Sunday, May 10, 2009

Geer Gets Pounded, Eckstein Gets Hurt, Padres Get Swept By Astros

Sunday May 10, 2009

San Diego Padres get swept by the Sad Sack Astros in Houston.

2009 is starting to take the same path as 2008.

Yes I know I am being negative and there is a lot of baseball left to play, but this Padres team was favored to win this series over a 12-17 Astros team that was hitting under .250 coming into this series while playing in one of the best hitters parks in baseball.

The Astros pitching staff was in tatters leading the NL in hits allowed and trailing only the Washington "Natinals" in WHIP.

So what happened to set me off on this rant?
  • The Astros pitching staff shut out the Padres in game one.
  • Brian Moehler, who came into the 2nd game with a 14.00 ERA and a BAA against of .479 in 3 previous starts and shut out the Padres for 5 innings before giving up just one run in 7 innings. Possibly the worst starter in baseball and he looks like Maddux against the hapless Padres batters? Give me a break.
  • And today the Padres most consistent starter gives up 7 runs, 5 earned in 3.1 IP.
Injuries derail a good start and the season is over before it really begins.

I do know that the Padres lead the league in injuries once again this season so I am cutting them some slack.

The Padres have 5 pitchers currently on the DL including 3 starters and their most effective reliever from 2008.

The big bat the Padres were counting on off the bench has been on the DL since before the season began and the promising young speedster SS broke his hand and is out until the beginning of July.

What else can happen to this team?

The pesky second baseman David Eckstein, the player that typifies the kind of hard nosed, do all you can with what you have attitude the Padres need to win, gets hurt today and is headed to the DL.

Cha Seung Baek left his rehab assignment in Portland yesterday with soreness in his elbow and is headed back to San Diego for an MRI.

The hitters on this team seem to have given up or to be fair, maybe have just have tightened up so much that they simply cannot hit with men on base. A .217 BA with men in scoring position is bad enough. The Padres .115 BA with the bases loaded is simply not acceptable.

So whose fault is it?

Managing the game and inspiring the team.
I have absolutely no confidence in the Padres manager Bud Black to do the right thing in important situations in games or to inspire the team to excel.

It is the managers job to bring pitchers into the game in a timely and efficient manner to maximize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. Black has failed.

It is the managers job to call for bunts and hit and runs and when a batter should swing away. Black has failed on a consistent basis to do so effectively in key game situations.

It is the manager and hitting coach's job to get the guys to relax and hit. They have failed.

The Padres players have been among the most injured in the league for much of the last 8 seasons. Part of that is the older players often coming off injury plagued seasons that the Padres have been forced to pick up because of a limited budget.

Part of the blame for the rash of injuries must be assigned to Trainer Todd Hutcheson and Strength and Conditioning Coach Jim Malone.

If it was a fluke thing and the Padres had one season like 2008 every 10 years or so it could be passed off to chance, but to have been in the top 10 in baseball for number of player days on the DL every season since 2001 is not chance.

It is the training staff doing a poor job of conditioning the athletes.

What SHOULD happen to this team?

Fire Bud Black. Now!

To begin the season I was among his biggest supporters, saying to give him a full season without MLB record injuries to see if he could give fans a winning team, but he has failed to execute in so many situations this year, from when to pull a pitcher to when to bunt to whom to play, that I am no longer willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and I truly hope the FO is no longer willing to lose like this either.

As fans we show game after game that we care. It is time for the Front Office to show they care as much as the fans do.

It is time for someone in management to get angry about this. Black is incapable of getting angry, so the ownership or Kevin Towers need to say enough is enough and start making changes.

Bring in Bobby Valentine or Davey Johnson or even Ned Yost. Or any firey manager for that matter. The Padres need to change things up and the first thing that needs to be changed is the attitude and personality of the manager. Bochy was an easy going guy and so is Black. Bring in a fire breathing butt kicker who has won as a manager before.

Sit Brian Giles against left handed pitching. You think Giles' .151 BA is bad, take a look at his .098 BA against LHP. That is right .098. 5 hits in 51 at bats. Maybe platooning him for a month will light a fire under him and he can be the Giles of last year for the 2nd half of this season.

Play Jody Gerut EVERY day!
Gerut was the best leadoff hitter the team had last season and he hit .308 against lefties in 40 games. Maybe you sit him occasionally against the toughest LHP, but for the most part just let him play and get a rhythm going. Oh, did you notice who Gerut hit his HR off today? That is correct, a lefty.

Platoon Chris Burke and Luis Rodriguez.

With Eckstein headed to the DL it will muck up the middle infield since the Padres really have no one they can call up, but for now give Edgar Gonzalez 2B and platoon Burke and Rodriguez.

Bring up Greg Burke, DFA Duaner Sanchez and send down Arturo Lopez.
Burke is absolutely dominating AAA. He has given up just 7 hits and 4 walks in 15 innings while striking out 14 in the worst pitchers league in baseball. His ERA is just 1.80 and he has 6 saves in 6 opportunities.

Sanchez on the other hand is done. His confidence is shot. He absolutely refuses to throw a pitch near the strike zone. Especially not his fastball. Pitch after pitch is off the outside corner and misses by a foot more often than not. He has NO confidence in his fastball and has thrown more than 30% changeups and far too many sliders off the plate. When he does come inside with a fastball he is already behind in the count and it is getting crushed. His ERA is 7.56 and he has given up 12 hits and 7 walks in just 8.1 IP. Opposing batters are hitting .364 off him and on the road it gets worse.

There is little chance that Sanchez gets picked up on waivers so designate him for assignment now and let him go to AAA and regain some confidence.

Lopez has a 19.29 ERA in 4 appearances after today's game. Any questions?

Get a fifth bat on the bench.
The Padres need a right hand hitting bat on the bench. Call up Emil Brown or even Luis Durango.

The Padres are hitting .219 vs left handed pitching. .219!

Get another BAT up here who can help out.

Ok, now I have had my say and my rant is done.

What do you think?

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