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What a Mess
Posted by Ted Rossman at 8/21/2006 11:26:00 PM
View more posts by this author

 

The Padres' starting pitcher has been hurt on each of the past three days either just before or during the game. Clay Hensley missed Saturday's start with hip soreness, so the Padres called up Mike Thompson from Triple-A Portland to replace him. After a mix-up at airport security (his ticket was in the name of Portland teammate Brian Sweeney), Thompson got to Petco Park just in time to start the game.

The following afternoon, Chris Young went down after one inning due to a strained right rhomboid muscle -- a fancy way of saying that he strained the muscle which connects his shoulder to his spine. The Padres were faced with the fact that they had to fill eight innings on the mound, and Hensley filled in admirably for four of them.

But, alas, that wasn't all for San Diego, a team which is currently hovering a game over .500, two games behind the Reds for the wild card and three games behind the Dodgers for first place in the N.L. West. Just before the first game of an important three-game set against the Dodgers, Monday's scheduled starter, Chan Ho Park, experienced a recurrance of the intestinal bleeding which landed him on the DL last month. The Padres wanted to turn to Brian Sweeney, but he had just pitched seven innings for Portland. Dewon Brazelton was an option, but he isn't on the Padres' 40-man roster, so some extra roster juggling would have been necessary.

Tim Stauffer, who was just 6-12 with a 5.07 ERA in 25 Triple-A games this season, was summoned to make the emergency start. He earned the victory after pitching six innings and allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits and a walk. All this after he arrived just a few hours before game-time.

Hopefully the Padres' incredible, maybe even unprecedented, streak of bad luck will end on Tuesday night. Hopefully their scheduled starter, Jake Peavy, hasn't broken any mirrors or walked under any ladders lately. As for the upcoming three-game weekend series in Colorado, the Padres are totally up in the air. Hensley is hoping to pitch on Friday. Young might still pitch on Saturday, even though manager Bruce Bochy said on Sunday that he would probably land on the 15-day DL. And no one knows about Park's status for Sunday, but he's very questionable at best. The Padres are hanging around in this very wild N.L. West race, but barely. Who knows who'll pitch this weekend. Maybe head trainer Todd Hutcheson should warm up his arm.


Comments....

You beat me to the punch. Reading Monday's player updates, I was thinking this had to be the worst string of bad luck in the majors this year. Beyond bad. I wonder about Bruce Bochy, though. Has a manager ever spent so long in one city, done so little and received so many free passes? San Diego is an extremely soft city and a one-newspaper town and Bochy never gets heat. I don't watch many Padres game, but when I do Bochy sometimes has me scratching my head. For instance, in last Saturday's game, the Padres were down, 5-1, to the D'Backs in the ninth inning with the bases loaded. Who better to have hit in that situation then, available as a PH, Mike Piazza? Instead, Bochy hits Geoff Blum. Yeah, Blum can hit lefty and the pitcher (Julio) was a righty, but still. I like my chances with Piazza at the plate, the righty-lefty matchup be damned. I got nothing against the guy, but it seems like Bochy is leading a country club life.
Posted by Jason Thornbury at 8/22/2006 12:47:00 AM
 
Jason, you bring up some good points about Bochy. He is 926-963 (.490) in 12 seasons at the helm in San Diego. His teams have won three division titles (one of which came last season with an 82-80 record) and have made one World Series appearance. There's no doubt that if he posted those numbers in New York or Boston, he wouldn't have lasted 12 seasons.

The pro-Bochy sentiment in San Diego is two-fold: his players love to play for him and there is the belief that he has done as well as he could have in a small market. San Diegans have a chip on their shoulder that they make up the 26th-largest TV market among the 30 MLB teams. They look down upon teams like the Dodgers, who recently acquired Greg Maddux, Julio Lugo and Wilson Betemit at the trade deadline. San Diegans have bought into the idea that Bochy and GM Kevin Towers are fighting against a stacked deck, and they excuse moves like acquiring Todd Walker (who hadn't played third base since 1997) at the deadline to solve their problem at third base.

So I absolutely agree with you that Bochy could not have turned in these numbers in many MLB cities and kept his job. It would be interesting to see Bochy in a bigger market to test the small-market limitations hypothesis. His contract (and Towers' contract) expires after the 2007 season. It's hard to see Bochy leave on his own accord, but there have been some grumblings lately that a regime change in San Diego might do the club some good. I don't see that happening yet, but next year is a big one for the Padres. Their record this season at three year-old Petco Park is 31-36, one of the worst home marks in the N.L. Even in laid-back San Diego, fans want to see a better record at a park which they largely paid for with public money.
Posted by tedrossman at 8/22/2006 11:04:00 AM
 

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