Jay Allen Sanford 12:58 a.m., May 21
Monday night, Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers dismantled the Padres with three home runs and a triple. On Tuesday, Mark Kotsay only needed one swing of the bat. For the second time in a week, Kotsay and starting pitcher Edinson Volquez teamed up to give the Padres a much-needed win.
With Volquez, every start seems to get better, his 99-pitch night was masterful through seven innings. With Kotsay, there might not be a better pinch-hitter in baseball right now.
On a 1-1 fastball from Brewers reliever Francisco Rodriguez, Kotsay cleared the right field wall driving in Will Venable who had singled to center. Pinch hitting for the right-handed Chris Denorfia in the bottom of the eighth inning, Kotsay had a good idea that he might get a fastball from Rodriguez in the sequence of pitches.
"I'm prepared, I know he has a great change-up to left-handers. He had a pitch I took for a strike and then he went all soft. His second pitch was a breaking ball that I laid off, and it helps with Will on first base in that situation, he's got speed. I think [Rodriguez] knows that and he doesn't want to give up an easy stolen base there so a combination of that and the fact I know the other side of it, that he knows I'm aggressive with the fastball and I like the fastball. It's all a guessing game, who knows? I won, I guessed right."
Apparently, Buddy Black guessed right as well. Pinch-hitting for Chris Denorfia is no easy decision to make, as Denorfia is currently one of the hottest hitters on the club.
"I've just seen Frankie Rodriguez too often," Buddy Black said after the game when asked about that decision. "To know that the breaking ball is so devastating against right-handed hitters, it's just one of those calls where I felt as though at that point, against Frankie, Kotsay was a better match-up."
Perhaps overshadowed somewhat by Kotsay's heroics was the pitching of Edinson Volquez. The first seven innings was a classic pitcher's duel. The Brewers' Shaun Marcum was no slouch either, as both hitters only gave up 3 hits each over seven innings. Marcum walked four while Volquez walked two, Marcum struck out six and Volquez four.
With Volquez, he didn't start out the game minimizing his pitch count. With 23, 14, and 16 pitches in the first three innings, it certainly didn't appear as though he would last even five innings with 53 pitches through three.
"I felt good, everything was working tonight. It was a little trying in the first innings, but after that it was good. It was a little bit over the plate in the first three innings, but then I calmed down and made better pitches after that in the next four. I was over 50 pitches in the first three innings, and I talked to Buddy and he said make better pitches and you're going to stay longer in the game and that's what I did tonight. I'm so happy we won tonight."
Andrew Cashner again got a win that Volquez started, and Huston Street saved his fourth game this season. Will Venable, Chase Headley, Chris Denorfia, and Orlando Hudson also had base hits for the Padres. The Padres were successful base thieves as well, Venable snatching his fourth, Maybin his seventh, and Hudson his first.
Cory Luebke will miss his next start which was scheduled for Wednesday, he has elbow tightness and soreness. Jeff Suppan was called up and will pitch tomorrow in Luebke’s place. Luebke told Buddy about the discomfort after his last start on Friday, April 27. Suppan had been scheduled to pitch on Tuesday night in Tucson. A corresponding roster move will be announced prior to Wednesday's game.
“After his last start in San Francisco [Luebke] felt a little discomfort in his elbow, a little bit more than normal, so we’re being a little bit cautious here moving forward. We’ll continue to monitor Cory’s progress the next number of days and then go from there,” Buddy Black said on Tuesday.
Jeff Suppan will face the Brewers' Yovani Gallardo on Wednesday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 3:35 PM PSDT. If you have Cox Cable or DirecTV, you're in luck. If you have Time Warner, then I personally feel sorry for you. XX 1090 AM is always a viable option.