Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Can you build a team to win in Petco?


Wednesday May 5, 2010

This is another of those answers to questions Web posed to me along the way before I started writing for his blog. I thought it might be of interest, especially since the Padres are showing they can win both at home and on the road so far this season.

Can Hoyer Build a Team Designed to Win at Petco with Speed, Defense and Pitching ?

I don't think the question has ever been can you build a team designed to win in Petco around speed, defense and pitching. It has been can you build a team that can win consistently in Petco's unique circumstances and still win elsewhere.

In the past 3 years the Padres have been a very good hitting team on the road and sat in the middle of the pack in runs scored on the road.

It was when that team returned home that they struggled to score runs. Every one else also struggled to score runs in Petco, but the Padres were slightly worse than their competition at scoring runs in San Diego even though although they do have a winning record at home.

So what do you have to do to both win at Petco AND win on the road?

I think the Padres are taking a lesson from Bud Black's old team in Anaheim and building a team that can play both small ball, be patient at the plate/bunt/steal a base/put pressure on the basepaths/hit to the opposite field; AND play for  a "walk and a dong" when the situation presents itself.

They have the right kind of power players for Petco, RHB with pull power like Kyle Blanks and Scott Hairston and LHB that have opposite field AND pull power like Adrian Gonzalez and Will Venable.

In the past they have had mediocre to good pitching at home and poor pitching results on the road. Their defense has left something to be desired. Not horrible, just not good.

Now with Headley at 3B and Blanks/Scott Hairston patrolling LF, with Gwynn/Scott Hairston in CF and with Venable playing RF regularly, the Padres outfield defense is well above average. The infield has improved with the addition of Jerry Hairston and moving Headley to third, while adding a few errors, has not added many runs scoring on hits to 3B. Overall the defense is much improved.

With just a few judicious moves and a change in attitude, Hoyer has created a team that can win in Petco with speed, defense and pitching and win on the road.

- Vic Power

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