Five Good Things: Blanks Appreciation Edition
Well my friends that last series was a bit tough to swallow. Losing the series in the 13th was difficult for many reasons. After losing to the Giants in SF and splitting with LA, it would have been nice to get back into the “W” column before heading to Miami. But there were many bright spots during the last three days. Here are five.
5. Eric Stults
Stults had another brilliant outing going up against Cliff Lee in game one on Monday. Lee was magnificent, shutting the Padres out for eight innings before he was removed in the ninth during the Padres astonishing comeback. Meanwhile Stults was brilliant, going seven innings allowing just as many hits. He gave up just two runs and struck out four. Amazingly he walked none again. Stults also doubled to lead of the sixth but ultimately was stranded.
4. Lineup Shuffle
Another not from Monday’s game is Buddy Black finally moved down Headley in the lineup. Well kind of. Chase and Carlos Quentin swapped spots, putting Chase at the cleanup spot. CQ went 2-4 and scored a run. Chase did so also but added a double and a very important full count walk in the bottom of the tenth to set up the walkoff win.
3. Wednesday’s One-Two Punch
The Padres offense got a lot out of their top two spots in game three, starting with Logan Forsythe’s RBI double in the third that cut the score to 2-1. Chris Denorfia singled right after to tie the game. Two innings later Lo-Fo smacked a deep fly ball that one hopped into the beach in right-center for a two-out, ground-rule double. Then Norf took Cole Hamels deep for a two run dinger to left, giving the Friars a 4-2 lead.
2. Robbie Erlin
Robbie comes in at number two in honor of his second start, which was pretty dang impressive. Robbie gave up a couple early runs in the first and second but then settled down. His line was: 6.1IP 4H 3R 2ER 1BB 7K 0HR. No walks by the young man and he left with 5-3 lead in the seventh in line for a win. Not bad for a spot start call up.
1. 88 Train!!!
I’m putting Kyle at the top spot because of one reason and one alone. Without him, the Padres would have been swept. Blanks went 4-5 on Monday, and he was responsible for all runs scored in the ninth inning rally that saw the Padres tie the game after trailing 3-0. Blanks hit a soft line drive to center knocking in CQ & Chase with none out. He later advanced to third and scored the tying run with two outs on a wild pitch to Mark Kotsay.
The next inning he hit a sharp single down the third base line with the bases loaded to give the Friars an improbable walk-off win.
Fast forward two days later and the Kyle Blanks love fest is bubbling over after his RBI single in the sixth that put the Friars ahead, 5-2. The next inning with two outs and runners at the corners, Nick Vincent induced a popup in the foul territory of right field that Blanks had an easy read on but the ball hit off the heel of his glove to keep the at-bat alive. The next pitch Kevin Fransden smoked a ground ball past diving first baseman Jesus Guzman to cut the lead 5-3.
The very next inning Domonic Brown hit a low line drive that Kyle tried to make an inning ending sliding catch but was just short, allowing Brown to reach second. Official scorer gave Brown a double. Then Gregerson gave up a game tying homer to Delmon Young.
Well at this point my twitter feed exploded. “Kyle Blanks Sucks”, “DFABlanks”, and “88 Train to Tucson” were the notable ones. This was jaw-dropping to me. This guy, who singlehandedly had us in this series, was being made a pariah because he cost us just one run. The same rum he knocked in for us in the fifth. And considering the team lost by two, it had no effect on the final outcome. So I just wanted to point out that maybe, just maybe, we should look at the bigger picture before we all lose our minds.
Having said that, the Friars have a little bit of work to do as they embark on a 10 game road trip starting Friday in Miami. I have plenty of faith with our squad though as they remain tied for second despite not winning a series since sweeping Arizona on June 16th. Can’t wait to see what good things this trip can bring.