<![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, 27 Aug 2014 12:26:07 -0700 Wed, 27 Aug 2014 12:26:07 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Ross Leads Padres Past Brewers]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 23:55:29 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/tyson+ross+reds+start.jpg

Padres ace Tyson Ross provided the pitching. Outfielder Abraham Almonte provided the offense. The result was a 4-1 Padres win Tuesday night at Petco Park to even the series with Milwaukee at a game apiece.

Ross (12-12) pitched into the seventh inning and allowed just one run and four hits. It was Ross' 13th quality start in a row, extending his Padres record. Almonte homered in the first, had a pair of RBI's and scored twice.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Brewers Blast Padres]]> Mon, 25 Aug 2014 22:50:31 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*195/173196464.jpg

So much for a happy homecoming. The Padres, just back from a 10-game road trip, fell to the Brewers 10-1.

Starter Eric Stults (6-14) lasted five innings. He was charged with four runs and nine hits in his first August loss. The Brewers collected 16 hits and had a runner reach base in every inning except the sixth.

With the loss the Padres dropped 10-games below .500.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[This One's for You, Bud]]> Sun, 24 Aug 2014 23:15:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*240/padres+pics+85+9.jpg

Yasmani Grandal and Will Venable provided the power and Ian Kennedy pitched well enough to get his win against his former team. The Padres 7-4 victory in Arizona was manager Bud Black's 600th career win. He's the second Padre skipper to surpass the 600 mark. He's still 351 behind Bruce Bochy, who managed the Friars from 1995-2006.

Kennedy (10-11) pitched into the sixth inning, allowing three runs on eight hits with six strikeouts. Grandal's blast in the fifth gave the Padres a three run lead. His homer measured 419 feet. Grandal's 4-RBI's were a career high. Venable's eight inning home run cleared the pool past the center field fence.

The Padres ended the ten game road trip with a 3-7 record. They host Milwaukee at Petco Park on Monday.



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

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Season in Images]]> Wed, 06 Aug 2014 11:30:09 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/padres+pics+85+8.jpg Relive all the great moments from the San Diego Padres' 2014 season in photos.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Burned In The Desert]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 23:02:13 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/175*120/453988684.jpg

The Padres opened a 3-game series in Arizona against a Diamondbacks team that had lost six straight games and is transitioning to give young prospects a chance to play because it's so far out of playoff contention.

So, advantage San Diego right?

Not exactly. The Padres could play the Bad News Bears and, if the game was held at Chase Field, probably lose.

Since the stadium opened in 1998, the Padres are 50-93 at the Downtown Phoenix facility. That includes Friday night's 5-1 loss to that D-Backs team that was on a 6-game losing skid.

Starting pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne gave up four runs in the first two innings, continuing a trend of early struggles, to take the loss. Arizona starter Josh Collmenter struck out eight in 8.1 innings for his 9th win of the year.

On Saturday, Andrew Cashner comes off the disabled list to get the start for the Padres.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ross Outdueled by Kershaw as Dodgers Take Series]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 22:45:44 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/padres+dodgers+ross+kershaw.jpg

For seven innings, Tyson Ross matched Dodgers ace an Cy Young candidate Clayton Kershaw pitch for pitch on Thursday night.

He allowed just two hits, striking out six while shutting out the Los Angeles lineup.

That all disappeared with just two swings of the bat. A Carl Crawford leadoff single in the eighth was followed by a Justin Turner homer to left field and suddenly the host Dodgers had a 2-1 lead they would not relinquish.

Ross finished with eight Ks against just two walks, but it wasn’t enough to top Kershaw’s eight innings of three-hit ball, punctuated by 10 strikeouts of his own. Kershaw didn’t allow a hit until the sixth inning – coincidentally off the bat of Ross.

The lone Padres run came on a Rene Rivera single in the seventh that scored Abraham Almonte.

The loss is a bitter pill as the Padres drop the series despite pounding out 25 hits in the previous two games. It drops them 11 ½ games behind the first-place Dodgers and eight games out of the wild card race.

They head to Arizona for a three-game series with the Diamondbacks this weekend.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Stults Stifles Dodgers]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 23:50:31 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/padres+pics+618+6.jpg

Padres starter Eric Stults is pitching well of late. He got the win Wednesday night at Chavez Ravine and is 3-0 in the month of August. Stults (6-13) scattered four hits over five innings and gave up just one run in the Padres 4-1 victory.

The Padres got all the offense they would need in the second inning. They parlayed three hits into three runs. Alexi Amarista and Stults both had RBI singles.

Kevin Quackenbush pitched the ninth to get his first major league save.

The series winds up Thursday with Tyson Ross taking the hill for the Padres. He'll face Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Fall to Dodgers 8-6]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 23:50:31 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/tlmd_yasiel_puig_responde_polemica_cuba_mexico_los_zetas_dodgers_los_angeles.jpg

Padres starter Ian Kennedy wasn't sharp. He gave up six runs on seven hits and only lasted five innings. Kennedy (9-11) threw 97-pitches in the Padres 8-6 loss.

