<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - San Diego Padres]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcsandiego.com/feature/san-diego-padres http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.com en-us Wed, 30 Jul 2014 14:19:07 -0700 Wed, 30 Jul 2014 14:19:07 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Padres Top Cardinals 3-1]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 10:42:21 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/tyson+ross+dodgers+preview.jpg

Tyson Ross (10-10) wasn't at his best, but was good enough. Despite giving up five walks, Ross allowed just one run as the Padres beat the Cardinals 3-1.

The offense was supplied by Jedd Gyorko, who had two hits including the go-ahead RBI single in the sixth. Yangervis Solarte homered in the seventh, his second as a Padres and the first batting from the left side.

Game two of the series is Wednesday night at Petco Park.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Petco Goes to the Dogs]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 19:35:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/dog+day+thumb.jpg The Friars' best friends took over Petco Park before Tuesday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals as part of the annual Dog Days of Summer promotion.

Photo Credit: Matthew Wood/NBC7]]>
<![CDATA[Tony Gwynn Remembered in San Diego]]> Tue, 17 Jun 2014 15:27:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Gwynn-Fans-4.jpg Legendary San Diego Padres baseball player Tony Gwynn was honored by fans after he died Monday morning.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Season in Images]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 12:46:36 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/padres+pic+729+7+a.jpg Relive all the great moments from the San Diego Padres' 2014 season in photos.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Finally Getting Healthy]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 19:27:06 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/jedd+gyorko+cards+preview.jpg

Slowly but surely, the Padres are starting to get healthy again.

Shortstop Everth Cabrera was activated from the disabled list today after missing all of July with a hamstring injury. Second baseman Jedd Gyorko returned to the lineup on Monday after missing 44 games with plantar fasciitis in his foot. Yonder Alonso was back at his post at first base over the weekend after spending more than a month on the shelf with a sore wrist.

Perhaps most importantly, staff ace Andrew Cashner threw a successful bullpen session and could be back in the next few weeks. He has made just 12 starts this season after two stints on the disabled list.

Of course, with the Padres looking at a 12 ½ game hole in the National League West after dropping three of four to the Atlanta Braves over the weekend, it’s more a case of too-little-too-late. It also makes you think what could have been if everyone had stayed healthy all season.

But speculating about that won’t do any good. Instead, the team has to focus on the St. Louis Cardinals, who come to town for a three-game series this week. It’s the first time back at Petco Park in nine days for the Friars, who will spend all week at home.

Can the new additions to the lineup help put some runs on the board against a streaking Cards team? Let’s find out.

Matchups:
Tuesday, 7:10 p.m.:
Tyson Ross (R, 9-10, 2.65) vs. Lance Lynn (R, 11-7, 3.05)
Ho-hum, another quality start from Ross, who has seven straight outings allowing two runs or less. Lynn just had a three-game win streak snapped, despite going six strong against the Tampa Rays over the weekend.

Wednesday, 7:10 p.m.: Jesse Hahn (R, 6-2, 2.12) vs. Kelly (R, 2-1, 3.90)
Hahn continues to impress, putting up six quality starts – including three in a row – since his call-up last month. He battles Kelly, a SoCal native who went to UC Riverside. He has pitched six or more innings in just two of his six starts this year.

Thursday, 12:40 p.m.: Odrisamer Despaigne (R, 2-2, 1.66) vs. Miller (R, 7-8, 4.20)
It was the shortest start of the season for Despaigne over the weekend, as he went just 3 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and five walks and took the loss. Miller hasn’t won since June 6.

What’s at stake: As usual, the Cardinals are right in the thick of the playoff race. They trail the Milwaukee Brewers by 2 games in the National League Central and are out of the wild card by just a half-game.

This is the first meeting of the season between the two teams. They meet in St. Louis next month.

Who to watch:
Padres:
Outfielder Seth Smith is hitting an astounding .471 over the past week and leads all Padres in home runs (11), average (.295), doubles (21) and walks (44). Tommy Medica is 8 for his last 20. Yangervis Solarte has hits in four of his first six games with the team since coming over in the Chase Headley trade.

Cardinals: Shortstop Jhonny Peralta leads the team with 14 homers and has a hit in five of his last six games. Outfielder Matt Holliday shook off a first-half slump and leads the team with 53 RBIs. He also has three home runs in his past five games. First baseman Matt Adams has hit over .300 in every month except for July (.289). He had a four-RBI game against the Cubs on Saturday.

Coming up: The Atlanta Braves come to town for a rematch of last weekend’s series where they took three of four from the Friars.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Heading Home]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 22:10:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*284/padres+pic+521+16.jpg

For the sixteenth time this season the Padres failed to score a run. For the upteenth time they wasted another strong starting pitching performance. The result: A 2-0 loss in the series finale on Monday to the Braves.

Padres starter Jason Lane (0-1), a former big-league position player turned pitcher, navigated through six-plus innings and really made only one mistake. The 37-year old hung a slider to lead-off hitter Evan Gattis in the seventh inning. Gattis promptly deposited it into the left field seats at Turner Field. That was all the offense the Braves would need, although they tacked on another run in the eighth.

The Braves got a strong performance from Ervin Santana (10-6). His slider was snapping and Padres hitters were swinging. That combination led to eleven strikeouts for Santana, tying a career high. For good measure reliever Craig Kimbrel took over where Santana left off. The Braves closer pitched a perfect ninth inning, striking out the side for his 32nd save of the season.

The Padres finished the road trip with a 3-4 record. They face the Cardinals Tuesday night at Petco Park.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[One Bad Inning Dooms Padres]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 19:10:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/176*120/452811220.jpg

The Padres should get Andrew Cashner back from injury soon. When that happens, somebody is going to have to come out of the starting rotation.

Tyson Ross, Ian Kennedy and Jesse Hahn aren't going anywhere (even though Kennedy will miss Monday's scheduled start in Atlanta with an oblique injury while Jason Lane is called up from El Paso to take the hill).

Despite Saturday night's setback, Odrisamer Despaigne has earned his keep.

So the odd man out might be the one who's thrown more innings for the team than anyone else the last two seasons, and the lone lefty in the group; Eric Stults.

Sunday afternoon against the Braves, Stults threw 5.0 hitless innings, allowing just one baserunner and facing the minimum 15 hitters. The problem is, he threw another inning where things just went haywire.

That inning was the 3rd, when Stults gave up six runs on six hits in a game the Braves won 8-3. It's the 13th loss of the season for Stults.

The Padres offense came on solo home runs from Yangervis Solarte (his first in a San Diego uniform) and Rene Rivera, and an RBI single by Tommy Medica.

The Padres can split the series on Monday behind Lane, who'll be making his first career MLB start on the mound. Lane played parts of six seasons, mostly with the Astros, as an outfielder before going back to the minors and reinventing himself as a left-handed pitcher.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Win 3rd Straight]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 23:09:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*136/452685304.jpg

Jesse Hahn was recalled from Double-A San Antonio for Friday night's start against the Braves in Atlanta.

If he keeps this up, he'll never be in the minor leagues again.

Hahn threw 6.0 innings, allowing only one run and striking out four in the Padres' 5-2 win. Yes, you read that correctly. The Padres scored five more runs, giving them 26 in the last three games.

Keep in mind, this is an offense that has scored 26 or more runs in only three WEEKS of the 2014 season, and the season started on March 31.

All of the Padres runs came in the first five innings. Tommy Medica singled to bring home Chris Denorfia in the first inning. Medica had a career-high four hits. In fact, he had gotten a hit in seven straight at-bats before grounding out in the 9th inning.

The Padres got another run in the 3rd inning when Chris Nelson's sacrifice fly scored Carlos Quentin, then two more in the 4th on a Denorfia RBI single and a sac fly from Yangervis Solarte.

Rene Rivera singled home Jeff Francoeur in the 5th, but by then Hahn had all he needed. The young right-hander has made four career starts on the road, giving up a total of four runs in those starts and winning all of them.

The Padres can win their 4th straight on Saturday when another effective rookie, Odrisamer Despaigne, takes the mound against Julio Teheran.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Runs Roll in as Padres Head South]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 11:58:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/will+venable+braves+preview.jpg

Don’t look now, but the Padres have quietly won two straight series coming off last week’s All-Star break.

In those victories, they are scoring more than seven runs a game. Wait a second, could there be a correlation between scoring runs and winning ballgames? Why didn’t someone tell them earlier?
Seriously though, the Padres are now 32-5 when scoring four or more runs – second best in the league. The problem is they’ve now played 101 games on the season. That’s a lotta three-runs-or-less performances, resulting in too many losses.

Maybe some good ol’ southern hospitality will do the Padres well, as they travel to Atlanta this weekend for a four-game series with a Braves team that just dropped three of four to the Miami Marlins to fall out of first place in the National League East.

Matchups:
Friday, 4:35 p.m.:
Jesse Hahn (R, 5-2, 2.21) vs. Alex Wood (R, 7-7, 3.24)
The wins just keep on piling up for Hahn, who has won five of his last six starts, allowing three earned runs or fewer in each of them. Wood has four quality starts in five outings since rejoining the rotation last month.

Saturday, 4:10 p.m.: Odrisimar Despaigne (R, 2-1, 1.31) vs. Julio Teheran (R, 9-6, 2.64)
OD took a no-hitter into the eighth inning on Sunday, and has yet to have a bad outing in his month in the majors. Teheran has won three of his last four decisions.

Sunday, 2:05 p.m.: Eric Stults (L, 3-12, 5.00) vs. Zach Minor (L, 3-6, 5.32)
The defeats just keep on piling up for Stults, who took over the league lead in Ls with his 12th on Tuesday. But he still has a better ERA than fellow lefty Minor, who has allowed 12 earned runs in his last two starts.

Monday, 9:10 a.m.: Ian Kennedy (R, 8-9, 3.66) vs. Ervin Santana (R, 9-6, 3.87)
With six more strikeouts on Wednesday, Kennedy jumped to second place in Ks in the NL with 143. Santana has won four of his last five starts, striking out 10 against the Marlins this week.

What’s at stake: These two teams might as well get used to each other. They meet in seven of the next 10 games for each – the only times they will face off all season.

While the Padres are keeping their phone lines open to entertain trade offers from contenders, the Braves could be looking to shore up their pitching staff as the trade deadline nears. They would love to be able to flip underachieving outfielder B.J. Upton for a low-end starter or bullpen arm. Good luck with that.

