Jeff Smith 4 p.m., Dec. 20
Split-squad games are beneficial, they serve a purpose that would likely go unserviced otherwise. You bring around sixty players into a big league camp. You usually only use five or six pitchers per game unless things get out of hand. And with the position players, there's only so much substituting and pinch hitting you can get away with. Everyone needs the work. So, you split up the squad and play a couple of games in one day.
It means that position players get more playing time and pitchers get more work in. Most hitters will tell you that they like to see a certain number of at bats in spring training, and clubs only have a month to get pitchers stretched out so they can easily go six or even eight innings by April. Split-squad games help both offense and defense get ready for the regular season. All teams have split-squad days. The Padres had their latest one of those days on Wednesday.
Half of the spring training squad traveled to Goodyear to face the Cincinnati Reds. Clayton Richard got his second start in Cactus League play and gave up 2 runs on 3 hits in three innings of work, striking out 3 Reds hitters. Casey Kelly relieved Richard and scattered 5 hits allowing no runs while also striking out 3 in three innings of work. José de Paula got in two innings of relief and Brad Boxberger pitched a scoreless ninth inning.
Offensively, the Padres had a great time, raking 16 hits on the afternoon. Cameron Maybin continued his recent tear, going 2 for 3 at the plate, but both Maybin and Rymer Liriano (who went 2 for 4) had forgettable days on the base paths, each getting caught stealing and each getting picked off of first base. Andy Parrino and Matt Clark each hit their second Cactus League home run; Jesus Guzman went 2 for 3, Kyle Blanks went 2 for 5, and James Darnell went 3 for 5 on the afternoon. Hits by Jaff Decker, John Baker, and Jeudy Valdez also contributed.
The Padres beat the Reds in Goodyear, 9-4.
Meanwhile, the other half of the squad went to Scottsdale and beat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 8-0. Home runs by Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin (2 for 3), and Nate Freiman helped that cause. Will Venable went 1 for 2 with a walk and a stolen base and continues to have a great spring. Blake Tekotte had a 2-RBI double, and hits by Nick Hundley, Jason Hagerty, Jonathan Galvez, and Everth Cabrera rounded out the offense.
Padres pitcher Joe Wieland got the start and pitched four brilliant shutout innings, giving up only 2 hits and striking out 4 Diamondbacks. Wieland figures to be the first call-up the Padres will make for pitching as the season dictates the need. Single innings of work were recorded by Brad Brach, Ernesto Frieri, Joe Thatcher, Andrew Cashner, and Juan Oramas. Four hits and no walks were scattered in relief, along with three strikeouts.
The Padres are now 6-7 in the Cactus League.
Fox Sports San Diego is unveiling itself, quickly. There are billboards in various locations around San Diego, announcing it. FSSD will broadcast Padres games, beginning on Saturday, but if you're a Time Warner subscriber, you're out of luck at the moment. The network is only available on Cox Cable and DirecTV at this point. No solid word on coverage elsewhere, but as we do get word we'll give it here. All Padres games are broadcast on radio, either 1090AM or 1700AM, depending.
The Padres play the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday in Phoenix. Dustin Moseley is scheduled to get the start. Game time is 1:05PM, carried on 1090AM/1700AM. While some minor league players will continue to get playing time, look for players projected to wind up on the 25-man roster to start getting more regular playing time from this point forward.
(Image: Street banner on a pole inside of Petco Park, featuring Clayton Richard.)
More like this:
- Padres lose a pair as the squad spilts and fails to rally on either front — March 17, 2013
- Padres gaining in Cactus League — March 16, 2013
- Enormous blast from Kyle Blanks not enough for Padres to get by Rangers — March 9, 2013
- The Home Stretch — March 25, 2012
- The Stauf Abides — March 22, 2012