The Padres kick off a three-game series against the Diamondbacks tonight that will close out the Friars’ opening homestand. San Diego went 7-11 against the 2011 NL West champs last year, including a 5-4 mark at Petco Park. Over the last two years, the Padres have gone a 13-5 at home vs. Arizona, with the pitching staff posting a 2.85 ERA (52 ER/164.0 IP) and 8.6 strikeouts per 9.0 IP over that stretch.
San Diego snapped it’s season-opening skid, winning 8-4 over the Dodgers on Sunday. Clayton Richard picked up the win, improving to 5-1 lifetime against LAD. He retired the first nine batters he faced and allowed only two unearned runs in his 7.0 innings of work. The Friars’ offense was powered by Andy Parrino’s first career home run and Chase Headley’s second career grand slam.
Edinson Volquez takes the hill for his second start of the season tonight. He was tagged with the loss in his first start, making his second career Opening Day start (also 2011 for CIN). Tonight he is making his fourth career start against ARI, his first since 2010. He is 0-1 with a 5.19 ERA against the Diamondbacks but has averaged 10.4 strikeouts per 9.0 IP with 20 in his 17.1 innings of work. Volquez is looking to snap a five-decision losing streak that dates back to 7/5/11.
Tonight the Padres will face Trevor Cahill, who is making his 97th career start but his first ever against San Diego. In fact, Orlando Hudson (2-for-4) and Jason Bartlett (1-for-1) are the only Padres currently on the active roster to log plate appearances against Cahill in his career.
The players on the Padres active 25-man roster have combined to hit .248 (241-for-970) off Diamondbacks pitching in their career. Leading that group are Chase Headley (.282, 57-for-202), Nick Hundley (.303, 37-for-122), Chris Denorfia (.355, 22-for-62) and Jesus Guzman (.275, 11-for-40). For Hundley, a former University of Arizona Wildcat, his 37 hits against the Diamondbacks are his most against any opponent.
The wait is over and now baseball (or at least baseball that counts) is back! The Padres set their 25-man roster a couple days ago, placing Mark Kotsay and Carlos Quentin on the DL and adding Jeremy Hermida, and then re-set it today by placing Tim Stauffer on the DL and adding reliever Brad Brach.
Brach is one of six players making his first appearance on an Opening Day roster, joining Anthony Bass, Andy Parrino, Jesus Guzman, Yonder Alonso and Logan Forsythe (he’s on the DL, but it still counts).
The Friars’ Opening Day roster consists of 12 pitchers (nine right-handed and three left-handed), two catchers, six infielders and five outfielders. Edinson Volquez is slated to make his second career (and second consecutive) Opening Day start this afternoon. The rotation following him will be Cory Luebke, Dustin Moseley and Clayton Richard.
The San Diego Padres today announced that they have agreed to terms with catcher Nick Hundley on a contract through the 2014 season with a club option for 2015.
Hundley, 28, set career highs in nearly every offensive category in 2011, including runs, hits, triples, home runs, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. He hit .288 (81-for-281) with 16 doubles, five triples, nine home runs, 29 RBI and 34 runs scored in 82 games, including 73 starts behind the plate. As catcher, he threw out a career-high 24 would-be base stealers last season, besting his previous total of 13 from 2008.
Since making his Big League debut in 2008, Hundley has posted a 3.94 ERA that ranks seventh among National League catchers over that four-year stretch.
Over the last week, the Padres have flipped the script, winning six of their last seven and turning what was a 3-7 record into a 9-8 mark for the Spring.
Over that seven-game stretch, the Padres have outscored their opponents 48-26, scoring just shy of seven runs per game. On the pitching side, they have allowed 3.7 runs per game and are averaging 7.4 strikeouts per 9.0 innings pitched.
Paving the way for the pitching success has been the relief work of Brad Brach, Andrew Cashner, Alex Hinshaw, Miles Mikolas, Joe Thatcher and Dale Thayer. The six relievers have combined to allow just four earned runs over 25.2 innings of work, posting a cumulative 1.40 ERA. With Opening Day just over two weeks away, the battle for any open bullpen spots has reached a boiling point.
