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  • Padres can't escape questions

    QUOTE
    Padres can't escape persistent questions
    Crasnick
    By Jerry Crasnick
    ESPN.com
    Archive

    ST. LOUIS -- The San Diego Padres lost ace starter Jake Peavy to a broken rib in the National League Division Series opener, grounded into three double plays and fell behind St. Louis 8-0 after five innings, but it could have been worse.

    At least closer Trevor Hoffman doesn't have to cancel his credit cards in a panic and spend a day waiting in line for a new driver's license at the Motor Vehicle Bureau.

    Hoffman accidentally left his wallet in a taxi on the way to Busch Stadium on Tuesday, and was sitting in the trainer's room in blissful oblivion when umpire Ed Montague showed up at the clubhouse door holding the prized possession. By a lucky coincidence, Montague happened to be the next guy in the cab.

    Hoffman slipped some money in an envelope Wednesday with the intention of giving it to Montague as a reward. Then he realized the gesture might not go over very well with Commissioner Bud Selig, so he decided to express his appreciation verbally.

    "Maybe Eddie will read the story and get a kick out of it,'' Hoffman said. "I'm just trying to say thank you for saving me a lot of headaches.''

    Since Hoffman only pitches when the Padres have a lead, it's iffy whether he'll have reason to step on the same field with Montague again this season. Dozens of columnists, bloggers, talk radio savants and other self-professed experts believe that Hoffman has enjoyed his final save opportunity of 2005.

    The Padres took plenty of hits for winning the National League West at 82-80, the worst record for a postseason qualifier in baseball history. With their performance in Game 1 against the Cardinals, they did little to dispel the notion that they're in over their heads.

    When the Padres weren't grounding into double plays, they looked distracted or a step slow in the field. Maybe it was Ryan Klesko's failure to pick up a Jim Edmonds blooper down the left-field line, or Mark Sweeney's inability to smother Reggie Sanders' pool shot to first.

    Or the culprit might have been Khalil Greene, who came to the plate in the second inning with men on first and second, swung at the first pitch and lofted a harmless fly ball to center and failed to advance the runners. These are the type of transgressions that are magnified when the games matter most.

    "They're little things that you might get away with during the season,'' said Padres outfielder Eric Young. "But our season is going to be short now if we don't perform.''

    San Diego's failure to hit in the clutch Tuesday reflected a season-long concern. The Padres ranked eighth in the National League with a .262 batting average with runners in scoring position, and 12th with a .393 slugging percentage. They're OK at creating opportunities, but lack the thump to do much with them.

    "That's pretty much been our club all year long,'' said Padres general manager Kevin Towers. "We've had a hard time putting consistent pressure on clubs from the first inning through the ninth. We either do it early and shut down, or we don't do it early and come on late. We get runners in scoring position, but we can't deliver a knockout punch.''

    Padres manager Bruce Bochy will make several adjustments against lefty Mark Mulder when the series resumes Thursday afternoon. Xavier Nady replaces Sweeney at first base, Young moves in for Klesko in left, and Dave Roberts takes a seat in center. Giles will slide over from right field to fill Roberts' spot, and rookie Ben Johnson will play right.

    The Padres will hand the ball to Pedro Astacio, who had a rebirth in San Diego after being released by the Texas Rangers because of the little matter of that 6.04 ERA. This is what it's come down to.

    As the Padres' season draws perilously close to an end, San Diego reporters continue to dissect the circumstances surrounding the injury to Peavy, who initially bruised his rib jumping into the pile during the division title celebration. Should he have been more forthright in revealing the extent of the injury before taking the mound in Game 1? Or could Bochy and the Padres have been more vigilant in preventive maintenance and protecting Peavy's health?

    The questions go on and on. The last time there was this much furor over ribs, Hawkeye Pierce and his buddy Trapper John were trying to get a batch flown in from Chicago on an episode of M*A*S*H.

    Towers said it's "doubtful'' that Peavy will pitch again this season, in part because the Padres fear that he might alter his mechanics and hurt his elbow or shoulder. But Peavy bravely soldiers on. He takes full responsibility for the broken rib, and won't give up entirely on pitching again this season.

    "I feel a little better today now that the meds have kicked in,'' Peavy said before Tuesday's workout. "I cringe at the thought of throwing a baseball right now. But I wouldn't rule myself out.''

    San Diego's entire upset scenario was predicated on Peavy winning two games in the series. With no Peavy, the Padres have to take inspiration from the 1973 New York Mets, who made the playoffs at 82-79, then lost the NL Championship Series opener against Cincinnati before recovering to earn a spot in the World Series.

    "It's very easy for people to get on a soapbox and go after the fact that we're a .500 ballclub,'' Hoffman said. "We're an easy target, and guys across the country are having a good time with it. Now it's up to us to win some games and shut people up.''

    There's nothing stopping the Padres. Except, of course, their own mediocrity.

    Jerry Crasnick covers baseball for ESPN Insider. [/b][/quote]

    "Can't buy what I want because it's free...
    Can't buy what I want because it's free..."
    -- Pearl Jam, from the single Corduroy

  • #2
    If Houston beats Atlanta we're in big shite. I'm not getting cocky about any of this, including winning this division series. Even if we do as we expect, frankly, if Houston does beat Atlanta I think we're in BIG trouble.

    Comment


    • #3
      Houston doesn't worry me at all.

      Comment


      • #4
        Lode,

        You need to stop reading Jayson Stark columns.

        Our record this season is stellar against the Astros, even against their so-called tough pitching. And their offense is a shell of its 2004 self.

        Although Stark would have you believe the Astros would have won convincingly last year, if only they just had Pettitte!, we've beaten their aces before, in a Game 7 no less.

        This is the year, bud. Don't worry a bit.
        The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life. -TR

        OFFICIAL LOUNGE SPONSOR OF NEW YORK CITY, TEDDY ROOSEVELT AND THE MARYLAND TERRAPINS

        Madyaks2 Thought Of The Day: I'm just as dumb as madyaks1.

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        • #5
          it could be a tough series v. the astros, but it will be a good one. the part I love the most is that we play so hard against them....but then they play hard against us too.

          but I will take our chances v. anyone really. we have fire, fire and more fire.
          Sometimes elections have positive consequences!

          Comment


          • #6
            Hoffman should've just given him a gift certificate to Shannon's.

            Think the Padres will miss Phil Nevin?

            Comment


            • #7
              I pity the Pods. I fart in their general direction.
              Official sponsor of the baseball gods and other missalaneous stuff.

              Comment


              • #8
                QUOTE(lasvegasreb @ Oct 6 2005, 01:49 AM) Quoted post

                Lode,

                You need to stop reading Jayson Stark columns.

                Our record this season is stellar against the Astros, even against their so-called tough pitching. And their offense is a shell of its 2004 self.

                Although Stark would have you believe the Astros would have won convincingly last year, if only they just had Pettitte!, we've beaten their aces before, in a Game 7 no less.

                This is the year, bud. Don't worry a bit.
                [/b][/quote]
                They had Andy Pettite last year. His name was Brandon Backe.

                Comment

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