clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Rox host hot Friars to kick off final homestand

New, 40 comments

As I mentioned ad nauseum in the NL West Report yesterday, the Padres have managed to go four consecutive weeks without suffering a losing week. Look at the roster and the schedule, and you had better respect that. In fact, San Diego has won 10 of their past 13 series (and 12 of 16), with two of the losses coming against the mighty Cardinals. Four of the wins came against playoff contenders on the road.

Their pitching has stabilized dramatically, but also, as with many young teams, some of the youth in the lineup has started to figure things out at the plate. Chase Headley, Everth Cabrera, and Will Venable have all been steadily improving. You could point to their 30-45 record on the road as a big weakness, but I wouldn't let you without understanding that they are 17-14 on the road since the ASB, including being winners of 11 of 16 away from PetCo.

Then consider Kevin Kouzmanoff could finally return this series, meaning Bud Black doesn't have to use guys like Edgar Gonzalez in the outfield. Is there reason to be optimistic? Well, duh. The Rockies are much better team, they dominate at home (especially lately), and Colorado has the starting pitching edge in each game. Plus, San Diego was busy playing an extra inning game in the eastern time zone while the Rockies sat comfortably through an off day in Denver following a day game. Rest is on our side. I just wanted to worry you a little. We really ought to win this series, San Diego's recent history be damned.

In light of Rox Girl's article this afternoon, I'll leave out the Scoreboard Watch that debuted last week, but I will remember to include the link to Gaslamp Ball.


Padreslogo_medium

San Diego Padres (69-82, W3, 4th, 21.5 GB)

Friday-Sunday: 3-game series at Coors Field

The Bats: D+

As I mentioned last time, the Padres do not appear to be a good offensive club statistically. They are at or near the MLB cellar in batting average, runs, stolen bases and wOBA. But even the Yankees and Phillies would look terrible playing in PetCo Park. The team just scored 11 runs yesterday on the road - a game in which youngster Chase Headley had five hits - and their 94 team OPS+ almost makes them an average NL offense.

The return of the Kouz could help. He has been out since September 8th with a calf strain but took batting practice and was given an "outside shot" to return to the lineup yesterday. He did not, but I infer that means he should be back this series. The return of the third baseman would allow Chase Headley to slide back to left. Here's the lineup:

LINEUP Avg HR RBI OBP SLG wOBA OPS+
Everth Cabrera - SS .267 2 30 .352 .377 .330 102
David Eckstein - 2B .264 1 45 .321 .338 .295 83
Adrian Gonzalez - 1B .273 39 92 .398 .557 .398 161
Kevin Kouzmanoff - 3B .257 17 84 .304 .421 .313 99
Chase Headley - LF .266 12 61 .342 .408 .333 107
Will Venable - RF .270 11 33 .337 .463 .349 119
Nick Hundley - C .233 7 27 .309 .401 .309 95
Tony Gwynn Jr - CF .266 1 17 .344 .333 .302 89

That's not an intimidating lineup, but they aren't really pushovers either. Judging from the multitude of stats, A-Gone is a bona fide All-Star while Will Venable is a very strong MLB starter. Headley and Cabrera are competently average if not slightly stronger, and Nick Hundley is young an improving to the average area. Gwynn and Eckstein are below average, but they aren't dragging the offense down as much as most lineups we have seen recently.

Drew Macias (.174, 1, 6) and Luis Durango (4-for-6) are the backup OF, though Oscar Salazar (.310, 3, 8) and Edgar Gonzalez (.205, 4, 13) are IFs that have also recieved starts in the outfield. Luis Rodriguez (.211, 2, 16) joins Salazar and Gonzalez as IF relief options while Eliezer Alfonzo (.180, 2, 8) and Henry Blanco (.236, 5, 13) fill the roles as the typical September backup catcher duo.

Hop after the jump for the scouting report on the arms, the D, the pitching matchups, the hot/cold players and injuries.

The Arms: D+

I feel like I'm having serious de ja vu. First, we face Lincecum/Zito/Cain in order in a series twice in two weeks. Now we're facing Mujica/Stauffer/Richard in order. Again. The last time it happened, the Rockies eeked out one additional win the second go-round. If they do it again, that means a series win.

The above phenomenon points to something San Diego hasn't had much this season - stability, and that's always a plus. They still have a staff tRA north of five, but as we saw last time, they can still be a threat. Mujica, Stauffer and Richard held the Rockies to just 4 runs on 8 hits over 15 IP. Past that, the bullpen is improving its stability and talent as well. They just got setup man Mike Adams back, finally. Of the 13 pitchers in the bullpen, only 3 have ERA+'s south of 100. Take of that what you will.

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Heath Bell 6-4 64 0 0 0 39 5 65.2 49 21 21 3 22 72 2.88 1.08

Wade LeBlanc (95 ERA+), Joe Thatcher (155), Cesar Ramos (3.0 IP, 0 ER) and Aaron Poreda (0.2 IP, 0 ER) are Bud Black's left-handed options, a rich goodie bag that will help against a left-handed dominant Rockies team. The right side of the pen is inhabited by Mike Adams (434 ERA+), Luke Gregerson (127), Adam Russell (100), Greg Burke (86), Ryan Webb (100), Luis Perdomo (81), Ernesto Frieri (has not appeared), and Sean Gallagher (5.0 IP, 0 ER).

