“What I saw-What I think”
Things I saw, what I think after a great sports weekend.
PADRES….This is what we have been waiting for all season long, booming bats, stronger defense, and much better pitching. The Padres leave for an East Coast road trip today having won 9-of-12. It was somewhat of a statement weekend, taking two out of three from the best team in baseball. They got lots of hits, they are healthy, and they played St. Louis hammer and tong. Sadly, it’s too little too late, for they are in such a deep hole, it seems unlikely they can catch the Pirates and Cubs for the wildcard spot. Maybe it was the right move not to break up this team at the trading deadline. The Friars still have to solve their shortstop woes, and figure out who plays where at 2nd and 3rd. Of course signing Justin Upton would go a long way to keeping this roster intact. Even Matt Kemp’s (.378-July) and (.388-August) means he’s not done yet.
DODGERS…I don’t know what the future holds for Manager Don Mattingly. This is a terrible LA tailspin. Joc Pederson, hitting (.155) since July is on the bench. Yasiel Puig seems to be a shell of himself with still no consistency to his game. Adrian Gonzalez is hitting a quiet .300, but has very little help elsewhere. Beyond Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, the rotation is still a slippery slope, and the bullpen ERA is above 4.00. I said in spring I thought they’d miss the offense that they used to get from Matt Kemp-Hanley Ramirez-Dee Gordon, and I think they do. Not good signs heading to the final month of the season. The LA payroll is now at an all time record 298M with a 44M luxury tax bill on top of that. Anyone think ownership will allow the manager to come back next year?
ANGELS…The playoff hopes are slipping away. A tired starting rotation. Mike Trout cannot do it all himself. Albert Pujols is cooling off despite his 30-home run season. Kole Calhoun has stopped hitting. There seems nothing left at Salt Lake City to help this team. Hard to believe a flawed team like the Astros are pulling away in the AL-West, but the Halos just don’t seem to have enough firepower or live arms to keep up the chase. Running off Josh Hamilton and getting nothing in return seems to be haunting a struggling lineup. This payroll, this roster, might not even make the postseason, again.
CHARGERS…They dialed up blitz packages, they hit everything that ran pass patterns; that was a pretty impressive evening of defense in the preseason win in Arizona. This might be the fastest defense San Diego has put on the field in a long time. The run game isn’t working because the offensive line is not moving people off the line of scrimmage. When it has been lst team offense vs 1st team defense in the Dallas-Arizona games, San Diego’s backs have 15-carries for just 30-yards. Two weeks to figure it out.
AZTECS…Maybe it’s not the quarterbacks, but rather the defense. Rocky Long can’t decide yet whether Kentucky transfer Maxwell Smith or freshman Colin Chapman should start at QB. Doesn’t matter. This Aztecs defense, especially the back seven, just seems relentless. That coupled with the four running backs they have, means this is going to be a good season. Very disappointing, less than 1,000 showed up for the Red-Black scrimmage Saturday. Does the community care, or does San Diego State do a poor job promoting its product to the community?
USD…Not a good sign when you have 4-quarterbacks and no one has claimed the starting job, and none of those players have taken many varsity snaps. The Toreros need someone to become what Josh Johnson became, a dangerous thrower, at quarterback, if USD is going to be competitive. This looks more like a Division III program, rather than someone who says they are Division 1.
SWEETWATER VALLEY….Yes they got knocked out of the winner’s bracket at the Little League World Series by Texas last night, but the Bonita stars are still alive. The fact Pearland, Texas held them to just 1-home run was impressive, considering the Bombers had hit six in the first two games. They play Rhode Island tonite, but what a thrill for these kids to go to Williamsport and be on ESPN>
GULLS…They introduce new coach Dallas Eakins tomorrow. This AHL club has the makings of being very good. The parent Anaheim Ducks have signed veteran goalies, defenseman and a couple of bangers on the wings, to compliment the young draft picks they will likely send here a month from now. Think this team has a chance to be good with a better blend of experienced NHL-AHLers to go with the young picks headed this way.