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.