Park, the Dodgers swept the Padres with 3 straight shutouts. So you figure it's going to get a lot worse when they meet at Dodger Stadium, right?

Nah, that’s not how the Baseball Gods work. San Diego beat L.A. 5-2 on Saturday night, taking the first two games of the series and setting up the possibility of a sweep on Sunday.

The Friars did their damage with the double. In the 3rd inning Wil Myers launched a double to center to score Jon Jay, who had doubled, to put the Padres up 1-0. Then Matt Kemp doubled to bring in Myers and pump the lead up to 2-0.

Starting pitcher Colin Rea was pretty good, aside from one hiccup in the bottom of the inning. He left a pitch over the plate and Dodgers 2nd baseman Chase Utley smoked it in to the right field seats for a 2-run home run. Those were the only two runs Rea allowed in 6.0 innings of work. The rookie earned his second win of the season because a couple innings later his offense hooked him up.

In the 5th inning Myers and Kemp drew walks and Melvin Upton Jr. – say it with me now -- doubled them home. Upton scored on an Alexei Ramirez single to make it 5-2 Friars. That broke the RBI doubles string so the scoring was all done but unlike their 5-game losing streak, this time the bullpen did not let the lead get away.

Ryan Buchter and Brandon Maurer each threw a scoreless inning to get the ball to closer Fernando Rodney, who worked a scoreless 9th to get his fourth save of the season. Rodney has not allowed an earned run yet in 2016.

Now all the Padres have to do to complete their sweep is beat Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. Fellow lefty Drew Pomeranz, who has the same number of wins (2) as Kershaw, takes the mound for the Friars.

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<![CDATA[Padres Bullpen Implodes Again in Loss]]> Sun, 24 Apr 2016 18:12:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/173*120/GettyImages-523888752.jpg

In 2016 the Padres were 7-0 in games where they scored at least four runs and 0-11 in games they scored less than four runs. So when the Friars took a 5-3 lead on the Cardinals in the 5th inning of their series finale at Petco Park on Sunday fans had a pretty good feeling.

That feeling lasted five pitches.

Kevin Quackenbush came in to relieve Colin Rea, made five offerings and gave up a pair of home runs that tied the game and sparked an 8-5 Cardinals win.

The first dinger Quack allowed was an opposite field shot to former Padre Jedd Gyorko, who had six hits, including two homers and a triple, in his return to the East Village. The second came off the bat of Aledmys Diaz, who went 8-for-10 over the weekend.

Those homers tied it 5-5. Lefty Ryan Buchter, who along with Fernando Rodney has thrown really well in relief, stepped in and went 2.0 innings with four whiffs.

The Redbirds took the lead in the 8th with a trio of runs off Brandon Maurer. Both Maurer and Quackenbush saw their earned run averages jump over 7.00 in this series. This is not the kind of thing San Diego baseball fans are comfortable with seeing.

For years, the Padres were defined by their dominant bullpen. I’m not just talking about the closer, either. The entire collection of guys had filthy stuff. Here’s a list of how the Padres bullpen ERA ranked each year of the Petco Park era:

2004 = 8
2005 = 6
2006 = 3
2007 = 1
2008 = 25
2009 = 7
2010 = 1
2011 = 3
2012 = 9
2013 = 10
2014 = 2
2015 = 23

Perhaps new general manager A.J. Preller is not terribly adept at assembling ‘pens. He put together last year’s version with a whole bunch of new guys and dropped 21 spots and in 2016 things have degraded even more, especially over the weekend against the Cardinals.

The Padres relievers allowed 10 runs in 4.0 innings on Saturday night to spoil the MLB debut of Cesar Vargas and on Sunday the ‘pen got lit up again, allowing five runs in 4.0 innings, giving them 41 earned runs allowed so far this season. Only the Cincinnati Reds have been worse. Padres manager Andy Green does not see reason to panic yet.

"We've got plenty of capable pieces," said Green. "The last couple of days have been rough for us. I think you look back historically at who Kevin Quackenbush and Brandon Maurer are, they've been very good. Just a tough couple game stretch for us."

Offensively the Padres did their damage in the middle innings. In the 4th catcher Christian Bethancourt hammered a solo home run off Cardinals starter Mike Leake Fallbrook High School alum) to tie the game 3-3. In the 5th Melvin Upton Jr. gave the Padres the lead with an RBI single to score Jon Jay. Upton scored on an Alexei Ramirez RBI single.

Upton was ejected two innings later for taking issue with the strike zone of home plate umpire Sean Barber. Upton was not the only one who thought Barber was a little erratic. Green says the guy St. Louis has behind the plate had something to do with it.

"We all know Yadi (Yadier Molina, winner of eight Gold Glove Awards at catcher) is one of the best pitch framers in the game," said Green. "Give him credit for that. What that lends itself to sometimes is an expanded east to west zone. I haven't looked at film to make a determination of how much that occurred but our guys weren't thrilled about the width of the strike zone today."

On Monday the Padres start a 3-game set in San Francisco, their first look at the division-rival Giants. Drew Pomeranz gets the start against fellow lefty Madison Bumgarner.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Get Great Start But Lose Big]]> Sat, 23 Apr 2016 21:24:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/171*120/GettyImages-523603902.jpg

In his Major League Debut, Cesar Vargas looked like he belongs in The Show. The rest of his Padres teammates … not so much.

Vargas, a 24-year-old native of Puebla Puebla, Mexico, threw 5.0 innings of one-run ball against the Cardinals at Petco Park on Saturday night. St. Louis then scored 10 runs off four San Diego relievers to win the game 11-2.

Vargas had a shutout going in to the 6th inning but gave up a solo home run to Stephen Piscotty that tied the game 1-1. The youngster was pulled for Kevin Quackenbush, who was able to finish the inning with no more damage done. For a while it looked like Quack would thieve himself a win.

The Padres loaded the bases with one out and Alexei Ramirez lofted a sacrifice fly to score Matt Kemp, who hit a pair of doubles in the game, to put the Friars up 2-1. In the 7th inning, however, the Padres bullpen imploded.

Quackenbush put a pair of runners on with a walk and an infield single by Aledmys Diaz (who went 5-for-5 hitting in the 8th spot). Cardinals manager Mike Matheny sent in left-hander Matt Carpenter to pinch-hit for pitcher Michael Wacha so Padres manager Andy Green got lefty Brad Hand from the bullpen.

Hand gave up an RBI single to tie the game 2-2.

So Green went out to get Hand and bring in right-hander Carlos Villanueva to face the right-handed hitting Kolten Wong. Matheny countered with another lefty off the bench, Jeremy Hazelbaker.

Villanueva gave up a 3-run homer to Hazelbaker to put St. Louis up 5-2.

It was just one of those nights where every move went the way of the Cardinals. Even a move that was made months ago worked in favor of St. Louis when, in the 8th inning, infielder Jedd Gyorko returned to Petco Park and ripped a 3-run homer in to the upper deck in left field, one of three hits he had on the night.

It was the first start Gyorko has made since an off-season trade sent him to St. Louis in exchange for outfielder Jon Jay (who went 1-for-3 with a single). Jedd’s blast made it 8-2.

