MadFriars Blog April 12

Trevor Hoffman recorded his 394th career save and first of the year on Monday.

"I got three outs today," Hoffman joked.

It is no surprise really. Hoffman loves pitching in Wrigley Field. His 15 saves at Wrigley represent his highest total in an opposing ballpark outside the NL West.

Early on, we called Adam Eaton the key to the division. And that remains true. Eaton's success or failure will be tied to the team as a dog to his owner.

He has been a mystery for years – an enigma. Solving the riddle hasn't been easy and everything from Pilates to an extra bullpen session was in the works – but nothing worked.

It has been in his mind and once he figures out he is dominant from week to week he will exhibit those traits on the field with consistency. He was that way on Monday.

"He had everything working," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. "He just did a tremendous job."

Keep doing it Adam.

4/10/05
Xavier Nady is proving he is more than capable and who was that other guy they were waiting for?

"He has been swinging the bat well," manager Bruce Bochy understated.

"I hit it well, but you never know in this ballpark," Nady in vintage Klesko fashion.

Woody Williams was a little more at home in the confines of Petco. He allowed three runs over six innings and went 2-for-2 with an RBI at the plate.

Every regular reached base as the Friars pounded out 13 hits and drew eight walks.

Ex-mates, Oliver Perez and Jason Bay weren't too good on Saturday. Perez gave up five runs on six hits in four innings of work. Bay went 0-for-4 with an error.

"I'm just trying to do my best, but I was wild," Perez said.

4/9/05

After playing in the longest home opener in history, the Padres were hoping they were rested enough to pickup the increasingly heavy bats that are littered in the Petco dugout.

Hard to believe that Brian Lawrence entered the game tied for the 12th most wins in franchise history. Remember Craig Lefferts – well you just met the man he is tied with.

The Padres bullpen, up until Friday, has held all seven runners inherited from scoring, perhaps the most critical and undervalued statistic in the game. Let's face it, an ERA of 2.70 is great but if they can keep the starter from gaining an extra run per game on their record, they have truly done their job.

The Friars bullpen is also 12-of-13 in retiring the first batter faced. Another incredible stat for the bullpen – which may turn out to be the best in the league.

Think Rhino is done with talking about Petco? He homered with one out in the seventh inning – but odds are Whino will be back – and soon. The Padres offense is still up in the clouds of Mile High, just four hits peppered through on Friday.

4/8/05

A walk-off walk in the San Diego Padres home opener. Xavier Nady comes through again. Laying off four straight pitches with the bases loaded in the twelfth inning to give the Padres the only run of the game, a 1-0 victory.

Eric Young saved a double in the opening frame but had to leave the game with what was called a separated shoulder.

Jake Peavy was again slick. He struck out ten in the home opener, allowing four hits and two walks in 6.2 innings. The bullpen followed with 5.1 innings of scoreless work.

"We are going to win a lot of ballgames," Peavy commented after the game.

Let's hope they all aren't as tough as Thursday turned out to be. As great as the pitching was, and as happy as they are to be out of Colorado, the offense was stagnant at home – again.

The trend has been such for the Padres. No player on the team had more than one hit in the game. Colorado did wonders for the batting averages across the board but the output on Thursday doesn't appear full of promise.

4/7/05
Now that the San Diego Padres have shown they have an offense – at Coors Field – let's see if they can bring the bats back to Petco Park.

The Padres had a .480 on base percentage on Wednesday. Brian Giles appears to be ready for a great season. He already has eight RBI's after two games – driving in five on Wednesday. He also drew two walks, another great sign for the on base machine.

Ramon Hernandez walked three times – the first time he has ever walked that many times in one game.

Now the fun begins. Can the offensive onslaught sustain the trek down the hill and down to sea level?

Ryan Klesko had the day off so there is no whining excuse about the ballpark dimensions. He should be plenty rested to get those extra five feet and over the wall.

A slow start at the plate this weekend could linger through the year – and we are talking team-wide.

The crowd should be jamming this weekend with Jason Bay and Oliver Perez coming back to town – but more importantly is Jake Peavy on the hill. He is the catalyst the Padres need to take their game to the next level.

4/5/05
The season has begun and the San Diego Padres left a promising start in the clouds of Mile High.

Adding insult to injury, four Padres' minor leaguers were suspended, two of which were released by the team.

Trevor Hoffman was 41-for-45 in 2004 and his 393 saves ranks third on the all-time list, 85 behind leader Lee Smith.

His .8911 save percentage entering the year trailed only Eric Gagne's .9620 and John Smoltz' .9167 as the best in all of baseball.

So when he blew a save in the opening game on Monday against the Colorado Rockies, it was quite a shock.

"This is an important win, the first game out of the chute," Hoffman said. "We have to nail that one down. That part of it is frustrating."

And the Padres are in the hole 0-1.

At least the Friars have Xavier Nady. What took so long to figure it out?

MadFriars Farm Report:

Thirty-eight players were suspended for violating "Major League Baseball's Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program" against performance-enhancing substances (steroids and steroid precursors).

In total, 925 tests were conducted at the Minor League camps in Arizona during the 2005 Spring Training and includes one positive test from off-season testing. Random unannounced testing will continue to be conducted throughout the Minor League season.