The Padres defense was not crisp either. Seth Smith and Abraham Almonte could not flag down catchable balls in the outfield. First baseman Jake Goebbert and third baseman Yangervis Solarte each had a throwing error.

Jedd Gyorko got the Friars off to a quick start. His first inning homer staked the Padres to a 3-0 lead. That lead was gone by the fourth inning when the Dodgers took the lead for good, scoring three runs on a couple of hits and a critical Goebbert error.

Game two of the series is set for Wednesday evening at Chavez Ravine.

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<![CDATA[Cardinals Beat Padres Again]]> Fri, 15 Aug 2014 22:45:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/yasmani+grandal+cubs+preview.jpg

Padres starter Tyson Ross got in trouble early. After giving up a pair of first inning runs the Padres ace settled in, but the damage was done. Ross (11-11) went six innings, allowing three runs on five hits.

Lance Lynn (13-8) pitched well for the Cardinals. Like Ross, he went six innings to collect his 13th win of the season.

Yasmani Grandal hit a home run in the ninth inning, his tenth of the season.

The Padres lost 4-2. After winning five straight the Friars have dropped their last two.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Roll Rockies Again]]> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 00:05:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/padres+pics+77+2.jpg

The Padres got a little bit of everything in their 4-1 victory over the Rockies Tuesday night at Petco Park. Starting pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne (3-3) threw seven shutout innings and struck out a career high eight in notching his third win of the season.

Up 2-0 in the eighth the Padres got a pair of defensive gems from their corner infielders on consecutive at-bats. Third baseman Chris Nelson went into the stands to catch a foul pop-up off the bat of Charlie Blackmon. First baseman Tommy Medica did the same to retire Josh Rutledge.

Nelson drove in two with an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth. The Rockies lone run came on a Corey Dickerson home run in the top of the ninth off of reliever Dale Thayer.

The Padres have now won four in a row. They're 8-1 in the month of August and are a National League best 15-8 since the All-Star break.

The Padres go for the series sweep Wednesday afternoon.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Stay Hot At Home]]> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 00:05:13 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/173*120/453503864.jpg

Since the All-Star break, the Padres have gone 14-8. That's the best record in the National League.

Now, if they could just figure out how to do that in April, we'll really be rolling!

Monday night at Petco Park, the Padres beat the Rockies 4-3 on some timely hitting (something they haven't gotten a whole lot of in 2014) and amazing bullpen work (something they've gotten since about 2004).

Yangervis Solarte hit a 2-run home run in the 8th inning to put the Friars up 4-3. It was Solarte's third homer as a Padre, and easily the biggest. Yonder Alonso also went deep, a solo shot that gave San Diego a 1-0 lead in the 4th inning.

But it was that dominant bullpen that held things together. Rookie starting pitcher Jesse Hahn have up three runs in 5-plus innings, all of them on one swing of the bat by Corey Dickerson, who hit a 3-run home run in the 6th to put Colorado up 3-1 and knocked Hahn out.

But that was the worst thing that could have happened to the Rockies. Nick Vincent threw the next 2.0 innings, striking out three.

Kevin Quackenbush whiffed the side in the 8th, and Joaquin Benoit did the same in the 9th to preserve the win. Vincent, Quackenbush and Benoit combined to punch out nine of the 12 batters they faced, including the final seven in a row.

Just another day at the office for the best bullpen in baseball, which now resides with the hottest team on the Senior Circuit.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres, Rockies Headed in Opposite Directions]]> Mon, 11 Aug 2014 09:25:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/rockies+preview+810.jpg

If there was ever a time to play the Colorado Rockies, this is it.

The Padres' opponent this week at Petco Park has the worst record in baseball, is missing superstars Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez and will start two rookies in the series.

They have also lost eight of 10 and are the worst road team in the league (18-41).

Meanwhile, the Friars stay hot with wins in six of their last eight games. They have lost just one series since the All-Star break and have the fourth-most runs in the National League during that time. Of course, they still have the worst overall batting average in the league and are last in baseball in runs scored by a wide margin on the season.

But we’re not here to talk about the past. It’s time to look to the future, a glimpse of which arrives this week as outfield prospect Rhymer Liriano is expected to join the team.

The 23-year-old hit .292 with 14 homers and 20 stolen bases in the minors this year, spending time with both Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A El Paso. He’s considered the No. 6 prospect in the Padres system.

An otherwise dreary season is starting to look up. This is a good reminder that things could be worse for the Padres: They could be the Rockies.

Here’s how the series stacks up.

Matchups:
Monday, 7:10 p.m.:
Jesse Hahn (R, 7-3, 2.28) vs. Jordan Lyles (6-1, 3.72)
Tuesday’s loss to the Twins (5 2/3 IP, 3 ER) snapped Hahn’s streak of three straight starts allowing just one run. Lyles made his first start in two months last week after breaking his hand, beating the Cubs.