In the 9th inning the Redbirds got three more runs, giving them three in the 7th inning, three in the 8th inning and three in the 9th inning while the Padres only had two runs for the entire game (both on sacrifice flies).

One bit of positive offensive news is 1st baseman Wil Myers had another hit, extending his hitting streak to eight games.

The Padres can still win the series and finish their nine-game homestand with a winning record if they take Sunday’s finale. Colin Rea gets the start against Fallbrook High School alum Mike Leake.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Myers Stays Hot, Padres Win]]> Fri, 22 Apr 2016 22:26:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*131/GettyImages-523348126.jpg

On one of the Facebook pages dedicated to Padres fans, somebody put up a poll saying the over/under on the team's longest winning streak this season is 3 games (I’m looking at you, Will McCafferty on Friarhood!)

That may seem a bit low. But given this team’s history a lack of optimism is also not entirely unwarranted.

The Friars got a third of the way to that total on Friday night, taking the opener of their weekend series against the Cardinals 4-1 at Petco Park.

Wil Myers is on a fairly decent roll. It took the first baseman all of one pitch to extend his hitting streak to seven games. Myers drove the first offering he saw from St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright over the right-center field wall for a solo home run. Myers also doubled and went 3-for-3 with three RBI.

During his hitting streak Myers has raised his batting average from .211 to .304.

The beneficiary of his hotness was starting pitcher Andrew Cashner. The big right-hander from Texas made his best start of the season, allowing one run on three hits in 6.0 innings with four strikeouts. What’s most encouraging is Cashner, who has struggled to consistently find the strike zone this season, walked just one and only needed 94 pitches (62 strikes), much more efficient than he has been recently.

Padres closer Fernando Rodney worked a scoreless 9th inning to record his third save and still has not allowed an earned run in seven appearances.

The Padres can win their second straight series tomorrow in the Big League debut of 24-year-old Cesar Vargas. The native of Puebla Puebla, Mexico will take the mound against Michael Wacha.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Despite Record, Padres Have Positives]]> Mon, 18 Apr 2016 14:20:41 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/173*120/Padres+Celebrate+Win.jpg

Even since the Padres took on his rather large contract fans have been scared about having outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. on the roster. In two years with the Braves, Upton hit a combined .198, not the kind of production you want from a man making $15.45 million in 2016.

But so far Upton has not just avoided disappointment; he’s been one of the best players on the team. Melvin has a pair of homers and has scored seven runs with a .822 OPS while appearing in all 13 games.

“Yeah, it’s cool, but I’d rather win,” said Upton. “If I wasn’t this hot and we were winning, that would be one thing. But obviously I like where I’m at and I’m going to continue to work but the main thing is winning ballgames.”

Upton showed an uptick in his game in the second half of last season. He told NBC 7 during Spring Training the Padres have allowed him to be more like himself and that freedom of personality is carrying over to the field.

“Definitely,” said Upton. “It’s allowed me to keep focus and just go out there and be myself and be the player I know how to be.”

First baseman Wil Myers is another guy who had question marks entering the regular season, but for very different reasons. Myers is coming off wrist surgery and had been struggling (aside from a couple of monster games in Colorado) until the series against the Diamondbacks. Over the weekend Myers finished 7-17, including a 4-hit game in Saturday night’s 14-inning win.

He had been swinging through a lot of fastballs he normally hits hard. All of a sudden he started lining those balls in to the outfield, and Myers thinks he could have done even more damage.

“I missed a lot of pitches this series, as well,” said Myers. “Just putting good swings on good pitches, that’s the biggest thing. You’re only as good as the pitch you swing at. I’ve worked on some things and I’ve seen them carry over in the game.”

The Padres have had trouble stringing hits together in 2016 (again, aside from the explosion at Coors Field). Take out the two days they scored 13 and 16 runs and the Friars are averaging 1.6 runs per game. They simply cannot sustain innings to stress a pitcher and create more run-scoring chances.

But, if Upton and Myers stay hot, and a couple of other players start to click, the guys in the clubhouse think the merry-go-round will start turning.

“Yeah, I think you can see it,” said Upton. “Things will start going our way here shortly. We’ve just gotta keep playing good baseball and we’ll be fine.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Long Ball Bites Padres In Series Finale]]> Sun, 17 Apr 2016 16:20:41 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/172*120/GettyImages-521948934.jpg

In his first two outings, Robbie Erlin was arguably the Padres’ best starting pitcher. Granted, his first appearance was in relief, but he tossed 3.2 scoreless innings in Colorado (no small feat), then threw 6.0 innings on one-run ball in Philadelphia (another hitter’s paradise).

But any thoughts that Erlin would be even better when he got back to the pitcher-friendly Petco Park were erased in the first inning of San Diego’s 7-3 loss to the Diamondbacks on Sunday.

Erlin allowed a 2-run home run to Yasmany Tomas, the fourth batter of the game, then surrendered two more long balls, including another by Tomas in the 6th inning. Arizona got fourth round-tripper from Phil Gosselin in the 8th innings off reliever Kevin Quackenbush that really put the game out of reach.

The Padres offense tried to help out Erlin by getting some help from the Arizona defense. In the bottom of the first Wil Myers led off with a single. Myers was in the leadoff spot for the first time this season while centerfielder Jon Jay got a day off and had two more hits, giving him six hits in the last two games. Cory Spangenberg followed with a bunt single and the throw by pitcher Patrick Corbin flew down the right field line, allowing Myers to score and Spangenberg to head to third base.

Matt Kemp followed with a line drive to left field that was misplayed by Rickie Weeks, allowing Spangenberg to score. Kemp was thrown out trying to stretch it in to a triple, snuffing out the potential for a big inning.

San Diego’s other run came on a RBI triple by Melvin Upton Jr. that scored Kemp in the 3rd inning giving the Padres a 3-2 lead that didn’t last long. Brandon Drury demolished an Erlin offering in the 4th for a 2-run shot and the Diamondbacks never trailed again.

The Padres fall to 4-9 on the season and 1-5 at home. They have a day off on Monday before starting a 3-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night at Petco Park.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Finally Win a Home Game]]> Sat, 16 Apr 2016 23:58:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-521757836.jpg

As if Padres fans had not waited long enough for their first win of the season, the Friars decided to go deep, deep, deep in to the night before winning by going deep.

Melvin Upton Jr. launched a 2-run home run to dead centerfield in the bottom of the 14th inning to beat the Diamondbacks 5-3 and snap a four-game losing streak at Petco Park. Upton had three hits and scored a pair of runs in the win, which took 5:25 to complete.

Andrew Cashner turned in easily his best start of the year, going 6.0 innings and allowing one earned run while striking out five. It’s the fifth straight game a Padres starter had a Quality Start (at least 6.0 innings with no more than three earned runs allowed) and not gotten a win.

He left with a 3-1 lead thanks in part to Matt Kemp’s first home run at home in 2016, a solo blast in the 3rd inning that at the time put the Padres up 3-0.

Arizona tied the game in the 8th inning when Rickie Weeks Jr. scored on a wild pitch by Brandon Maurer, launching the game in to extra innings and setting up Upton’s heroics.

