Sweep, then Dodgers!!
After losing the series to Atlanta, we went into Pittsburgh, which was a really good move by the schedule makers. We needed to get back on track, and we did this weekend with a sweep of the Pirates.
Kevin Correia started the game on Friday, which was sweet. We got four runs in the top of the second, a great team effort. K-Cor allowed three runs, but it wasn’t a problem. Our pitching was super solid, so we won the game 5-3. Ernesto Frieri, Luke Gregerson, and Heath Bell threw three scoreless hittless innings. Amazing!
The second game was REALLY great because Mat Latos was back. He was put on the DL right before the All-Star game because of a side strain of some sort, but it was more of a roster move than a serious injury. It was really good to have him back! I love this guy He went six innings, allowing two runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts. The two runs were actually solo home runs, which did break a pretty long streak of Mat’s without home runs, but that’s okay. It’s not the end of the world. Great outing by Mat.
Now the question is, how much longer can he pitch? The Padres really want to conserve his innings so that he doesn’t burn out to quickly. We want this guy to be our ace for a long time. But at the same time, we might be making a playoff run pretty soon. Do we let him keep pitching until then, or do we hold him back and wait until we really need him? I think if I were the Padres, I would let him keep pitching every fifth day, but give him an inning or pitch count limit. If he only went say, five innings every start, he could still stay sharp pitching-wise while saving some for later at the same time. I don’t think we can just shut him down and then start him up again when we go into the stretch. Anyways, it will be very interesting to see how the Padres deal with this.
‘Cause if you think about it, I want this guy when we’re in the playoffs. It’s definitely not like he’s the only starter who can actually pitch, but I like our chances when he’s out on the mound. Guys like Kevin Correia, Jon Garland, and Wade LeBlanc are doing their jobs very well, but having Mat is a huge bonus. If we’re going to win the NL West, I want Mat Latos on that roster. Make it happen, Padres.
The offense in that second game was great. We got nine runs, but they were all scored on singles, doubles, ground outs, or sac-flies. No big blast here. Adrian Gonzalez and Chase Headley each had two hits. Will Venable was walked twice and scored twice. Everth Cabrera and Oscar Salazar each drove in two runs.
We had a 42-minute rain delay. It was kind of funny because it was in the top of the eighth and we had the bases loaded with no outs. Talk about a threat. We ended up scoring five runs that inning.
We won the game 9-2, which was great. Especially after the Braves series, it was good to get the next series won right away.
The third game was great too. Wade LeBlanc started, going six innings, allowing three runs on eight hits. He didn’t walk any, though, and got two strikeouts.
The Pirates got two runs in the bottom of the second on a Ronny Cedeno home run. But in the top of the third, we struck back.
After Everth Cabrera lined out, Wade LeBlanc and Jerry Hairston Jr. singled. Chris Denorfia, who I’ll talk about later, doubled to drive them both in. Tie game. Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run homer, his 21st of the year. An out later, Yorvit Torrealba walked, stole second while Will Venable was batting, and scored on Will’s single. 5-2 Padres.
The Pirates got another run, but then we got another run. Chris Denorfia home run. That was all we needed. The offense, paired with amazing relief performances by Ryan Webb, Luke Gregerson, and Heath Bell, was enough for the sweep. Heath Bell got his 29th save of the year.
One thing I’ve really noticed this year is that our starting pitchers are not that bad with the bats. Kevin Correia drove in a run the other night, and Wade LeBlanc had two hits yesterday.
Kevin Correia: Four hits, three RBIs, four runs scored.
Jon Garland: Seven hits, one RBI, three runs scored.
Mat Latos: Six hits (including two doubles and a home run), three RBIs, three runs scored.
Wade LeBlanc: Nine hits, zero RBI, one run scored.
Clayton Richard: Six hits, five RBIs, three runs scored.
I don’t know about you, but these numbers really surprised me. I realized that they had done quite a bit of hitting, but I didn’t realize that it was this much. Amazing. Wow.
Now, Chris Denorfia. This guy has been seriously overlooked. I haven’t heard that much about him at all, but he’s been absolutely amazing for us this year. He’s hitting .287 with 39 hits and 23 RBIs. He’s contributed so much. I don’t think we would be here without him. Whoever decided to invite this guy to Spring Training is a genius.
Now we are coming home to face the Dodgers for three huge games. We’re actually playing them seven times in two weeks, which is going to be crazy. Never mind that the Dodgers are six games behind us. It’s the Dodgers. Petco Park is going to be crazy for the next three days.
Even though the Dodgers are like a million games behind us, I think this series is very essential. It’s not like they’re right on our heels and it’s a do-or-die series, but we’ve still gotta beat these guys. They’re our biggest rivals, and we need to beat the teams in our division. I don’t know if we’ll be able to sweep them, but two out of three sounds good. We need it.
GO FIRST-PLACE PADRES!!