Tuesday, 7:10 p.m.: Odrisamer Despaigne (R, 2-3, 3.10) vs. Yohan Flande (L, 0-4, 5.77)
Despaigne has seen his ERA rise more than 2 points (0.92 to 3.10) in his three-game losing streak. The rookie Flande is still looking for his first big-league win in six starts.

Wednesday, 3:40 p.m.: Ian Kennedy (R, 8-10, 3.51) vs. Matzek (R, 2-7, 5.32)
In his start against the Rockies last month, Kennedy allowed just one run and struck out nine in the win. He has two straights starts allowing just one run. Matzek, another rookies, has just one win in his last 10 starts.

Who to watch:
Padres:
Hot-hitting Tommy Medica should be back in the lineup after getting hit in the head on Saturday. He is hitting .396 since the All-Star break. Outfielder Seth Smith was the hero on Sunday, putting the Pirates away with a three-run triple in the fifth inning. He has six RBIs in his last three games. First baseman Yonder Alonso is 10 for his last 20 with three doubles. Shortstop Everth Cabrera may miss some time with a hamstring injury.

Rockies: With Tulo and CarGo out, it’s hard to find a recognizable name in this lineup. Outfielder Corey Dickerson has impressed with 14 homers, 46 RBIs and a .319 average. He also has a five-game hitting streak. Third baseman Nolan Arenado has five long balls and 16 RBIs since the All-Star break.

Coming up: This is your last chance to see the Friars at home for a while, as they embark on a 10-game road trip starting Thursday. It includes trips to St. Louis, Los Angeles and Arizona.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Use The Pirates Plan Against Them]]> Sat, 09 Aug 2014 23:38:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/169*120/453407778.jpg

On Friday night in Pittsburgh the Padres scored one run in the first inning, the Pirates scored two runs in the first inning, and that was it for the night's scoring.

So, the Friars thought they'd try that course of action for themselves on Saturday night. The Padres scored twice in the first, the Bucs got one in the first, and that was it for the night's scoring.

Second baseman Jedd Gyorko lined a bases loaded single to center to score Everth Cabrera and Yasmani Grandal hit a sacrifice fly to account for San Diego's other run.

Eric Stults made it stand up with his second straight fantastic start. After giving up a run on a Russell Martin single, Stults buckled down and threw 6.1 innings, striking out six and earning his fifth win of the season.

He had help from that tremendous Padres bullpen, too.

Alex Torres, Nick Vincent, Kevin Quackenbush and Joaquin Benoit followed Stults to keep the 1-run margin intact. Benita got his 5th save of the season, but Quackenbush showed some guts in the 8th inning.

Jody Mercer and Martin (who had two hits) led off the inning with hits, putting runners at second and third with nobody out. Quackenbush got the next three hitters, Ike Davis, Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco, with no damage being done.

The Padres can win the series from the Pirates, who entered the weekend with the best home record in the National League, on Sunday behind All-Star Tyson Ross.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Offense Stifled In Pittsburgh]]> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 23:44:14 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/169*120/453354642.jpg

Padres starting pitcher Ian Kennedy has allowed three runs or less in 16 starts this season. He's only won eight of those games.

Kennedy didn't get enough run support again on Friday night in Pittsburgh. Kennedy allowed two runs in 6.0 innings, but his offense only provided one run against underrated Pirates starter Vance Worley. The Pirates won 2-1.

San Diego's only run came in the first inning. Everth Cabrera led off with a double and later scored on a Seth Smith sacrifice fly.

The Pirates got their runs in the bottom of the first. Gregory Polanco singled in Josh Harrison, then came home on an Ike Davis sacrifice fly.

After that, goose eggs for everyone. Worley struck out seven Padres in 7.0 innings.

Saturday a pair of lefties, Eric Stults and Francisco Liriano, meet on the mound.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rested Padres Face Equally Hot Pirates]]> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 10:05:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/alonso+pirates+preview.jpg

Not that you ever turn down a day off at this point in the season, but the Padres have to be looking to get back on the field before they cool down.

The hottest team in baseball got a rare two off days this week and is now well rested heading to Pittsburgh to take on the Pirates this weekend.

After splitting a two-game series with the Minnesota Twins, the Friars have won six of their last eight and still only have one series loss since the All-Star break. They lead the league in hitting and are third in the National League in runs scored during that time with 84. Of course, the team in the other dugout is first in that category with 94.

The Pirates are almost as hot, winning four of six and seven of their last 11.

Could we see a slugfest this weekend at PNC Park? Well, let’s not get carried away.

Matchups:
Friday, 4:05 p.m.:
Ian Kennedy (R, 8-9, 3.59) vs. Vance Worley (R, 4-1, 2.43)
The winner of three straight decisions, Kennedy also beat the Pirates back in June. Worley has allowed just two earned runs in his last three starts.

Saturday, 4:05 p.m.: Eric Stults (L, 4-13, 4.94) vs. Nelson Liriano (L, 3-7, 3.91)
Well, it’s nice to see a Padres player atop the stat list, even if it is Stults leading the league in losses. He’s coming off 6 1/3 scoreless innings in his last start, a win over the Braves. After going more than two months without making it through six innings, Liriano now has three straight quality starts.