The Padres can win their first series at home on Sunday afternoon when Robbie Erlin goes against Patrick Corbin.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Finally Score a Run at Home, Still Lose]]> Fri, 15 Apr 2016 23:17:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/176*120/GettyImages-521483310.jpg

For Padres fans, the struggle is real.

There is a hashtag in the Twitter community. You man have come across it: #ThatsSoPadres. It basically means whatever the worst possible thing a baseball team can do in a given situation, the Padres will find a way to do that thing.

It happened again on Friday night in a 3-2 loss to the Diamondbacks at Petco Park. The positive thing is the Padres scored their first run at home when Alexei Ramirez singled in Cory Spangenberg in the 2nd inning. That snapped a 28-inning scoreless streak to start the season at Petco Park.

The Friars actually had their first lead at home, too, when Alexi Amarista blooped a single to left field to score Derek Norris and put the home team up 2-1. Starting pitcher James Shields threw a nice game, allowing just two runs in 7.0 innings with six strikeouts but he took a no-decision.

In the 9th inning #ThatsSoPadres happened again. Phil Gosselin reached on an infield single and tried to steal second base. Norris' throw sailed in to centerfield and Gosselin scored on an infield single to give Arizona the lead.

In the bottom half the Padres got singles from Spangenberg and Ramirez to put runners at the corners with nobody out. Amarista then struck out, pinch-hitter Brett Wallace was intentionally walked and Jon Jay grounded in to a game-ending double play to give Arizona a 3-2 win.

#ThatsSoPadres

San Diego falls to 0-4 at home, 3-8 overall.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[2016 MLB Special Event Uniforms Unveiled]]> Wed, 13 Apr 2016 15:49:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ASG+Logo.png

The Padres introduced three new uniforms for the 2016 season. But that was just the beginning of their foray into high fashion.

On Wednesday Major League Baseball unveiled special cap and jersey combinations for some of the year’s special holidays. Every MLB team will be decked out in brand new gear for Mother’s Day (May 8), Memorial Day (May 30), Father’s Day (June 19), and Independence Day (July 4). Since the Padres already wear special camouflage jerseys on Sundays MLB just altered those for holidays that fall on Sunday.

Here’s a look at how the Friars will look with a synopsis courtesy of MLB:

MOTHER’S DAY: SUNDAY, MAY 8
The new Mother’s Day uniforms and caps incorporate pink into Clubs’ regular logos, with all caps highlighted by a dark grey crown and brim. Players have swung pink bats, worn pink ribbons & sported pink wristbands on Mother’s Day to raise funds and awareness to fight breast cancer since 2006.

MEMORIAL DAY: MONDAY, MAY 30
For the eighth consecutive year, MLB and New Era have created a special cap for teams to wear during Memorial Day games, while Majestic has designed a special matching jersey for the fourth year in a row. This year’s uniforms utilize a new woodland camouflage design licensed by the US Marine Corps. The Toronto Blue Jays uniform will feature the distinctive Canadian Forces CADPAT design. MLB’s annual league-wide observance of Memorial Day will honor those who lost their lives while serving their country. MLB plans to participate in the National Moment of Remembrance and ballparks on Memorial Day will conduct moments of silence and special pre-game ceremonies.

FATHER’S DAY: SUNDAY, JUNE 19
Father’s Day uniforms and caps will also maintain the same Club marks, but will feature light blue incorporated in the logos. These caps will also have a grey base, similar to Mother’s Day. Players have worn blue ribbons & sported blue wristbands throughout the years on Father’s Day since MLB first partnered with the Prostate Cancer Foundation in 1996.

INDEPENDENCE DAY: MONDAY, JULY 4
For the ninth consecutive summer, US-based MLB clubs will sport red, white and blue stars and stripes-decorated caps to celebrate Independence Day. For the second year in a row, clubs will also wear a matching jersey on the Fourth of July. The Toronto Blue Jays uniform will feature Maple Leaf designs on the cap, incorporating the colors of the Canadian flag and will be worn on Canada Day, July 1, as well as July 4.

Of course there will also be a San Diego-inspired jersey set for the All-Star festivities on July 11. All the National League players will don this:

So all-in-all the Padres will be wearing seven different uniforms in 2016. Which ones do you think are the nicest?


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<![CDATA[Padres Get Help From Umpires in Win]]> Mon, 11 Apr 2016 16:11:13 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*129/GettyImages-520476600.jpg

The Padres followed an old script against the Phillies on Monday afternoon: score just a few runs and let a dominant bullpen lock it down.

The Friars beat Philly 4-3 in the Phillies’ home opener at Citizens Bank Park. Starting pitcher Andrew Cashner has a bit of a rough outing, allowing three runs in 5.0 innings, but his bullpen looked every bit as tough as we’ve come to expect a Padres bullpen to look.

Brad Hand, Kevin Quackenbush, Carlos Villanueva, Brandon Maurer and Fernando Rodney (who earned his first save as the Padres closer) combined to throw 4.0 innings of shutout baseball to preserve the W. The only hit the Phillies mustered came in the 9th inning off Rodney and was erased on a double play ball.

As for the offense, the first run was provided by a very fitting source. John Jay is one of the most influential members of that group known as “America’s Founding Fathers.” However, he did not sign the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia. The way Jon Jay has been playing he’ll be signing a lot of baseballs in Philadelphia.

Jay got the Padres on the board in the 3rd inning with another base hit, an RBI single to give the Friars a 1-0 lead. Jay has a hit in all seven games he’s played in a San Diego uniform.

The Padres got another run in the 3rd when Alexi Amarista scored on a Cory Spangenberg groundout. Just one inning later Wil Myers went big fly with a line shot to the left-centerfield bleachers off Phillies starter Aaron Nola. It was Myers’ second home run of the season.

The Phillies tied it with a trio of runs and could have taken the lead if not for a curious call from the officiating crew. With the bases loaded and nobody out Darin Ruf hit a fly ball to shallow left field. The third base umpire called a suspect infield fly rule so the batter was out even though left fielder Wil Myers and shortstop Alexei Ramirez had trouble finding the baseball and it fell between them.

The Phillies runners saw the ball drop and ran even though they did not have to. Ramirez threw to Alexi Amarista at 3rd base to tag Odubel Herrera for a double play that helped the Padres escape with no further damage being done.

In the top of the 7th the Padres took the lead for good when Amarista laid down a squeeze bunt, allowing catcher Derek Norris to score what turned out to be the winning run.

The Padres improve to 3-4 on the season and can get back to .500 with a win in Philly on Tuesday when Robbie Erlin makes his first start of 2016 against Charlie Morton. Erlin is temporarily taking the rotation spot of Tyson Ross, who is on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his pitching shoulder.

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<![CDATA[Rockies Beat Padres, Avoid Sweep]]> Sun, 10 Apr 2016 16:08:36 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-520268704.jpg

It is difficult for a team to get a sweep on the road, so although the Padres losing 6-3 to the Rockies on Sunday at Coors Field is disappointing it is not altogether unexpected.

Padres starter James Shields, who moved up a day to start when Tyson Ross was placed on the 15-day disabled list, only allowed six hits in 7.0 innings but half of those hits left the ballpark. Shields allowed home runs to Carlos Gonzalez, Nolan Arenado and Ryan Raburn to take his second loss of the season.

