Matthew Lickona 11:49 p.m., Dec. 10
Padres pull one out to beat the Snakes
The Padres avoided being swept against the Diamondbacks thanks to good pitching and the long ball
Wednesday night was more like it. Will Venable and Jesus Guzman each hit a home run and the Padres finally took one from the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-1. And starter Robbie Erlin shined for the Friars.
The Padres got on the board in the top of the first inning, when red-hot Will Venable singled in Chris Denorfia, and then two outs later, Jesus Guzman singled in Venable and the Padres staked themselves to a 2-0 lead. Erlin kept it there until the sixth inning.
Willie Bloomquist singled in Eric Chavez (Mt. Carmel High product) and the Diamondbacks closed the gap and trailed 2-1. But the Padres weren’t done, and they answered promptly enough in the top of the eighth inning.
After Denorfia walked, Venable laced his 30th home run, into the right field bleachers. Two outs later, Guzman also hit one out, and that was the limit of the scoring.
The runs came from former Padres reliever Heath Bell, who has had his share of problems after leaving San Diego. He went to Florida as a free agent and faltered there and wound up in Arizona under former Padres general manager Kevin Towers. Heath continues his struggles there.
Tim Stauffer threw a couple of innings of good relief and Huston Street came on to nail down the bottom of the ninth inning in a non-save situation. But starter Robbie Erlin might have made a six-inning statement that he should be in the big leagues to stay.
“I thought Robbie threw real well,” manager Buddy Black said postgame. “His mix of pitches comes into play and I thought that was the key. I still think it’s centered around the fastball, but he threw some good change-ups, mixed in some curve balls, and even a handful of sliders.”
But what Erlin does well isn’t some magical mix of pitches. He attacks the strike zone with precision, his command of the plate is what sets him apart from several other prospects. Next start, watch Erlin throw to the catcher’s mitt and perhaps you’ll see why he’s so highly regarded.
Erlin was self-critical. “I thought the curve ball was up just a little bit,” he said. “I really just try and keep it simple and throw strikes. It really comes down to executing. Executing gets outs, and that’s really what I try and keep in mind.”
Meanwhile, Will Venable continues to tear it up. “Pretty much since the All Star break I’ve been feeling good, and just taking my swing,” he said after Wednesday’s game. “Just get a little rhythm and that’s it, it takes all of the guesswork out of everything else.”
Rhythm and execution. You can apply that to a lot of things in life. But in baseball, apparently that’s part of the formula.
Officially, Carlos Quentin’s season is over. Quentin will undergo knee surgery, an unspecified procedure at an unspecified date. We’ll keep you informed as we become informed. Expect a move to the 60-day disabled list at some point soon, which would open up a spot on the 40-man roster to protect some prospect from being ganked in December’s Rule 5 Draft.
The Padres have Thursday off before going to battle against the division leading Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend. Tomorrow we’ll try and have pitching match-ups, and all of the games will be carried over the usual broadcasting suspects. It’s a chance to be a spoiler, although the Padres would much rather be a competitor. Hey, you take opportunities as they are presented to you.
More like this:
- Padres pull out last home game of season against Arizona — Sept. 27, 2013
- Padres edge Giants to climb out of last place — Sept. 4, 2013
- Gutty Padres fail against Diamondbacks — Aug. 28, 2013
- Kennedy and Diamondbacks Edge Padres — Sept. 19, 2012
- In Twelve Wild Innings, Padres Lose to Rockies — July 22, 2012