Who to watch:
Padres:
Outfielder Seth Smith has nine hits during his current five-game hit streak and continues to lead the team in home runs (11), RBIs (31), average (.293) and walks (43). Fellow outfielder Will Venable is hitting .393 in his last 10 games. Catcher Rene Rivera is coming off a three-hit game that includes a homer and two-run single.
Braves: Outfielder Justin Upton (B.J.’s brother) has a hit in eight of his last nine games. He leads the team with 18 homers, 57 RBIs and a .287 average. First baseman Freddie Freeman leads the team and is fifth in the NL with 28 doubles. Third baseman Chris Johnson has a pair of homers in his last five games.

Coming up: Welcome the Padres back home next week with a series against the St. Louis Cardinals starting on Tuesday, followed by a visit from these Braves next weekend.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[New Players Lift Padres]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 06:17:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Cubs_2014_37.jpg

The Padres day started with the news of Cameron Maybin's 25-game suspension for a failed drug test. It ended with an 8-3 win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Yangervis Solarte, acquired from the Yankees in the Chase Headley deal, tripled in the first inning to drive in the Padres first run. He finished with two hits an RBI and two runs scored. Jeff Francoeur also delivered. Called up from El Paso to replace Maybin on the roster, the big league veteran collected a hit, drove in a run and also scored. Tommy Medica had a productive day at the plate as well. He had three hit and drove in two.

Padres starter Ian Kennedy went six innings to collect his eighth win. Kennedy managed to navigate around the season high six walks he allowed. Tsuyoshi Wada started for the Cubs and took the loss. Cubs pitchers had trouble finding the plate all evening. They combined to walk eleven Padres.

The series wraps up Thursday night at Wrigley.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Cameron Maybin Suspended ]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:51:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/cameron+maybin+drug+suspension.jpg

San Diego Padres outfielder Cameron Maybin has been suspended 25 games after testing positive for an amphetamine, a violation of league policy, Major League Baseball announced Wednesday.

The suspension is effective immediately. He is the first major league player to be suspended this season under the league's drug policy.

"I have been undergoing treatment for several years for a medical condition, attention deficit disorder, for which I previously had a Therapeutic Use Exemption," Cameron said in a statement. "Unfortunately, in my attempts to switch back to a medicine that had been previously OK'd, I neglected to follow all the rules and as a result I tested positive. "I want to assure everyone that this was a genuine effort to treat my condition and I was not trying in any way to gain an advantage in my baseball career. I understand that I must accept responsibility for this mistake and I will take my punishment and will not challenge my suspension."

"Our club fully supports Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program," Padres manager Bud Black said in a statement. "Cameron has accepted full responsibility for his violation and apologized to his teammates and coaches. We are all looking forward to his return."

Team President and CEO Mike Dee also released a statement: “I’m disappointed in Cameron’s violation of MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, but am pleased that he’s taking responsibility for his mistake. The Joint Agreement was put into place to protect both the player and the game, and the Padres fully support it.”

The team called up Jeff Francoeur today to replace him on the roster, a move that's expected to be made official on Wednesday.

Maybin has had a disappointing year so far, hitting just .249 with one home run and nine RBIs. He missed nearly all of April with a biceps injury. He has just one hit in hist last eight games.

He's not the first Padres player to face a drug suspension from the league. In 2012, catcher Yasmani Grandal was suspended 50 games after testing positive for testosterone. Last year, All-Star shortstop Everth Cabrera missed 50 games the final 50 games of the season when he was linked to the Biogenesis investigation.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Call Up Frenchy From El Paso]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:16:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/jeff+francoeur.jpg

The Padres’ latest call-up is more than just your typical minor-league prospect, and he might make things a little bit more interesting in the clubhouse.

Jeff Francoeur, 30, is expected to join the team in Chicago on Wednesday after his promotion from the Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas. He takes the place of Cameron Maybin, who was suspended for 25 games on Tuesday for violating the league's drug policy.

The outfielder is a major league veteran, having played in parts of nine seasons with the Braves (2005-09), Mets ('09-10), Rangers ('10), Royals ('11-13) and Giants ('13).

The man they call Frenchy is also the victim of a couple of recent pranks that were recorded by his Chihuahuas teammates and include current Padres Carlos Quentin, Brooks Conrad and Kevin Quackenbush.

In the first one, the rest of the team convinces Francoeur that teammate Jorge Reyes is deaf – a ruse that went on for more than a month. That video has more than 1 million views on YouTube.

In the second video, posted recently, teammates lock Francoeur in the bathroom, forcing him to crawl through the ceiling in order to escape.

Needless to say, the addition should liven things up during an otherwise dismal season.

As for his on-field acumen, Francoeur has a .268 career batting average. He won a Gold Glove in 2007 while with Atlanta, also driving in more than 100 runs in both ’06 and ’07.

He hit .294 with 15 home runs and 60 RBIs for El Paso this season.

Francoeur was released by the Cleveland Indians before the start of the season and signed a minor-league deal with the Padres in March.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Former Padre Beats Padres]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 23:55:41 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Cubs_2014_34.jpg

While Padres bats remained silent, a former Padre's was not. Anthony Rizzo homered in the third and seventh innings, pacing the Cubs to a 6-0 victory. He now leads the National League with 25 home runs. It was the Friars 15th shutout loss of the season.

Padres starter Eric Stults (3-12) took the loss. He labored through five innings on a sticky Chicago night. Stults gave up three runs on six hits, yet managed to strike out seven Cubs batters. Chicago starter Kyle Hendricks (1-0) pitched seven strong innings and in the process the rookie bagged his first major league win.

Game two of the three game series is under the lights Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Head to 'Friendly Confines']]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 14:40:36 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/yasmani+grandal+cubs+preview.jpg

There’s a line from the classic movie “Dazed and Confused” where the junior high teacher responds to kids who are trying to leave class early in order to avoid getting beat up by the high school seniors: “It's like our sergeant told us before one trip into the jungle. Men, 50 of you are leavin' on a mission, 25 of ya ain't comin' back.”

That has to be how the current Padres roster is feeling after seeing two teammates traded away in the past week, and more changes potentially coming before next week's non-waiver trade deadline.

As they embark on a seven-game road trip, they face a foe in the Chicago Cubs who are no stranger to playing for "next year." Currently in last place in the National League Central, the Cubs are now 17 games under .500 after losing five straight and eight of their last 10. Needless to say, neither of these teams are making postseason plans.

But there’s always next year and beyond, something the Friars are squarely focused on as they continue to reshape their roster for the future. At least they get to spend the week at the “Friendly Confines” of Wrigley Field.

Let’s look at the upcoming series.

Matchups:
Tuesday, 5:05 p.m.:
Eric Stults (L, 3-11, 4.98) vs. Kyle Hendricks (R, 0-0, 6.00)
Stults leads the league in losses, but has allowed just seven earned runs in his last four starts. Hendricks is making just his second big league start, allowing four runs in six innings in his debut.

Wednesday, 5:05 p.m.: Ian Kennedy (R, 7-9, 3.62) vs. Tsuyoshi Wada (0-0, 0.00)
After allowing just two earned runs in his previous three starts, Kennedy gave up four in five innings against the Mets over the weekend. Wada pitched five scoreless innings in his MLB debut.

Thursday, 5:05 p.m.: Tyson Ross (R, 8-10, 2.70) vs. Edwin Jackson (5-10, 5.61)
Ross has allowed just seven earned runs in his last six starts. Meanwhile, Jackson has coughed up 12 runs in his last nine innings of work and hasn’t won in over a month.

What’s at stake: Well, not too much. The teams split a series at Petco Park earlier this year and this is the last meeting between the two, so the season series is on the line. The Cubs are trying to avoid the worst record in baseball – they lead the Rangers and Rockies by a game. Aaaaand, that’s about all to look forward to in this battle of trade deadline sellers.

Who to watch:
Padres:
Catcher Yasmani Grandal is starting to heat up with homers in his last two games. He is now second on the team with nine, but still sports an ugly .214 batting average. Outfielder Seth Smith had four hits over the weekend and leads the current roster with 11 homers and 29 RBIs (Headley has driven in 32 runs). Infielder Chris Nelson has four hits in his first 10 at-bats since his call-up from Triple-A last week.

Cubs: Former Padres prospect Anthony Rizzo leads the team with 23 homers is tied for the team lead in RBIs (53) with fellow All-Star Starlin Castro. Outfielder Justin Ruggiano is hitting .362 in July. Recent call-up Arismendy Alcantara has 10 hits in his first eight games in the majors.

Coming up: The Padres head south to Atlanta for a four-game series against the Braves this weekend before coming home to face the St. Louis Cardinals and Braves again next week.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chase Headley Traded to Yankees]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:29:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/chase+headley+traded.jpg

The Padres continued their push to build for the future, trading away veteran third baseman Chase Headley to the New York Yankees on Tuesday.

Headley, 30, has played his entire career with the Padres, who selected him in the second round of the 2005 first-year player draft.

Immediately after news he'd been traded, he sent this message to fans via Twitter, "I would just like to thank the @Padres and the city of San Diego for the best years of my life. I'm excited to join the Yankee organization!"

It's the second big trade for the Friars, which also dealt closer Huston Street to the Angels over the weekend.

The Padres will get infielder Yangervis Solarte and right-handed pitcher Rafael De Paula in exchange for Headley and cash considerations.

After a rough start that included some time on the disabled list, Headley picked it up as of late, hitting .323 in July. His was still hitting just .226 overall on the season.

Headley will be a free agent after this season, so the Yanks are basically renting him out for the rest of the year.

His breakout year came in 2012, when he led the league with 115 RBIs and earned both the Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Which Other Padres Could Be Traded?]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:34:55 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/chase+headley+trade+deadline.jpg

Another veteran Padres player was traded on Tuesday, as Chase Headley was shipped to the New York Yankees for a pair of prospects.

He follows Huston Street, who was sent to the Los Angeles Angels over the weekend.

The question now is whether the Padres are done making moves before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Who else could be out of a Padres uniform before next week’s deadline? Let’s look at the feasibility for some of the most talked-about names.

Chris Denorfia: A free agent in the offseason, Deno offers some flexibility in that he can play all three outfield positions. He doesn’t have the power most AL teams would covet (he set a career high with 10 homers last year) but offers a solid career .275 batting average and a wealth of experience. The Blue Jays are also looking long and hard at Denorfia and would probably be his destination when he is dealt. The question is whether Toronto would want both of these guys and if they have enough to give up in return.

Carlos Quentin: He might be the biggest name in the lineup, but that doesn't make him the most desirable. His injury history and no-trade clause make Quentin a bit tougher to move. He hasn't done himself any favors even when healthy, putting up a paltry four homer and .176 batting average in 47 games this season. Potential suitors would most likely come from the American League, where they can DH his bad knees and fielding. Perhaps the Royals?

