Jeff Smith noon, March 8
You're the skipper of a ball club that has lost three in a row, the first three of the season, which you admit is under the microscope compared to if the club lost three in a row in, say, June. The club is averaging under four hits per game. Forced to admit that the offense needs to improve, all eyes are on you, wondering how you're going to fix the problem. Put yourself in Buddy Black's shoes for a moment, what are you going to do?
Apparently, it's as simple as inserting Andy Parrino into the line-up.
All that Andy Parrino did in his first ever major league start was to go 2 for 4 at the plate with a walk, including a home run. And since Parrino had the foresight to smack that home run into the Padres bullpen, his odds of eventually retrieving that first major league home run ball are pretty good after some initial certain ritual joking that is sure to include presenting Parrino with a ball that your rottweiler couldn't do more damage to if you rolled the ball in bacon grease and let the dog have at it for a week and a half. But obviously while Parrino wasn't the difference maker in an 8-4 Padres win on Sunday, he certainly was the difference in the lineup along with backup catcher John Baker.
In one game, the Padres matched the hit total of their previous three games.
Dodgers starting pitcher, former Padres starting pitcher Aaron Harang, had a miserable outing against his former club, giving up 4 runs (3 earned) on 7 hits with 5 walks in 4 1/3 innings. Harang did strike out 6 Padres, but also hit Cameron Maybin with a pitch.
The Padres' Clayton Richard, in comparison, was brilliant, pitching 7 innings and giving up only 2 runs on two hits (none earned) while striking out three. Richard did an excellent job of making Dodgers hitters hit to contact, fairly easy ground outs and fly outs being the order of the afternoon. Andrew Cashner hit 100 MPH with his fast ball in the eighth inning, giving up only a walk, and while reliever Ernesto Frieri made for an interesting ninth inning giving up a 2-run home run to Andre Ethier in the inning, he struck out James Loney to preserve the win.
Cameron Maybin, 2nd in the National League in stolen bases last year, nabbed his first two of the season. Chase Headley, who was hitless coming into the game, cranked a grand slam off of Dodgers reliever Scott Elbert in the eighth inning to put the game out of reach. Maybin wound up 2 for 4 on the afternoon while Jason Bartlett went 2 for 5. Will Venable, Jesus Guzman, Yonder Alonso, John Baker, and Jeremy Hermida each had a hit.
The Padres got going in the first inning when Harang hit Maybin with a pitch, and then Maybin stole second base as Venable struck out. Chase Headley walked, and then Jesus Guzman lined a fastball into left field sending Headley to third base while scoring Maybin. Yonder Alonso then sacrificed Headley home on a fly ball to center field and the Padres led 2-0 after an inning.
In the third inning with two outs, Guzman reached on a fielding error by Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon. Yonder Alonso then drew a walk, and John Baker singled to left on a Harang slider, scoring Guzman, and the Padres led 3-0 after three innings.
In the fourth inning, the Padres went up 4-0 on Parrino's solo homer.
The Dodgers didn't get on the board until the sixth inning, when a fielding error by Will Venable allowed Mark Ellis to reach base. After striking out Dee Gordon and getting Justin Sellers to ground out, Matt Kemp hit a Clayton Richard fastball that barely cleared the center field fence and the Padres lead was cut to 4-2 after six innings.
In the bottom of the eighth, Dodgers reliever Todd Coffey gave up a single to Jeremy Hermida, and a single to Cameron Maybin. Coffey was replaced by Scott Elbert, and Will Venable laid down a bunt that was so perfectly executed that it loaded the bases. Chase Headley then stepped in and drove an Elbert slider over the left field wall to make the score 8-2 entering the ninth inning.
Padres reliever Ernesto Frieri came on in the top of the ninth, getting Matt Kemp to fly out to right. Juan Rivera then singled to right field, followed by a two-run home run by Ethier which cut the score to 8-4. Frieri then retired Juan Rivera on a fly ball to left field and struck out James Loney on a fastball.
With the win, the Padres improve to 1-3. Aside from Venable's fielding error, Clayton Richard committed 2 errors, fielding and throwing, and the Padres have 8 errors in 4 games. The Dodgers also committed two errors on Sunday, a fielding error by Dee Gordon and a throwing error by Juan Uribe.
Padres pitcher Dustin Moseley, who pitched on Saturday, was sent to the disabled list on Sunday with a strained shoulder. Reliever Josh Spence was recalled from AAA Tucson to fill his spot. While manager Buddy Black is certain that Edinson Volquez will start on Tuesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks, he remained non-committal about a fourth or fifth starter except to concede that Anthony Bass fits in one of those spots. Another candidate on the roster would be Micah Owings. Perhaps we'll find out more on Tuesday.
Monday is an off-day for the Padres. Tomorrow then, we'll take a look at the Padres minor league teams, the Fort Wayne Tincaps (A), the Lake Elsinore Storm (A+), the San Antonio Missions (AA), and the Tucson Padres (AAA).