Padres all are smiles as they beat LA at Dodger Stadium for Jackie Robinson day. By all accounts and measures, the game was clean and respectful with Carlos Quentin serving his 8 game suspension and the Padres playing a man down. It was almost like the movies with the LA stars and celebrities in place, including Harrison Ford throwing out the first pitch.
The Padres haven’t had a lot to feel good about from the start of the season, but it seems to me that there is still a feeling of resiliency in the air. The Padres are fighters. See Carlos Quentin, heh. Pardon my choice of words for the sake of humor, but the Padres are definitely fighting and battling right now. And not to add that much more to the Quentin side story, but I will say in my eyes he’s a hero. Intimidation and respect play into baseball, and probably that’s what a lot of the confrontation really boiled down too, including what transpired on Zack Greinke‘s end. Say what you will about Carlos, but I doubt he carried any intent in his heart to injure anyone, that’s why he went in for a tackle and not with fists. Tackle and wrestle. It is unfortunate that Quentin is also a man beast and that his tackle crushed and injured Greinke. I used to tackle my little brother and punch him on the back myself when I wanted to inflict punishment on him without actually hurting him. Baseball also has this strange order of double speak. For all the publicly shaming and disowning of Carlos Quentin that the media or teams have said about Carlos, there is the same double speak that loves him. He has single handily generated more CPM than any early season story. Probably more than the Yu Darvish almost perfect game.
Anyways, back to baseball, I felt with all the extra attention generated and all the adversity that the Padres had faced early, that for this day, they had a good game. A few breaks went in their direction for once as well. The end result was a win that was a summation of numerous smaller events and moves that were made. To highlight a few, in the 1st inning, I liked that Eric Stults did not crumble or falter after falling into a bases loaded scenario. He showed composure and fought back to strike out Andre Ethier to set the tone early. In the top of the 7th, Chris Denorfia comes in to pinch hit with the bases loaded and drops quickly to an 0-2 count. He does not panic and battles back, fouling off pitches to stay alive and ends up earning a ribbie with a bases loaded walk. Excellent! In the bottom of the 7th, Brad Brach and John Baker had a great sequence to strike out Matt Kemp. On an 0-2 pitch, Brach loses a borderline call for a ball. On the very next play, Brach throws the same exact pitch back to the same location for a called third strike. Great experience in the call by Baker. In the 8th, Luke Gregerson falls into a hole with 2 runners in scoring position. He fields a comebacker and is able to freeze AJ Ellis at third with a quick look and combines with Yonder Alonso and John Baker to earn the double play, saving the run at home. In the 9th, again we have Chris Denorfia executing the hit and run with Everth Cabrera on first on a 3-1 count, putting the Padres in a position to have runners on the corners with less than 2 outs. Great management by Buddy Black, putting the right moves into play.
It was very refreshing to see that the fight and the resiliency for the Padres, especially in a big game. Let’s hope the Padres can carry this forward, and with Chase coming back soon, we will have help. Let’s hope we can still turn this ship around. Go Padres.