Dave Rice 3:30 p.m., Jan. 17
Seriously, Ross Ohlendorf? Really? So, no one wanted you and the Padres got lucky to sign you up because of the misfortune of their injured pitching staff? Hey, Ross, we know all about your thesis at Princeton.
Sabermetrics, right? Who is anyone to argue with an Ivy League graduate, considered one of the smartest players in the game? Well, we have to argue here, I mean, looking at your own sabers, Ross, buddy, you shouldn't be doing this well, now should you?
Sabermetrics, for those not indoctrinated into the principles of convoluted statistics, was designed to make some general managers in baseball look like idiots and others look like geniuses. You take some numbers and crunch them up adding someone else's ideas of how much a player truly contributes to his team, toss in a pinch of salt and cook on low heat for an hour, and actually believe it means something.
Everything tastes better with some lemon juice and picante, so whatever. What is apparent is that Ross Ohlendorf can pitch, and he's only thirty years old. Before this season, practically no pitcher had a winning record in Pittsburgh, and the Yankees trade all of their talent not named Jeter or Cano at some point. And the Astros trade everyone, regardless. So then, why not catch on with the Padres, instead?
It was a perfect fit on Tuesday, Ohlendorf spinning his stuff into the seventh inning and the Padres bats coming alive for two important innings in the midst of it, as the Padres took down the Chicago Cubs, 7-4. It was the third straight win for San Diego, who are 4-1 in this six-game home stand.
Cubs rookie pitcher Brooks Raley looked good for a couple of innings, but Padres bats had him figured out by the bottom of the third inning. Ohlendorf helped himself to a line drive single to open up the frame, and Chris Denorfia walked followed by a Logan Forsythe bunt that went for a single to load the bases.
Chase Headley then singled up the middle to score Ohlendorf and Denorfia, Forsythe taking third base. Raley then walked Carlos Quentin to load the bases, and two outs later, Everth Cabrera singled to left to plate Forsythe and Headley, and the Padres led the Cubs 4-0 after three innings.
Raley wasn't finished suffering the wrath of Padres hitting, apparently wielding bats that were frustrated during the first half of the season. With two outs, Logan Forsythe reached on an infield single, Chase Headley singled up the middle, and Carlos Quentin then belted his 12th home run of the season, this one to left-center, and the Padres were in command 7-0.
In the top of the seventh inning, a rare error by Chris Denorfia (his first of the season) led to Ohlendorf being lifted for reliever Brad Boxberger. Bryan LaHair of the Cubs stood on second base, and then took third off of a passed ball by Padres catcher John Baker.
Steve Clevenger singled, scoring LaHair, and the Cubs got on the board. Luis Valbuena struck out, but Boxberger hit Darwin Barney with a pitch and pinch-hitter Josh Vitters doubled, bringing home Clevenger and Barney, and the Cubs cut the lead to 7-4 by the seventh inning stretch.
But that was it. Luke Gregerson got the Cubs out in the eighth and then Huston Street came on in the ninth inning to record his 20th save in 20 chances, and the Padres assured themselves of taking their second series in a row.
Apologies to Ross Ohlendorf, but batting practice doesn't take sabermetrics into account. Neither does sabermetrics help a rookie pitcher overcome good hitting. Just ask Brooks Raley. And sabermetrics will not account for how well guys like Ohlendorf can spot his pitches, just ask Cubs hitters.
No idea what Ohlendorf's thesis has to say about that. But the results say plenty.
First baseman Yonder Alonso was held out of Tuesday's game with some sort of hamstring soreness, but is back in the line-up for Wednesday's finale with the Cubs. Joe Thatcher (leg) may be facing surgery in the off-season, but hopes to pitch again this season before the surgery. More details on Thatcher when they become available.
Wednesday, the Chicago Cubs will offer Jeff Samardjiza (7-9, 4.37) while the Padres go with Clayton Richard (8-11, 4.01) to cap off the home stand. Game time is in around 10 minutes, radio XX 1090 AM and Fox Sports San Diego if you want to watch it. The Olympic games offer no baseball, so Time Warner and AT&T U-verse subscribers will just have to deal. Of course, if the Olympics did offer baseball, would they broadcast it in San Diego?