The Friars did not give us the same offensive fireworks they displayed the last two games but did make a game of it late. In the 8th inning Jabari Blash drew a pinch-hit walk and scored on a double by Cory Spangenberg to make it a 4-3 game.

In the bottom of the inning Brandon Maurer came on and gave up two more home runs, both solo shots. One was the second of the game by Gonzalez and the other was ripped by … who else? Rookie shortstop Trevor Story got another one.

Story has seven home runs in his team’s first six games of the season, becoming the first rookie in MLB history to do that. Another Rockies rookie also had an impact. Vista native Tony Wolters got his first MLB start behind the plate and singled in the 5th inning for his first big league base hit.

The Padres fall to 2-4 on the season and will start a four-game series in Philadelphia on Monday. Andrew Cashner gets the start against Aaron Nola.

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<![CDATA[Padres Lose Another Starter]]> Sun, 10 Apr 2016 11:37:15 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/Yangervis+Solarte+Padres.jpg

For the second time in two days the Padres had to put a starter on the 15-day disabled list. On Sunday 3rd baseman Yangervis Solarte joined starting pitcher Tyson Ross.

Solarte injured his hamstring in Saturday’s 16-3 Padres win in Colorado. He hit a ball into the outfield but pulled up lame rounding first base. Solarte was off to a solid start to the season with three doubles, four RBI and a 1.036 OPS.

Alexi Amarista was recalled from Triple-A El Paso to fill the roster spot. Adam Rosales is in the Padres starting lineup for Sunday’s series finale against the Rockies, batting 8th and playing 3rd base. Christian Bethancourt will also get his first start in a San Diego uniform, giving Derek Norris a rest behind the plate. Here’s the full starting lineup:

1)    Jon Jay, CF
2)    Cory Spangenberg, 2B
3)    Matt Kemp, RF
4)    Wil Myers, 1B
5)    Melvin Upton Jr., LF
6)    Christian Bethancourt, C
7)    Alexei Ramirez, SS
8)    Adam Rosales, 3B
9)    James Shields, P



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Pound Rockies Again]]> Sat, 09 Apr 2016 21:03:02 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/Matt+Kemp+HR+in+Colorado.jpg

Somewhere between Petco Park and Coors Field … the truth lies.

In three games at home against the Dodgers the Padres scored no runs. In two games on the road against the Rockies the Padres have scored 29 runs.

San Diego chased Friday’s 13-run outburst with another 16-run performance in a 16-3 win in Colorado. Everyone in the starting lineup, including pitcher Drew Pomeranz, got a base hit for the Padres.

Matt Kemp put on a heck of an encore after his 4-hit day on Friday. Kemp went 3-5 with a pair of home runs and six runs batted in. Cory Spangenberg and Wil Myers also hit their first home runs of the season in the 19-hit onslaught.

New Padres Jabari Blash, Adam Rosales and Christian Bethancourt all joined in the fun to get their first hit in a San Diego uniform. Blash’s pinch-hit double was his first MLB knock. Pomeranz did not just get his first Padres hit; he also got his first Padres win after going 5.0 innings, allowing two runs and striking out seven.

In the span of just two games the Padres went from being the only team in Major League Baseball to not have any runs to having the 4th-highest scoring offense in the game. Part of that is playing at altitude. Part of that is facing the largely inferior Rockies pitching. Part of that is this team really does have some decent big leaguers on offense.

The Padres have won their first series of the season and can go for a sweep, getting back to .500 on the season, on Sunday when they send James Shields to the mound against Chad Bettis, who gave up five runs on seven hits (two of them homers) in a loss to the Diamondbacks in Arizona.

There is one bit of bad news from the big win. Third baseman Yangervis Solarte pulled up on a line drive base hit that could have been a double, clutching the back of his right leg. The Padres said it’s a hamstring injury. If Solarte has to make a disabled list stint, expect Jamile Weeks or Alexi Amarista to get a call-up from Triple-A El Paso. Amarista likely has the inside track since he is already on the 40-man roster.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Send Ross to Disabled List]]> Sat, 09 Apr 2016 14:37:45 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*124/GettyImages-519147866.jpg

Padres right-hander Tyson Ross did not look sharp in his first career Opening Day start against the Dodgers. Ross allowed eight runs (seven earned) on nine hits in 5.1 innings of San Diego's 15-0 loss to Los Angeles. As it turns out there's a reason for the sub-par stat line.

Ross was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 5, with inflammation in his pitching shoulder. Ross was scheduled to start Sunday's series finale in Colorado but will now miss that outing plus at least one more.

The Padres will instead have James Shields go on Sunday at Coors Field against the Rockies. Since the Friars had a day off on Thursday, Shields will be going on his normal four days of rest. Andrew Cashner then starts the first game of a four game set in Philadelphia on Monday.

The Padres added LHP Brad Hand to the roster to take Ross' place. In five years with the Marlins, Hand made 90 appearances (43 starts). Either he or fellow lefty Robbie Erlin, who got the win in relief on Friday against the Rockies, are the likely candidates to join the starting rotation until Ross returns.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The Streak is Over! Padres Score Runs, Win Game]]> Fri, 08 Apr 2016 17:03:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-519881948.jpg

The long national (well, regional) nightmare is over!

After becoming the first team in Major League Baseball history to open a season being shut out three straight times the San Diego Padres went bonkers on offense in a 13-6 win over the Rockies.

The Padres went scoreless in the first three innings, running their season-opening streak of futility to 30 innings. Then the 4th inning happened and offered a moment of catharsis.

Jon Jay laced a single to score Melvin Upton Jr. with the first run of the season and then the proverbial floodgates opened. Cory Spangenberg followed with a 2-run triple … Matt Kemp hit an RBI single … and Yangervis Solarte smoked a 2-run double to give the Padres six runs on six hits in the inning. Keep in mind they only had 11 hits in their opening 3-game series against the Dodgers at Petco Park.

RUNPOCALYPSE 2016 continued the next inning when Kemp struck again, smashing a 3-run home run to left-center field for San Diego’s first homer of 2016. Upton tied Kemp for the team home run lead an inning later when he yanked a 2-run bomb in to the left field bleachers and Solarte capped the scoring with a 2-run double in the 9th inning.

Despite the offensive support, starting pitcher Colin Rea was not able to get a win. He got roughed up by a potent Colorado offense, allowing five run on six hits in just 3.1 innings. Rea was pulled after Rockies rookie Trevor Story launched a 2-run home run, his 5th dinger in four games this season (Story also hit a solo shot in the 9th off Ryan Buchter to run his total to an astonishing six).

Robbie Erlin, just recalled on Friday because lefty Matt Thornton was placed on the 15-day disabled list with Achilles tendinitis, came in and threw extremely well in Colorado. Erlin went 3.2 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit to get the Padres’ first win of the season and the first in the young managerial career of Andy Green.

