Monday, July 5, 2010

The Padres Need to Step Up to the Plate!

Okay, please let me begin by stating that I could not be more pleased with the effort that San Diego Padres have put fourth thus far. Here we are, almost to the All Star break, and my Padres are in first place by 3.5 games, in the NL West. If that isn't amazing enough for you, how about this? The Padres have the best record in the National League! Still need more? The Padres have, by far, the lowest ERA for any pitching staff in baseball, even though they do not have a single pitcher on the All Star team. How about this? The Padres lead baseball with 13 shutouts!Still not convinced? This should help...The San Diego Padres have the best record in the National League since last July! If you think they are doing it with mirrors, you are wrong.

So, how are they doing it? Pitching, defense, hustle and heart. Just take the recent series with Houston for example. Game one, the Padres fell behind early and fought back to tie it up at three runs a piece. Uncharacteristically, Luke Gregerson, could not find the plate, walked three guys, and gave up a bases clearing double to blow the game open and they lost 6-3.

Game two: Scoreless tie into the 8th inning. The Padres scratch and claw for three runs, and win 3-0.

Game three: Scoreless tie into the 8th inning and the Padres manage to score one run and win 1-0. Are you seeing a trend here? Every game was tied in the eighth inning and the Padres had the heart, and pitching to win three out of four.

Game four: The Padres were clinging to a 2-1 lead in the eighth and looked to be blowing the game. A lead off double, followed by a rare triple from Berkman, made it a 2-2 tie with a runner on third and no one out. With the Padres bats lacking pop, this could have spelled disaster. Sure enough, a strikeout, a ground out, and a fly out, ended the inning with the 2-2 tie in place. Move to the bottom of the ninth, the Padres scratch and claw their way for one run and with the game 3-2 and the series 3-1. That about sums up how the year has gone for the San Diego Padres. Close games, great pitching, great hustle on the bases and solid defense. The question is, will that be enough to hang on to first place?
Well, my short answer is, yes! I do think the Padres have what it takes to win the NL West. By the way, don't give me this, "The West is a weak division" garbage. Four of the five teams in the West are over .500, so they must be okay. My problem is, if and when the Padres make the playoffs, they are going to need to score a couple more runs a game if they want to challenge the big bopping teams like St. Louis, or Philly in the NL and New York and Boston in the AL.

So, what to do? I say the Padres need to become buyers, not sellers and go after a bat! Local radio personalities ask San Diego listeners, "When will San Diegans believe in their Padres?" The answer is, when the Padres management believes in them! When Jed Hoyer, the Padres GM says, "If we are contending at the trade deadline, we will look to become buyers." What kind of GM says that? If the GM doesn't believe yet, why should the fans? As far as we know, they still may be looking to get rid of Adrian Gonzalez and Heath Bell! If they do that, you may as well play your vacation trips for October because the Padres will not be playing.

I understand that the Padres do not have a lot of money to spend. They are going through an ownership change and the new owner did not plan to spend too much, too early. His problem is that the Padres are forcing his hand early by showing that they truly are a contender, not a pretender. The Padres must buy, and the sooner the better.
Here is my suggestion, and I can't believe I'm saying this. Bring in Milton Bradley to play left field and bat behind Gonzalez. Bradley has all the tools to play well at the spacious Petco Park and has a strong enough bat to give some protection to Gonzo. Even Bradley says that he was happiest when he was a Padre and the limited pressure from the San Diego media is a nice environment for him. He would just have to get over the fact that his last game as a Padre was ended when his manager, Bud Black, beat him up at first base and blew out his knee.

From the Padres end, Bradley will come cheap. Any other big named bopper will cost them someone out of their very talented bullpen. With runs being at a premium, they cannot afford to lose Gregerson, Adams, or Bell, their top three relievers. Also, there were no negative comments from the Padres regarding Bradley's earlier tenure with the club. "Model Citizen" is the most frequent comment made about Bradley in those days.

Will the Padres pull the trigger and show that they want to win? Will the new management act like the old management and say, "Hey, we're in first, we don't need to make changes." ? I say, buy now!!!!


Ian said...

Hey Will!

I'll admit I'm one of the many people who picked the Padres for last place before the season began, but I also picked the Diamondbacks to win the division, so maybe my predictions aren't the best ones to listen to. Anyhow, I love surprise teams, especially when they come from less historically-successful franchises, so I'm definitely rooting for the Padres to win the West this year. They also have Lance Zawadzki, the first MLB player from my alma mater, Lee University, so that's pretty cool too.

The Milton Bradley trade suggestion is an interesting one. The Padres could definitely use a hitter with strong on-base skills. If the environment in San Diego is as supportive as it is in Seattle, it might work. The Padres could probably use some help on the left side of the infield too, although I'm not sure the market there is very strong this year.

Bosox 61 said...

Hey Will-

Great to see you again. I've been worried about you. Can you believe Manuel didn't pick one pitcher from the best staff in the NL? Bell was an afterthought.

The Padres could get Crawford for the rest of the way if they gave away the farm but I don't think that they can afford him next year. How about BJ Upton? Next year you can have JD Drew.

Anyway I am happy for you. You lose LT and get a pennant in the same year. I think that is a good trade. Maybe you now know how I felt in 2008 when the Rays kmade a move. Great feeling!

BoltBacker21 said...

Thanks for the comments Ian and Paul. I miss "talking" to you guys. Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I get so many spam comments that I forget that sometimes a real comment comes through.

Anyway, I am pleased with the Padres moves at the deadline. I would rather have Tejada and Ludwick than Bradley. However, I think you will see a pitcher or two in the near future.

Thanks again guys!