Dave Rice 6:30 p.m., March 24
It was Fireworks Friday at Petco, business as usual for what is routinely featured this time of year at the bsllpark. The Padres, however, are not likely to be business as usual for long, these recent games being filled with mostly excellent pitching but hitting that either lacks in the ability to take advantage of having runners on base or to simply hit in general at times.
Buddy Black, like most major league managers, plays the percentages a lot. In many instances, he'll start the left-handed hitters against the right handed opposing pitchers and then sit much of that line-up on another night when a left-handed pitcher throws for the opposition and insert right-handed hitters into the line-up.
But in this dismal start for the Padres this season, that strategy might be ejected early at some point as some of the bats heat up while others remain cold, regardless of the conventional wisdom and those coveted statistics.
"Absolutely you do, no matter who it is," Black said when asked about it. "If guys are swinging well and we have a nice feel as to what they're doing, they'll play. Saw it the other night with Denorfia, he got four hits and played the next night."
We watch our guys, every day. We watch their early work, there's a lot of things that we know about our players that the public doesn't know about, that lends itself to line-ups and pitching moves and a lot of strategy. But there's no doubt, I would love for a guy to take off and swing the bat great, and make a stand and say, 'Hey, I'm the guy.' I think you saw it with Guzman last year. And you saw it a couple of years ago with Torrealba and Hundley, they were both playing well, so they both played."
Yet Black cautioned, "But on a given night, you want to win the game. And you put out the best line-up you think is going to do it that night."
So far, the line-ups have posted a 3-13 record after Friday night's loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. The season is very young, obviously. But the other obvious fact is that this season is not going to get any younger.
Padres starter Edinson Volquez pitched brilliantly for six innings, until loading the bases in the seventh and exiting the game. The Padres bats, however, wasted plenty of opportunities to get at Phillies starter Cole Hamels early and often.
The Padres first opportunity came in a small way in the bottom of the first inning with two out, Chase Headley singled followed by another single by Jesus Guzman to move Headley to second. Nick Hundley then grounded out to end the inning.
Edinson Volquez then gave the Phillies a couple of runners in the top of the second, Shane Victorino drew a walk and Volquez then struck out Ty Wiggington. Freddy Galvis then walked and Victorino took second, still with only one out. Volquez then got Brian Schneider to ground into a double play.
Again, the Padres had a good opportunity to get to Cole hamels in the bottom of the second. With one out, Andy Parrino hit a double into the left field corner. Orlando Hudson then walked, and Edinson Volquez bunted, but unsuccessfully, as lead runner Parrino was thrown out at third base.
Cole Hamels then balked Hudson and Volquez to third and second, and then hit Chris Denorfia with the very next pitch. Cameron Maybin came up and struck out swinging to end the threat.
In the top of the third the Phillies again tried to get to Volquez when Cole Hamels doubled to open up the inning. Juan Pierre tried to bunt Hamels to third base but was called out for batter’s interference, sending Hamels back to second base. Placido Polonco then fouled out, but Jimmy Rollins drew a two-out walk to put runners on first and second for Hunter Pierce, who then lined out to second base for the third out.
In the Padres fourth, Yonder Alonso opened with a single, and Andy Parrino flied out. Cole Hamels was then charged with a balk for the second time in the game with Orlando Hudson at the plate, and Alonso took second base. Hudson then singled, Alonso taking third, to put runners at the corners with only one out.
Edinson Volquez then came to the plate and bunted, Alonso tagged out as he tried to take home on the play, pitcher Cole Hamels making a smart shovel-throw out of his glove to catcher Brian Schneider. With runners on first and second with two out, Chris Denorfia then popped out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Cameron Maybin began the inning with a triple off of Hamels. Chase Headley then struck out, but Jesus Guzman managed to ground to short stop, which brought home Maybin and the Padres saw themselves in front after five frames, 1-0.
The score remained that way until the seventh inning, when the Phillies opened up with back-to-back singles by Shane Victorino and Ty Wiggington. Freddy Galvis then laid down a perfect bunt that was unplayable, and the bases were loaded for the Phillies with nobody out.
That brought out Buddy Black with the hook for Edinson Volquez, Andrew Cashner relieving him. On the first pitch, Cashner then gave up a single to Brian Schneider to plate Victorino and tie the score, bases still loaded with no one out. Jim Thome then pinch hit for Cole Hamels and struck out looking. Juan Pierre then singled to right field, scoring Ty Wiggington and Freddy Galvis, and the Phillies led 3-1 as the crowd stretched in the seventh inning.
With one out, the Phillies added on in the eighth when Shane Victorino hit a Josh Spence 1-2 pitch over the right field wall. In the at-bat, Spence had hit Victorino with a pitch but home plate umpire Dan Bellino ruled that Victorino leaned into the pitch and refused to award Victorino first base.
Then there were singles by Ty Wiggington and Freddy Galvis to put runners on second and third, when Brian Schneider singled to left to load the bases. Joe Thatcher relieved Josh Spence, and Phillies pinch hitter John Mayberry popped out to first and Juan Pierre hit a flare to right that a diving Chris Denorfia made a catch on to end the insurance at a run.
Any insurance run wouldn't have mattered as Jonathan Papelbon came in and recorded his fifth save in the ninth inning and the Phillies have taken the first two of the four game series.
Buddy Black updated status of some of the players on the disabled list on Friday. Logan Forsythe was in the clubhouse before the game to get evaluated by team doctors. The time table was originally 8 weeks, and Forsythe is 6 weeks out of the surgery on his foot. Forsythe is then expected to return to Arizona to continue baseball activities in rehabilitation.
Tim Stauffer is expected to throw a bullpen session on Saturday. If all goes well, then he will throw a simulated game on Tuesday, where he will face live hitters. Black said they are anticipation 40-50 pitches. After that would be a minor league rehab assignment.
Carlos Quentin continues to take batting practice and play catch on the field. According to Black, Quentin is progressing fine and the medical staff is content with where Quentin is in the process.
Saturday will feature Phillies starter Roy Halladay (3-0) against Padres starter Cory Luebke (1-1). It's cap night, the first 20,000 fans will receive a free Padres ball cap. First pitch is scheduled for 5:35 PM and can be seen on Fox Sports San Diego (carried only by Cox Cable and DirecTV), with radio on XX 1090 AM.