Ever wonder what the opening day lineup might look like? Well, this will be close:
Wed #Padres: Jankowski (L) CF, Spangenberg (L) 2B, Myers 1B, Schimpf (L) 3B, Renfroe RF, Hedges C, Blash LF, Aybar (S) SS, Chacin RHP.— Bill Center (@PadresCentral) March 29, 2017
Speed, speed, speed/thump, thump, SWOON, thump, Aybar, pitcher. I mostly like this line up a lot.
Wil Myers is ready for spring training to be over. He demonstrated this with a two-run homer to center in the first frame to get the Padres off on the right foot. Well, for him it was his left foot, since he plants with his... never mind. Anyway, he knocked Travis Jankowski in, who is having a nice spring in his own right, but Wil Myers looks like he’s ready to take a shot at that 40/40 goal he’s set for himself this year.
Jhoulys Chacin has been announced as the Opening Day starter, and let’s hope that his next start is better than this one. He gave up a solo shot to Tyler Saladino and a three-run shot to Jose Abreu before escaping the first inning. Yuck. Let’s hope he’s getting this out of his system now. We don’t need to see this again soon. White Sox led after one frame, 4-2.
Speaking of SWOON, all-age heartthrob Austin Hedges connected with a solo homer in the second and all the ladies in the first three rows fainted. Perhaps a swoon came over Chacin as well, as he settled down and logged a scoreless second... then the swoon wore off and he gave up another homer in the third, this time of the two-run variety. Look, we know that Jered Weaver will probably serve up a ton of longballs this year. Can we limit it to one homer-prone starter per year? I mean, we just got done with a year and a half of James Shields, isn’t that enough? Ugh.
Well it’s a good thing that Austin Hedges was coming up again in the top of the fourth because HE HOMERED AGAIN! This time, his buddies Ryan Schimpf and Hunter Renfroe were on base and all the ladies in the first ten rows fainted. Apparently all this swoonage was felt by Erick Aybar, because he followed up with a solo dinger of his own. Allen Cordoba pinch-hit for Chacin, and looked up at the board to see that his catcher had inspired the offense to outpace the homers that he had allowed, placing the Padres in the lead 7-6. Just for good measure, Cordoba singled and later scored on a fielding error to set the tally at 8-6, Padres, through 4-1/2 innings of play. Chacin’s final line of three innings pitched with six earned runs through three homers isn’t pretty, but here’s hoping that this funk stays in Phoenix.
A steady stream of relievers (Miguel Diaz, Craig Stammen, Jose Torres) shut the White Sox down for the next three innings. The Padres scored a ninth run in the seventh inning when Luis Torrens knocked minor leaguer Ty France in to score. Torrens gave that run back during the bottom of the seventh, letting a passed ball go. Barry Enright was charged with the earned run. In the bottom of the eighth he’d surrender two more in a home run to Jake Peter to tie the game at 9 per side. He was able to get through the inning, bringing his spring training ERA to 18.90, making Kevin Quackenbush look like 1998 Kevin Brown.
- Side note: Kevin Brown was third in Cy Young voting in 1998, behind his teammate Trevor Hoffman and winner Tom Glavine. Brown made more starts and pitched more innings, had more shutouts and strikeouts, issued less walks and gave up less home runs, had a better ERA and a better WHIP. The only statistical category where Glavine was better was in wins, which has become known to be a much more arbitrary metric for measuring pitcher performance. Kevin Brown was worth 8.6 bWAR versus Glavine’s 6.1. /rant over
The game entered the final frame tied 9-9. Padres first baseman Ty France walked on four pitches and was lifted for pinch runner Aldemar Burgos, who stole second base. Boomer White reached base on a fielding error, the Sox’s second of the game. Unfortunately, they were stranded and the game went to the bottom of the ninth still tied. 35-year-old Hung Chih Kuo took the mound for the Padres. He’s trying to make it back to the MLB after disappearing off the US baseball radar since 2011. Today was his second appearance of the spring, and while he allowed a couple of baserunners, he kept his ERA clean with a scoreless inning.
Apparently winning or losing wasn’t the most important thing to managers Andy Green and Robin Ventura, as the two managers agreed to end the game with a tie at the end of regulation. Then everybody hugged and they all went and got ice cream or something like that. In the end, what mattered most wasn’t whether they won or lost, it was how they played the game.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Is there any question? We’re all hoping that Austin Hedges’ bat will approach his glove. With a towering shot the opposite way and a long bomb to left-center, Austin Hedges may have helped with this game for the Padres, but he already won our hearts. Hedges’ final line: 3-for-3, four RBI’s, two runs scored on two home runs, and a flock of groupies (male and female) swooning after him.
Tune in tomorrow as Clayton Richard takes the hill for the Padres’ final Cactus League game against the Rockies. First pitch is scheduled for 12:10 PDT. Let’s go Padres!