Five Good Things: Swept in St. Pete.
The Padres dropped all three games at Tropicana Field this week, getting the other end of the broom by the Rays just after sweeping the Marlins in San Diego. The series started off with two painful losses, the second even more heartbreaking than the first, and concluded with another loss after having the lead. But even through all that there were five things that caught my positive eye. Here they are:
5. Venable’s hit streak.
Friday’s game saw Chase’s streak come to an end at 12 but hit’s in three games extended the very hot of late Will Venable’s to seven. Will who seemed to had lost the advantage in the platoon to Denorfia, has been earning a lot of playing time with his bat, leaving Kyle Blanks the lesser used of the Padres outfielders.
4. Early Leads
The Padres jumped ahead to early leads in each of the first two games, with a pair of solo homers by will Venable and Carlos Quentin in the top of the first on Friday followed by a two-run shot by Chase Headley in Saturday’s contest. Unfortunately in both games, the leads were ultimately given up, as was another brief lead in the sixth on Sunday.
3. Stolen Bases
Though they haven’t been the Stealing Friars of the 1998 season, our Padres have been pretty active on the base paths this year. They swiped four bags in the first two games of the series, two by Venable and another pair split between Chris Denorfia and Everth Cabrera.
They are second in the National League with 28 swipes, having been caught only seven times. Their 80% success rate ranks them fourth in the NL.
2. Tyson Ross
Tyson Ross took over a huge mess left by rookie Burch Smith making his Major League debut. Smith had a 2-0 lead and a 1-2-3 first inning. He followed that giving up five runs in the second without getting an out before being yanked in favor of Ross with two men in scoring position.
Ross gave up a sac fly that was charged to Smith but that was it. He went on to pitch four shutout innings, allowing only three hits and no runs. He walked just one and struck out three, keeping the Padres in the game so they could execute…..
1. Saturday’s improbable comeback.
To tell you the truth, between the second and seventh innings of game two was one of the most boring times I had watching a game this year. It looked like the Padres were going to lose big, with nobody able to touch Jeremy Hellickson, save Headley in the first. Then something amazing happened.
With two outs and two on, Alexi Amarista hit a little excuse-me infield single that he was able to beat out on a fine play by Evan Longoria, loading the bases. Bud Black then brought in Jesus Guzman to face the righty Hellickson, having no left-handers on the bench. Guzman worked the count full before launched a towering shot down the left-field line that was fair by about 15 feet to tie the game at six all.
Jamey Wright then came in to pitch for the Rays. Cabrera reached on a throwing error by second baseman Ben Zobrist to keep the inning alive. Wright then hit Venable with a pitch before reloading the bases by walking Headley. Carlos Quentin then drew a walk to give the Padres a 7-6 lead, which they held until there were two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
So there are my five things. Hopefully it will be a lot easier to get five more in the Baltimore series that starts on Tuesday. Until then, Go Padres!