Hey there, how are you? It’s been a while.
The last time I blogged about the Padres, Alberto González started at first base. He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts that Friday evening in September 2011. Ted Lilly and the Dodgers blanked the home team in front of 32,658 fans who would have been disappointed if not for the fact that most were rooting for the squad from Los Angeles.
Jason Bartlett batted second. Orlando Hudson batted fifth. Wade LeBlanc started and took the loss despite fanning a career-high 10. In the seventh inning, LeBlanc surrendered a monstrous 428-foot homer to Matt Kemp. The ball went to right-center, where it will be easier to hit home runs this year thanks to the fences being moved in 11 feet.
This change in dimensions may or may not improve the Padres’ record, but the theory is that it should make them less boring when they lose, thus drawing more folks out to watch Kemp et al. hit a yachtload of homers. Either way, it isn’t LeBlanc’s problem; he’s in Miami, which has other problems.
Instead, Clayton Richard gets to deal with the shorter distances. Richard led the NL in homers allowed last year despite pitching half his games at Petco Park. He became the first Padres hurler since the team moved downtown in 2004 to break the 30-homer barrier:
First off, take a moment to appreciate Geer’s achievement. Dude gave up home runs in all but two of his 19 appearances before being shipped back to Portland at the end of July. #boomstick
Returning to our hero, Richard’s total ties him with Brett Tomko (2002) for sixth most in Padres history. The last to break 30 homers before Richard? That would be Jake Peavy, with 33 in 2003.
Nearly 68 percent of the long balls Richard surrendered in 2012 came on the road, so maybe the new dimensions will help give him a more even distribution. The list of men who took Richard deep at Petco last year should inspire hitters of all types:
|Player||Date||Type||True Dist.||Std Dist.||# Parks||SLG|
JE = just enough (ball barely made it over fence); ND, no doubt (really deep blast); PL, plenty (everything else).
True Dist. = How far the ball traveled.
Std Dist. = How far the ball would have traveled with no wind, in 70 degree air, at sea level.
#Parks = Number of MLB ballparks, out of 30, where the ball would have been a home run.
See Home Run Tracker glossary for more detailed definitions.
Careful readers will note the lack of actual sluggers here. Nobody other than Kemp, who hit the first (and cheapest) bomb off Richard all season, had a SLG higher than .463. Six of the 10 homers hit were by guys with a sub-.400 SLG, and Heisey just missed.
Over on Twitter, Shamu35 reminds us that context is everything by asking what percentage of homers are normally produced by guys with a sub-.400 SLG. The answer in 2012 was 25 percent, and it’s about the same (25.6%) over the period 2010-2012. So yeah, Richard was slightly above that.
Meanwhile, Downs hit eight homers last year; three came against Richard. I’m pretty sure Downs signed with the Marlins just so he could stay in the NL and pay his friend another visit at Petco Park.
Returning to the big picture, there are at least two positives to take from all this. First, Josh Geer isn’t in the rotation. Second, people will pay money to see lots of points.
There, I feel better. How about you?
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