Ian Kennedy: What an interesting situation this rotation has become. Kennedy has turned it on over the past two months, showing the form that made him a 21-game winner a few years ago. That has also coincided with rookies Odrisamer Despaigne and Jesse Hahn earning spots in the rotation with some quality outings. There’s no shortage of contending teams who would love to have another solid starting pitcher. The Miami Marlins and Seattle Mariners, among others, have shown interest. The question is if it’s in the Padres’ best interests to give him up.

Joaquin Benoit: Here is another intriguing option. It wouldn’t make sense to deal away your closer, then turn around and trade away the heir to the ninth inning – and only guy in the bullpen with any real closing experience. But the asking price is high for Benoit, who is owed $8 million this year and next. Will a team like the Pirates or Indians pay for a solid back-inning guy to solidify their bullpen? Or will the Tigers swoop in and deal for the guy they let go in the offseason? Can the Padres afford to lose another top-line reliever? The way this bullpen has been shutting opponents down, they might be able to afford to take a chance with some unproven guys and regroup in the offseason.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Woman, 105, Makes History With First Pitch ]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 17:22:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Padres-Pitch-Agnes-0721.jpg

Agnes McKee's birthday celebration wasn't just a first for her. It was also a first for Major League Baseball.

At 105, McKee threw out the first pitch before Sunday’s San Diego Padres game and became the oldest person ever to throw out a ceremonial first pitch.

“I haven’t thrown a ball in years,” she said before the game.

“I do Wii Bowling which we do like this,” she said gesturing. “So it’s the same thing.”

“Other than that, nothing on this scale have I ever done before,” she said.

McKee said she was a bit nervous about the throw, but said all pitchers have trouble with control.

She used a walker to make it to the pitchers’ mound and tossed a respectable underhanded throw to catcher Rene Rivera.

The Padres say the idea to have McKee mark her July 16 birthday with the first pitch was sparked by the staff at her retirement living community.

It may have been her first Padres game (her husband was the baseball fan in the family) but it wasn’t her first memorable birthday celebration.

Five years ago, she went skydiving at an indoor facility.

As far as the future, McKee said she’d like to achieve another “first.” Her new goal is to bowl a perfect game on Wii Bowling.



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Nearly Snap No-Hitter String]]> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 19:14:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/164*120/452440448.jpg

As a franchise, the Padres have played 7,264 regular season games (and 34 more in the playoffs). Sunday at Petco Park, the Friars came awfully close to recording their first no-hitter in a 2-1 win over the New York Mets.

Odrisamer Despaigne, the native Cuban making his fifth career MLB start, lost his no-no with two outs in the 8th inning against the Mets. Up until that point, he sure had no-no stuff.

"Once you get past the 6th, I think there's a legitimate chance," said Padres manager Bud Black. "I thought he was throwing well enough to think, hey, it could happen."

Despaigne finally surrendered a double to Daniel Murphy, then went from thinking "I could make history!" to realizing "I could take the loss!"

David Wright followed with a single to score Murphy, and the game was tied 1-1. You see, the Padres offense had only scored once, on a solo home run in the 4th inning by catcher Yasmani Grandal, who has gone deep in back-to-back games.

Despaigne's outing was the fifth-longest no-hit outing in Padres history.

After he left, Alex Torres was able to keep Wright from scoring, so Despaigne finished the day allowing two hits, one run, striking out five, and getting a no-decision.

The Padres won with two outs in the 9th inning when Seth Smith hit a comebacker to Mets pitcher Josh Edgin, who fell over trying to field the soft grounder and gave Smith just enough time to beat the throw to first base as Cameron Maybin scored the winning run.

The Padres took two of three games from New York, and now hit the road for a seven game road trip that starts Tuesday in Chicago against the Cubs.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ross Pitches Padres Past Mets]]> Sat, 19 Jul 2014 22:05:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/tyson+ross+dodgers+preview+all+star.jpg

Tyson Ross is pitching like an All-Star. He threw a gem Saturday against the Mets, striking out six over seven innings notching his 8th win of the season.

In their 6-0 win the Padres played their version of home-run derby. Yasmani Grandal hit a 440-foot solo shot in the 2nd. Will Venable homered in the fourth and Seth Smith hit his eleventh of the year in the sixth.

The Padres and Mets finish off the series Sunday afternoon at Petco Park.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Trade All-Star Closer]]> Sat, 19 Jul 2014 00:35:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/495673647.jpg

Three weeks ago, the Padres let general manager Josh Byrnes go, and team executive chairman Ron Fowler declared with emphasis, "This is not a fire sale!"

But on Friday night, it sure felt like a fire sale was starting.

The Padres traded 2-time All-Star Huston Street, the most efficient closer in baseball this season and arguably their best player, to the Los Angeles Angels for a package of four minor league prospects. The Friars will also send minor league pitcher Trevor Gott to the Angels.

For Street, the news was not a surprise.

"Blackie (manager Bud Black) called down during the game and said, hey, didn't want you to be caught off guard why we're not using you here, but there's some stuff going on," said Street. "He didn't really have to tell me much more than that."

Street said the organization kept him in the loop on trade talks as much as it could, something he appreciates. He could become a free agent after the season, and didn't rule out the possibility of returning.

"I love this place," said Street. "I'd come back. Obviously, when you have personal success, you have great memories, but I signed back here during the 2012 season because I believed we can win. I still believe this team can win. It's been three of my favorite years of my life."

So, is this just the beginning of the Padres trade season?

"We have to make that assessment, almost, day by day," said Assistant General Manager A.J. Hinch, who is one of three people handling the G.M. duties while the Padres search for a replacement for Byrnes. "The reality is, we're plenty of games under .500 that we've got to balance the here and now with what we can get moving forward. How many does that mean? I don't know. In this particular deal we felt like it was something we had to move on, given the talent we're getting back."

And what is that talent they're getting back? A haul of minor leaguers regarded as the top of the Angels system.

Second baseman Taylor Lindsey, relief pitcher R.J. Alvarez, shortstop Jose Rondon and starting pitcher Elliot Morris are all now part the San Diego system. However, none of them will join the big league club yet.

Lindsey is a 2nd baseman with Triple-A Salt Lake City who some scouts think can develop in to a solid run producer. In 75 games for the Bees, he hit .247 with eight homers and 30 runs batted in. Lindsey did miss three weeks last month after suffering a concussion, but Padres assistant General Manager A.J. Hinch said the Padres are not concerned.

"We did a thorough exam and feel very comfortable with the medical review," said Hinch.

Lindsey will report to Triple-A El Paso.

Alvarez is a right-hander with an electric arm, showing off a fastball that hits 100 miles per hour. He's only allowed one earned run in 27.0 innings with Double-A Arkansas.

However, he also missed more than a month with tenderness in his pitching elbow. Since coming off the disabled list he's pitched 9.0 innings, striking out 10 while only allowing five hits. He'll head to San Antonio.

Rondon is a Venezuelan-born shortstop who has a knack for putting the ball in play for Single-A Inland Empire. He's currently 5th in the California League with a .327 batting average. Rondon recently played in the MLB Futures Game at Target Field in Minnesota. Although his defense at shortstop is above-average, the Padres just used their first round pick on Trea Turner, so Rondon might be used as a utility-type player of start learning the outfield. He'll join Lake Elsinore.

Morris was the Angels' 4th round pick from 2013. This year he was promoted to the California League, where he's gone 3-3 with a 4.17 ERA in nine starts. The Padres think he can continue to develop as a starting pitcher. Morris will join Rondon with the Storm.

Ramona native Nick Vincent will re-join the Padres on Saturday to take Street's spot on the 25-man roster.

For now, Joaquin Benoit (who took the loss when he gave up a 9th inning run in Friday night's 5-4 loss to the Mets at Petco Park) will take over the closer's role, something he did admirably in Detroit in 2013. At least, for now he will. Benoit has also been the subject of trade talks, along with 3rd baseman Chase Headley and outfielder Carlos Quentin.

With 13 days to go until the MLB trade deadline, almost anyone could be on the move. Or not.

"We've got a lot of good players that teams have asked about," said Hinch, "but that doesn't mean we're just open to trading everyone."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Will Anybody Score at Petco This Weekend?]]> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 17:12:53 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/despaigne+mets+preview.jpg

Everybody knows about the Padres' struggles at the plate this season. This is a lineup that's hitting just .214 on the season – 23 points worse than any other team in the league.

We also know their pitching has been lights out. It kept them in last weekend's series with the Dodgers by allowing just seven runs in four games. Unfortunately, they lost three of those -- two by a score of 1-0 and another 2-1 -- and are reeling as they come out of the All-Star break.

They welcome a New York Mets team with many of the same problems -- solid pitching but a lineup that ranks 26th in batting average and 28th in slugging.

So, will anybody be able to score this weekend? Let's break down the series.

Matchups:
Friday, 7:10 p.m.:
Ian Kennedy (R, 7-9, 3.47) vs. Bartolo Colon (R, 8-8, 3.99)
Kennedy has allowed just two earned runs over his past three starts. He threw eight scoreless and struck out eight Dodgers last weekend but go a no-decision in a – you guessed it – 1-0 loss. Colon gave up just two runs in 7 1/3 innings in a win over the Padres last month.

Saturday, 5:40 p.m.: Tyson Ross (R, 7-10, 2.85) vs. Dillon Gee (4-1, 2.56)
That’s now five straight quality starts for Ross, with just one win to show for it. Gee can top that with six straight QS, allowing just six runs total in that stretch.

Sunday, 1:10 p.m.: Odrisamer Despaigne (2-1, 1.35) vs. Zack Wheeler (5-8, 3.90)
OD picked up his first career loss over the weekend despite pitching seven strong innings allowing seven hits and two runs without walking a batter. It looks to be another pitcher’s duel as Wheeler has allowed just three earned runs in his last three starts.

What’s at stake: Man, that Dodgers series hurt. The Padres were within 10 games of the division lead before losing three of four to fall 12 back at the break. That probably cemented their spot as sellers in the trade deadline market, so expect some names to get moved over the next few weeks.

Hopefully the four-day break helped heal some wounds, as the Padres have gaping holes due to injuries.

Surprisingly, the Mets have pulled themselves out of the standings gutter and stand just seven games back of the division and wild card leads. Will they have enough to compete with Atlanta and Washington at the top of the NL East? At least they’re in the conversation.

