Tag:Brad Hawpe
Posted on: April 29, 2011 1:43 pm
 

Short Hops: Yanks, Zo-rilla, Padres zeroes & more

-- The Yankees are doing exactly what they need to do in the first few weeks of the season, and that's take advantage of home cooking. They opened with 11 of 14 games at home, and through May 1, they play 18 of their first 25 games at home. So far, they're 10-5 at home, and they've got a chance to continue to pad their home record while they play 46 of their first 79 games at Yankee Stadium. The flip side, and the reason it is important for Joe Girardi's club to build up as much collateral at home as possible: From Aug 1 through season's end, the Yankees are home just 20 times (nine home games in August and 11 in September).

-- Zo-Rilla is back: Tampa Bay's Ben Zobrist has crushed four homers in his past five games, including one each in Thursday's day-night doubleheader in Minnesota. He had a monster doubleheader, collecting 10 RBI, giving him 18 over his last five games and 25 for the season. Impressive, yes, but his best moment might have come right after the game when he quipped to reporters, "This must be what it's like to feel like Sam Fuld."

-- Tampa Bay is 13-3 since April 10 which, yes, is the best record in the majors since that date.

-- Kansas City was the last team in the majors to lose a series this season, and now look at the Royals: six losses in a row. The Yankees were the last team in the majors to lose consecutive games, to the White Sox on Monday and Tuesday.

-- Seattle's historically bad offense last summer looks positively Ruthian compared to what the Padres are doing (or, rather, NOT doing) so far this season. San Diego's Adrian Gonzalez-less lineup has been shut out seven times in the month of April. That, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, is a major-league record. When the Padres score just ONE run, they're 9-9.

-- Yes, it's a different deal this year for the Padres from their 90-win team of a year ago. Ryan Ludwick (.202, four homers, 11 RBI), Brad Hawpe (.143, 23 strikeouts in 63 at-bats), Orlando Hudson (.238, .300 on-base percentage) and Jason Bartlett (.231) have gotten off to miserably slow starts, and there are growing questions regarding whether cavernous Petco Park is defeating hitters mentally. That was one key to last year's group -- which included David Eckstein, the Hairston brothers, Jerry Jr. and Scott, and Tony Gwynn Jr. -- the bottom line was winning, and there was no griping about Petco. "You've got to be mentally tough to get through some things," Padres manager Bud Black says. "That's part of being a total player, part of being a total, major league professional player. It works the same way if you're a pitcher in a small park. It works the same way for pitchers in Cincinnati, Philadelphia and Houston."

-- The Dodgers' Andre Ethier takes a 24-game hitting streak into this weekend's series with San Diego, but it could be in jeopardy Friday night. Ethier lifetime is hitting .077 (1 for 13) against Padres starter Clayton Richard.

Likes: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen saying the other day he has his closer -- outfielder Brent Lillibridge -- following Lillibridge's great, diving catches in Yankee Stadium. ...  Andre Ethier's hitting streak at 24 games. ... The way Brandon Phillips always refers to the "Redlegs", not the "Reds", in his tweets (@DatDudeBP). ... Great casting on Hawii Five-O. Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan (son of James) are really good together. ... First listen reaction to Steve Earle's new disc I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive: Outstanding. The disc might even be better than the title.

Dislikes: If you see me at Fast Five, please come up and say hello. Maybe that would then distract me from my next move: Jumping off of a bridge. Man, summer movie season stinks.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Now listen youngster, be on your way
"Don't bother me til a later day
"I like my men like I like my whiskey
"Mmm, aged and mellow"

-- Little Esther, Aged and Mellow Blues

 

Posted on: April 25, 2011 6:43 pm
Edited on: April 25, 2011 9:04 pm
 

Runs down, drought on out West

Major league clubs are scoring the fewest runs per game since 1992, and the drought out west is particularly to blame.

The Angels were shut out Saturday and Sunday by Boston and take a 19-inning scoreless streak into Monday night's series opener against Oakland. No wonder Vernon Wells and Torii Hunter were among those taking early batting practice in Anaheim at 3 Monday afternoon.

The Athletics were shut out in back-to-back games last Thursday and Friday by the Mariners and rank 10th in the American League in runs scored.

