Series 6-Pack: Wild Wild West


With their first series loss finally out of the way, the Phillies hope to bring their corpse of an offense back to life by traveling three time zones to the left.  Nothing solves a problem like “We’re frustratingly sucky at baseball right now” or “No, I have no intention of paying these student loans” like a road trip to America’s trendier half, the west coast.

Hopefully, the equally offensively barren Padres will be easy pickin’s for the Phils.  Ernie Padaon of Padres blog Chicken Friars is here to tell us whether or not that sentiment is correct.  This introduction may not be indicative of what he actually says, however, because I’m writing it prior to actually getting his responses.

1.  After a brief glimpse of Major League Baseball, Cedric Hunter seems to be salivating for a return.  Like a bear trying human flesh for the first time, its seems mere Triple-A ball will no longer satisfy his terrible hunger.  The question is, are the Padres just as interested in his return?  Or is his childlike sense of wonder destined to be crushed under the big club’s boot?

With the big league club failing to even make contact with the ball and both Will Venable and Ryan Ludwick leading the team in futility, the club is keeping a close eye down on the farm to see how they are performing. He currently is getting overshadowed by 1B Anthony Rizzo though who is just tearing the cover off the ball.

2.  What is with the hideous color pairings of Padres uniforms in the ’70s?  Just curious.  Its just, you can barely look at them.

Are you saying that you don’t like the BROWN!?!? We have a whole group of fans that love the pairing and are trying to bring it back ( I think it makes the team stand out from the rest of the league and would love to see us bring it back!

3.  Gaslamp Ball recently categorized the different breeds of Padres’ fan confidence.  Which do you feel is most healthy of their options:

  • Treat Confidence like you should be treating your Netflix Queue (Only watch when you like what you see)
  • Go ahead and BE EXTREME (in the day-to-day)
  • Just always be extreme in one direction, never changing your opinion

I would pick the third one, but I’m a guy who refuses to ask for directions, even if he’s driving the wrong way on a one-way street.

The most healthy option would be to treat confidence like you should be treating your Netflix queue. The Padres can be difficult to watch and a lot of fans are pulling their hair out just hoping that we can get one hit with runners in scoring position.

4. So if I’m reading the schedule right, you guys are playing a true double-header at Wrigley before flying back to San Diego to play us.  Judging by how lifeless the Phillies looked last night, could this be a collision of two currently drained teams?  If so, will it be some of the most uninteresting baseball to be played yet this season?

Welcome to Padres baseball. This is the way we play and you may see a scoreless tie going into inning number 12. PLUS you get the PETCO effect and that will add to the struggling hitters. Whoever makes less errors will win the game.

5.  The Padres’ double-A affiliate San Antonio Missions scored an average of almost ten runs a game in their first nine games.  Now they’ve scored four in the last three.  What is this?  Is this news?  And does an offensively fertile farm system resonate at all with the big club, given that they’ve already been shut out four times in this young season?

You definitely are keeping a good eye down on the farm. That Missions team will hit. There are some really good bats down on the farm with Jaff Decker and Cory Decker. They just hit a little rut, they will put up another 10 runs soon.

6.  Is the offense a long term concern, or does playing in the NL West, a division the Giants won last year by trickling out a run or two every nine innings, equalize the pressure to explode with the bats?  Also, how much do you hate the Giants?  I can’t stand them.

Offense is becoming a long-term concern. We traded away Adrain Gonzalez in the off-season and nobody has been able to get a hit with runners in scoring position. We didnt know that Adraian was the only guy that was doing that for us. Hopefully we have someone in each game that can drive in a run or 2. Fans are already calling for Rizzo to be called up to help out the offense.

And, I can’t stand those stupid Gnats!!! Now their fans just won’t shut their mouths. Just ask Mat Latos how much he hates SF.

1. Who is HOT and NOT right now?

What is this?  What’s happening?  Just a second ago we were being congratulated for having an offense that was capable of getting a man from second base to home with less than two outs with stunning regularity.  Now the basepaths are desolate wastelands, with the whispers of 2007-08 their only inhabitants.  I guess we should have listened when people said our hot start was unsustainable.  We didn’t, though.  We merely watched the runs pour in, laughing like maniacs, and assuming it was the standard.

Now look at us.  Letting Doc lose out there.  To the Brewers. It’s barely watchable.

So to answer your question, Charlie’s pretty hot right.  Hot under the collar.  For his team to start hitting.  I’ve never heard a manager talk to the press about how much his team sucks at hitting in the middle of the season before, so it can’t be too great a sign that exactly that has happened.

Who is not hot is everybody in the lineup not named “Placido Polanco.”  Shane Victorino has started swinging one-handed.  Raul Ibanez seems to invested most of his assets in pop-ups.  Jimmy Rollins has been making great contact, but there always seems to be a fielder standing there, ready to make the play.  And Ryan Howard… will strike out a lot.  Last night marked the first extra base hit we’d seen in like 20 innings or some insane statistic.  And we lost 9-0.  So.

2. Tell San Diego fans a little bit about OF Ben Francisco.

Ben Francisco tumbled into Philadelphia as the extra napkin in our original Cliff Lee Special we picked up from Cleveland in 2009.  When Cliff left, he stayed, and with all of the outfielder roles taken, he dwelled on the bench for awhile, not getting his chance.  Then Jayson Werth made the regrettable decision to sign with the Nationals for tons of money and management decided to make Ben, Domonic Brown, and John Mayberry dance for the position.

Dom got hurt, Mayberry showed some guts, but Ben eventually won the job by ripping Spring Training in half like a phone book.  He’s got the will and the skill, but he pops out a lot.  At least no one’s relying on him to be Jayson Werth, then he’d be a total disappointment.

3. How has Jimmy Rollins looked this season after returning from his injury?

On Opening Day, Jimmy was bouncing out of the dug out like a little kid, hopping up and down, and generally having the time of his life.  The walkoff ninth inning brought such life to his face.  I’ve been very happy with Jimmy this season thus far; you can tell he wants to be out there, and maybe its just because this is a contract year, but still.  He gets pissed when he messes up.  He gets giddy when he does well.  He’s stirring up trouble on the base paths whenever he can.  He is the Jimmy we missed last year.

That said, this team is so fused together, they tend to slump collectively, like a tire fire burning in unison.  Right now they’re doing that.  Its ugly.  Hopefully we can use you guys as a catalyst for change by beating the crap out of you.