Sunday, 10:05 a.m.: Tyson Ross (R, 10-10, 2.62) vs. Charlie Morton (R, 5-10, 3.43)
The streak of two or less earned runs is up to nine starts for Ross. Is there a better .500 pitcher in the league? No, there is not. Morton has just one decision (a loss) in the last month.

What’s at stake: After literally decades of meaningless baseball in Pittsburgh, the Pirates find themselves in the playoff hunt for the second straight year. They trail the Milwaukee Brewers by a game and a half for the NL Central lead and are just a half-game out of the wild card. In fact, the Central could get three playoff teams if the Cardinals hold on and the Bucs beat out San Francisco.
They are separated from the Padres by 8 ½ games and four teams in the wild card race. Seems like a whole other world.

The Pirates took two out of three at Petco in June. This is the last time the teams wills see each other this season.

Who to watch:
Padres:
It’s almost harder to find a player in this lineup who is not hot. First baseman Yonder Alsonso had six hits and a homer against the Twins and is hitting .429 over his last 10 games. Outfielder Tommy Medica is staying hot after his five-hit, two-homer performance last week. He has 10 hits in his last five games. Shortstop Everth Cabrera is breaking out of a months-long slump with nine hits and 4 RBIs in his last five. And we obviously have to mention Seth Smith, who leads the team in just about everything, including average (.290), homers (12) and RBIs (34). He also has a four-game hitting streak.

Pirates: First off, who we won’t see is reigning MVP Andrew McCutchen, who might be facing a trip to the disabled list after breaking a rib. We will see Josh Harrison, who has been mauling the ball over an 11-game hit streak. He has five home runs and 21 hits over that stretch. Catcher Russell Martin is working on a six-game streak of his own and has seven RBIs in that time.

Coming up: The Friars head home to face the Colorado Rockies next week before embarking on a 10-game road trip that includes the Cardinals, Dodgers and Diamondbacks.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Smith Delivers in Tenth]]> Wed, 06 Aug 2014 22:35:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/z+pads+celebrate+1.jpg

The Padres flashed the leather and delivered with the bat at just the right times Wednesday in Minnesota to split the two game series against the Twins with a 5-4 win.

The Twins were in good shape to push across the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. Tied up, with two on and two outs Eduardo Escobar belted a drive to center field. Alexi Amarista barely flagged it down, hitting the turf with the ball firmly in his glove. The inning was over with the game still tied.

The Padres didn't waste any time getting the lead in extra innings. Their first batter, Seth Smith, hit a home run to right to break the tie. It was Smith's 12th of the year.

The Padres held on in the bottom of the 10th to secure the win. They are off on Thursday and conclude the road trip with a weekend series in Pittsburgh.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[7 Things to Know About New Padres GM]]> Wed, 06 Aug 2014 17:52:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/preller+1.jpg

New Padres General Manager A.J. Preller is an enigma wrapped in a riddle cloaked in a rather loud sports jacket. He is an international scout of mystery, if you will.

The team announced the hiring of Preller, 36, today, a man who has been described as “eccentric,” “in the shadows” and a “baseball rat.” (That’s a good thing in baseball terms, by the way.)

Here is a little bit of what we know so far about the man called to lead the Padres into the future:

  • Preller grew up on Long Island as a Yankees fan. He is also close to his family, thanking them for all their help during his first Padres press conference on Wednesday. "I wanted to thank my parents back in New York," he said. "They were unelievably supportive."
     
  • He graduated from Walt Whitman High School in 1995, where he played three varsity sports. He was named to the Principal’s List and National Honor Society and is now a member of the South Huntington Schools Hall of Fame.
     
  • At Cornell, he was a member of the Delta Chi fraternity (not to be confused with the Delta Tau Chi from the movie “Animal House”) with current Texas Rangers president and general manager Jon Daniels. They lived together for three years.
     
  • Preller took his first baseball job as an intern with the Philadelphia Phillies in which he earned college credits. After graduation, he took an unpaid position with Arizona Fall League, where he worked under baseball great Frank Robinson. The two then worked together in the Major League Baseball office before Preller took a scouting job with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He said he considers Robinson a mentor: "Frank, to myself, is somebody who is very open ... I said, 'If I get a chance to run a department, I want to run it that way."
     
  • He was originally hired by the Rangers as Director of International and Professional Scouting. His territory included Japan, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and other parts of Latin America. But he seemed to travel anywhere anybody was playing baseball. He said he's "maybe spent 3 million miles on American Airlines" and would take several flights a day to scout different players.
     
  • Both ESPN and Baseball American have named the Rangers the top farm system in baseball in the past five years. The Rangers won two American League championships during Preller’s tenure, the first time in the team's history that it won a playoff series.
     