The Mariners rank 12th after, in 2010, scoring the fewest runs during a season (513) of any team in the designated-hitter era (since 1972).

Over in the NL, the Padres were shut out in back-to-back games last Thursday and Friday by the Phillies and have scored the fewest runs in the league. If you want to know how feeble to Padres' sticks are, just check in with tonight's starter, Dustin Moseley: The Padres have not scored one single run during the 25 2/3 innings Moseley has been on the mound this season. He's 0-3 with a 1.40 ERA.

The Padres hitters' 186 strikeouts is the most in the majors. Already in games in 2011, the Phillies' Roy Halladay has fanned 14 Padres and the Giants' Tim Lincecum 13. Brad Hawpe has whiffed 22 times in 51 at-bats.

As for the Angels and Athletics, who are set to open a three-game series in Anaheim tonight, the Angels, having been shut out in each of their past two games, have only been blanked three times in a row once in club history. That happened in June, 1978. They've never been shut out three in a row at home.

"Right now, particularly guys we've been counting on to hit in the middle of the lineup, guys are struggling," Angels manager Mike Scioscia says. "We have a  few 3 for 30s -- Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter, Vernon Wells, Howie Kendrick ... we've got a pretty strong grouping in the middle that has been struggling for probably the last 10 games collectively.

"If it's just one or two guys, you can rotate them around and get better groupings. But that's not really an option for us right now. We just have to let guys who have hit their whole career hit."

As for the A's, they were blanked for 20 consecutive innings before breaking through against Seattle on Saturday and Sunday with 9-1 and 5-2 victories.

Manager Bob Geren pretty much describes the same scenario Scioscia describes with his Angels.

"Collectively, we had nine guys struggling at once," Geren says. "We have three or four guys really coming out of it now, and some others are feeling better.

"There's definitely a lot better feeling each inning now."

The Athletics were 15th in the AL in runs scored on Saturday morning and still have scored the fifth-fewest total in the AL (80). Their 10 homers are the second-fewest in the majors.

Likes: Phillies manager Charlie Manuel's current deal taking him through the age of 69. After that? "We'll see," Manuel says. ... The Mets' new custom of periodically having players make phone calls to fans, as explained here by our Evan Brunell in Morning Pepper. ... The return of Treme to HBO on Easter evening. ... Great job, Toyota, bringing back the J.Geils Band -- or, at least their music, in the ad featuring the song Just Can't Wait. ... The new disc due from Emmylou Harris, whose voice is one of this country's great natural resources.

Dislikes: Jose Contreras to the DL. Just when he was in the process of reinventing himself yet again. What a job he's done as a closer. Though for you pitch count aficionados, there's this: Contreras was DL'd after throwing 81 pitches over a five-day span. And the Phils allowed Cole Hamels to throw 126 pitches on Friday and Roy Halladay to throw 130 on Sunday. It was, though, only against the Padres. So it wasn't like every pitch was taxing.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"To workers I'm just another drone
"To Ma Bell I'm just another phone
"I'm just another statistic on a sheet
"To teachers I'm just another child
"To IRS I'm just another file
"I'm just another consensus on the street
"Gonna cruise out of this city
"Head down to the sea
"Gonna shout out at the ocean
"Hey it's me"

-- Bob Seger, Feel Like a Number

 

Posted on: March 16, 2011 11:22 pm
 

Stuff my editors whacked from the column

PEORIA -- Outtakes from time spent hanging out with San Diego (the Padres, not the Chicken). ...

-- New center fielder Cameron Maybin breezed through an early gaffe: He tweeted at the beginning of camp that he had become ill after eating at Panda Express.

Innocent mistake. No, not eating at Panda Express, but tweeting about getting sick afterward. What he didn't know was that one of the Padres' minority owners also owns that fast-food chain.

Whoops.

He subsequently cleared that up on Twitter, and now it's a funny story. Not long afterward, the owner sent him a $100 gift certificate to Panda Express.

-- Ace Mat Latos is helping Maybin break in a second outfielder's glove this spring. Maybin has his gamer, but he -- and others -- always have a second glove he's breaking in. Latos' job: He's using Maybin's "future" gamer to shag balls during batting practice.

"Me and him chat in center field a lot, and whenever there's batting practice I'll get out there and use his glove," Latos says. "You've gotta help your outfielders. You think back to what Will Venable and Tony Gwynn Jr. did for me last year, making all those plays.