The Mets took two of three in Queens earlier this year. This is the last time the teams will see each other this season.

Injury Report:

Manager Bud Black shed some light on the rash of Padres injuries. First, he said Tommy Medica would be able to pinch hit tonight, but probably not run.

"We're hoping he can hit it over the fence so he can jog around the bases," Black joked.

As for the more serious injuries, Jedd Gyorko (foot) will play in Fresno this weekend, but is probably at least a week away from returning. Everth Cabrera (hamstring) will begin a rehab assignment as early as Monday. First baseman Yonder Alonso will play this weekend in Arizona. Andrew Cashner (shoulder) will start a throwing program this weekend, but there's still no time table for his return.

"It's always good when hurt players are playing again," Black said.

Who to watch:
Padres:
Left-fielder Seth Smith was the star of the first half in this lineup and continues to swing a hot stick – hitting .370 with a pair of homers – in July. Ditto third baseman Chase Headley, whose .327 average in July is more than 100 points higher than any other month this season. Outfielder Alexi Amarista has hits in eight of his last 10 games.

Mets: Second baseman Daniel Murphy ranks third in the National League with 113 hits. He also leads the team with 56 runs scored and has a hit in six of his last seven games. First baseman Lucas Duda leads the team with 14 homers and 47 RBIs. He’s hitting .323 in his last 10 games. Eric Young Jr. is among the league leaders with 25 stolen bases despite hitting just .236 on the season.

Coming up: The Padres hit the road for a week after this, visiting the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves before returning home to face the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Midseason Report Card]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 11:50:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/midseason+grade+street.jpg

As we get catch our collective breath over the four-day All-Star break, it’s a good opportunity to look back at a first half on a Padres season filled with ups and downs, sadness and hope.

Off the field, we lost two true Padres legends in Jerry Coleman and Tony Gwynn. We also have the prospect of a new general manager, which fans hope will be a reason for optimism – although time will only tell.

On the field, the season’s first half probably felt like a disappointment to most. This lineup not only couldn’t hit its way out of a paper bag, it would probably get tripped up while trying and end up on the disabled list. They rank dead last in the league in most major categories and could very well set all-time records for futility.

But really, if you look at where the Padres are in the standings right now – third place, not necessarily in the division hunt but less than 10 games out before the Dodgers debacle last weekend – that’s probably right around where we thought they would be, right?

As we gear up for the second half of the season, let’s dole out some grades based on production so far.

Top of the class
Tyson Ross:
He got a much-earned All-Star selection, even if he didn’t get to actually appear in the game (it seems nobody on the team does). Ross has been unhittable for a good part of the past two months. His seven wins are tied for the team lead and his 2.85 ERA is best among all starters except for the injured Andrew Cashner. With Cash sidelined for much of the year, Ross has taken the role of staff ace and run with it.

Seth Smith: It started with a pinch-hit home run in the season opener and continued with a red-hot .354 average in the month of May. Just imagine what this lineup would be like without his 10 homers, 73 hits and 42 walks. The longtime platoon player was rewarded with starter-like money when he signed a two-year extension last month. It was well deserved.

Huston Street: The other Padres All-Star earned his second trip to the Midsummer Classic in three years with a near-perfect first half. He blew just one of his 25 save chances while holding opponents to a miniscule .158 average, anchoring a bullpen that was the best in the league for much of the season. Now, if the offense can just work on getting some more leads to protect …

Above Average
The rest of the bullpen:
Take out Nick Vincent’s struggles while dealing with a shoulder injury and a few recent hiccups from Alex Torres and Joaquin Benoit and this bunch is near perfect. Who knows who will still be around at the end of the year – Benoit and Street are both the subject of trade rumors – but it’s hard to complain about much no matter who Bud Black calls upon from the ‘pen.

Rene Rivera: The longtime journeyman was kept on as a third catcher to start the season mostly because of his rapport with Andrew Cashner, but he has proven himself a worthy every day starter.  Rivera has already set career highs with six homers and 22 RBIs and earned rave reviews for his work behind the plate.

Odrisamer Despaigne and Jesse Hahn: The two rookies have been a pleasant surprise, winning a combined seven of their 11 starts and holding hitters under .200. The future is bright for both of these guys, assuming they can keep it up.

Ian Kennedy: His impressive stats have been lost in the shuffle of Ross and the rookies. If it wasn’t for an ugly stretch in June, his numbers would be on par with the best of ‘em and his first three starts of July – just two total earned runs allowed – bode well for the second half.

Passing Grade
Andrew Cashner:
What a frustrating year for the guy who was supposed to be “the guy” in this talented rotation. Remember that one-hitter against the Tigers back in April? Who knows how many more similar performances we would have seen if his arm hadn’t been bothering him. Here’s hoping the soreness is not too serious and Big Tex can get back on the mound soon. If nothing else, he brings a levity to the clubhouse that is always appreciated.

Jake Goebbert: He hasn’t done anything particularly spectacular since getting called up last month, but he hasn’t really been a liability at the plate while playing first base and outfield. In this lineup, we’ll take it.

Still Work to Do
Chase Headley: The high-priced third-baseman was flirting with disaster for much of the season, and that was before he got hurt. Thanks to a hot July – he’s at .327 for the month – Headley has brought his average up to .226. Along with seven homers, that’s at least respectable in this rag-tag lineup. 

Everth Cabrera: For the first few weeks of the season, it looked like the shortstop was going to build on last season’s All-Star selection as he hit over .300 out of the leadoff spot. Then he started drinking the same water as the rest of this lineup and the numbers sunk like a stone, bottoming out at .218 before a hamstring injury put him on the shelf. When he gets back, Cabrera can start by tempering that strikeout total – 81 Ks in 80 games is not a good ratio for a guy with just three homers.

Cameron Maybin: We didn’t even see him for the first month of the season, and he has managed to come up with some clutch hits since returning from the disabled list. But just nine RBIs in 171 at-bats is still confounding. Sure, base runners are at a premium on this team, but come on.

Epic fail
Carlos Quentin:
Yeah yeah, he’s been injured much of the year. But a team with a huge hole in the middle of the lineup can’t afford his lack of production. Four home runs and a .322 slugging percentage are just unacceptable.

Jedd Gyorko: Ditto for Gyorko, who signed a big contract to start the season, then went out and hit a buck-sixty-two while slugging a dismal .270 for the first half before going down with a foot injury. Hopefully the second-baseman will be back soon so he can prove himself in the second half.

Josh Johnson: Tommy John surgery ended his season – and Padres tenure? – before it even began. We can only lament about what might have been.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[ASG: Jeter Shines, Padres Snubbed Again]]> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 09:38:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/derek+jeter+asg.jpg

The 85th All-Star Game in Minneapolis was Derek Jeter’s time to shine. Apparently, once again, it was no place for Padres.

The Yankees shortstop continued his retirement tour by knocking out two hits to lead the American League to a 5-3 victory on Tuesday night.

Yet for the third straight year, no Padres player got into the game. There wasn't even a mention of Padres legend Tony Gwynn on the Fox broadcast, drawing the ire of sports writers around the country.

Closer Huston Street made his second trip to the Misdummer Classic but once again was not called upon to pitch in the game. Street also was selected in 2012.

Last year, shortstop Everth Cabrera was named to the team, but he didn’t appear in the game either.

Angels outfielder Mike Trout had a pair of extra-base hits, including an RBI triple to drive in Jeter in the first, to earn the MVP award.

Jeter got a standing ovation when he was taken out of the game in the fourth inning. He hugged each of his AL teammates before giving a curtain call to fans.

Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera added a two-run home run in the first to give the AL a 3-0 lead.

It didn't last, as the NL scored a pair of runs in the second on Phillies second baseman Chase Utley's RBI double, who then scored on a Jonathon Lucroy double.

Lucroy tied the game in the fourth with another double, scoring pinch-runner Dee Gordon of the Dodgers.

But Trout put the AL up for good in the fifth, driving in Oakland's Derek Norris with a double of Cardinals reliever Pat Neshek. Jose Altuve of the Astros added a sacrifice fly in the inning to complete the scoring.

Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer struck out two in a scoreless fifth to pick up the victory. Twins closer Glen Perkins picked up the save for the AL with a perfect ninth inning.

It was the second straight win for the American League, which will have home-field advantage in the World Series this year.

Padreds starter Tyson Ross was selected to the National League team, but wasn't available to pitch because he started Sunday's game against the Dodgers.

The last time a Padres player appeared in an All-Star Game was in 2011, when Heath Bell got one batter out at Chase Field in Arizona. The last Padres position player to appear was Adrian Gonzalez in 2010, when he went 0-for-2 as a reserve.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Time to Get Back to Work]]> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 08:02:33 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/padres+pics+77+4.jpg

The Major League Baseball All-Star break is a time when most big leaguers take a much-needed break.

For three Padres, it's a time to get back to work.

Second baseman Jedd Gyorko, first baseman Yonder Alonso and relief pitcher Nick Vincent spent Monday working out with the Lake Elsinore Storm, the Padres' high-class A minor league affiliate.

Gyorko, who arrived in Lake Elsinore on Monday, is testing the plantar fasciitis that's kept him out for more than a month. Jedd ran, played catch and took a full batting practice without being in any visible discomfort.

Alonso has been battling wrist tendonitis and missed nearly a month. He's spent the last few days with the Storm and might be ready for a rehab assignment soon.

Vincent, who started the season as one of the most reliable relievers in the game before shoulder fatigue set in, is the only one of the three who's game-ready. Nick threw the 6th inning in the Storm's 7-2 loss to High Desert, using all his pitches to retire the Mavericks in order.

It's conceivable Vincent could be back with the Padres by the end of their weekend series against the Mets at Petco Park.

One other good thing about the big leaguers hanging out with the farm clubs is they are happy to uphold the tradition of buying a nice dinner for the ball club, so the food is a whole lot better.

"Oh, yes it is!" said Storm outfielder Mallex Smith, who leads all of professional baseball with 64 stolen bases this season. "We had really good ribs."
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres All-Star Game Highlights]]> Mon, 14 Jul 2014 17:21:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/adrian+gonzalez+asg.jpg Here's a look at the best All-Star Game moments in Padres history.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Limp In To All-Star Break]]> Sun, 13 Jul 2014 18:57:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/185*120/452115220.jpg

They deserve better.

Padres pitchers deserve better than this. For the second straight game, San Diego "hitters" were shut out in a game where the pitchers allowed one run.

The Dodgers claimed their second straight 1-0 win on Sunday in Los Angeles, taking three of four games from San Diego despite the fact the Padres staff allowed seven runs in the entire series.

