Five Good Things: Rock Mountain Road Trip
The nice thing about a long series is that it is very easy for me to find some positives. And this particular series was chock-full of them. The Padres could’ve easily won every game of the series but ended taking two of the four. Here are the five things that stood out for me.
5. Return of Cam Maybin
I admit that even my uber-optimistic self was not thrilled of the prospect of Cameron Maybin and his .091 average returning to the lineup. But he showed me a lot of things in just one game. Maybin was 2-5 with two RBI’s and made a game saving in the bottom of the 11th when he tracked down a deep shot by Eric Young and secured an over the shoulder catch with two outs and a runner on second in a tie game. Maybin also stole a base. Cam raised his average 41 points that game and could have been more if he didn’t have a triple taken away from him when the official scorer ruled Young committed an error when Maybin launched one of the tip of his glove on a dead run to lead off the 11th.
By series end Maybin was hitting .157 and made another run-saving sliding catch in Saturday’s victory.
4. Cash & Stultsy
Andrew Cashner and Eric Stults once again delivered lights-out performances in their respective starts, coincidentally both leading to Padres wins.
Cashner took the hill Thursday evening and went another seven full innings, allowing just three runs on seven hits, walking two with four punch outs. He left with a 5-3 lead but ended up with a no-decision when Willin Rosario hit a two-run shot of Dale Thayer with two out in the eighth to tie the game.
Stults start equaled Andrew’s in innings pitched and hits given up but gave up only two runs (one earned) while striking out four. For the third straight start Stults walked none and won the game, bringing his record to 5-5 in 13 starts.
3. Comebacks Galore!
The Padres found themselves in two huge holes this series on Friday and Sunday, dug by Edinson Volquez & Clayton Richard, but mounted furious comebacks in both to give their struggling starters no-decisions.
On Friday night with a five run lead, Rob Scahill plunked Chase Headley in the butt as what some viewed as payback for hitting Troy Tulowitzki earlier in the game. This lead to back-to-back homeruns by Carlos Quentin and Jedd Gyorko and suddenly the score was 9-7. Kyle Blanks then doubled and scored on a Maybin single to pull within one. Two walks and a popup later saw Everth Cabrera up with the bases loaded and one out. His infield single tied the game at nine all before the Padres left them loaded when Headley struck out prior to Quentin being robbed by Nolan Arrendando on a diving stop to leave them loaded.
On Sunday the Padres not only came back but took the lead after starting a rally with one out in the top of the sixth. At the time Juan Nicasio had a perfect game going until Nick Hundley launched a deep drive over the wall in left field to cut the score to 4-1. Richard, Cabrera and Alexi Amarista then hit consecutive singles to bring it to 4-2. The next inning, still down two, Cam Maybin homered to cut the lead to one. Hundley then singled to bring up pinch hitter Mark Kotsay. The veteran left-hander hit one out over the wall in centerfield to give the Padres a 5-4 lead. They extended it to 7-4 before Luke Gregerson blew a three run lead in the ninth.
2. Everth Cabrera is a hitting Machine
Everth had three hits in each of the first three games raising his average all the way to .300 before a one for five Sunday dropped it to .298. Cabby also stole bases 26 through 29 over the four game series, getting caught only once. Cabrera ended the series with an amazing OPS of .790, as he drove in his 24th run of the season on Saturday.
1. Kyle Blanks, Major League Ready Ballplayer
The top spot was going to Kyle no-matter what and I’ll tell you why. After a very good series in Los Angeles and for his whole stay in San Diego this year, Blanks was optioned to the minors despite hitting .273 with four homers, and 16 RBI’s in just 99 at-bats. The reason being is if they were to send down, Guzman of Kotsay, they’d lose them. So Blanks was the odd man out and didn’t fly with the team to Colorado. Well the next day the Padres find out that Yonder Alonso in fact did have a broken hand and Blanks was recalled and on the middle seat in coach headed for Denver. Well started the series hitting .273 with four homers and 16 RBI. 15 at-bats later he was hitting .298, adding on two more big-flies while knocking in five more runs. Kyle proved that he belongs on this roster.
So there you have it folks, five great things from a very entertaining road trip. I’ll catch back up with you this Thursday to recap the Atlanta series.