Four members of the Padres organization were suspended and two have been released.

Right-hander Clay Hensley was let go after a superb spring, according to one Padre official. He was slated to begin the year in Portland.

Jacobo Meque, a left-hander signed recently, was released before making his debut in the system.

Kervin Jacobo, re-signed after being waived by Seattle, will miss 15 games after being suspended. He was slated to begin the year in Lake Elsinore.

Nate Sevier, a promising right-handed reliever slated for Mobile, was replaced on the roster by lefty Craig Breslow. He will miss 15 games while he serves his suspension.

4/4/05
The Padres open the season in Colorado, two days after the Rockies lost to their minor league affiliate, Colorado Springs. That has to be a sign, right?

The Friars were 9-10 versus the Rockies last year, going 6-3 at Coors and 3-7 at home. All-time, they trail the series 85-90, going 39-46 in Colorado.

But this is a different year, right? Colorado can't even beat their minor league affiliate. If the Padres lose, they are therefore not pennant worthy and worse than Colorado Springs - by rationale that only I can imagine.

Woody Williams will take the hill on Monday, marking the second time he has been the opening day starter for the Padres (2001). Irony indeed.

Williams is hoping to reverse the trend of Padres' openers. They are 16-20 to open the year, 7-12 on the road.

The right-hander, acquired via free agency, went 11-8 with a 4.18 ERA last year for St. Louis.

If the Padres are serious about pennant aspirations, they need everything Williams has and more.

Adam Eaton will get the nod in game two, after an off-day. He has faced the Rockies more times than any other opponent (18 starts). He went 1-4 against Colorado in 2004, allowing 28 runs in 29 innings of work.

A year older and a year wiser?

Eaton is the key to the season from a rotation standpoint. He has the talent of a 20-game winner and it would be nice to see him blossom this year.

4/2/05
It wasn't even fair. Lake Elsinore vs San Diego. The Storm vs the Padres. In another city, they were saying the same thing. Colorado Springs vs. Colorado. While the Friars dispatched the Storm 15-4, Colorado Springs beat the Rockies 5-1.

Bring on the opener! And we aren't talking about cans either - unless it is a cold one.

On Saturday, five Padres hitters had two or more hits with Sean Burroughs pacing the club with four. Mark Sweeney and Brian Giles were perfect on the day, 3-for-3 apiece.

The Storm players, meanwhile, had their moments.

Peeter Ramos, Steve Baker and Fernando Valenzuela Jr. each had two hits and the team left 12 men on base.

Superstar in the making, George Kottaras, homered in the fourth inning off Jake Peavy and Brett Bonvechio also homered off Peavy.

Keep an eye on California native Leo Rosales. He was the only pitcher not to allow a baserunner to the parent club.

Edgar Huerta, however, allowed four runs in one-third of an inning.

It is good to see Javier Martinez back on the mound. He is one of the more talented prospects in the system that you may have forgotten about. He missed all of 2004 due to injury.

4/2/05
It was a surprise to see Clark Girardeau on the Fort Wayne roster. It seemed a certainty that he would begin the year in LE. He should be back with the Storm soon enough.

Fabian Jimenez has loads of talent and is still only 18 years old. Seeing on the Fort Wayne roster will be a challenge and the Padres believe he can excel at it. He struggled some last year but the front office is very high on him.

The outfield in Fort Wayne may be one of the best defensive outfields assembled. Ruben Mora and Yordany Ramirez sport the top two outfield arms in the system.

Edgar Huerta was supposed to be challenging for a bullpen spot in San Diego. Health problems shelved him several times last year and the closest he will be to San Diego is Lake Elsinore.

Wilmer Villatoro got caught in a numbers crunch it appears. The Mobile bullpen is looking stellar and Villatoro will be with the Storm again after a dominating 2004. A definite surprise.

No surprise, but Kervin Jacobo is back. The Mariners tried to convert him to a pitcher but it appears he will be heading to third base. The one issueis Brett Bonvechio plays third as well - so that poses a problem.

R.D. Spiehs isn't happy. That is what I think. He had a great year in Mobile and is back in Double-A this year. He will anchor one of the best bullpens the Padres' minors has ever assembled.

The Mobile team should have plenty of power, but little speed. They have four players that could hit 20 homers or more.

4/1/05
Like the dirt that Adam Hyzdu is munching on in this day's story picture, we have again been fed talk without substance.

Johnson batted .400 in his time with the Friars this spring. He was annointed as an up and comer but he will be in Portland to begin the year, clearing the way for Hyzdu, a 33-year old righty with 190 career games and a .233 career average.

Exciting.

At least Darrell May showed some backbone with a great outing - but too little, too late and into the bullpen he goes. Outside of Hoffman, Linebrink, Otsuka and Seanez, here is to hoping no one else gets the ball.

The spring was a success. Kevin Towers says so:

"It's one of the better springs we've had. Knock on wood - we haven't had any really major injuries, just more minor things, and that's good."

Actually, after two losing springs in 2003 and 2004, the Padres are back on the winning side, going 17-14 this spring.

See you in Lake Elsinore!

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