It’s tourney time, and with 48 players still in Big League camp there was bound to be some rooting interest in the Padres clubhouse. Of the players on the Padres 40-man roster and remaining Spring Training invitees, there are eight players who attended a school that made it to the 2012 NCAA Tournament: Cory Luebke (Ohio State), Clayton Richard (Michigan), Huston Street (Texas), John Baker (Cal), Brad Davis and Nick Vincent (Long Beach State), Alex Hinshaw (SDSU) and Jedd Gyorko (West Virginia). In addition, Bud Black will join Alex Hinshaw in pulling for the Aztecs tomorrow morning vs. NC State.
Baker’s Cal Bears were eliminated last night in the tournament’s “First Four” round vs. USF. Each of the other six teams earned spots in the tournament’s round of 64. While none of the players will face each other in the first round, there is the possibility of a West Virginia (Gyorko)/Ohio State (Luebke) matchup in the second round.
Six of the seven teams are slotted on the right side of the bracket, leaving Davis and Vincent (Long Beach State) an uphill battle to face one of their Padres teammates.
Eight games into the Cactus League season, the Padres are starting to heat up, winning three of their last five. 10 pitchers have yet to surrender and earned run this Spring, including Andrew Cashner (3.0 IP), Erik Hamren (3.0 IP), Alex Hinshaw (3.0 IP), Casey Kelly (2.0 IP), Cory Luebke (2.0 IP), Josh Spence (0.2 IP), Jeff Suppan (3.0 IP), Joe Thatcher (1.0 IP), Dale Thayer (3.0 IP) and Nick Vincent (3.0 IP). Leubke joins Dustin Moseley, Clayton Richard, Tim Stauffer and Edinson Volquez in what has become a Spring Training rotation and could project to be the clubs’ starting staff come Opening Day. Those five have combined to post a 3.46 ERA, surrendering five earned runs in 13.0 innings of work while striking out 10.
On offense, the Padres are hitting at a .276 clip with a .332 on-base percentage and .430 slugging percentage. Leading the way are 10 Friars who are hitting .300 or better with at least five games played: Yonder Alonso, Matt Clark, Jaff Decker, Jonathan Galvez, Jeremy Hermida, Rymer Liriano, Carlos Quentin, Edinson Rincon, Blake Tekotte and Will Venable. Decker is the only Padre with multiple home runs, having gone deep twice while driving in a club-high four runs.
So that’s how camp is shaping up so far. With 28 games between now and Opening Day, there is still plenty of time for things to change. I’ll leave you today with some trick shots, compliments of Padres minor leaguer Connor Powers:
As part of their annual 30 Clubs in 30 Days series, the MLB Network will feature the San Diego Padres today at 2:00 p.m. PT. The crew was out at the Peoria Sports Complex over the last few days, shooting interviews and special segments for this afternoon’s episode.
Be sure to set your DVRs and watch the program. It is a great way to get an overview of the team and prep yourself for the upcoming season.
As for the team, the Padres are heading to Tempe this afternoon to take on the Angels. The two clubs will also meet in the regular season in 2012, with the Angels traveling south on I-5 for their first-ever trip to Petco Park (May18-20). Clayton Richard takes the hill today, making his 2012 Cactus League debut. The pitching rotation over the next few days lines up like this: Dustin Moseley (3/10 at CLE), Tim Stauffer (3/11 vs. ARI), Corey Luebke (3/12 at COL) and Edinson Volquez (3/13 vs. CWS).
While the home squad was battling Yu Darvish and the media frenzy that accompanied him in Peoria, half of the Padres were in Goodyear to take on the Reds yesterday. Led by starter Cory Luebke, the Friars tossed a three-hit shutout, striking out 13 over the course of the afternoon.
Luebke paved the way, striking out four while allowing one hit and one walk over his 2.0 frames. Casey Kelly followed with 2.0 perfect innings and two strikeouts of his own. Relievers Andrew Cashner, Dale Thayer, Matt Palmer, Erik Hamren and Brad Brach shutout the Reds over the final 5.0 frames, striking out seven. Brach put on a show in the ninth, striking out the side to close out the game.
After yesterday’s games, the Padres have now struck out 39 in 43.0 innings of work, averaging 8.2 strikeouts per 9.0 innings pitched. San Diego’s relievers are averaging a strikeout per inning with 33 in their 33.0 innings this Spring.