  • He was one of eight candidates originally interviewed by the Padres. They brought in Preller and three other candidates --  Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler, MLB senior vice president of baseball operations Kim Ng and Red Sox assistant general manager Mike Hazen. He becomes the Padres’ fourth general manager following the 14-year tenure of Kevin Towers.



Photo Credit: Matthew Wood/NBC7]]>
<![CDATA[A.J. Preller Named New Padres GM]]> Wed, 06 Aug 2014 17:42:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Preller+jersey.jpg

After a search that lasted six weeks, A.J. Preller was announced as the Padres' new General Manager on Wednesday.

"A.J.'s passion stood out to all of us throughout the process," Padres CEO Mike Dee said in announcing Preller's hiring on Wednesday. "All along, the most important characteristic was who was going to bring the best overall talent to the organization."

He joins a Padres team that has not made the postseason since 2006 and has just one winning season since 2007.

"My mantra is building a championship team from top to bottom," Preller said. "They made it pretty apparent they want to do what it takes for that."

The deal is reportedly for five years, and executive chairman Ron Fowler said negotiations went late into last night.

"Has the deal been finalized?" he jokingly asked.

Preller, 37, has spent the last 10 seasons with the Texas Rangers. He was promoted to Assistant General Manger last November. He also worked in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization and spent time working under Hall of Famer Frank Robinson at the Major League Baseball league office.

Preller was in charge of the Rangers' scouting and player development. He played a major role in the team's Dominican Republic development program and has a wealth of experience in International scouting, an area the Padres have been trying to strengthen for years.

The Rangers current active roster features 10 international players from six different countries.

Preller stressed that no decisions had been made about manager Bud Black or any other player personnel.

"I can promise you, we'll have the hungriest group, the hardest working group of employees in the game," he said.

The Padres interviewed eight candidates for the job, inviting four of them (Preller, San Diego native Mike Eppler, Kim Ng and Mike Hazen) back for a second talk.

After the firing of Josh Byrnes on June 22, the Padres allowed then-Assistant General Manager A.J. Hinch to guide them through the trade deadline.

In a hint of what was to come, Hinch resigned his post on Tuesday, saying the Padres are ready for a transition. Vice President/Assistant General Manager of Player Personnel Chad MacDonald also announced he was leaving the team on Wednesday.

Hinch's departure and the arrival of Preller and his staff means Fowler, Dee and the new ownership group will have their own, hand-picked people in the front office to fulfill their vision of how the San Diego Padres should be run.

Oh, and there's this fun little write up we found about Preller's time at Walt Whitman High School in Huntington Station, NY:

Voted Mr. Whitman 1995, Principal’s List, National Honor Society, Italian Honor Society, Scholar Athlete award, and a Gold Key award. He was also a class officer for all four years of high school, was captain of the baseball team, and played on the basketball and soccer teams.

If Preller accomplishes anywhere near that much in his new role, the Padres should be in good shape for a long time.



Photo Credit: Matthew Wood/NBC7]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Just Miss In Minnesota]]> Tue, 05 Aug 2014 22:43:54 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/182*120/453228858.jpg

When a baseball team has 12 hits in a 9-inning game, and one of those hits is a home run, and that team does not ground in to a single double play ... the natural assumption is that team will have scored more than one run.

But when that team is the Padres, things tend to happen a bit un-naturally.

The Friars did, indeed, score only one run on 12 hits and lost to the Twins 3-1 at Target Field on Tuesday night. Yonder Alonso had three of those hits, including a solo home run (his first homer since June 7), but the Padres left at least one runner on base in every single inning.

Well, every inning except the second, when Alonso doubled and Yasmani Grandal tried to score from first base. Grandal dove around Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki and thought he avoided the tag, but home plate umpire Mike DiMuro disagreed.

Padres manager Bud Black elected not to ask for a replay challenge. Multiple TV views showed there probably was not conclusive evidence to overturn the call.

The Twins got all their runs in one swing. Rookie pitcher Jesse Hahn was not as sharp has he has been recently, but he certainly did not throw poorly. After a walk and a double in the 6th inning, Hahn left a curve ball up and Kennys Vargas deposited it in the right field bleachers for a 3-run shot.

Hahn was saddled with his third loss of the season. The Padres try to split the short two-game set on Wednesday in a 10:00 a.m. San Diego time start. Odrisamer Despaigne takes the mound against former Padre and Granite Hills High School alum Kevin Correia.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Red-Hot Padres Head to Twin Cities]]> Wed, 06 Aug 2014 12:08:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/jesse+hahn+twins+preview.jpg

Don’t put away those brooms just yet, Padres fans. There could be more sweeping on the way.

After taking three straight from the Atlanta Braves over the weekend for their second series sweep of the season, the Friars head to the Twin Cities to face the last-place Minnesota Twins for a quickie two-game series starting Tuesday.

Things are pointing up for the Friars: A lineup that’s suddenly clicking after months of ineptitude, a hot pitcher in Jesse Hahn throwing the opener, a Twins team that has lost more than it’s won at home (24-29).