The Padres will go for a series win on Saturday evening when Drew Pomeranz, who started his MLB career as a Rockies starter, takes the hill against fellow lefty Jorge De La Rosa.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Set Record for Futility]]> Thu, 07 Apr 2016 06:38:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*128/GettyImages-519482270.jpg

It would have been bad enough that the Padres set a new franchise record for most scoreless innings to start a baseball season. That’s an embarrassment all by itself. But when you throw in the fact they’ve scored fewer runs than the opposing pitchers, you realize just how awful the season-opening series against the Dodgers was.

The Padres lost 7-0 at Petco Park on Wednesday night, becoming the first team in Major League Baseball history to be shut out three times to start a season. Still, manager Andy Green says the sky is not falling.

"There is still perspective here," said Green after his team was outscored 25-0 over the three game series. "We do have 159 games left and we will score runs this year. We will win series this year. Each individual guy needs to focus on what he can control. It really is nothing more than that."

One of the runs the Padres gave up was on a solo homer by Kenta Maeda. If you don’t recognize the name, you’re not alone. Maeda spent eight years in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League before joining the Dodgers this year. In those eight years he hit two home runs, but as a high school senior he did hit 27 dingers so the guy knows what he’s doing with a bat in his hands.

In his second at-bat in America’s big leagues, Maeda took Andrew Cashner deep, meaning in three games in their home ballpark the Dodgers pitching staff beat the Padres on both offense and defense. Cashner only survived 4.0 innings, allowing five runs on six hits with five strikeouts.

The Padres almost scored a run in the 6th inning. With runners at the corners and one out Wil Myers hit a ground ball to Adrian Gonzalez at first base. Instead of trying for the double play Gonzalez threw home to cut down Cory Spangenberg. It looked on replays like Los Angeles catcher A.J. Ellis was blocking the plate (a no-no with the so-called “Buster Posey Rule”) and Spangenberg might have gotten in under the tag but a lengthy video replay did not overturn the call of the home plate umpire. Yangervis Solarte struck out to end the inning, continuing the Padres’ march towards the history books.

Green says his club is suffering from what he calls "collective pressing," something the guys in the locker room would agree with.

"For sure guys are pressing. I'm one of them," said catcher Derek Norris, who went hitless in the series. "I can see it in my swing when I watch tape. I think once guys get a little bit settled in we're going to be fine."

The previous MLB record for consecutive scoreless innings to start the season was 26, set by the 1943 St. Louis Cardinals. That year, believe it or not, the Cardinals won 105 games and went to the World Series (they lost to the Yankees in five games). So perhaps history is on their side and this was actually a good thing for the Padres?

If you believe that, I have some oceanfront property in Nebraska you might be interested in. The Padres take a day off Thursday before starting a three game weekend series against the Rockies. If this offense can’t score in Colorado then the season is indeed lost.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Will The Padres Still Pitch to Adrian Gonzalez?]]> Wed, 06 Apr 2016 16:26:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/174*120/GettyImages-519287544.jpg

It would be overly simplistic to simply ask Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez why he hates his home town team. But it would also have merit.

It’s easy for observers of the game to think Gonzalez, an Eastlake High School alum and former Padres All-Star, has made it his life’s mission to torment his former fan base. In the first two games of the season Adrian has four hits in eight at-bats, three runs batted in and three runs scored.

Last year Gonzalez set a Major League record with five home runs in a season-opening three-game series against the Padres at Dodger Stadium. It sparked a vicious backlash against then-manager Bud Black as people wondered why he allowed his pitchers to keep throwing to the Dodgers slugger.

That same question is now dogging rookie skipper Andy Green. On Opening Day Gonzalez batted with a runner in scoring position and first base open three times. He singled home that run all three times. Now, one of those came in the first inning of the season so walking him intentionally there would be idiotic.

However, as the game was getting out of hand the strategy held merit. On Tuesday night Gonzalez never came up with runners on base but if that happens in Wednesday’s series finale at Petco Park, will Green decide to put Adrian on base on purpose?

“I think we’ve got to pitch to him in a disciplined fashion in that setting,” said Green. “I don’t know that we’re going to put him on. Maybe we will, maybe we won’t. It depends on the way the game is at that point in time.”

Gonzalez has tremendous numbers against Wednesday night’s starting pitcher, Andrew Cashner. In 32 career at-bats he’s hitting .344 with four home runs and an absurd 1.150 OPS. Basically, when Gonzalez faces Cashner, he turns in to Babe Ruth. At least, that’s what the numbers say. Green sees it a little differently.

“(Gonzalez) does have some solid numbers against (Cashner) but a lot of those were built up early in the season last year in that one game. The rest of the time it’s been almost neutral in respect to Adrian. He’s had one really good game, and we’re not going to diminish that game.”

Green is talking about that 3-home run game from April 9, 2015. All of the long balls came off of Cashner. If you remove that one game Gonzalez’s numbers drop to a .276 average with one home run and a pedestrian .758 OPS. Basically, he becomes Ty Wigginton. Still, the Padres will approach Adrian with a healthy dose of caution.

“We know how good he is,” said Green. “When it’s right we’ll pitch around him and pitch intelligently to him.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Destroyed on Opening Day]]> Mon, 04 Apr 2016 19:53:46 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/173*120/GettyImages-519144590.jpg

With all the talk of building a new football stadium in the East Village we might as well get used to seeing a pair of touchdowns on the scoreboard.

The Padres lost to the Dodgers 15-0 on Opening day at Petco Park. This one got away from the Friars early and they could never get it back.

"Opening Day is special. Nobody wants to come out and lay an egg on Opening Day and get beat 15-0," said Padres manager Andy Green after the franchise's worst Opening Day loss ever. "It still is one of 162 (games) and over the course of 162 every single team in baseball gets smoked like that so you have to keep it in perspective."

Green makes a good point. The Padres aren't going to have to face Clayton Kershaw every night. The Dodgers' starting pitcher doesn’t need much help from his offense. In his previous five career starts on Opening Day the L.A. ace piled up a 1.14 earned run average, better than Hall of Famers Bob Feller and Jim Palmer.

The only man in the modern era with a better Opening Day ERA (minimum five starts) is Rick Mahler, who pitched to a 0.92 in his career starting the season. So when Kershaw got two runs in the first inning and another in the third you had a good idea the Padres were in trouble.

Kershaw threw 7.0 shutout innings, allowing just one hit with nine strikeouts. Padres starting pitcher Tyson Ross, on the other hand, did not bring his best stuff to his first Opening Day outing. Ross finished with a nightmare stat line of 5.1, 9 hits, 8 runs, 7 earned runs, BB, 5 K, 2 HBP, WP. Basically he was unable to locate any of his pitches and it hurt him right off the bat.

In the first inning the Dodgers got two runs on a pair of doubles and a single by Adrian Gonzalez. The Eastlake High alum and former Padres All-Star continued tormenting his home-town team with a trio of RBI knocks.

Ross was finally pulled from the game in the 6th inning. He hit Yasiel Puig with a pitch then allowed four straight hits, the last one by Kershaw, prompting new manager Andy Green to go get him.

The Dodgers got three more runs in the 7th inning off Luis Perdomo. The Rule 5 draftee who had never pitched above Single-A ball was kept on the roster out of Spring Training. His introduction to MLB was harsh. Perdomo threw one-plus innings, allowing six runs on six hits. The bad news is his ERA is now 54.00. The good news is if he throws a scoreless inning in his next outing it will be cut in half to 27.00.

