Joe Torre looks bored.
Hiroki Kuroda‘s line of three earned runs over six innings would seem fine enough – it’s technically a “quality start” – and he was actually better than that, bringing a shutout into the 6th inning and retiring 10 in a row at one point. The Padres’ rally in the 6th was started on a mere infield single by Tony Gwynn Jr., a ball on which 95% of major leaguers wouldn’t have beat out. In the 7th, Kuroda allowed just a single to Scott Hairston before being pulled and seeing Jeff Weaver allow a double to add that run onto Kuroda’s record.
Once again, the starting pitching was more than good enough to win, and once again the offense, defense, and bullpen were subpar. Taking the last first, Weaver allowed a single and a double while not getting an out, Travis Schlichting allowed four runners and two runs in his inning of work, and Jack Taschner… well, I still can’t figure out what the hell he’s here for. He entered the game having not retired any of his first three batters in two games as Dodger, and promptly walked his first two tonight. He finally got his first out on his sixth batter, but even that was on a well-hit ball that happened to be directly at Matt Kemp. You’re going to have to make at least one roster move in the next few days (when Scott Podsednik arrives) and probably a second as well (if John Ely comes up to start), and there’s just no way that Taschner should remain – getting rid of him is perhaps even more vital than getting rid of Garret Anderson. In fact, the only reliever who got the job done was George Sherrill, of all people, which should tell you a lot.
Of course, the real story once again is that the offense was nowhere to be found, and while I know the Padres have quite the pitching staff, watching 19 men in a row be retired to end the game isn’t acceptable. Rafael Furcal, Andre Ethier, Casey Blake, James Loney, and Russell Martin combined to go 0-for-16 (though Furcal drew a walk), and if that’s going to happen, you can make all the trades for mediocre 4th outfielders you want and it’s not going to change a goddamn thing. The guys who are here, right now, have to start hitting. You hope Manny comes back healthy, and you hope he gets hot at the right time, but it certainly can’t be just him.If Ethier doesn’t start to look something like he did at the beginning of the year, if Blake doesn’t stop resembling a bearded corpse, if Martin can’t stop looking like the new Jason Kendall… well, then none of the rest of it really matters, does it?
On Podsednik: my earlier post, as you probably saw, was filed from the upper deck at CitiField, so it was very much a stream-of-consciousness response. After some thought, I’ve tempered my response a bit – “horrendous” was probably a bit much. Lucas May’s defense was probably never going to allow him to be a fulltime catcher, and Pimentel, while intriguing, was far from a top prospect.
Still, without May the catching depth is atrocious. After A.J. Ellis, you’re looking at… well Tony Delmonico would be next, but he broke his wrist recently, and anyone else worth mentioning is at least three years away. And while I do think that Podsednik is a nice complimentary piece for this team due to their current situation, it’s still hard for me to be all that thrilled about giving up potentially useful players for a guy who’s not an impact player and has been released twice in the last three years.
That being the case, Podsednik does come in on a nice hot streak, having hit in 23 of his last 24 games, so there’s the chance that he’ll be able to give the team a jump start. Really, we’ll see what how much value the trade really brings to the roster at about lunchtime tomorrow. If it’s Anderson being shipped out, then it’s a big win. If it’s Xavier Paul (who, even though he hasn’t been great, is miles better than Anderson), then the excitement is tempered a bit.