Most of all, it’s the fact that the Padres – yes, the Padres – are the hottest team in baseball, having won five of six and 10 of 15. That’s the best mark in baseball over that time. Can you believe they have scored the most runs in baseball (78 in 16 games) since the All-Star break?

Maybe the addition by subtraction strategy will keep on working. After dealing away a ton of talent before the trade deadline, the Padres just lost Vice President/Assistant General Manager A.J. Hinch, who quit his job on Tuesday. The move comes amid a drawn-out search for a new GM.

Hey, if losing a bunch of players on the field leads to some wins, maybe the same will be true in the executive offices, too.

Either way, a five-game road trip starts out on a high note – and maybe a little more sweeping by the Friars. Here’s a peek at what to expect from the upcoming series.

Matchups:
Tuesday, 5:10 p.m.:
Jesse Hahn (R, 2.01) vs. Phil Hughes (R, 10-8, 4.12)
After a shaky MLB debut, Hahn has been untouchable. He has allowed more than two  earned runs just once in his last eight starts, winning seven of them. Hughes has lost three straight starts, despite walking just two batters in that span.

Wednesday, 10:10 a.m.: Odrisamer Despaigne (R, 2-3, 2.68) vs. Kevin Correia (R, 5-13, 4.96)
You could really call OD’s start against the Cardinals (5.2 IP, 9 hits, 6 runs) his first bad start since getting called up. He still have five quality starts in his first seven outings. Correia joins Eric Stults as the only two pitchers in baseball with 13 losses.

What’s at stake: From a playoff perspective, both teams more or less lost hope long ago. They each trail the wild card race in their respective leagues by 8 ½ games. That’s not insurmountable, but come on.

The Padres look to build on what has been their hottest run of the season. This is a team that has lost just one series since the All-Star break, but must play 15 of its next 18 games on the road.

This is the last time the two teams will meet this year. The Twins won a pair at Petco Park back in May.

Who to watch:
Padres:
Tommy Medica just punished the Braves, tallying three homers and 18 total bases, including a five-hit game on Friday. He is 16 for 35 (.457) since the break, good for second in the NL. Outfielder Seth Smith leads the team with 11 homers, 32 RBIs and a .289 average. He has hits in four of his last five starts. Infielder Yangervis Solarte has been a shot in the arm since coming over from the Yankees. He has 14 hits and a pair of homers in his first 12 games as a Padre.

Twins: All-Star second baseman Brian Dozier has been one of the rare sources of power in this lineup, conking 19 home runs and driving in 49. He’s also struck out a whopping 92 times this year. Dozier has nine hits in his last five games. Outfielder Josh Willingham has 11 long balls but is hitting just .218 on the year. Closer Glen Perkins is fourth in the league with 27 saves.

Coming up: The wide open road awaits, as the Padres head to Pittsburgh this weekend. They return home for three against the Colorado Rockies next week before embarking on a 10-game road trip.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trevor Hoffman Voted Into Padres Hall of Fame]]> Tue, 05 Aug 2014 08:20:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/hoffmanp7.jpg

The exclusive club that is the Padres Hall of Fame is getting a little bigger.

Longtime closer Trevor Hoffman, who is Major League Baseball’s all-time saves leader and spent parts of 16 years with the Padres, will be the ninth person to join the hall.

He will be inducted before the August 30 game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“I’m thrilled to be inducted into the Padres Hall of Fame,” Hoffman said in a statement. “To be able to join a group of people whose contributions have not only shaped our organization, but also strengthened the game of baseball, is an honor."

The Padres Hall of Fame committee voted unanimously to induct Hoffman. It is comprised of members of the local sports media and San Diego Padres front office.

Hoffman finished with 601 career saves in his 18 years in the big leagues, 552 of them with the Padres. He compiled a 54-64 record with a 2.76 ERA and 1,029 strikeouts in 902 appearances.

He is still in the Padres’ organization, serving as the upper-level pitching coordinator.

Other members of the Padres Hall of Fame: Buzzie Bavasi, Nate Colbert, Jerry Coleman, Tony Gwynn, Randy Jones, Ray Kroc, Dick Williams and Dave Winfield. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Walk Off Braves (Part Deux)]]> Mon, 04 Aug 2014 00:11:52 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/187*120/453132218.jpg

For the second straight night, the Padres beat the Braves on a walk-off hit in extra innings. I could get used to this!

Everth Cabrera's 2-out single in the 10th scored Alexi Amarista with the final run in the Padres' 4-3 win.

Tommy Medica continued his hot streak with another home run, his third of the series, a solo shot in the 8th inning. Medica finished the weekend going 8-for-12 with 5 RBI.

Padres starter Tyson Ross gave up two runs in 6-plus innings, striking out seven.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Walk Off The Braves]]> Sat, 02 Aug 2014 23:44:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/173*120/453097222.jpg

While the Padres have spent the better part of the last two weeks clubbing teams to death with their suddenly potent offense, do not be fooled.

This is still, at its core, a pitching and defense king of team.

