Brandon Hernández 9 a.m., Dec. 11
Cardinals top Padres in clash of rookie pitchers
The Padres Burch Smith faltered while Tyler Lyons shined for St. Louis and the Cardinals beat the Padres to take the series.
Burch Smith, for the second time in his three-start major league career, failed to get out of the second inning. In fact, Smith failed to record an out in the second inning and the Cardinals went on to beat the Padres 5-3 on Wednesday evening.
So, who in the hell is Burch Smith? Regardless of this premature stint in the major leagues, he’s going to be a good major league pitcher someday, that’s who Burch Smith is. I will go on record as predicting it.
Meanwhile, Burch will ply his wares with the Padres AAA affiliate out of Tucson for a while, as announced last night after the game. “At time it looked like he might have tried a little bit too hard,” manager Buddy Black said after the game, and after informing Burch that he was to be sent down.
That’s often a nice way of saying that a pitcher was throwing hard but sacrificed speed for command of a pitch. Smith threw almost all fastballs in the first inning, giving up three runs quickly. After allowing two hits to open the second inning, Buddy hooked Burch and went with Tim Stauffer who got a double play but the runner that scored on that play was also Smith’s responsibility.
For his part, Stauffer was excellent, going 5 2/3 innings and giving up only one run. The other Padres highlight of the evening was Jedd Gyorko blasting a Tyler Lyons fastball over the wall in dead-center field.
The ball went an estimated 438 feet. Gyorko should have filed a flight plan for anything he planned to launch that far. “He got a fastball up and I got a really good swing on it. We didn’t have very many good swings so it was kind of good to get that one,” Gyorko said.
Down 5-1, the Padres tried to rally in the ninth inning, but only managed two more runs. Alexi Amarista continues to hit well, belting a single that plated Jedd Gyorko and Will Venable, but a Chris Denorfia ground out snuffed the rally.
As for Burch Smith, he refuses to let this bother him. “It’s kind of hard when you do have that outing and doubt starts to creep in but I’m not going to let it affect me,” Burch said as he cleaned out his locker.
I asked Burch about improving his secondary pitches and he confirmed that was something he needed to work on in the minors. The last thing I told Burch after packing up my stuff and thanking him for his time was, “Hope to see you in September.”
“Yeah, me too,” Burch said with a solid note of enthusiasm.
And we probably will see Burch when the roster expands. In fact, I would bet on it.
Carlos Quentin sat out again with left knee issues on Wednesday, after taking an injection on Tuesday. Buddy’s plan was to use Wednesday as an extra day of rest and then combined with Thursday as an off-day, perhaps Friday Carlos would be ready to roll.
Thursday is an off-day for the Padres and they will spend the day recuperating in Arizona and getting set to face the Diamondbacks for a three-game set. The corresponding roster move for Burch Smith will be announced on Friday, but expect to see Clayton Richard activated from the disabled list. Or else, the Padres could call up some short-term relief until Clayton is due for a start. We’ll let you know when we know.