It was not exactly the kind of start the majority of the 44,317 fans at Petco Park were hoping for. Usually Dodgers fans come south to invade the East Village but this time the crowd was decidedly pro-Padres (until about the 6th inning, at least).

The Padres can get their first win of the year, and Green’s first as a big league manager, on Tuesday at home. James Shields gets the start against Dodgers left-hander Scott Kazmir.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Rotation is Long on Talent]]> Mon, 04 Apr 2016 08:30:56 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/167*120/Colin+Rea+Padres+2015.jpg

The Padres finalized their Opening Day roster on Sunday. Their sixth infielder will be Adam Rosales while Ryan Buchter gets the final spot in the bullpen. The last decision came in the starting rotation.

On the very first day of Spring Training we found out the top 3 starters in the Padres rotation would be Tyson Ross, James Shields and Andrew Cashner. But we didn’t learn the last two starters until the final weekend of the Spring.

Padres manager Andy Green is giving left-hander Drew Pomeranz one of the nods. He’s been a reliever the last couple of seasons but the Friars are giving him a chance to return to his starting roots.

“Once you put him in the bullpen that’s pretty much over,” said Green. “You take the opportunity for him to start, see how he does, you ride that as long as possible and if it doesn’t work out he slides back in to the rotation.”

Pomeranz broke in to the majors as a full-time starter for the Rockies. But pitching in Colorado is not a very accurate test of a pitcher’s abilities.

“Even though I’ve been pretty good out of the bullpen they obviously see something,” said Pomeranz. “There’s still hope left on being a starter, I guess. Obviously it makes you feel good about it.”

This time around the Padres expect Pomeranz to, as Green says, pitch with aggression.

“I think he’s gotta consistently step on the gas if he’s gonna be great,” said Green. “We had that conversation with him; it’s not a matter of just pacing yourself the whole time. He can pitch with some energy and when he does it’s really good.”

Joining Pomeranz in the rotation is youngster Colin Rea. Ranked as the 6th-best prospect in the Padres’ system, Rea started six games at the end of last season and threw well enough to make him think he belongs in the Big Leagues.

“It just helped believing in myself,” said Rea. “Getting up there last year was good experience to get some innings under my belt and see what it’s like up there. It gives me confidence going forward. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for the most part I though it went pretty good so now I’ve just got to build off that.”

Pomeranz will likely get the 4th spot in the rotation while Rea takes the ball on Day 5. One thing to keep an eye on is how many innings they’ve thrown. Rea has never gone more than 139 innings in five professional seasons and Pomeranz has not topped 100 innings since 2013.

Their first starts of the year will come on the road in … Colorado. Wish them luck.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The 2016 NBC 7 MLB Season Preview]]> Sat, 02 Apr 2016 17:47:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/World+Series+Trophy.jpg

The 2016 Major League Baseball season is upon us! Because every other sports entity on the planet is attempting to predict the season I’ll have some fun and go after it again.

This time, however, I am not going with emotion like I did a year ago. I am going to use sound logic (or as close as I’m capable of getting to it) to make these decisions on who will win each division, the Wild Card spots, the NL and AL pennants, and major post-season awards.

Let’s start with the National League West because we’re in San Diego, darnit!

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST

1)    San Francisco Giants
2)    Arizona Diamondbacks
3)    Los Angeles Dodgers
4)    San Diego Padres
5)    Colorado Rockies

The Giants don’t have the best roster in the division but they have the best manager and the deepest starting pitching and that will be enough to get them back to the post-season. Plus, you know, even-numbered year. The Diamondbacks added enough to sneak in to Wild Card contention but even with Zack Greinke as the ace of the staff I just don’t see them keeping pace with San Francisco. The Dodgers have Clayton Kershaw but there is no Robin to join Batman. They have too many injuries in the rotation to compete early in the season. The Padres would do well to approach .500. I think they’ll start off playing fairly bad baseball but steadily improve to a point they’re not just respectable, but competitive. Manager Andy Green is re-conditioning his players to do things a different way and if he’s able to get that message through good things are waiting for the Friars. The Rockies are the typical Rockies: a few scary sluggers, not nearly enough arms.

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL

1)    Chicago Cubs
2)    Pittsburgh Pirates
3)    St. Louis Cardinals
4)    Cincinnati Reds
5)    Milwaukee Brewers

The Cubs are legit. Like, really really legit. Chicago was good enough to reach the National League Championship Series a year ago and they were probably a year early. Now that guys like Kris Bryant and Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber have a season of seasoning, along with the additions of Jason Heyward, John Lackey and Ben Zobrist, the Cubbies might be the favorites to win it all. Something tells me this is the season the Cardinals finally regress to the mean, and that means the Pirates will once again be in the market for a Wild Card spot. The Reds and Brewers are not going anywhere near the post-season in 2016.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

1)    New York Mets
2)    Washington Nationals
3)    Miami Marlins
4)    Atlanta Braves
5)    Philadelphia Phillies

It’s hard to go against the reigning NL Pennant winners. They didn’t need to hold on to Yoenis Cespedes but they were able to when the market for him never really materialized and their starting rotation is no joke. It’ll go right down to the wire with the Nationals, who also have a staff that can give hitting coaches the heebie jeebies. Both of those clubs will likely end up in the post-season, but don’t sleep on the Marlins. Miami gets a healthy Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez, and they always seem to have a few youngsters who play well. I’m not entirely certain what the Braves are doing with all their moves the last two seasons and the Phillies are still in severe rebuild mode.

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST

1)    Texas Rangers
2)    Houston Astros
3)    Seattle Mariners
4)    Los Angeles Angels
5)    Oakland Athletics

The Rangers and Astros will be neck-and-neck until the very end of the season and either one could win the division. I give the edge to Texas because they get Rancho Bernardo High alum Cole Hamels for a whole year and Yu Darvish should return (the team is targeting May) from elbow surgery. The Mariners will push the top two teams in the division and keep themselves in the playoff picture. Their lineup is better than a lot of people give them credit for. The Angels are not nearly as good as a team with Mike Trout on it should be. Once again pitching will be their downfall. I always feel goosey putting the A’s near the bottom of the standings since they have found ways to surprise so many times before and Sonny Gray is a stud but they just don’t have enough horses to run in the AL West.

