May 25, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres relief pitcher Huston Street (16) throws during the ninth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
As anyone who took high school Spanish knows, “padres” means “fathers.” Well, this year’s Padres are taking the team name to heart. Three team members have added new babies to their families this year. Jedd Gyorko is the proud new papa of twins, Everth Cabrera sired a new baby girl, and old pro Dale Thayer added a fourth child to his brood. Fathers’ Day is going to have special significance in the clubhouse this year. But how have the new dads been performing since the births of their offspring?
Gyorko was hitting .150 before his sons arrived, and has hit .221 since, with 4 of his 5 HRs coming since becoming a father.
Cabrera was at .258 before his happy day, but is only hitting .207 since. However, he has hit all three of his homers and has driven in 7 runs in 53 AB after.
Thayer, who should be more used to this, is performing the worst of the three. Although the “little bambino” only arrived 11 days ago, he’s given up 3 runs on 6 hits in 5 innings after being pretty unhittable for the first six weeks of the season.
So, I’m using this small sample to determine that becoming a father 1) makes you hit around the Mendoza line, and 2) increases your power significantly. And having four kids just wears you out.
Do you miss Trevor Hoffman? Do you feel like the Padres closers since then have been, well, not Trevor? I miss the sound of Hell’s Bells blaring in the ballpark, too, but I have developed a great appreciation for Huston Street. We all know how good San Diego’s pitching has been this year, and we’re aware that the bullpen has been particularly good. But does Street get enough credit for his role?
Here’s a stat that might help. 28 of the 30 teams in baseball have blown at least 4 saves this year. The Red Sox have blown 3, and the Padres have blown just one. And that one wasn’t Street’s. He’s a perfect 15-for-15, including 9-for-9 in one-run games. SD’s 94% success rate in Save Opportunities is by far the best in baseball, with Boston and Atlanta at 80%, and only 6 other teams above 70%.
In 20 innings, Street has allowed a meager 10 hits for an opponent BA of .145. He’s allowed runs in only two of his 20 appearances and has an ERA of 1.35. His WHIP of 0.84 before last night’s game was ninth in all of baseball. (After the game, his WHIP was down to 0.80. Teammate Nick Vincent is one of the eight ahead of him, at 0.76.)
And since joining the team in 2012, he has saved 71 of 77 games, with an ERA of 2.18 and a WHIP of 0.88.
But even these impressive stats don’t tell the full story of Street. Anyone watching the postgame show a couple of Sundays ago and hearing Street talk about the inning in which he loaded the bases before retiring the side got a glimpse into the way a top-level pitcher thinks about the game.
Against Miami, Street had given up a leadoff single, then retired the next two hitters. He then walked Giancarlo Stanton and Casey McGehee on a total of nine pitches to load the bases in the 1-run game, putting much of the crowd on edge. After retiring weak-hitting John Baker to end the game and record the save, Street spoke to an interviewer who asked him about his “rough” inning. Street said something along the lines of: I can understand how it might have looked that way. But I simply made the decision to pitch around Stanton and McGehee to face the batter I wanted to face to get the final out.
That’s the guy I want closing for the Padres.
And now that he’s ditched Nas and Ted Nugent in favor of Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir for his entrance song, we can get back to banging our heads when our awesome closer enters the game.