Dave Rice 7:17 a.m., May 20
First it was Sandy Alderson that came to town his New York Mets in tow, and they dropped their series to the Padres winning only one of the three games. Now it's Jed Hoyer's Cubs, and Monday night they went into the hole in the three game series, getting shut out by the Padres 2-0.
The significance of Alderson and Hoyer? Ex-Padres general managers. Alderson took the helm in San Diego in 2005 and cast off talent like driftwood for John Moores, who needed to sell the team in the midst of a messy divorce. Enter a minority ownership group headed by Jeff Moorad, and under a payment plan that was ultimately shot down by MLB ownership, Alderson's contract was not renewed.
Then came Jed Hoyer. Wonderboy was the name of Roy Hobbs' bat in The Natural, but it isn't a stretch to consider Hoyer as a wonder boy amongst MLB's general managers. After all, as an assistant to Theo Epstein in Boston, he helped provide the talent necessary to guide the Red Sox to their first World Series victory since the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Alderson's job was to break it all up, the same job he currently enjoys with the New York Mets - a franchise that embarrassingly got caught investing profits (and possibly revenue slated for supporting operations) in sketchy schemes. Moores just needed to get rid of the Padres, so Alderson did what he was hired to do, strip payroll. And he did it well, leaving the Padres lacking in serviceable and promising prospects.
With Hoyer, it was a different assignment. Jed was hired based on a different strength, building a team from the ground up, stocking the minor leagues with talent through trade and drafts. And he also performed brilliantly. But Jeff Moorad was a King with a favorite son, and so when Josh Byrnes became available from the Arizona Diamondbacks, Hoyer was encouraged to take a job as the Cubs GM, reuniting him with Epstein, now the Cubs President.
And, as the soap opera that baseball business goes, Moorad and his group were shot down by MLB owners, and a new group is camped out in the hallway waiting for Moores to hand over the keys after MLB ownership approves the sale, but more on that later. Point is, this baseball business is often a revolving door, and by revolving, it means that everyone seems to come back to visit at some point.
Hoyer's visit couldn't have been pleasant on Monday. Reminded of how he built this Padres team of unknowns that play to the dimensions of the park must have been somewhat bittersweet.
Baseball is often a simple game. It was a very simple game on Monday. Under two-and-a-half hours of simplicity. And the make-up of the current Padres roster had Hoyer's footprint all over it, never mind that Burns acquired the talent that made the shut-out happen, the philosophy is the same.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, with one out, Carlos Quentin doubled to right field and Yonder Alonso singled to drive in Quentin. Cameron Maybin then doubled, putting Alonso at third base, and an infield single by Everth Cabrera brought home Alonso.
Really, that was it. Seriously, it took just a few minutes. But there is always more to a game like this, a lot of pitching, and a gutty performance by Padres starter Eric Stults in particular.
Stults had been pitching relief up to Monday, and had some pitches on that arm as early as just three days prior. And his first inning wasn't easy, over twenty pitches alone. It looked like manager Buddy Black could be faced with taxing a bullpen already paying a premium, but Stults settled in to pitch into the sixth inning.
Relief pitching then took over and performed magnificently, once again, with Brad Brach, Dale Thayer, Luke Gregerson, and Huston Street combining for almost four shutout innings and a combined pitch count of 45 total throws.
And Huston Street is still a perfect nineteen saves in as many chances. And the Padres are still trying. And even the most simple game is interesting all things considered. Especially the revolving doors of baseball ownership and management.
Andrew Cashner is apparently now on the mend and on target for a return at some point. Monday, he tossed some long ball which will lead to a bullpen session as early as Wednesday. We'll report when there's a set plan in his further rehab, but getting in some game time before October can only help Cash and the Padres for next season.
On Tuesday, The Padres will send Ross Ohlendorf (3-2, 6.27) to the mound to face Brooks Raley of the Mets, making his big-league debut. Game starts at 7:05 PM PDST, XX 1090 AM on radio, Fox Sports San Diego on television, or just come out and enjoy it at Petco Park. Time Warner subscribers will get game ticket discounts at the same rate that Time Warner discounted their customers when they decided not to carry the Padres this season. Oh, wait...