Five Good Things: Home, Split Home.
The Padres returned home from their unsatisfying road trip to host a four game series against a team who also had been struggling offensively. What was the result of the long series; a split. The Mets took the first two games while the Friars finished off the weekend with two straight victories of their own.
Here are my five points of interest from this last weekends contest against the Metropolitans.
5. Tyson Ross
Tyson Ross again continues to impress, this time with another quality start in game one. He racked up seven more innings, allowing only one run on five hits. He struck out eight and walked none, throwing strikes on 74 of the 109 pitches he tossed. He left the game with the game tied 1-1 as the Padres offense continued to struggle, going 2-10 with runners in scoring position.
4. Saturday’s Brilliant Bullpen.
There was only one point all series long that the Padres bullpen was called on to preserve a lead and that was when Dale Thayer came in with a 5-1 lead in the to start the sixth inning on Saturday. Thayer got out of the inning unscathed, retiring all three batters he faced. As a matter of fact, Nick Vincent, Luke Gregerson, and Huston Street each pitched a scoreless, hitless frame to close out the game with an 8-2 victory. The only base runners allowed were on a walk each by Vincent and Gregerson in the seventh and eighth innings, respectively.
3. Welcome back, Dad!
Nick Hundley missed the first two games on due to paternity leave. But he returned Saturday and celebrated the birth of his new child with a pair of hits including a two run homer in the fourth of David Aardsma to give the Padres a 3-1 lead. He followed up with a 3-3 game on Sunday in which he also scored a run in the Friars exciting 3-2 win. Keep making those babies, Nick. I am liking the results.
2. Jedd Gyorko
The Padres second baseman continued his hitting tear with another solid series. Though he went hitless Thursday, He had a three hit day on Friday including his 21st double of the season. He then belted a three run homer in the eighth on Saturday to put the game out of reach, 8-2. He then singled down the left field line on Sunday, raising his average to .254, an eight point improvement in the last 10 games.
1. Will Venable
Who’s got the longest active hitting streak in the majors? The answer surprises me every time I hear it. It’s Will Venable, the Padres number one power threat. I know this all sounds entirely sarcastic, but Will has been unbelievably good the last two weeks. But in this series alone, he was flat out amazing.
Venable began the first two games of the series just getting a hit in each, including his team leading 16th homer in Friday’s loss. But then in Saturday’s big win, Will had a four hit game. But it was Sunday’s finale where he truly shined. He knocked in the Padres first run when he beat out a high chopper off the pitcher’s glove in the fifth, cutting the lead to one and extending his hit streak to 15 games. Then in the top of the eighth Marlon Byrd drove a ball to deep centerfield with Venable retreating toward the wall. Will stopped, found his bearings and made a small leap with his glove just above the fence to rob Byrd of his 20th homer of the season and keep the Padres within a run, allowing them to tie the game in the bottom half of that inning.
Fast forward to the bottom of the ninth, Pedro Feliciano threw a breaking ball low and inside and Venable golfed into down the right field line for a walkoff homer, prompting a celebration at home to the tune of Pennywise’s anthem and personal favorite of min, Bro Hymn.
So those are my five things. Feel free to tell me yours and be sure to cheer on our Friars as they take on the Pirates of Pittsburgh this week, be it from home or at Petco Park.