Sometimes things get a little fuzzy during an afternoon at the pub. Here’s a friendly reminder of what you may have missed while you were drinking.

The Padres (26-37) scored fewer runs than the Colorado Rockies (29-33), 5-3, during yesterday afternoon’s second game of three at Coors Field.

Erik Johnson (0-3, 7.71) made his Padres debut after being acquired last Saturday from the Chicago White Sox for James Shields. Johnson gave up all five Rockies’ runs on nine hits and two walks with three strikeouts in four and two-thirds innings. A Carlos Gonzalez three-run home run in the first inning with Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu on base put the Rockies on the board. Blackmon led off the fifth inning with a solo home run and Gonzalez hit an RBI single for the Rockies’ fifth run of the game.

Tyler Chatwood (8-4, 2.89) pitched six and two-thirds innings, giving up three runs on six hits and three walks while striking out two. The Padres jumped out to a 2-0 lead after batting in the first inning. A Yangervis Solarte ground out scored Wil Myers and an RBI single by Melvin Upton Jr. scored Matt Kemp. In the fifth inning, a single by Jon Jay scored Alexi Amarista, but Jay was caught in a rundown between first and second bases to end the inning.

The series finale is this afternoon starting 1:10pm PDT. Christian Friedrich (2-1, 2.57) gets the start against Eddie Butler (2-3, 5.48) Tyler Anderson, who is making his Major League debut.

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Let’s get this out of the way: The Padres aren’t firing Bud Black.

First, they (unnecessarily) exercised the club options on his contract for 2014 and 2015. He’s safe through at least this season. You’re excited, I can tell. Second, there’s no obvious replacement already on the coaching staff. Third, that’s baseball.

With that said, let’s have some fun with hypotheticals.

Let’s say the Padres get off to a bad start. I don’t mean just a terrible record (we’ve seen that), I’m talking shit body language and players openly questioning Bud’s leadership. Everybody loves Bud, so the latter may be a stretch*.

* It’s a hypothetical – let’s get crazy!

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One hazard of writing for a living is that people sometimes compliment (or criticize) articles you’d forgotten you ever wrote. Once you file something, it’s onto the next project. Always looking forward, never back.

This came up at Don and Charlie’s on the first night of the SABR Arizona Fall League conference, but it also applies to baseball. The second day brought with it two games, one back at HoHoKam and another at Salt River.

Teams rested their best players in preparation for the following evening’s All-Star Game, recently rebranded as the Fall Stars Game. That’s not what I would call it (seems better to catch a rising star than a falling star), but nobody asked me. The games were uneventful, allowing me to reconnect with industry friends that I see once or twice a year if I’m lucky. Read More…

When Andrew Cashner came to the Padres in a January 2012 trade that sent first baseman Anthony Rizzo to the Cubs, fans in San Diego were not amused. Rizzo, part of the haul for Adrián González, posted X-rated numbers in the hitters paradise known as Tucson and gave folks hope for a future brighter than anything Brad Hawpe or Jorge Cantú had to offer.

Rizzo struggled in his first big-league stint, facing better pitching in an unforgiving ballpark. The talent was obvious, as were the holes. People dreamed of vintage Ryan Howard rather than the more realistic Adam LaRoche.

At the time, I believed the Padres could get more than “just a reliever” for Rizzo. My belief may or may not have had any basis in reality. Same with my understanding of Cashner. When I saw him in spring training. I nearly did a quadruple take. Read More…

Before the season, I meant to write about three Padres pitchers that intrigued me in a way that virtually every other guy on the staff did not: Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner, and Anthony Bass. Each had shown bursts of promise, had been touted in the past, and was entering his physical prime.

They might be nothing, but unlike with Jason Marquis, Clayton Richard, and Eric Stults, at least there was a chance. That was the theory, anyway.

With the schedule nearly 80 percent complete, now might be a good time to actually write something. We’ll start with Ross. First, here’s an oversimplified look at his performance through August 21, 2013:

IP ERA+ WAR K%* OPS**
85.1 122 1.2 22.0 612

*K% is K/PA. Not all innings are created equal, so this is a little more precise than K/9. League average is 19.6. Higher is better.

**OPS is OBP+SLG compiled by batters against the pitcher. League average is 707. Lower is better.

Short version: When healthy, the 26-year-old right-hander has been very good. The usual small-sample caveats apply. Read More…

The late Mel Queen is best known these days as a pitching guru. In Toronto, Pat Hentgen and Roger Clemens won Cy Young Awards under his watch.

Queen also worked with a young right-hander who had a great arm but who didn’t know how to pitch. According to John Lott’s article in the December 17, 2009, Ottawa Citizen, Queen tweaked the hurler’s delivery and gave him some tough love:

There’s no one I made such drastic changes to and verbally abused the way I did Doc. There aren’t many people that would have gone through what I put him through. I had to make him understand that he was very unintelligent about baseball. He had no idea about the game.

“Doc” is Roy Halladay. He turned out to be pretty good.

Before Queen made his mark molding other arms, he was a pitcher himself (as was his father, Mel Queen Sr., before him). The right-hander out of San Luis Obispo went 14-8 with a 2.76 ERA in 1967, his first full season in the Reds rotation. Unfortunately Queen blew out his arm the next year and, despite enjoying marginal success out of the Angels bullpen in 1971, never was the same.

Queen first reached the big leagues as an outfielder but earned rave reviews from teammates who took batting practice against him. As he noted, “My fast ball would really move and the guys would talk about it. I can make it take off or sink depending on how I hold it.”

In 1963, when a six-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon cost $1.44 and you could fly from Los Angeles to San Diego on PSA for $6.35, the 21-year-old Queen still played the outfield. With the Padres that year he hit .260/.308/.472, and tied for fifth in the PCL with 25 homers, just ahead of future Minnesota Twins star Tony Oliva. Read More…

What originally started as an exploration into Edinson Volquez’s inability to tap his true potential, quickly devolved into dwelling about the state of the Padres’ rotation as Casey Kelly became the latest to succumb to ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction surgery. That stark realization led to dreading about the potential No. 1 starter, which came full circle when Volquez was named the Padres’ Opening Day starter yesterday. It’s a vicious shame spiral.

Not unlike the Padres’ list of Opening Day starters, Volquez is yet another name in a long line of middling Major League talent. But it wasn’t always that way.

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