This time it was Tyson Ross who again took an L he should not have to shoulder. Ross threw 7.0 innings, allowing one run and striking out nine. That kind of performance wins 95 percent of the time (I'll go ahead and make the joke for you, "That 5 percent is the Padres").

The Padres hit the All-Star break with a 41-54 record, which is still (amazingly) good enough for 3rd place in the National League West, 12 games behind the Dodgers.

Just go crystallize how awful their position players have been in the 2014 season, here's a quick look at the offensive categories the Friars are dead last in baseball in:

- Runs scored
- Hits
- Batting average
- Runs batted in
- Slugging percentage
- Extra base hits
- Total bases
- On-base percentage

How have they won 41 games? It's a miracle. That miracle's name is the pitching staff, a group that has, due to injuries, used 20 different arms, 10 of them as starters. Despite all that turnover, the Padres are one of only four teams in all of baseball that have allowed fewer than 300 runs.

The others are the Washington Nationals, Oakland A's and Seattle Mariners. All three of those teams not only have winning records, but are currently in control of a playoff spot.

If the Padres offense was even slightly below-average, San Diego would be excitedly anticipating the second half of the season instead of wondering which members of our stellar staff will be throwing up goose eggs elsewhere by August.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Beaten By L.A.]]> Sat, 12 Jul 2014 23:40:50 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/201*120/452084572.jpg

They say you have to hit rock bottom in order to rise again.

If Saturday night at Dodger Stadium was not rock bottom for the Padres offense, I'm terrified to think what rock bottom looks like.

The Padres lost 1-0. It felt even worse than getting no-hit by Tim Lincecum (again). At least Lincecum is a two-time Cy Young winner who is not what he used to be, but still an effective big league starter.

Los Angeles did not have injured starter Josh Beckett, so manager Don Mattingly went with lefty Paul Maholm.

The same Paul Maholm who lost his starting job in May after getting shelled by the Marlins and had not worked more than 2.0 innings in any of his previous 14 appearances.

Paul Maholm needed a mere 65 pitches to throw 6.0 innings of shutout baseball at the Padres, who either didn't want to try, or were not able, to work deep counts against a guy who hasn't stretched out in two months. The only two hits Maholm gave up were singles by Chase Headley.

It was a shame because, once again, Ian Kennedy's stellar start was wasted. Kennedy tossed 8.0 shutout innings, striking out eight, but took a no-decision.

In the 9th inning, Kevin Quackenbush gave up a leadoff double to Adrian Gonzalez. A pair of walks (one intentional) later, A.J. Ellis hit a sacrifice fly to score Gonzalez with the only run of the game.

Tyson Ross tries to salvage a series split on Sunday against Hyun-jin Ryu.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Beat L.A.]]> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 23:50:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/166*120/452049584.jpg

The question facing the Padres right now is, will they hire a new General Manager before the July 31st trade deadline? And if so, which players stay, and which ones go?

Two guys who are sitting squarely on the trade block had a good Friday night in Los Angeles.

Chase Headley and Carlos Quentin hit back-to-back doubles in the 5th inning off Dodgers starter Dan Haren to help the Padres to a 6-3 win at Dodger Stadium.

Headley has raised his average 24 points in 10 games, making him a whole lot more attractive to possible trade partners (the Blue Jays and Yankees are rumored to be interested).

Quentin had a pair of hits and drove in three runs. If he's able to come out of his almost season-long slump, other American League teams looking for a DH will come-a-calling.

Closer Huston Street also came back from his first blown save of the season to close it out in the 9th inning. Several contenders need help at the back end of the bullpen, so Street could be one of the most sought-after players in all of baseball the next few weeks.

However, young Jesse Hahn is not going anywhere. This kid is a stud.

Hahn tossed 6.0 innings, allowing one run and striking out six batters to get his fifth win of the year. Hahn has only started seven games, but already is second on the team with five wins (Tyson Ross and Ian Kennedy are tied for the team lead with seven).

Kennedy has a chance to take the outright lead on Saturday when he takes the mound against a Dodgers pitcher that has yet to be determined. As long as it's not Clayton Kershaw, the Padres have a chance to win again.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Interview Intriguing G.M. Candidate]]> Sun, 13 Jul 2014 05:42:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/248*120/Kim+Ng.JPG

As of this writing, the Padres have interviewed eight candidates for their open General Manager job. On Friday, they talked with the most intriguing candidate, who also might be the best fit.

Kim Ng is the Sr. Vice President for Baseball Operations for Major League Baseball. She (yes, she) has also worked as the assistant G.M. for the Yankees and Dodgers. Ng has previously interviewed for the G.M. position with Los Angeles (they went with Ned Colletti, who kept her on his staff), Seattle (who chose Jack Zduriencik), and the Padres (who at the time hired Jed Hoyer).

This time around, the Padres would be wise to take a long look at Ng. Her baseball experience speaks for itself. When she joined the Yankees she became the youngest assistant G.M. is baseball history. She did not get that job because of a publicity stunt.

What sets Ng apart from the other candidates the Friars have talked to are two very important selling points most other candidates cannot offer.

One is her ability to win salary disputes. When Ng was with the White Sox in the mid-90's she became the first woman to argue a salary arbitration case, winning the decision for the team against pitcher Alex Fernandez. A money-conscious team like the Padres needs all the help it can get in trimming payroll.

The other is her schooling. Ng earned her B.A. from the University of Chicago in Public Policy (she also played four years of softball there). That means she is keenly aware of the relationship between the people and professional organizations.

The Padres have had more than a few issues with how they've handled public relations in 2014, from the P.A. Announcer situation to the price and size of beer at Petco Park to the interestingly timed firing of previous G.M. Josh Byrnes.

Ng would be a great sounding board in future situations. She has the ability to be a conduit between the fans and the front office.

Now, no woman has ever been the General Manager of a major professional American sport. But, the Padres have come awfully close.

Former owner Joan Kroc was intimately involved in decisions regarding her team (just ask Jack McKeon what happens when you made a move without consulting Joan).

San Diego is one of the few professional sports towns that will not care about the gender of a General Manager. If Kim Ng can help the Padres win, and all indications are she absolutely can, they would be foolish not to give her a chance.

 

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<![CDATA[Padres Get Run on Kershaw, Not Much Else]]> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 09:55:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/clayton+kershaw+padres.jpg

The Padres got a run off of Clayton Kershaw, but not much more.

The Dodgers ace came into Thursday’s start with a 36 scoreless innings streak. He upped that to 41 innings before Chase Headley plopped a home run over the left-center field fence in the sixth inning to end the remarkable run of dominance.

Unfortunately, that was about all they could muster off the left-hander as Kershaw (11-2) scattered three hits while striking out 11 in a complete game as Los Angeles won 2-1 at Dodger Stadium.

It wasted another impressive performance from Cuban rookie Odrisamer Despaigne (2-1), who allowed just two runs on seven hits in seven innings.

It was the seventh home run of the year for Headley, who has come on strong after a slow start. The third baseman is 12 for his last 30 to push his season average up to .225 after wallowing well below the Mendoza Line for much of the first half of the season.

The Padres (40-52) lost first baseman Tommy Medica to a groin injury early in the game. He will beevaluated today. They also officially slated starter Tyson Ross to pitch on Sunday, meaning he won’t be available to appear in Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Minnesota.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Woman, 105, Throws First Pitch at Petco Park]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 09:10:45 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Padres-Pitch-Agnes-0721.jpg Agnes McKee's birthday celebration wasn't just a first for her, it was a first for baseball. Here's her moment as the San Diego Padres faced the New York Mets.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Will Ross Pitch Before All-Star Game?]]> Thu, 10 Jul 2014 16:53:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/tyson+ross+dodgers+preview+all+star.jpg

So many questions surround this weekend’s series between the Padres and Dodgers up in Los Angeles.

Will Tyson Ross pitch before Tuesday’s All-Star Game? Will San Diego be able to break Clayton Kershaw’s 36-inning scoreless streak? Will any Padres fans get stabbed in the Dodgers parking lot, and if so, whose fault will it be? Will Venable? (OK, we’re admittedly getting a little goofy with that last one.)

The Padres have the option to pull Ross from his start on Sunday, meaning he will be available for the Midsummer Classic in Minnesota. It he does start on Sunday, he will be ruled out for Tuesday and be a spectator. But this could pave the way for closer Huston Street to get the call to replace him. No word yet on this, so stay tuned.

As for Kershaw, he is chasing fellow Dodger Orel Hershiser’s record of 59 innings without allowing a run. While he’s still got a ways to go, it’s not unreasonable to see him blanking the punchless Padres lineup – which ranks last in the league in most major offensive categories. It also ranks last in the National League in OPS against leftys (.604). Current Padres hitters are hitting a combined .231 against Kershaw in their careers, which is actually better than the team’s cumulative .216 average (20 points lower than the second-worst team). So, no, don’t be surprised to see the streak remain intact after Thursday night’s game.

We will not speculate on any violence at Chavez Ravine this weekend, but would advise any fans to avoid wearing any Giants gear, just in case.

And for the final question, you better believe it! That’s all we’ll say about that. On to the weekend preview.

Matchups:
Thursday, 7:10 p.m.:
Odrisamer Despaigne (R, 2-0, 0.92) vs. Clayton Kershaw (L, 10-2, 1.85)
If anyone can match Kershaw right now, it’s O-Dog, who has allowed just two earned runs in his first three career starts. FWIW, Kershaw was just 1-3 against Kershaw last year.

Friday, 7:10 p.m.: Jesse Hahn (R, 4-2, 2.34) vs. Dan Haren (R, 8-5, 4.06)
Despite having a four-game win streak snapped last weekend, Hahn still pitched well, allowing just three earned runs in seven innings against the Giants. Haren is coming off a start against the Indians where he allowed 10 hits and eight runs, but still struck out eight.

Saturday, 7:10 p.m.: Ian Kennedy (R, 7-9, 3.71) vs. Dodgers pitcher TBA
The last two starts have been Kennedy’s best of the season, with a pair of wins allowing just two earned runs.

Sunday, 1:10 p.m.: Padres pitcher TBA vs. Hyun-Jin Ryu (L, 9-5, 3.65)
Not sure what the options are if the Padres do pull Ross from his start. Maybe Donn Roach? Ryu got the win at Petco in June, scattering four hits over six innings.

What’s at stake: We’ve seen this before from the Dodgers, who were 9 ½ games out last year before going on a second-half tear and running away from the division. They’re currently tied with the reeling Giants, and there’s no reason to think they won’t take charge again. However, they have only been playing .500 ball over the past two weeks and just dropped a pair to the Detroit Tigers, so it’s not like they’re dominating anyone.

