Baseball on a Cool, Summer Night
One of the first half stories that really captured my attention was the skid the Marlins hit after a strong start to the season. Hanley Ramirez hadn’t even hit his stride. As it stands, Florida is looking more and more like a seller, and Leo Nunez’s name has been thrown around as piece that they’ll move.
Tonight, the Fish are down 13 - 2 in the bottom of the sixth. Ricky Nolasco lasted an inning and a third and gave up nine runs. On the other side, Aaron Harang has been solid enough, giving up the two runs and striking out five. San Diego currently sits at 42 - 55 and will also certainly look to cash in at the trade deadline.
What strikes me about watching this game is how invested I’ve become in it in such a short period of time. Don’t get me wrong…I don’t pretend to know what it is to be a Padres or Marlins fan (or a fan of any other team besides the one I follow most closely). But the night has cooled down, there’s a breeze coming through the window, and I’m excited. Hanley Ramirez homered, and Gaby Sanchez notched his second hit of the night. San Diego has managed 13 runs with a sole player (Jesus Guzman in 50 AB) hitting over .300.
Maybe I’m not explaining this well enough. Let’s just call it a baseball moment.
It's Foul... No! It's Fair!
Umpiring in baseball has been going downhill for the last couple of years. Blown calls have always been a part of baseball, but last night was something completely differently.
I missed the game on television because I decided to take a nap, which probably was the better option of the two, but at first I assumed that Jesus Guzman either popped up the ball with the bunt and the runners were moving, or all three players suddenly decided to run the bases like Bengie Molina. As it turns out, it was neither those two, but an umpire who could not make up his mind.
I guess that kind of thing is just fitting for how the season has been so far. Inexplicable plays, miscues all over, and a lot of frustration. The only positive so far is that the Padres are currently in the lead for that number one draft pick in 2013, but is there a clear-cut number one player like Bryce Harper or Stephen Strasburg in that draft? Even worse, will Moores be the controlling owner at the time? We all know that he’s partially responsible for the Padres drafting the biggest disaster of a number one pick just because he did not want to pay the money for someone with more polish and better talent (and ended up wasting more money on that guy than what the Tigers paid Justin Verlander, although Verlander would have gotten a lot more than that if he was the number one pick).
In any case, the Padres will have a chance to redeem themselves today but it will not be easy, as they travel to Coors Field to face the Colorado Rockies. The Padres have always had trouble at Coors Field, regardless of how good the Rockies actually are.
Mark Him In The Lineup?
After reading comments about last night’s game and checking the box score, apparently there is the idea that Mark Kotsay should get more playing time and should possibly be a starter after hitting the go-ahead home run to give the Padres a 2-0 victory over the Brewers. While the Padres need every help they can get on offense, having Kotsay out there instead of Jesus Guzman or Will Venable would not provide the boost in the lineup the team needs.
Kotsay is pretty much limited to first base and left field at this point of his career, which would affect Guzman and Yonder Alonso the most, both of whom have been lackluster so far. However, Kotsay would not need to play often because of the versatility provided by Guzman, Chris Denorfia, and the eventually return of Carlos Quentin so this limitation is negligible.
However my concerns lie on the offense from Kotsay. His OPS+ has been below 100 since 2007 with the exception of one season where it was at 100. Anything below 100 can basically be considered below average, as the stat itself adjusts for park factors. When you consider position as well, which it does not adjust for, that is terrible from either left field and first base. Despite last night’s home run, Kotsay also no longer possesses the average power he had when he was with the Oakland Athletics.
Kotsay does have some things going for him however. In the few times I have seen him at the plate, he just appears to have a better approach at the plate, something that most of the other Padres hitters lack so far. He also may very well be our best defensive option in left field, assuming that Venable remains in right and Cameron Maybin in center.
Giving Kotsay more playing time may be what the team needs and at this point the Padres have nothing to lose (except a decent draft position, which might not matter unless we get a new, more-committed owner, but that’s for another time). However, based on Kotsay’s career stat line and age, it would basically be a reactionary move based on one good game, a common thing when a player gets a big hit in an otherwise abysmal season.