That's how they beat the Braves 3-2 in 12 innings at Petco Park on Saturday night. After several missed opportunities to score runs (Tommy Medica created a couple of them with two more hits), the Friars found themselves in deep trouble in the top of the 12th.

Atlanta loaded the bases against Tim Stauffer with nobody out. After a lengthy meeting on the mound, Stauffer got Evan Gattis to ground in to a 5-2-3 double play, then got Chris Johnson on another groundout to escape with no runs scored.

In the bottom of that very same inning, the Padres loaded the bases with one out against All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel, who was trying to go more than one inning for only the third time this season.

After walking the bases loaded, Kimbrel grooved one to Will Venable, and Will didn't miss it. His line drive soared over the head of right fielder Jason Hayward, who misplayed it but would not have been able to throw out Yangervis Solarte at the plate anyway.

Since the All-Star break the Padres have gone 9-6, and have a chance to sweep Atlanta on Sunday behind All-Star Tyson Ross, who gets the start against former Padre and San Diego native Aaron Harang.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Addition by Subtraction Works for Padres]]> Fri, 01 Aug 2014 11:39:09 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/solarte+braves+preview.jpg

The waiting is over. Now it’s time to get on with the rest of the season.

Thursday’s non-waiver trade deadline passed with just one more casualty from the Padres roster – outfielder Chris Denorfia, whose much-anticipated ticket out of town was punched with a deal involving the Seattle Mariners.

Now, barring any minor waiver wire trades, the core of the team is set for the season until the September call-ups arrive.

Really, the addition by subtraction has gone pretty well. Since the Padres announced the trade of closer Huston Street on July 18, they are 7-6 and have won three of four series. They've also been hitting the ball, scoring nearly 5 1/2 runs per game over their past nine. This from a team that has been shut out more than anyone else this season.

The only series loss since the trades started going down came to the Atlanta Braves last weekend. Conveniently, that same team comes to Petco this weekend for a rematch. The Braves are in the middle of a playoff race while the Padres teeter on the edge of fourth place in the National League West. But now they’re ridin’ lean with a revamped roster. Will they continue to find success?

Let’s break down the weekend.

Matchups:
Friday, 7:10 p.m.:
Eric Stults (L, 3-13, 5.22) vs. Mike Minor (L, 4-6, 5.23)
Could anybody use a victory more than Stults? He has one win since May 10. He took the loss (big surprise) against the Braves last weekend, giving up six runs in as many innings. Minor got the win against the Padres last weekend, but gave up six earned runs in his two previous starts.

Saturday, 5:40 p.m.: Ian Kennedy (R, 8-9, 3.66) vs. Ervin Santana (R, 10-6, 3.63)
Now that all the trade rumors are over, Kennedy can just focus on pitching. It hasn’t been a problem lately, as he has won three straight.  Santana has also won three straight, racking up double-digit strikeouts in his last two starts.

Sunday, 1:10 p.m.: Tyson Ross (R, 10-10, 2.60) vs. Aaron Harang (9-6, 3.43)
It would be a shame if Ross doesn’t at least get some consideration for the NL Cy Young. He now has eight straight quality starts, is sixth in the league in ERA and tied for fourth with 150 strikeouts. #TyforCy. It’s a homecoming for Harang, who played high school ball at Patrick Henry High and in college at San Diego State. He also has a four-game win streak and hasn’t lost in over a month.

What’s at stake: It’s sweep or bust for the Padres if they want to win the season series over the Braves after dropping three of four in Atlanta last weekend. They are also dangerously close to getting passed by the Diamondbacks for third place, leading by just half a game. Not that it matters much, as the Dodgers are once again run making a late-season run with six straight wins. They have a 3 ½ game lead on the Giants.

Meanwhile, the Braves lead the race for the second wild card spot and trail the Washington Nationals by just 1 ½ games for the division lead. Of course, they are no strangers to the playoffs, having made the postseason two of the last three years.

Who to watch:
Padres:
Infielder Yangervis Solarte is making himself right at home after coming over in the Chase Headley deal. He is hitting .324 in nine games with the team, including a four-hit night on Wednesday. Outfielder Seth Smith is coming off a July where he was among the league leaders with a .358 average – although he has cooled off this week with just a pair of hits in his last 15 at-bats. And how about second baseman Jedd Gyorko, finally coming out of a season-long slump with six hits and two homers against the Cardinals this week. His average is still just .183 on the season.

Braves: Outfielder Justin Upton leads the team with 19 home runs and 63 RBIs. He has a hit in his last five games. First baseman Freddie Freeman leads the team and is seventh in the NL with 28 doubles. Rookie second baseman Tommy La Stella leads the team with a .294 average.

Coming up: It’s back to the road as the Padres visit Minnesota and Pittsburgh next week before returning home to play the Rockies on Aug. 11.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cardinals Avoid Sweep At Petco Park]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 23:00:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/161*120/452984216.jpg

If his first five games back from the disabled list are any indication, Padres 2nd baseman Jedd Gyorko's second half of the 2014 season will look a lot like the second half of Chase Headley's 2012 season.

