Thom Hofman 11 a.m., April 1
While most media seemed to concentrate on the new ownership group of the Padres, including a morning press conference covered by a host of local and some national media, Eric Stults (pictured) was concerned with other matters. There was a game to play against the Braves in the afternoon, and Stults was prepared.
Since being claimed off of waivers from the Chicago White Sox, Eric Stults has been very effective for the Padres. On Wednesday afternoon, Stults bested Atlanta starter Tommy Hanson, going six innings and allowing an unearned run on five hits and two walks while striking out six, and the Padres beat the Braves 8-2.
“He looks like a pitcher who knows how to get his outs, what he has to do. It’s the four-pitch mix, we talk about the wide range of velocities, he’s comfortable doing a lot of different things with the baseball,” manager Buddy Black said concerning Stults. The four pitches that Stults employs are the fastball, change-up, curve ball, and slider.
The Padres offense got to Tommy Hanson in the bottom of the fourth inning. Yasmani Grandal led off the frame with a walk, and after Yonder Alonso flied out, Mark Kotsay singled to right field, with Grandal taking third base.
Logan Forsythe doubled to left field, Grandal scoring and Kotsay safe at third. Cameron Maybin then hit a ground ball out, scoring Kotsay, and the Padres led 2-0.
In the top of the fifth, Dan Uggla singled to left field, and then Paul Janish reached on a throwing error by Padres second baseman Logan Forsythe which put Uggla on third and Janish on second. After Tommy Hanson struck out, Michael Bourn hit a sacrifice fly to center field, Uggla tagging and scoring with Janish tagging and taking third base.
Reed Johnson then grounded out, and the damage was limited to the one unearned run, but the Padres lead was cut in half, 2-1. That close of a score didn’t last long.
Everth Cabrera reached on a fielding error in the bottom of the fifth, on a pop-up to Chipper Jones, Cabrera taking second base after Jones let the ball go over his head when teammate shortstop Paul Janish came in behind Jones to try and snag it. Will Venable singled on an attempt to bunt sacrifice when the ball dropped perfectly between Braves infielders.
Venable then stole second base, his 19th steal of the season. Chase Headley then singled, plating both Cabrera and Venable, and the Padres grabbed a 4-1 lead.
That score held up until the bottom of the eighth inning, when the Padres added. With Chad Durbin pitching in relief for the Braves, Logan Forsythe opened with a double, and Cameron Maybin walked.
Durbin was replaced with Jonny Venters, and Venters walked pinch-hitter Alexi Amarista to load the bases. After Everth Cabrera flied out, Chris Denorfia pinch-hit for Will Venable and singled home Forsythe and Maybin, with Amarista taking second base.
Chase Headley flied out, and Yasmani Grandal came up with two outs and singled home Amarista, with Denorfia going to third base. Yonder Alonso singled to left, driving in Denorfia, and the game was officially out of hand for the Braves with the Padres ahead 8-1 going into the ninth inning.
In the Braves ninth, Brad Brach came in to replace reliever Dale Thayer for mop-up duty. Brach gave up a lead-off home run to David Ross, but set the next three Braves down to preserve the 8-2 victory, and the Padres took the series 2-1.
As early as this weekend, Joe Thatcher (right knee tendonitis) and Andrew Cashner (strained right lat) could both join the big club while the Padres are in Colorado this weekend, according to Buddy Black who talked with media before Wednesday’s game. Thatcher is set to throw some for AAA Tucson on Thursday, and Cashner should get some work there on Friday. A determination on the call-ups will be made after their re-hab work, but look for them to simply be added to the roster when MLB expands team rosters from 25 to 40 on Sunday.
According to Padres media relations, Nick Hundley had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and James Darnell underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder. Minor league shortstop Beamer Weems underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder. All of the surgeries happened on Wednesday and are considered as successful, performed at Scripps Clinic by Dr. Heinz Hoenecke, Dr. Jan Fronek and Dr. Dan Keefe.
While the new ownership group was introduced on Wednesday, expect a column about it on Friday. There was a large press conference, sure, but subsequently, members of the owners group (mostly Ron Fowler, who heads the group) have spoken with media in radio and television separately. Their subsequent statements may not clarify more prepared statements and answers to questions by media in the presser - and by most accounts do not clarify much of anything - but it seems more of a fair examination to take such separate statements into account. And after paying $800 million dollars for a Franchise that most financial experts believe is only worth between $500 and $600 million dollars (Forbes, for example), there doesn’t seem to be any danger of new ownership flipping the purchase anytime soon, so they will likely be here for a while.
Thursday, the Padres enjoy a day off and will travel to Colorado for a three game series against the Rockies starting on Friday. On Monday, the squad will face the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles for three games, and return home on Friday to take on the Arizona Diamondbacks.