As for the Padres, they are an even 10 games back of the big two. Taking three of four this weekend would be a fantastic way to roll into the All-Star break.

This is the first time the teams have squared off in LA this year. The Dodgers have taken four of six at Petco.

Who to watch:
Padres:
Here’s your stat of the day. The Padres have had 18 different players hit home runs this year – most in the majors. Of course, they only have 63 total long balls, dead last in baseball. Two of the hottest players in the lineup went yard on Wednesday. Seth Smith hit his team-high 10th, and also shares the team lead with 27 RBIs. Jake Goebbert hit his first career homer, and continues to play well enough to stay in the lineup with a .333 average and .919 OPS. Chase Headley, Smith’s co-leader in RBIs, is breaking out of a season-long slump with 11 hits in his last six games, including a pair of four-hit games.
Dodgers: Right-fielder Yasiel Puig is headed to Minnesota as an All-Star starter, and with good reason. He has 12 homers, 50 RBI and a .307 average – all would be leading the Padres. Dee Gordon is also heading to Minny as a reserve second-baseman after stealing an astounding 42 bases in the first half. First-baseman Adrian Gonzalez leads the team with 14 homers and 58 RBIs.

Coming up: The Friars return home after the All-Star break to face the New York Mets next weekend before hitting the road for a week to face the Cubs and Braves.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Home Run Derby in Colorado]]> Wed, 09 Jul 2014 22:10:48 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/padres+pics+77+11.jpg

Coors Field lived up to its reputation for giving up the long ball on Wednesday. Padres pitcher Eric Stults found that out the hard way early on.

In the bottom of the first Charlie Blackmon went yard on the second pitch Stults threw. Two batters later Troy Tulowitzki matched his All-Star teammate with another.

Stults settled down and lasted five innings. The Padres answered with a pair of home runs of their own. Rookie Jake Goebbert went yard in the fourth for his first big-league bomb. Seth Smith hit one in the fifth, his club leading 10th of the season.

The game was all-square in eighth when the normally reliable Padres bullpen had trouble. Joaquin Benoit (3-1) gave up a pair of homers to break the tie. The first was a two-run shot to Drew Stubbs, the next to Tulowitzki, his second of the game.

The Rockies won 6-3 to take the series. The Padres start a four game set Thursday at Dodger Stadium, their last series before the All-Star break.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Blackmon Lifts Rockies Over Padres]]> Tue, 08 Jul 2014 22:50:31 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/tyson+ross+all+start+game+starter.jpg

A two-run deficit after three innings at Coors Field usually is not a big concern. But on Tuesday it proved insurmountable for the Padres,  who answered with just one run on seven hits in the 2-1 loss.

All-Star Tyson Ross (7-9) threw well before and after his mistake pitch to fellow All-Star Charlie Blackmon in the third. Blackmon's two-run shot was his 13th of the season.

Colorado starter Franklin Morales pitched into the sixth inning to get his 5th win of the season. The Padres lone run came on a sixth inning solo homer by Rene Rivera.

The series finale is Wednesday afternoon. The Padres begin a four game series in Los Angeles against the Dodgers starting Thursday.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kennedy, Headley Pace Padres in Colorado]]> Tue, 08 Jul 2014 06:11:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/padres+celebrate+77+10.jpg

Ian Kennedy struck out nine in seven innings of work Monday night at Colorado. Kennedy struck out five of the last six batters he faced en route to his seventh win of the season.

The Padres bats came alive at Coors Field. Three doubles in the sixth inning gave the Friars the lead for good. Chase Headley added two more RBI in the seventh on a triple to right field. He finished with four hits on the night.

After a weather delay of nearly an hour Kennedy did not return to the game. Kevin Quackenbush and Tim Stauffer each pitched an inning to secure the 6-1 win.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Battle Reeling Rockies]]> Mon, 07 Jul 2014 12:10:45 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/padres+pics+77+13.jpg

This past nine-game home stand was much like a roller-coaster ride. There were a lot of ups and down, but eventually it didn’t lead much of anywhere.

The Padres won a season-best five straight games, including their first series sweep of the year. But that was sandwiched by a pair of losses to open and close it out. Which leaves them with a 5-4 record and in much the same place as before. Sure, they picked up a game and a half in the standings and moved up to third place, but a team that’s more than 10 games out in July needs to do more than just tread water.

The good news is there are still chances to make a move before the All-Star break – starting with this week’s series against the Colorado Rockies, who the Padres just passed for third place in the National League West.

To say the Rockies have struggled lately would be an understatement on the same level as saying the Padres have had a little trouble at the plate this year. Colorado has lost 10 of the last 12 and is 2-17 since sweeping the Giants in mid-June. Ouch.

It’s always an adventure when you head to Coors Field. The Padres hope that involves scoring some runs and beating up on an already wounded foe. Let’s break down the series.

Matchups:
Monday, 5:40 p.m.: 
Ian Kennedy  (R, 6-9, 3.87) vs. Tyler Matzek (L, 1-2, 4.25)
Kennedy has a 3.56 ERA in seven career starts at Coors. The rookie Matzek has three quality starts in his first six big-league outings.
Tuesday, 5:40 p.m.: Tyson Ross (R, 7-8, 2.93) vs. Franklin Morales (L, 4-4, 5.51)
A newly named All-Star, Ross is coming off a three-hit shutout and has allowed more than two earned runs just once in the past month. Morales is making just his second start since May after a demotion to the bullpen.
Wednesday, 12:10 p.m.: Eric Stults (L, 3-11, 4.96) vs. Jair Jurrjens (R, 0-1, 15.43)
Stults broke an eight-game losing streak – including six straight starts – with seven scoreless in a win against the Giants last week. Jurrjens got rocked in his first outing of the year last week, allowing 12 hits and eight earned runs in 4 2/3 innings.

What’s at stake: The Rockies went from middle of the pack to bottom feeders over this awful stretch. They find themselves in a similar spot to the Padres just a few weeks ago – fighting to stay out of the cellar and avoid the worst record in baseball.

Meanwhile, the Padres can still think about making moves in the playoff run if they can reel off some wins this week – the first-place Dodgers are up next. That’s been easier said than done as they have the worst division record among West teams (14-20).

The Padres are 3-4 against the Rockies so far this season, including losing two of three at Coors in May. They meet again at Petco Park in August.

Who to watch:
Padres:
Chase Headley is finally starting to heat up with a five-game hit streak that includes four hits on Friday. He’s improved his average to .217 (don’t ask what it was before). Alexi Amarista had six hits in four games before going 0-for-4 on Sunday. Seth Smith -- an All-Star snub? – had just one hit in the Giants series, but still leads the team with nine homers, 26 RBI and 19 doubles. Jake Goebberts is making a solid case as an everyday starter with a .333 average in his first 11 games in the bigs.

Rockies: Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki earned a much-deserved starting role on the NL All-Star squad. He leads all of baseball with a .350 average and .442 on-base percentage. He also leads the team with 18 homers and has a remarkable 47 walks. Outfielder Charlie Blackmon also earned an All-Star spot. He’s hitting .291 with 12 homers and 47 RBI. Fellow outfielder Corey Dickerson is hitting .335 in 66 games this year.

Coming up: The Padres head to LA for a four-game set this weekend to close out the first half of the season before the All-Star break.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Get Freaked Out]]> Sun, 06 Jul 2014 18:58:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/174*120/451778694.jpg

The Padres and Tim Lincecum have a tenuous relationship, at best. In his career, the Giants right-hander has tortured San Diego's professional baseball team.

It makes sense for "The Freak" to have bigger numbers against the Padres than most other teams. The unbalanced schedule leads to more meetings with division rivals. But, even among National League West teams, Lincecum has been better against the Padres.

He has more wins, strikeouts and no-hitters against the Friars than any other team in Major League Baseball. On Sunday at Petco Park, he added to two of those categories.

For a while it looked like he might make it a sweep.

Lincecum led the Giants to a 5-3 win in the series finale against the Padres. He did not allow a hit for the first three innings, prompting folks working in the press box (yes, professional journalists) to start a "No-hitter pool." The buy-in was $5. Just pick a number and if that player broke up the no-no you win the pot.

I don't know if anyone had Jake Goebbert's number four, but in the 4th inning the rookie lined a solid single to right field. Lincecum ended up going 6.1 innings, striking out six and allowing one run on a Brooks Conrad home run that turned out to be the last pitch he threw.

It was the first home run in a Padres uniform for the Monte Vista High School alum.

But, it was not enough to get fellow new guy Jesse Hahn off the hook. The rookie right-hander was not as sharp as he'd been in winning his previous four starts, but did not throw poorly. Hahn gave up three runs in 7.0 innings. At one point he retired 11 straight Giants hitters.

The good news for the Padres (other than Tyson Ross earning a spot on his first All-Star team) is they don't have to deal with "The Freak" again until the middle of September.

On Monday the Friars start a seven game road trip in Colorado. Ian Kennedy will get the start against Tyler Matzek.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tyson Ross Named to All-Star Team]]> Sun, 06 Jul 2014 19:24:50 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/tyson+ross+all+start+game+starter.jpg

Tyson Ross has been the best pitcher on a very good Padres rotation for much of the first half of the season. He was rewarded for his efforts with a spot in next week’s All-Star Game.

It’s the first All-Star selection for Ross, who has a 7-8 record with a 2.93 ERA  and 111 strikeouts this season.

Ross threw a three-hit shutout on Wednesday as the Padres completed a three-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds with a 3-0 victory. It was his first career shutout. He has 10 starts this season with at least seven innings pitched and two or fewer earned runs allowed.

That includes four consecutive starts in May where he threw exactly seven innings and allowed just one run each time out.

Ross has fallen victim of some of the worst run support in baseball this season. In his five June starts, the Padres scored a grand total of one run while he was pitching – and that was driven in by a Ross sacrifice fly. He lost four of those five starts.

Ross was the lone Padres selection for the All-Star Game, which will be played on July 15 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minn.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Bullpen Is Human After All]]> Sat, 05 Jul 2014 22:01:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/165*120/451748784.jpg

The Padres bullpen leads Major League Baseball in ERA, baserunners allowed per inning, opponents batting average, and fewest losses.

And all that is AFTER what happened Saturday at Petco Park.

The Padres relief corps has been so good this season, it's almost a shock when things don't go perfectly. Here's where manager Bud Black provides some perspective.

