Thursday April 30, 2009
There is an old adage. Pitching and Defense wins championships.
The Padres were not expected to win the World Series because of a thin pitching staff, but so far it has been poor defensive play that has let the Padres down more often than not.
Tonight it was poor outfield defense on a shallow pop fly that allowed the tying run to cross the plate and an error by catcher Nick Hundley that allowed the winning run to score for the Dodgers in the 7th.
Yesterday it was an error by Edgar Gonzalez that led to a breakout 6th inning for the Rockies.
In San Francisco a fly ball misplayed by Chase Headley in the tenth inning of a scoreless game allowed the winning run to score.
In Philadelphia Jody Gerut breaks back on a lightly hit ball allowing it to drop for a single by Ryan Howard which is followed by a 2 run home run by Raul Ibanez for a 5-4 Phillie win. I am not saying that Ibanez would not have hit a home run in that case, but it would have been the tying and not winning run.
3 games lost by poor defensive play and another chance lost. In fact every close game the Padres have lost this season have been impacted more by poor defense than any lapse on the part of the pitching.
In my opinion is that just one change would improve this Padre team's defense immensely and give the team a better run differential at the same time and it is a subtraction.
Trade Kevin Kouzmanoff for a slick fielding SS.
Yes I know he plays pretty good defense, but Chase Headley also plays pretty good defense at 3B and he plays awful defense in LF.
Headley defense will cost the Padres 16 runs per 150 games according to his UZR/150 of -16.0. Headley's bat adds 5.4 runs to the team compared to a replacement level player in LF - in other words a minor league replacement.
Scott Hairston's defense is only slightly better than average at +1.7 UZR/150 in the OF, but his bat is also a + at 6.7 runs.
While Luis Rodriguez is average or slightly below average with the bat, he is a poor defensive player at SS with a -7.5 UZR/150 last season and -12.2 UZR/150 at SS for his career.
Even a poor hitting player with a great glove and a strong arm at SS would improve the Padres team run differential immensely.
Utility player Chris Burke is a ++ defender at 2nd base with a career UZR/150 of +12.3, but has only started 9 games in his ML career at SS.
So KT, now the ball is in your court.
I have had my say. Now what do you think?
World Series Preview . . . with a 5 year-old
6 months ago