You hear a lot about things on paper.
On paper the Dodgers the Dodgers have a payroll of $235M to the Padres modest $90M.
On paper Andrew Cashner should be the Padres ace, based on how he did last season. On paper Seth Smith should hit righties well, and in fact better than other hitters the Padres had last year, with apologies to Mark Kotsay.
Yet it was between the box score and the paper that the victory truly surfaced. Early on, we weren’t so sure. The Padres loaded the bases with one out in the first inning, and up came a man with high expectations in Yonder Alonso. On paper set to be one of the top RBI men this season. Double play, inning over.
Andrew Cashner pitched a great game, but left trailing 1-0, leaving the rally to the Dodgers bullpen which picked up this off-season a couple former closers in Chris Perez and Brian Wilson and his Beard(2 roster spots).
Yet Andrew Cashner already to this point truly had pitched like an ace. Even though in some light Ryu’s numbers were better, anyone watching the game could see that Cashner was in control and lights out. Chris Denorfia made a couple outstanding catches in right field, even crashing into the fence. Young Tommy Medica, on paper a first baseman but playing left field, also proved himself on a couple of nice catches.
So now the rub. Bottom of the 8th, down by 1, and up comes pinch hitter Seth Smith against Brian Wilson. Smacks a home run. The crowd goes crazy – in real life. Three batters later the Padres fake a bunt – making Juan Uribe crash in but the shortstop doesn’t cover third, allowing catcher Yasmani Grandal to steal 3rd! His first steal ever! The sabermetricians certainly didn’t see that one happening!
Huston Street came in for the ninth, after the Chris Denorfia liner up the middle to score two and send the crowd into a “Beat LA” frenzy wrapped up the 8th inning. Street wrapped it up with the efficiency of what should be normal, but not always seen by Padres fans post-Trevor. After all, he does lead NL Closers in Save Percentage the last three years.
And so, on paper at least, the Padres have a perfect record so far this season. Why, on paper they beat the best team in baseball this season – the undefeated 2-0 Dodgers! The rest of the season is a long one, still 161 games to go. Yet, if the rest of the year goes like Sunday night, this season just might surprise some. On paper, I like my odds.
The two teams meet again Tuesday afternoon at 3:40pm for the Padres Official Opening Day!