“–Padres-vs-Dodgers–Things I Saw”
SWEEP CITY…Friars use the home run ball and some amazing defense to run LA out of Petco Park. The Friars are now (7-3) vs the Blue this season. We know what the Dodgers have been for the last 8-years in the NL West. Baseball now knows what the Padres have become this season.
PADRES-DODGERS….The rivalry has turned. San Diego is on even footing with Los Angeles. 10-games this year have proven that. The Padres bats no longer fear the Dodgers arms. The Dodgers roster is no longer what it once was, for they have not replaced the likes of Joc Pederson-Keke Hernandez and others who left, despite the arrival of Albert Pujols. LA comes back into Petco Park one more time in August. The Padres have two trips into Dodgers Stadium in September.
THE SCHEDULE…MLB gave the Padres a brutal schedule to start the season…20-games in 21-days to start…then 20-games in a row…and still to come a couple of more 10-game road trips.
EL NINO…The prospect of Home Run Derby at Coors Field in Colorado next month will be fascinating, but Fernando Tatis should not be part of it. You cannot rationalize this, for him to take part, with the two scares with the shoulder dislocations and the oblique injury scare too. He should not risk doing this. They the Padres should not let him risk doing this.
ANSWERS-EXPLANATIONS…The Padres are hot, but they have some explaining to do, why a team that could play the Dodgers so tough, would lose the games they lost to the likes of Colorado and the Pirates. Heading to the weekend, San Diego was (23-9) against teams with losing records; against the top teams (21-23), and big road trips still to come. You wonder if bad losses early will come back to haunt them late, considering whom they have to play going forward.
MACKENZIE GORE…The #1 pitching prospect has stalled at AAA-El Paso. His ERA is (5.85). He has had blister problems, control problems, walk problems, home run problems. This may be too much for him right now. A possible move to AA-San Antonio might help.
EL PASO AWFUL…Once a minor league stronghold, they are having an awful season. Aside from Ryan Weathers, down on option to build innings, the rest of the pitching staff has been shelled. Check the box scores and you see starters giving up 10-11 runs in early innings. They gave up 24-runs in one game late last week. AJ Preller strip mined the upper farm system, there is no one left. Last check (18-24) record with ERA over 6.00.
THE INJURY FACTOR…The fact LA is still battling for second place is pretty amazing, considering the length of time Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager and David Price have spent on the DL. The season ending elbow surgery to Dustin May and the extended DL-stay for Tony Gonsolin has also dented LA’s ability to be what they were before. Wonder what this team would be like if totally healthy? Still have 100 plus games to find out.
DAVE ROBERTS…He openly indicated Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger were ready to play, yet when they opened the series at Petco Park on Monday, he had 3-AAA players in his starting lineup. San Diego was 6-games out of first when the series started. If LA had swept the series, the Padres pennant hopes might have been shattered. Roberts, and the analytics people upstairs, guessed wrong, and now San Diego is back in the race.
UMPIRES-PITCHERS…Ugly first week of Umpires examining pitchers for illegal substances. Yu Darvish of the Padres said ‘thank you to the umps’ his first inspection. Washington’s Max Scherzer threw a tantrum, getting looked at 3-times, and got into a glare-stare episode with Phillies manager Joe Girardi. If you are clean, just do it, quit whining about it.
TREVOR BAUER…All things to all people. He can be dominant. He does give up home runs, (17) this season so far. He is eccentric on the mound. Full of energy and motions, but fun to watch. Last night, Joe Musgrave swung and missed a pitch, with the bat flying towards the LA dugout. Musgrave went back to the SD dugout to get pine tar…Bauer came off the mound and offered Musgrave the resin bag instead. They both laughed. Then at the end of the inning before Musgrave went to the mound, he went to the plate to show the umpire he washed his hands. They laughed again.
THE STATS…Baseball Prospectus stat package showed that 133-pitchers had decreases in their spin rates over the last two weeks, since baseball announced search and seizure rules were coming this week. Innoncent till proven guilty, but looking guilty I’d say.
THE SHIFT…Baseball has been impacted by the phenomena of the shift on defense, now Dodgers manager Dave Roberts thinks MLB needs to step in. He uses it extensively, 55% last year, 42% this year, but he thinks MLB should limit the movement: Infielders have to play on the edge of the outfield -infield grass. Limit movement meaning 2-infielders on each side of second base. Ban infielders from playing as mid-outfielders (Manny Machado Rule). Teams against the shift last year hit (.231). This year (.235). Considering MLB teams were hitting (.232) to start June, you have to think the shift, and loaded baseballs from pitchers, go hand in hand with all this.