"He's a great guy. I've gotta put a pocket in there for him."

-- More glove talk: Veteran Brad Hawpe has a thankless job in "replacing" Adrian Gonzalez, but the former Colorado outfielder has a running start on a Gold Glove in moving to first base this year.

The glove he's using was given to him by former Rockies teammate Todd Helton, a three-time Gold Glove winner. One clue is the way "Todd Helton" is clearly stitched onto the thumb area of the black glove.

"I'm working on breaking in some other gloves, but until I get something ready, I'm using this one," says Hawpe, who was a first baseman in high school and at Louisiana State but moved to the outfield once he landed in the Colorado organization because Helton sure wasn't going anywhere.

Hawpe said the advice Helton gave him over the winter about playing first simply was to "keep everything slow."

There was not much teasing about Hawpe's impending position change.

"No," Hawpe says. "He's excited. Like he said, 'We're boys.' He was nothing but excited."

Sunblock Day: Whew boy, high of 90 on Wednesday. Hot, hot desert sun. Love it.

Likes: The Tee Pee Mexican joint in Phoenix. Funky little building and outstanding food. Recommended: The chicken burro covered with enchilada sauce. ... Tom Waits, Darlene Love and Leon Russell inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Perfect, and long overdue. Love is incredibly underrated and Waits is one of the all-time great songwriters and lyricists. And glad to see Elton John get Russell back in the limelight. Their disc, The Union, is very good. Some of Elton's best work in years. ... The Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central High basketball team beating Hillsdale 49-35 Wednesday night to win its first-ever Regional tournament. Next up for my Falcons: A state quarterfinal game next Tuesday against 24-0 Schoolcraft.

Dislikes: Too many teams and people left to see, and too few days left of spring training to get to everybody. It's going to take some creative scheduling.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"The piano has been drinking
"My necktie is asleep
"And the combo went back to New York
"The jukebox has to take a leak
"And the carpet needs a haircut
"And the spotlight looks like a prison break
"'Cause the telephone's out of cigarettes
"And the balcony's on the make
"And the piano has been drinking
"The piano has been drinking...
"And the menus are all freezing
"And the light man's blind in one eye
"And he can't see out of the other
"And the piano-tuner's got a hearing aid
"And he showed up with his mother
"And the piano has been drinking
"The piano has been drinking"

-- Tom Waits, The Piano Has Been Drinking (But Not Me)

Posted on: February 8, 2011 5:03 pm
 

Padres: More talented 1-25 without Gonzalez?

They were the feel-good hit of the summer of 2010, winning 90 games and waging a spirited pennant run until San Francisco finally eliminated them on the last day of the season.

Then they traded All-Star Adrian Gonzalez and ... they'll be better in 2011?

Hard to imagine that until we see where the San Diego runs will come from. And general manager Jed Hoyer isn't necessarily predicting it. But he won't be surprised if it happens.

"I think the idea that we were entering a fire sale period where we were not going to be competitive ... it was born of reaction from the Adrian deal and the uncertainty after that," Hoyer said during a recent conference call. "It is our intent to field a competitive team.

"We can't replace Adrian with one guy. ..."

Perhaps they won't be able to do that even with five key newcomers -- shortstop Jason Bartlett (acquired in a trade with Tampa Bay), free agent second baseman Orlando Hudson, center fielder Cameron Maybin (acquired in a trade with Florida), free agent Brad Hawpe (who will replace Gonzalez at first base) and veteran utilityman Jorge Cantu (the Padres also are taking a flier on starter Aaron Harang).

But, Hoyer said, "I think we are more talented one through 25 than we were a year ago. We have balance and depth."

One of the GM's goals was to improve up the middle, and the Padres think they did that with Maybin, Bartlett and Hudson.

They no longer have a big bopper in the middle of their lineup, so on-base percentage and smart execution will be a vital.

"This is the most humbling sport there is," Hoyer said. "We were fortunate to win 90 games last year. A lot of things went well for us.

"Four other teams in our division had good offseasons. ... It was an interesting offseason. We executed our plan well. At the same time, there's a lot of uncertainty. And a lot of good teams competing against us."

 

 
 
 
 
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