"They've had a great run," said Black after the Padres' 5-3 loss in 10 innings to the Giants. "You play 162 (games) they're not going to be invincible. These guys have been so good for so long, there's going to come a time when you get nicked. A couple guys got nicked today."

After another effective start from Odrisamer Despaigne (6 IP, 1 ER, 2 hits), the Padres hit the 7th inning with the game tied 1-1. Alex Torres came in and had a fit of wildness, walking the only two batters he faced. Leadoff walks are the scourge of close baseball games.

Gregor Blanco would advance on a balk by Kevin Quackenbush, who replaced Torres, and score on a sacrifice fly by Joe Panik to put the Giants up 2-1.

But, the Padres offense provided a nice surprise, mounting a 7th inning rally. Yasmani Grandal doubled, then scored on a triple by Jake Goebbert, the first extra-base hit of the young outfielder's MLB career. Goebbert scored on a sacrifice fly by Cameron Maybin, giving the Padres a 3-2 lead after seven innings.

When leading after seven innings, the Friars were 28-0 in 2014. Alas, I had to use the past tense.

Michael Morse led off the 9th inning with a laser in to the second deck in left field off closer Huston Street, snapping Street's string of 23 consecutive converted save chances (the longest streak in the big leagues this year).

The Padres actually had a chance to give Street a win. Chase Headley led off the 9th inning with a double and advanced to third when Grandal grounded out to shortstop. Well, that's understating things a bit. Brandon Crawford made a tremendous play, diving to his left to rob Yasmani of a walk-off single.

After an intentional walk to Goebbert, Cameron Maybin popped up to Crawford and Carlos Quentin struck out swinging to end the Padres best, last chance at a victory.

In the 10th, Dale Thayer gave up a 2-run home run to Brandon Belt. San Diego's bullpen, which had allowed just two earned runs in its previous 35.2 innings, was touched up for four runs in four innings on Saturday.

Luckily for the Padres, that kind of performance is the exception rather than the rule. The Padres try to win the series in their final home game before the All-Star Break on Sunday with Jesse Hahn on the mound. He's won four consecutive starts.

However, the Giants counter with Tim Lincecum. And lately he has really liked throwing against the Padres.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pitching Powers Padres]]> Fri, 04 Jul 2014 20:04:12 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/170*120/451709526.jpg

The Padres are built to win with pitching. I'm not sharing state secrets divulging that.

But in the last few weeks, the Padres pitching staff has been better than good. These guys have been dominant.

Friday was the latest in a string of stellar starts. Eric Stults, who had not won a game since May 10, went seven shutout innings, striking out a season-high-tying six batters in a 2-0 win over the Giants at Petco Park.

Joaquin Benoit worked a perfect 8th inning to lower his ERA to 1.26. Huston Street only needed eight pitches to secure his 23rd straight save chance, the longest active streak in Major League Baseball.

From here, let's take a look at the official post-game notes from the team:

o    With the Padres holding the Giants without a run this afternoon, today marks the second consecutive shutout for the Padres, as they also held the Reds scoreless on Wednesday afternoon at Petco Park…this is the 29th time in franchise history and the first time since September 15-16 of last season at Atlanta and at Pittsburgh, respectively, that the Padres have pitched consecutive shutouts…this is the first time since May 1-2, 2012 that the Padres had back-to-back shutouts at Petco Park (vs. MIL).
o    The shutout win was not only the Padres second in a row, but also their third in the last four games and the fourth in the last 10 games.
o    Over the Padres last 15 games since June 18, the Padres pitching staff has posted a 10-5 record with a 1.54 ERA (23 ER, 134.0 IP), the best mark in the Majors in that time…the starters own a 1.92 ERA (21 ER, 98.1 IP) while the bullpen has pitched to a 0.50 ERA (2 ER, 35.2 IP) in that time, both being the best mark in the Majors in that time.

That's not too shabby, is it? Oh, and the Padres are also the only team in the league to have not lost a game that they led after 7.0 innings (28-0). Keep in mind, this is a team that has six starting pitchers on the disabled list. Opening Night starter Andrew Cashner only has two wins on the whole season.

On Friday the Padres got their minimal offense from Alexi Amarista, who had a pair of hits including a solo home run, and Chase Headley, who went 4-for-4 and drove in Seth Smith with a 3rd inning single. The offense is still not carrying (and is barely hitting) its weight. But, if the pitching staff is going to keep do what it's doing, they won't need to score many runs.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Movin' on Up as Giants Come to Town]]> Fri, 04 Jul 2014 12:20:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/hahn+giants+preview.jpg

Ladies and gentlemen, your third place San Diego Padres!

Yes, you read that right. After an impressive sweep of the Cincinnati Reds, the Friars have surged into the middle of the pack in the National League West with a season-high four-game win streak. Now they get a matchup with a reeling San Francisco Giants club that has lost eight of 10 and 17 of their last 22 to relinquish the division lead.

Could this be a turning point in what has been a tumultuous season so far? Well, let’s not get carried away. But if this keeps up, people might focus a bit less on what may have been the worst month of hitting in the history of baseball and pay more attention to what has been some incredible pitching over the past few weeks.

That’s gotta be good for something, right?

Let’s break down this weekend’s Cali Civil War (North vs. South).

Matchups:
Friday, 7:10 p.m.:
Eric Stults (L, 2-1, 5.38) vs. Matt Cain (R, 1-6, 4.38)
Each of Stults’ last eight decisions have been losses and the Padres have dropped eight of the last nine games he started. Cain is 0-3 since coming off the disabled list in June.

Saturday, 4:15 p.m.: Odressamer Despaigne (R, 2-0, 0.66) vs. Tim Hudson (R, 7-5, 2.59)
Just one run in his first 13 2/3 innings. Can O-Dog keep it up? Hudson has lost his last three starts after winning three in a row.

Sunday, 1:10 p.m.: Jesse Hahn (R, 4-1, 1.95) vs. Tim Lincecum (R, 7-5, 4.06)
Oh god, not Lincecum again. He was lights out last week in no-hitting the Padres for the second time in as many years. If anyone can match him right now, it’s the rookie Hahn, who has allowed just two earned runs in his four-game win streak.

What’s at stake: Don’t look now, but we might have some meaningful baseball in our future if this keeps up. The Padres are now just 9 ½ games out and only nine games under .500. It’s not time to get excited yet, but just something to think about.

As for the Giants, they looked like they were going to run away with the division a month ago but now find themselves looking up at the Dodgers in the standings – that’s not place anybody wants to be.

The Padres are 5-4 against the Giants this season, taking two from them in San Fran last week. They don’t face off again until playing each other in seven of the season’s final 10 games.

Who to watch:
Padres:
The newly minted Seth Smith had four hits against the Reds and continues to lead the team in all major hitting categories, including home runs (9), RBI (25), batting average (.282) and walks (38).Carlos Quentin went yard on Tuesday for just the fourth time this season. He’s still hitting just .185 on the season.

Rene Rivera was the hero at the plate on Wednesday, driving in all three Padres runs with a first-inning single.

Giants: Hunter Pence has team highs in hits (100) and runs (60) and is riding a six-game hitting streak. Michael Morse leads the team with 13 homers and 44 RBI, but has just one hit in his last six games.

Angel Pagan leads the team in hitting (.307) but has been out since mid-June with a back injury.

Coming up: The division tour continues as the Padres hit the road to play the Rockies and Dodgers in what is probably the most important week-and-a-half of the season.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ross Named to All-Star Team]]> Sun, 06 Jul 2014 18:01:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/TYSONROSSALLSTARSOT_1200x675_298144323560.jpg Padres starting pitcher Tyson Ross will represent the Padres at the 2014 All Star Game. Ross, 27, has a 7-8 record with a 2.93 earned run average and 111 strikeouts. This is his first All-Star selection. Ross is the 16th different Padres pitcher to earn a spot in the Midsummer Classic. The All-Star game is Tuesday, July 15 at Target Field in Minnesota. ]]> <![CDATA[Padres Ready To Make Their Move]]> Thu, 03 Jul 2014 23:43:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/187*120/451622048.jpg

The Padres had a day off on Thursday, feeling awfully good they just completed their first series sweep of the 2014 season (against a pretty good Reds team). They're on their second 4-game winning streak of the year. When the sun rises on the 4th of July, they will be 8.5 games out of a playoff spot.

As bad as things have been, the Padres are in a perfect position to make a run to playoff contention.

Yes, I am serious.

Starting on Independence Day, the Padres play three games against the Giants, a team that has lost 17 of 22 games. Sure, Tim Lincecum is pitching on Sunday, but he can't no-hit the Padres three times in 12 months (I think).

After that the Padres head to Colorado for three games to face a Rockies team that's lost 15 of 17 games. So, as two of their division rivals are ripe for the picking, the Padres are finding something that loosely resembles a stride.

After those two series, the Padres hit the All-Star break with four games in L.A. against the first place Dodgers. The Padres are 2-4 against the Dodgers this season and have actually played them tougher than most people would expect.

So, with 10 games to go before the All-Star break, the Friars are primed to put themselves in a position to make us believe the season is not completely lost, and possibly even hang on to most of their guys when the trade deadline comes around.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ross Shutout Sweeps Reds]]> Wed, 02 Jul 2014 17:35:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/tyson+ross+reds+start.jpg

He’s come oh-so-close before, but Tyson Ross was never able to finish the job until Wednesday.

The right-hander threw his first career complete game in the big leagues, tossing a dominating three-hit shutout as the Padres beat the Cincinnati Reds 3-0 to complete a three-game sweep at Petco Park.

“It was a lot of fun,” Ross said. “That’s special. It’s the first time I’ve been able to finish.”

Ross (7-8) struck out nine without allowing a walk. He had lost four of his last five starts, getting just one total run of support in that time.

Photos: Padres season in images

Catcher Rene Rivera’s three-run single in the first inning was the only scoring of the game. It was more than enough for Ross, who has thrown at least seven innings 13 times over the past two seasons and finished the eighth three times, but never gone all nine.

“He really smelled the finish line,” manager Bud Black said. “We talked just briefly after the eighth. There was no doubt in my mind he would put a zero up.”

More: Tony Gwynn remembered in San Diego

The win gives the Padres (38-47) their first series sweep of the season. They shut out the Reds (43-41) twice in the series, holding them to just two total runs in the three games. They also match their season-long win streak with four in a row.

Ross outdueled Reds starter Johnny Cueto (8-6), who allowed seven hits and walked three in seven innings.

He becomes just the fifth player in franchise history to throw a complete game shutout while striking out at least nine without walking anyone.