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL

1)    Kansas City Royals
2)    Minnesota Twins
3)    Detroit Tigers
4)    Chicago White Sox
5)    Cleveland Indians

This was the hardest division for me to look at because after the reigning World Series Champion Royals, who are still the class of the division, I see a way for any of the other four teams to earn a Wild Card spot. If I was to pick a team that will be the surprise of baseball it would be the Twins. They have a bumper crop of young players coming up and might end up with the top two finishers in the Rookie of the Year balloting (Byron Buxton, Jose Berrios) and a budding power source in Miguel Sano. The Tigers re-worked their roster with some interesting additions and if they all come together they might make a run. The White Sox have a possible Cy Young winner in Chris Sale and a possible home run champion in Jose Abreu. The Indians have a very good manager in Terry Francona, an ace in the rotation in Corey Kluber but I don’t see them generating enough offense to compete in this loaded group.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

1)    Toronto Blue Jays
2)    Boston Red Sox
3)    New York Yankees
4)    Tampa Bay Rays
5)    Baltimore Orioles

The Blue Jays are loaded on offense. Their only problem is it’s so right-hand heavy, and historically that has shown a penchant for leading to problems. But Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Troy Tulowitzki are the kinds of guys who hit pitchers that throw right-handed, left-handed, two-handed, whatever. Toronto is the favorite in the East. The Red Sox were smart to stick Pablo Sandoval on the bench in favor of Travis Shaw. It might get Sandoval to start taking thing seriously in Boston. The addition of David Price pushes the Sox ahead of the Yankees, but not by much. New York’s starting lineup can run with anybody but they’re not deep and a lot of the every-day players have proven to be injury-prone. The Rays have a budding star in right-hander Chris Archer and they might be another surprise team. The Orioles are going to regret giving all that money to Chris Davis. They need a lot more help than he’ll give them.

NL PLAYOFFS

Wild Card Game: Nationals over Diamondbacks
NLDS: Cubs over Nationals, Giants over Mets
NLCS: Cubs over Giants

AL PLAYOFFS

Wild Card Game: Astros over Twins
ALDS:  Rangers over Blue Jays, Royals over Astros
ALCS: Rangers over Royals

WORLD SERIES

Cubs over Rangers

I never thought I’d see it in my lifetime but yes, the Cubs are going to win the World Series. Theo Epstein will have engineered the end of championship droughts in both Boston and the north side of Chicago. Put him in the Hall of Fame right now.

Alright, let’s take a quick spin through the post-season awards and see who’s taking home hardware in 2016:

NL MVP: Giancarlo Stanton, MIA (If he stays healthy he’ll hit at least 50 homers for a winning team.)
AL MVP: Mike Trout, LAA (His team won’t contend but the numbers and impact are generational.)
NL CY YOUNG: Clayton Kershaw, LAD (He’s going to be the preseason favorite for years to come.)
AL CY YOUNG: David Price, BOS (The trendy pick for good reason.)
NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Corey Seager, LAD (Special talent, already has October experience.)
AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Byron Buxton, MIN (It’s been a long wait but it’ll be worth it.)
NL MANAGER OF THE YEAR: Bruce Bochy, SF (One of the best in the game, period.)
AL MANAGER OF THE YEAR: Paul Molitor, MIN (Minny will make the playoffs under his watch.)



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Close in on Opening Day Roster]]> Sat, 02 Apr 2016 17:36:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/172*120/GettyImages-474750146.jpg

The Padres have to name their final 25-man roster by Sunday. It appears they’re going to take as much time as they possibly can to make their final decisions. We know who 22 of the guys on the 2016 Opening Day roster are and the man most Friars faithful were hoping to see is on the list.

Outfielder Jabari Blash made the cut. As a Rule 5 draftee he will have to be kept on the big league roster for the entire season. Blash owns the kind of raw power that doesn’t come along very often, especially in the Padres organization.

If there were any doubts about his status at the end of Cactus League play they were erased when Blash went to El Paso and went 4-5 with two home runs, two doubles and five RBI in an exhibition game against the Chihuahuas. Padres manager Andy Green says Blash is “easy to dream on,” meaning his potential is off the charts.

Blash makes his first MLB Opening Day roster, as does fellow outfielder Travis Jankowski, who earned a spot on the team for his defense and speed. Along with Matt Kemp, John Jay and Melvin Upton Jr. the Padres are carrying five outfielders. At the beginning of the year Blash and Jankowski will be used as late-inning options, with Blash pinch-hitting from the right side and Jankowski coming in to protect leads on defense.

The Padres decided to keep another Rule 5 player in the pitching staff. Luis Perdomo, a 22-year-old right-hander who has tremendous upside but has never thrown a pitch above Single-A, is sticking with the big club. He’ll also be around for the entirety of 2016. Perdomo will start as a long reliever.

So all we’re waiting for now is a decision on the 5th starter, the final reliever and a reserve infielder. Here is your nearly-full 25-man roster:

PITCHERS
Tyson Ross
James Shields
Andrew Cashner
Drew Pomeranz
Fernando Rodney
Brandon Maurer
Kevin Quackenbush
Luis Perdomo
Carlos Villanueva
Matt Thornton

CATCHERS
Derek Norris
Christian Bethancourt

INFIELDERS

Wil Myers
Cory Spangenberg
Yangervis Solarte
Alexei Ramirez
Brett Wallace

OUTFIELDERS
Matt Kemp
John Jay
Melvin Upton Jr.
Jabari Blash
Travis Jankowski

General Manager A.J. Preller will reveal the team’s final decisions on Sunday. With him at the helm it is entirely possible a trade is in the works, as well.

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<![CDATA[Padres Make More Roster Announcements]]> Fri, 01 Apr 2016 19:10:09 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/176*120/GettyImages-488783538.jpg

Padres manager Andy Green revealed a few more pieces of his Opening Day roster on Friday afternoon. Before the Padres played an exhibition game against the White Sox at Petco Park (the first game at the Downtown ballpark in 2016) Green shared good news for three pitchers.

Lefty Drew Pomeranz had earned a spot in the starting rotation. Green was unsure if he'd be the fourth or fifth man to take the ball. Pomeranz was a starter at the beginning of his career with the Rockies but he moved to the bullpen in his two years with the Oakland A's.

Green also said relievers Brandon Maurer and Kevin Quackenbush both have a place on the 25-man roster. The Padres must have their Opening Day roster set before the end of the weekend.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Preview: Padres FanFest 2016]]> Fri, 01 Apr 2016 09:15:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/184*120/GettyImages-85829815.jpg

The Padres annual FanFest is getting bigger. Instead of the typical single-day baseball extravaganza at Petco Park, the 2016 version will stretch in to a two-day affair.

FanFest 2016 takes place this Friday and Saturday, in conjunction with two exhibition games against the White Sox at Petco Park. The Park at the Park will be open each day with the whiffle ball field hosting games for kids 14 and under.

On Friday, fans can expect a preview of this season’s Friday night Party in the Park presented by Southwest Airlines events, including entertainment provided by a DJ, as well as food and drink specials. Saturday will feature entertainment provided by a live band, as well as a preview of this season’s Sunday KidsFest events, including bounce houses, games, obstacle courses and face painting. The interactive “For those who Serve” Military and First Responder Zone will be open Saturday.

Gates open at 4:30 p.m. for FanFest activities. The seating bowl and Home Plate Gate open at 6 p.m. with first pitch against Chicago set for 7 p.m.

On Saturday, Park at the Park gates open to the general public at 10 a.m. (unless you’re a Padres Member, you can get in at 9 a.m. like at Disneyland). The seating bowl and Home Plate Gate open at noon. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m. Following Saturday’s game, fans will be invited on the field for the opportunity to run the bases.

On both days fans will get a chance to see the new two-level group and social space in right field: The Pier and the Sun Diego Beach. The relocation of the beach area was a hot topic among the Padres fan base in the off-season so it will be interesting to see how the new setup is received.

