Petco Park Opens
It is here. This is the day that we have all waited for (some not so patiently, I may add), the true opener at Petco Park. I went to the Aztec Invitational and the exhibition games with the Mariners, and it seems to get better every time I go. Enjoy it San Diego, the ballpark is here!
LHP David Wells (0-0, - ERA) and RHP Dustin Hermanson (0-0, - ERA)
When I think of David Wells, I usually think of the upper deck shot TGwynn hit off him in the 98 World Series. Of course that was completely negated by what should have been strike 3 to Tino Martinez, but I digress. Other than a brief period with the Reds, Wells has been in the American League his entire career. In fact, Barry Bonds has never faced him. Of course, we have heard it all about Wells in the off season…he is old, he has a bad back, and he is a bad influence. Yep, yep, and we’ll see. You have to give it to the guy, he knows how to win. No, he isn’t Kevin Brown, and the maintenance folks at Petco let out a collective sigh of relief. Do you think if we liquor him up he could throw the 1st Padres no-hitter? Just a thought.
Dustin Hermanson, former Padres’ 1st rounder, starting again. Stamina is not his strong suit; he could easily be out of the game by the 4th inning. While getting to the bullpen early would normally set up the series, that extra off day takes away that advantage. The key is to be patient. When starting, he routinely gives up a lot of walks and long balls. Giles, Payton, and Loretta all have solid lines against him.
RHP Brian Lawrence (1-0, 1.80) and LHP Kirk Reuter (0-0, 3.00)
I watched BLaw pitch on opening day, and the fact I don’t have any fingernails left proves it. Time and time again he pitched himself out of tight spots. Is he good or is he lucky? Probably a bit of both, but I don’t think my nerves can stand it. This is definitely one of those record and watch only when you know the outcome kind of games.
Kirk Reuter just bugs me. It isn’t because he looks like Woody from Toy Story (which he does), it is because he owns the Padres. Fans get excited because they see a guy throwing mid 80s gas and they figure the guys will eventually get to this guy, then you look up and it is the 6th inning and we still haven’t scored. In the last 3 seasons he is 4-0 when pitching against the Friars, with a 3.08 ERA. Sick.
RHP Jake Peavy (0-0, 3.38) and RHP Brett Tomko (0-0, 6.75)
Peavy looked tremendous in his 2004 debut. The thing I noticed is he induced a ton of ground balls. Last season he had more fly balls and gave up quite a few homeruns, if he can continue to reverse that trend you can see him enter into a different realm of pitching. A guy who will work deep into games and always keep it close, and he doesn’t turn 23 until the end of May.
If you just look at the record Tomko had last season (13-9), you think, “Not bad.” Then you look at the ERA of 5.29 and you think, “Gas can.” The truth is probably somewhere in between. When he is on, Tomko can be very effective with his low to mid 90s fastball, curve, slider, and change. When he isn’t, hide the women and children, because it will rain baseballs.
Hitters to Watch
Brian Giles, if for no other reason than he is due.
Barry Bonds because if he is true to form he will pass Willie Mays on the career home run list, and that isn’t something that you see everyday.
The Dog House
Ismael Valdez. It doesn’t matter how you spell it, he still is awful. Dishonorable mention goes to KT and Bochy for keeping this troll on the roster. When Eric Karros took a poke at this guy for being gutless, it wasn’t a good sign.
First round of drinks is on me in the Gaslamp. Find me if you want to collect; I’ll be on the 3rd base side.
Kim Lewis can be reached at email@example.com