“He kept their hitters off balance,” Rivera said. “You could see their frustration.”

The Padres appeared to have scored another run in the sixth inning when Seth Smith doubled home Irving Falu, but Falu was called out for missing third base. A subsequent replay review upheld the call.

The Padres have Thursday off before hosting the division-leading San Francisco Giants this weekend.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Sign Seth Smith to Two-Year Extension]]> Wed, 02 Jul 2014 17:33:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/seth+smith+contract+extension.jpg

Seth Smith has been one of the lone bright spots in an otherwise dismal Padres lineup this season. The team took steps to ensure he would be a key part of that lineup for a while, signing him to a two-year contract extension worth $13 million on Wednesday.

The deal keeps Smith – a free agent at the end of the season – signed with the Padres through 2016 with a club option for 2017. Details of the deal weren't immediately available.

“I love it here,” the outfielder said after Wednesday’s 3-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds. “I like the way we are going.”

Smith, 31, leads the team in most major hitting categories, including batting average (.281), home runs (nine), RBI (25), on-base percentage (.386), slugging (.504) and walks (38). He is also hitting a team-high .322 with an impressive 1.010 OPS in home games this season, earning rave reviews from manager Bud Black.

“He’s off to a good start,” Black said. “It’s a good sign that Smitty wants to be here. It takes two sides to get a deal done. … I’m glad it worked out.”

Smith was traded from the Oakland A’s to the Padres in the offseason in exchange for relief pitcher Luke Gregerson. Originally a second-round pick by the Colorado Rockies in 2004, Smith spent the past two seasons with an A’s team that made the playoffs each year.

His numbers this season have earned talk of a spot in this month’s All-Star Game.

“I have no idea,” Smith said of his chances of making the National League roster. “I haven’t put any thought into it. It would be a great honor.”

Earlier this season, the Padres signed second-baseman Jedd Gyorko to a five-year contract extension worth $35 million, with a $13 million club option for a sixth year.

]]>
<![CDATA[Hit Parade at Petco]]> Tue, 01 Jul 2014 23:00:56 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/padres+celebrate+625+5.jpg

For Padres hitters June gloom is in the rear view mirror...at least for a day. After a dreadful month at the plate the Friars bats came alive on the first day of July. Every player in the starting line-up got at least one hit in their 8-2 win including starting pitcher Ian Kennedy (6-9), who threw six innings of one run ball for the win.

The first of the season high 16-hits came early. Seth Smith led-off the game with a home run, his team leading 9th of the season. Carlos Quentin also went yard. His 5th of 2014 was a two-run shot in the 7th that gave the Padres a 5-1 lead.

Cincinnati starter Mike Leake (6-7) took the loss. The San Diego native was pulled in the 6th inning after giving up 11-hits and 3 earned runs.

The 8-2 win was the Padres 3rd victory in a row. They go for the series sweep against the Reds Wednesday afternoon at Petco Park.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Give Hahn A Solo Run, Still Win]]> Tue, 01 Jul 2014 00:02:05 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/176*120/451529838.jpg

On Wednesday, June 4, the Padres beat the Pirates 3-2 despite getting just one hit in the game.

On Monday, June 30, the Padres beat the Reds 1-0 despite getting just one hit.

Welcome to the history books, San Diego! The Padres are the second team ever to win two games in one season when only getting one hit. The other was the 1965 Los Angeles Dodgers, who had Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale at the top of the rotation and won the World Series.

So I guess the comparisons stop there.

Monday night at Petco Park, Tommy Medica got the Padres' only hit and scored the only run, but not in the same inning. The hit came in the 2nd. The run came in the 5th, after Medica walked, stole second on a hit-and-run that Cameron Maybin swung through, moved to 3rd when Maybin hit a sacrifice fly, and came home when Everth Cabrera also hit a sac fly.

It came just in time to get Jesse Hahn the win, and he certainly deserved it. The rookie threw five shutout inning, striking out a career-high nine batters (including seven in a row between the 2nd and 4th innings). Hahn left after his pitch count hit 97, and the Padres bullpen had its typical fantastic outing.

Blaine Boyer, Dale Thatcher, Joaquin Benoit (who got some defensive help when Maybin made a great catch on a long Skip Schumaker fly ball) and Huston Street each threw a scoreless inning. Street converted his 22nd straight save chance. The pitching staff has had to be amazing because for the month of June, the Padres offense was historically bad.

As a team the Padres hit .171 in June. That is the worst batting average during any calendar month during the live ball era, which began in 1920.

Yet, they still won 10 games for the month, six of them coming from Hahn (4-1) and Odrisamer Despaigne (2-0), who both joined the team in June.

On Tuesday the Padres go for a rare 3-game winning streak with Ian Kennedy on the mound against Fallbrook High School alum Mike Leake.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Contending Reds Come to Town]]> Mon, 30 Jun 2014 21:15:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/kennedy+reds+preview.jpg

Well, at least the Padres aren’t in last place.

That’s a distinction they held for a few hours after Saturday’s loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks, but the Friars totally redeemed themselves in avoiding a series sweep with a 2-1 win on Sunday afternoon.

Facing a juicy matchup against the team with the worst record in the National League, the Padres went out and scored a total of four runs in the three-game set. They now remain a game ahead of the D’backs and the Tampa Bay Rays for worst record in all of baseball as they welcome the Cincinnati Reds to Petco Park this week.

There’s no doubt the lineup will be shaken up in the next few weeks as the trade deadline approaches. The Reds might be one of the teams to swoop in. They trail the red-hot Milwaukee Brewers by 6 ½ games in the NL Central and are in the thick of the wild card race.

And speaking of trades, the Padres face one of the pitchers they might regret trading away when Mat Latos takes the mound on Monday night.

There will be a lot to watch as this nine-game homestand continues.

Matchups:
Monday, 7:10 p.m.:
Jesse Hahn (R, 3-1, 2.38) vs. Mat Latos (R, 1-0, 2.89)
Make that three straight quality starts for the rookie Hahn, who is solidifying his spot in the rotation. The Reds gave up Yasmani Grandal and Yonder Alonso for Latos three years ago. The jury’s still out, especially after Latos missed the first two months with an arm injury.

Tuesday, 7:10 p.m.: Ian Kennedy (R, 5-9, 4.01) vs. Mike Leake (R, 6-6, 3.41)
Despite riding a three-game losing streak, Kennedy has 20 strikeouts in his last 16 2/3 innings. Leake, a San Diego native, has won his last three starts.

Wednesday, 12:40 p.m.: Tyson Ross (R, 6-8, 3.18) vs. Johnny Cueto (R, 8-5, 1.88)
Poor Ross can’t pitch much better than his last two starts – 7 IP and 2 ER each – but has lost both. Cueto is making a solid case for the Cy Young and has four straight quality starts.

What’s at stake: Let’s not say any more about the Padres’ situation. It will only depress us. Instead, let’s focus on the Reds, who are 6 ½ out of first place in the NL Central, tied with the St. Louis Cardinals, and a half-game out of the second wild card spot. They’re not going away, especially with this pitching staff.

For what it's worth, the Padres took two of three on the road when the teams met in May.

Who to watch:
Padres:
Cameron Maybin has four hits and a pair of RBIs in his last four games. Tommy Medica has the team’s only home run in the past week. Wait, what?
Seth Smith isn’t doing his trade bait status any favors as he tries to break out of an 0-for-14 slump. He still leads the team with eight homers and 24 RBIs.
Reds: Third baseman Todd Frazier leads the team with 17 homers and 46 RBIs. He also has seven hits in his last three games. First baseman Joey Votto is the biggest name in the lineup, but has struggled with injuries this year. He hasn’t homered since May 10. Catcher Devin Mesoraco has 14 long balls in just 166 at-bats. He leads the team with a .307 average.

Coming up: The San Francisco Giants come to Petco this weekend trying to regain a sole share of first place in the NL West. Talk amongst yourselves about whether you want to start a “Beat SF!” or “Nor-Cal Sucks!” cheer.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Wish Bud Black "Happy Birthday"]]> Tue, 01 Jul 2014 06:38:44 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/padres+pics+527+8.jpg

 The Padres start a 3-game series against the Reds Monday night at Petco Park. Baseball is a statistics-driven game, and Friars fans will be happy to know the numbers point to a Padres win. Well, one number in-particular:

The number 57.

Monday is Manager Bud Black's 57th birthday, and during his managerial career, the team is 5-1 on his birthday. Even though he doesn't let anyone know it's his birthday.

Watch the video above to find out who Bud would trust to make his birthday cake. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Hold On For Close Win]]> Sun, 29 Jun 2014 23:14:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/182*120/451467876.jpg

Since taking over as Padres manager before the 2007 season, Bud Black has had a steady stream of All-Star closers.

Trevor Hoffman led to Heath Bell who led to Huston Street. It's a luxury, not having to worry about the 9th inning, and one most skippers don't enjoy with this kind of consistency.

"The common denominator amongst all these guys is they're confident," said Black after Sunday's 2-1 win over the Diamondbacks at Petco Park. "They want that stage, They want to be the guy. They pitch with conviction with their stuff. That's what Huston does. He knows what he needs to do with his three pitches. We're lucky we have him."

The question now is, how much longer will they have him?

Street is 21-for-21 on his save chances in 2014. With the Padres sitting 12 games under .500 and realistically having no chance of making a playoff run, contending teams will be clamoring to find a reliable closer for the pennant race.

Which leads us to another big question. Who, exactly will be taking those phone calls? The Padres are still searching for a new General Manager, and in the interim they have three guys sharing the job.

But, I digress. The genesis of this speculation is Street saving another Padres win. His perfect 9th finished what Odrisamer Despaigne started.

The Cuban import had another strong showing, allowing just one run in 6.2 innings to get his second straight win.

You may recall Despaigne's start on Monday in San Francisco, when he tossed seven innings of shutout ball in his MLB debut to beat the Giants. Just how impressive has he been?

Since 1914, Despaigne is just the 21st player in Major League Baseball to go 2-0 with 0 or 1 run allowed in at least 13.2 inning pitched in his first two career games.

Talk about setting the bar high.

The Padres got both of their runs in the 4th inning, first on a Cameron Maybin double, then an Alexi Amarista sacrifice fly.

In the 3-game series against Arizona, the Padres pitching staff allowed six total runs ... and the DBacks still nearly got a sweep.

On Monday the Padres start a 3-game set at Petco against the Reds and, yes, Mat Latos will be on the mound against another impressive San Diego rookie, Jesse Hahn.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>