On Thursday against the Cardinals, Gyorko hit a home run for the second straight game, an opposite field shot off Cardinals starter Shelby Miller. Gyorko is hitting .500 since his return with a double, two home runs and six runs batted in.

Will Venable also went deep against Miller, but the Padres only had one other hit, a Rene Rivera double, in their 6-2 loss to St. Louis. Padres starting pitcher Odrsiamer Despaigne allowed all six Cardinals runs in 5.2 innings to take his second straight loss.

The Padres still won the series, 2-1. They start a 3-game set against the Braves on Friday night at Petco Park.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Trade Chris Denorfia to Mariners]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 16:36:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/chris+denorfia.jpg

The Padres made another trade on Thursday, sending popular outfielder Chris Denorfia to the Mariners in exchange for a pair of minor leaguers, RHP Stephen Kohlscheen and OF Abraham Almonte.

Kohlscheen, 25, has split the 2014 season between Double-A Jackson and Triple-A Tacoma, going 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA ), 55 strikeouts and 10 walks over 38 relief appearances. Drafted by the Mariners in the 45th round of the 2010 Draft, Kohlscheen does not have overpowering stuff but has found ways to get hitters out consistently. One negative is his tendency to elevate pitches (probably because he's 6'6") and allowing home runs.

Almonte is also 25 years old. He's hitting .267 (74-for-277) with 10 doubles, three triples, six home runs, 31 RBI and 42 runs scored in 72 games for Triple-A Tacoma. The switch-hitter has also played in 27 Major League games for Seattle this season.

A native of the Dominican Republic, Almonte was signed by the Yankees as a 17-year-old from the Dominican Republic. Early in his minor league career he struggled offensively, and eventually overcame alcohol addiction. After a trade to the Mariners, Almonte's bat showed vast improvement. He hit 15 home runs and earned a late-season call up to the big league club.

In Denorfia, the Padres are losing an above-average defensive outfielder who's extremely tough against left-handed pitching. He became a Padres fan favorite with his constant hustle.

That makes three trades for the Friars, and there are still 50 minutes left until the trade deadline. Is this the last move to be made?



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Hammer Cardinals]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 23:00:53 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/jedd+gyorko+cards+preview.jpg

Starting pitcher Jesse Hahn is continuing his impressive run. On Wednesday night he allowed just four hits and one run in seven innings of work. At 7-2, Hahn is off to the best start ever by a Padres rookie. To say he also got offensive support would be an understatement as the Padres beat the Cardinals 12-1.

Jedd Gyorko collected four hits and four RBI including his 6th home run of the season. Will Venable also went yard. Yangervis Solarte added four base hits and drove in a pair. The Padres put the game away in the bottom of the seventh, pushing eight runs across the plate.

The Padres go for the unlikely series sweep against the Cardinals Thursday afternoon at Petco Park.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[San Diego Magazine Honors Tony Gwynn]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 16:07:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/sd+mag+issue+gwyn+story.jpg

Back in the day, San Diego Magazine writer Ron Donoho had the idea to get a hitting lesson from Padres legend Tony Gwynn. Needless to say, it didn’t go well.

“He was like, ‘I hate your swing,’ Donoho remembers. “I had somebody all set up to take some live pitching, but he wouldn’t even let me get that far.”

What he did was give Donoho his undivided attention for as long as it took – a trait so many people remember about the man they called “Mr. Padre.”

“He stood in the batting cage and made me take swings off the tee,” Donoho said. “He held my tape recorder. What pros would do that? He hung around for more than 3 hours for the piece.”

That was Donoho’s personal remembrance of Gwynn. He was one of the San Diego Magazine contributors who compiled other heartfelt memories of Gwynn from executives, coaches, players, media and fans in a 10-page spread in this month’s issue, titled “Remembering Mr. Padre."

It includes memories from players like Cal Ripken, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame with Gwynn in 2007. It also includes a Padres fan who lived in San Francisco and would go see Gwynn every time the Padres were in town.

The memories are spliced with classic photos from his career and life as well as a “scorecard” that highlights the best stats of his career.

"We wanted to give fans a place to pay tribute to him alongside all the VIPs,” Editor Erin Chambers Smith said. “And you know what's cool? The memories and sentiments are very similar, whether from a major leaguer or a little kid. He treated everyone the same. It was an honor for our staff to work on this."

It also pays tribute by making every page in the issue number 19 – a little tricky if you want to navigate the mag, but we’ll let it slide.

Donoho’s favorite contribution was from former Padres president and current Boston Red Sox president Larry Lucchino.

“I appreciate that he called from Boston,” Donoho said. “I always liked him. He’s a smart guy.”

The issue hit newsstands this week. Or you can just read the digital version.

In case you missed them, here are some other great tributes to Gwynn, including a story from his batboy with the Padres.

Of course, NBC 7’s tributes to Gwynn are the best around, in our completely unbiased opinion.

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<![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[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.



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