What a week of games for the Pads, resulting in a 4-2 record through New York and Philadelphia. To summarize the week one way: our four wins came from Peavy, Meredith, Meredith, and Mujica. Here's a quick and dirty recap:
Monday - Jump out on top 5-1, lose the lead giving up four runs with two outs in the 5th, but take the lead 6-5 on a balk and hang on to win.
Thursday - Down 3-0 after the first with Peavy on the mound but claw back to win 6-5.
Friday - Down 5-0 after the first and 7-1 after the 4th with Young on the mound. Put up two in the 5th, two in the 6th, and four in the 8th to win 8-7.
Saturday - Tied 3-3 after seven, take the lead 4-3 in the top of the 8th, lose the lead in the bottom of the inning, and then get four in the 9th off a dominant closer.
Sunday - Take a 4-2 lead into the 8th, give up one on a pinch hit homer to take a 4-3 lead into the 9th, and then lose on a walkoff homer.
Are you joking me?
Offensively, we scored 34 runs in six games (Kouz's 9th inning homer accounting for the sweetest three), but more importantly, we scored a lot of those after falling behind in games against some very tough pitching... including a guy who had notched 47 consecutive saves. After hitting .285/.349/.467 for the week, our offense has a .777 OPS, which is above the NL average of .755. In fact, Hairston, Adrian Gonzalez, Hundley, Gerut, Eckstein, Rodriguez, and Headley all currently have an OPS above the league average. That'll work.
On the pitching front, it wasn't pretty but we battled. Our cumulative ranks are still solid - a 106 ERA+, a 3.83 team ERA and 3.12 for the pen (good for 3rd in the NL). Furthermore, our walks went down a little this week as expected despite facing some stacked lineups.
One more good thing - Chase Headley's throw to home with the game on the line to nail Greg Dobbs. Nice.
I can't complain about a 4-2 week through New York and Philly, especially considering how dogged our guys were. The only real bad part was a team 5.37 ERA; however, our underlying stats - 54 hits in 52 innings and 20 walks - weren't that bad. The big bad number... we gave up 11 homers. Hopefully the coming week with one game in Philly, two in San Francisco and three in Petco will treat us better.
Forget about all of the above numbers, because that was one of the most exciting weeks a team will ever have. The week was filled with emotion - opening New York's new stadium, Harry Kalas passing and the ceremonies at Citizen's Bank, Lidge receiving the Rolaids award, sellout crowds everywhere - and yet our guys maintained a tremendous focus. What a week.
It was just as good a week in the minor leagues, as we've driven our cumulative minor league record to 26-16 (that equates to a 100-win season over 162 games).
Portland (7-4) - Kyle Blanks has taken his hot spring into the regular season, hitting .350/.480/.575 through the first 11 games. Not to be outdone, Will Venable (.341/.420/.591) and Chad Huffman (.294/.415/.559) have helped to pace the Beavers. On the pitching side, the team has a 3.13 ERA, good for 3rd in the hitter-friendly PCL. Chad Gaudin made his first start in the Padres organization, pitching 3 2/3 shutout innings as he was limited on a pitch count.
San Antonio (4-6) - Mike Baxter (.375/.457/.600), Craig Cooper (.395/.465/.605), Eric Sogard (.333/.478/.556), and Mitch Canham (.393/.485/.500) are off to blistering starts for the Missions. What might be more impressive is that the foursome has drawn 25 walks and struck out just 16 times. Cesar Carrillo yielded just one run in six innings to lower his ERA to 3.27, and he's now generated 22 groundball outs compared with just six flyball outs. Brandon Gomes has been dominant in the pen, yielding just three hits while striking out 13 in seven innings of work.
Lake Elsinore (5-6) - Recovering from an 0-5 start, Elsinore has taken five of its last six (it was way too corny to say they "stormed" back). Logan Forsythe continues to lead the way offensively with a .303/.425/.424 line, but Lance Zawadzki helped inject some life after being activated from the DL and going 5 for 8 with three walks and three stolen bases. The pitching has been oustanding so far with a 3.00 team ERA, and this week the starters - Kluber, Hefner, Luebke, McBryde, and Pelzer - were downright ridiculous. Highlighted by Cory Kluber's two starts (13 innings, just four hits, one run, no walks, and 13 strikeouts), the starters posted a combined 1.53 ERA: 35.1 ip, 21 h, 4 er, 2 bb, and 44 k's. That's not a typo... two walks and 44 strikeouts.
Fort Wayne (10-0) - The TinCaps seem to have adjusted well to their new name and new stadium. James Darnell leads the Midwest League with a .541 obp and his overall line is .304/.541/.609. Additionally, Matt Clark, Allan Dykstra, and Blake Tekotte all got it going to some degree this week. The real story in Ft Wayne, though, has been the pitching. Of the 13 pitchers on the staff, seven of them still have an ERA of 0.00, and the team as a whole is sporting a 1.30. Of the starters, Anthony Bass and Stiven Osuna have yet to give up a run in 22 combined innings of work. The bullpen as a unit: 0.89 ERA, 41.2 ip, 20 h, 8 bb, and 50 k's.
Overall, the first two weeks have been great for the organization. The coming week will be a real battle for the Major League club, as the next three days are about as rough a schedule as I can remember: night game in Philadelphia on Monday as part of a wrap-around series, cross-country flight in the middle of the night, night game in San Francisco on Tuesday, and to top it off... day game in San Francisco on Wednesday. That off day on Thursday will be well deserved.
The best part is that we get to come home, albeit for only three days, over the weekend.