Brandon Hernández 8 a.m., Feb. 28
Bombs away! Padres beat Cubs when wind blows out
The wind was blowing out at Wrigley Field and the Padres caught it and beat the Chicago Cubs
When the wind blows out at Wrigley Field in Chicago, it can make any baseball team look good. And it was blowing out good on Tuesday evening as the Padres beat the Cubs, 13-7.
Neither team can be considered as good with matching records of 10-16. But both squads believe in their respective teams and in each other; if they didn’t, then players and managers and coaches would all be keeping their eyes open for other jobs.
In a game like this one on Tuesday, with a total of seven home runs hit among the 28 total hits combined, how serious should fans take the one game as an indicator of anything? They shouldn’t, is the short answer.
Jason Marquis gave us a salient quote the other day after a victory back at Petco Park. “You don’t want to get too streaky, obviously, you want to try and play it as consistent as possible,” Jason said.
Marquis has been in the big leagues since the year 2000, has a lifetime record of 114 wins against 111 losses (his lifetime batting average of .201 isn’t bad either for a pitcher). If anyone would know about consistency, it would be Jason Marquis.
What does a game like Tuesday’s offensive cannonball show do for a club in the long term? Probably not a lot, unless the wind is blowing out of every stadium they play in and they get to face struggling pitchers like the Cubs starter Edwin Jackson. And that isn’t going to happen.
It can, however, have a nice short term effect on a ball team. Carlos Quentin was starting to struggle a bit after having come off of his eight-game suspension, so going 3 for 4 with a home run had to have lifted a little weight off of his shoulders.
Nick Hundley had been seeing the ball better in the last three weeks, so his blast on Tuesday was no surprise. Nick has power, but one glaring statistic that remains is that he has struck out 25 times against just 4 walks in 79 at bats this season.
Batting .329 is nice but striking out with runners in scoring position is missed opportunities that often trump batting average in a negative way. In other words, even with the high average, there is a reason that manager Buddy Black is penciling in Hundley in the eight-spot in the batting order.
Yonder Alonso had the other home run for the Padres, something that Yonder will do from time to time. Of the three players that went yard, Alonso might be considered as the most consistent hitter, possibly the least affected by a slight surge in his stats.
For the other hitters, a lot of doubles and a triple and singles all raise the batting average. A hitter’s batting average might be the most deceptive statistic in baseball. After all, Tony Gwynn played on a lot of very bad Padres teams.
Pitching in such circumstances is frustrating. Starter Edinson Volquez got the victory, but gave up four runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings in the process. Edinson’s last start looked promising after the first few starts were disappointing.
The three walks issued by Volquez might have been more disappointing than the two home runs he gave up. Get the ball up even a little bit in Wrigley when the wind is blowing out, and a routine fly ball can find itself out on Waveland Avenue. Walks only add kindling to that potential fire.
What most fans might not realize, though, is that Edinson’s personality and attitude could be the perfect mirror of Jason Marquis’ keen observations. As odd as it seems watching the antics that Volquez often portrays on the mound when frustrated, he runs at even-keel in the clubhouse.
Volquez has been booed at Petco Park when he’s been bad. And he has been cheered when he’s been good. But through whatever reaction the fans have to his performance, you wouldn’t know it by his demeanor. It isn’t that Edinson doesn’t care, it’s that he knows that in order to be effective, he can’t be affected.
So, with some pitchers, it probably doesn’t matter much. Others, well, I can’t get into Robbie Erlin’s head, but coming in during the ninth inning and giving up a home run with a man on base in his debut, well, there’s that. In such spots, what makes a pitcher a pitcher is the ability to reach a simple conclusion in such games: This is what happens.
So far as the Padres offense goes, maybe they should reach the same conclusion. It would certainly make the quote by Jason Marquis relevant. And if the weather forecasts are correct, the wind will be blowing in rather than out in the friendly confines Wednesday evening and especially Thursday afternoon.
So far as baseball goes, it seems to be a convenient and comfortable philosophy to embrace. After all, it’s impossible to predict what will happen one day to the next. Don’t believe that? Ask someone who wagers on the game, they’ll tell you true.
Yes, Robbie Erlin finally experienced his first appearance in the majors. Buddy Black would have preferred to put Erlin in to go long, but found the clean-up spot for Robbie that Buddy didn’t want to relegate Erlin to. Erlin wasn’t at all throwing like he did in the minors. Nerves? Probably. But he got that out of the way, so maybe it’s best to judge him on his next appearance.
Suddenly (and conspicuously by design?), there is scuttle-butt concerning a contract for Chase Headley. It’s tough to buy into this in early May. Multiple sources indicate that Hundley could pull in $15 million per season for three years, although the structure of the deal hasn’t been disclosed. For that reason, be skeptical. Not that Chase doesn’t deserve the cash, but rather that the Padres have been reluctant to pony it up.
Wednesday, the Padres Andrew Cashner (1-1, 3.26) faces Scott Feldman (1-3, 3.92) of the Cubs. The thing to watch? Cashner against Anthony Rizzo, they were traded for each other over a year ago. Game starts at 5:05 PM PDST, 1090 AM for radio and whatever service you can get that has Fox Sports San Diego for television.