The Padres Foundation annual Garage Sale also returns this year. On both Friday and Saturday fans will have the opportunity to purchase Padres items, including game-used jerseys and batting helmets, with proceeds going to the Padres Foundation.

Now, here’s the really important information ... how much will it cost us?

Everything that’s not an actual baseball game is open to the public free of charge (no ticket or pre-registration necessary). General admission tickets to the exhibition games are free for all Padres Season Ticket Members (one ticket for every seat on their Membership account) and $10 for the general public. Tickets for the exhibition games are now on sale at www.padres.com and at the Padres Advance Ticket Windows at Petco Park.

Free parking will be available to Padres Members in Padres-owned lots around the ballpark on a first-come, first-served basis. General fan parking is $15 in Padres-owned lots and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Various Padres players, coaches and alumni will sign autographs at Park at the Park between 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. Autographs will be available on a first-come, first-served basis so there will be lines and autographs are not guaranteed.

Standard Petco Park security and screening procedures will be in place for Padres FanFest. Re-entry will be permitted for FanFest events, but fans who exit will be screened again upon re-entry into the ballpark.

You can find information updates by visiting www.padres.com/fanfest for additional details and the most up-to-date information.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[East Village Hosts Padres Opening Day Block Party]]> Thu, 31 Mar 2016 20:14:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Padres+Opening+Day+2014+Block+Party+%285%29.JPG

The opening of the San Diego Padres season is more than just a game; it's an all-day block party.

Downtown San Diego's East Village is hosting its sixth annual Opening Day Block Party from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on April 4, ahead of the Padres Home Opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The free community event will close J Street between 6th and 10th to allow fans to watch live entertainment, taste local craft beers, dine at food trucks and nearby restaurants as well as participate in various activities throughout the party.

When going to the event, party-goers can utilize the Metropolitan Transit System’s (MTS) increased services and mobile ticketing as well as the Coaster’s North County game day specials.

However, there are even more options.

For those braving the traffic, there are several paid parking lots surrounding the event that range in price from $10 to $30 for parking. San Diego’s Free Ride also allows people already in downtown to receive a ride by texting (619) 821-0520.

Skipping a car altogether is possible by taking advantage of San Diego's Deco Bikes. There are also bike racks for personal bikes on streets near the event.

More detailed information about transportation to the event can be found here.

Play ball.

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<![CDATA[MTS Offers Expanded Service for Padres Opener]]> Thu, 31 Mar 2016 20:17:48 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/173*120/Padres+Fans+Petco+Park+Exterior.jpg

San Diego Padres Opening Day is sure to bring crowds and traffic to downtown San Diego.

The home game on April 4 against the Los Angeles Dodgers is projected to attract nearly 50,000 fans, according to San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit System (MTS). Nonetheless, MTS says it is prepared to accommodate the large crowds.

MTS is offering mobile ticketing for Padres home games this year through their free app, mTicket. This feature allows riders to avoid downtown traffic and parking as well as surpass the $2 Compass Card fee. Rides can also purchase multiple trolley passes on one device allowing large groups and families to travel under one device.

Beyond new ticketing options, trolley services will run more frequently before the 4:05 p.m. first pitch.

Specifically, the Green Line will run every seven and a half minutes starting at 1:30 p.m. on game day and will continue after the game. The Gaslamp Quarter Station is the best station for Green Line riders to exit.

The University of California San Diego Blue Line will also run about every seven and a half minutes beginning at 2:30 p.m. as well as after the game. The Orange Line will run every 15 minutes as it normally does. Blue and Orange line riders are recommended to use the 12th and Imperial Transit Center to access the game.

All lines have trolley stops with high capacity parking options such as Qualcomm Stadium, Palm Avenue, El Cajon Transit Center and Spring Street.

Fans in North County can get in on the traffic-free travel as well. By purchasing the Coaster $12 RegionPlus Day Pass at a ticket machine or on the Coaster smart phone app, fans can ride to Santa Fe Depot and transfer to the Green Line toward Gaslamp Quarter Station for no additional cost.

Those that purchase one-way fares will be required to buy a trolley pass from Santa Fe Depot before continuing.

For general information about San Diego's MTS, click here.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Myers Expects Big Year for the Padres]]> Mon, 28 Mar 2016 15:07:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/171*120/Padres+Wil+Myers+Bat+Flip.jpg

Wil Myers has always been a talented guy. He was a 3rd round pick in 2009 by the Royals before being traded to the Rays while still in the minor leagues (for current Padres teammate James Shields).

Four years later Myers was the 4th-ranked prospect in all of baseball. He was called up at mid-season and in just 88 games with Tampa Bay did enough to earn the AL Rookie of the Year award. At the age of 21, playing in Double-A and Triple-A, Myers hit a combined 37 home runs and drove in 109 runs.

At the age of 22, playing in Triple-A and Major League Baseball, Myers hit a combined 27 homers and drove in 110 runs. It looked like he was the game's next great young power hitter, the East Coast's answer to Mike Trout.

But then injuries happened. Myers hit just six home runs in 87 games with the Rays in 2014, a dip in production that prompted Tampa to trade him to the Padres. In 2015 Myers was off to a promising start before more physical problems knocked him out of the lineup.

It turns out Myers had a bone spur in his left wrist. In the middle of the 2015 season he had is surgically removed. Heading in to 2016 Myers is pain-free and enjoying a brand new position. I went 1 on 1 with him to get a health update and see just what Wil thinks he's capable of this year.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: The Curious Case of Jabari Blash]]> Sun, 27 Mar 2016 20:00:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/Jabari+Blash+2016+Padres+Spring.jpg

Before the 2016 Cactus League season started Jabari Blash had never gotten more than nine at-bats in a Big League Spring Training. So when the Padres took him in the Rule V Draft they knew they were taking on a developmental project.

Granted, this project hit 32 home runs across Double-A and Triple-A in the Mariners system last year, so if he develops he could be a steal. On Sunday Blash hit his 4th home run of the season in the Padres’ 21-6 thrashing of the Astros in Mexico City. Well, it was less of a home run and more of a missile shot.

The ball cleared the fence and all the bleachers in left-center field at Fray Nano Stadium. It’s the kind of jaw-dropping blast that makes you fall in love with the power potential of the 6-foot-5-inch, 235-pound man who is built like, in the words of Padres manager Andy Green, “A Greek God.”

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Blash had a pair of hits in four at-bats against the Astros, driving in four runs and scoring twice. But the most important number in the box score was zero and it came in the strikeouts column.

The issue with Blash, and the main reason the 26-year-old hasn’t gotten his first MLB call-up, is his scary punch out rate. In his minor league career Blash has whiffed in 27 percent of his plate appearances. In his first full MLB training camp that number has gone up.

Blash has struck out in 38 percent of his plate appearances during Cactus League play. But, he’s also played better defense than most expected and … oh, that power.

The Padres will have to keep Blash on the team for the entirety of the 2016 season if they give him a spot on the Opening Day roster. It’s not often that a 26-year-old is still considered a “prospect” but for the Friars, a team in dire need of a home run threat, this gamble might be worth taking.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>