The D: C-

San Diego's 87 errors places them right in the middle of the NL, but they have the second-worst UZR only to the Mets. Fangraphs' UZR based rating system places them just shy of average. Should Kouzmanoff return, he'll provide a boost defensively on the infield, but Headley isn't an asset at Coors in LF.


Probable Pitchers:

Tonight, 6:40 pm MDT

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Edward Mujica 3-4 65 2 0 0 2 1 85.2 85 37 32 12 16 68 3.36 1.18
W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Jorge De La Rosa 15-9 30 29 0 0 0 0 174.2 162 86 81 20 77 179 4.17 1.37
Mujica will be making his third career start, his first coming the last series the teams met. He has yet to pitch into the fifth inning, but that's mostly because he hasn't been stretched out after 63 big league relief appearances this year. He went over 70 pitches his last time for the first time in his career, allowing 2 ER in 4.2 IP against Arizona, a solid start after his scoreless debut vs Colorado. This will be a rematch of the first game of the last series, the game Colorado scored four times off Heath Bell in the ninth. De la Rosa dominated that start, allowing one run in seven innings, part of a September that has just been on fire for him. He has allowed just three runs total in his four September starts (3-0, 1.04 ERA). That has dropped his ERA 55 points to a season low 4.17, giving him a shot to fall below 4.00. Inconceivable! Favors: ROCKIES very strongly

Wednesday, September 23, 6:40 MDT

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Tim Stauffer 4-7 13 13 0 0 0 0 68.1 68 29 27 8 29 50 3.56 1.42
W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Jason Marquis 15-11 35 30 2 1 0 0 201.1 199 92 86 14 69 105 3.84 1.33
Stauffer is quietly studly. He was off in his last start in Pittsburgh more than any start this year, allowing 3 runs in 3 IP. But in 13 starts this season, he has held his opponent to 3 ER or less, including his last four starts. He has been Mr. Consistency all season, with his only "blowups" being two consecutive 4 ER outings vs the Cards. The labrum surgery survivor was the 4th overall pick in 2003's draft. Marquis has gone from annoying me to outright pissing me off. The Rockies have lost 4 of his last 5 starts. His "best" start of those four came last time out, when he allowed 4 ER on 6 hits and 5 walks in 6 innings. His ERA hasn't been this high since June, when he finished that complete game shutout in Los Angeles. Favors: ROCKIES slightly


Thursday, September 24, 6:40 MDT
W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Clayton Richard 4-2 10 10 0 0 0 0 51.0 52 28 27 6 29 44 4.76 1.59
W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Jason Hammel 9-8 31 28 1 0 0 0 163.1 188 88 79 14 41 117 4.35 1.40
Clayton Richard took a nice stride by allowing just one unearned run in his last start, on the road, but that was vs Pittsburgh. Before that he was 1-2 with a 10.69 ERA away from Petco Park with San Diego, averaging just 4.0 IP per start. How does that sit with you? Okay, so it's just four games, and he was a better road pitcher with Chicago...All things considered for the season, he has been...average. At the time of this writing, Jason Hammel is the scheduled starter for this game, though Jim Tracy has hinted he may go with some combination of Jose Contreras and Aaron Cook. Assuming it's Hammel, it would probably surprise you to know the Rockies are 10-3 in Jason Hammel's starts at Coors Field this year, but it's true. In fact, Colorado is 9-1 in his last ten at home. Sure, his ERA is north of 5 at Coors, but look at that record! Earlier on, he battling the hit-bug, but in his last eight starts, he has a WHIP of 1.14. Favors: ROCKIES moderately.



33_15_10---fire-flame-texture_web_mediumAdrian Gonzalez has five home runs this month, including one yesterday. Chase Headley, Nick Hundley, Oscar Salazar and Will Venable each have two, with the H-men hovering around .300 for the month of September. Everth Cabrera is working a modest six game hit streak. Luke Gregorson, Aaron Poreda, Joe Thatcher, Mike Adams, Sean Gallagher, Ryan Webb and Cesar Ramos have combined to allow just 3 ER over their combined 41 September appearances.


Ice

Heath Bell blew another save last night in Pittsburgh, giving him three blown saves in his last five chances. He seems to be the only reliever getting hit around these days. In fact, he is. Only he (6.00) and Adam Russell (4.05) have a Sept ERA higher than 4. Luis Rodriguez is hitless in 14 straight AB's.


Bandaid_mediumOutfielders Brian Giles and Kyle Blanks are on the 15-day DL, though neither will return this season. 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff is questionable for tonight's game with a calf injury. RHP's Cha Seung Baek (forearm), Chris Young (shoulder), Shawn Hill (elbow) and Mark Worrell (elbow) are on the 60-day DL along with Cliff Floyd (shoulder).