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Tag:Ryan Ludwick
Posted on: June 20, 2011 8:23 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 8:43 pm
 

San Diego's home plate freeze-out

The Padres have been shut out a major-league leading 12 times so far, and it ain't no accident.

Chris Denorfia punched a leadoff triple Saturday against Scott Baker in Minnesota. Being the first inning, the Twins played their infield back, conceding the run.

But Jason Bartlett struck out swinging. Then Chase Headley struck out swinging. And then Ryan Ludwick flied out.

Nine innings later, the final was Twins 1, Padres 0.

Enough about their troubles in Petco Park.

This is a bad, bad offensive club at any park, your choice.

The Padres can't even come up with eight hitters to bat in front of their pitcher when they're safely ensconced in the National League.

In the AL? Forget it. They've got no chance at fielding a presentable designated hitter.

The Padres' 242 runs entering Monday's series opener in Boston ranked last in the majors. Slugging percentage? Last. Total bases, triples and OPS? Last, last and last.

Losers of five in a row into Monday's Fenway Park tour, the Padres, who also have lost nine of 11, are hitting .225 this season with runners in scoring position.

In other words, about the same as their overall .232 batting average (29th in the majors).

With the halfway mark of their season not arriving until next Tuesday's game against Kansas City, the Padres are on pace to break their club record for shutouts (23, set as an expansion team in 1969 and then equaled in 1976).

The major-league record for being shut out is held by the 1908 St. Louis Cardinals, who were blanked 33 times.

Meantime, in the fourth inning Monday night in Fenway, the Padres failed to score after a leadoff triple for the second time in three games: Jesus Guzman roped one against Andrew Miller to start the fourth, before Orlando Hudson popped to right field, Cameron Maybin fanned swinging and Anthony Rizzo flied to left.

The beat goes on.

Likes:
Jack McKeon managing at 80 is going to be fascinating.

Dislikes: Absolutely crushed over the death of Clarence Clemons of the E Street Band, who left us Saturday far too early at the age of 69. It's hard to believe we'll never see him up on stage again, blowing those beautiful and powerful notes from his saxophone, goofing with Bruce Springsteen, lending such great soul to the mix. Didn't know if I could make it through, but I dug out the 2000 Madison Square Garden and the 2009 London Calling DVDs last night and punched in several tracks, and realized again that these tours, that band and that Big Man have been such a gift over all these years. It is so sad that we'll never again see that band in that configuration on tour, but we'll be able to remember what the mind begins to forget -- the fun, the energy, the inspirational moments and the poetic lyrics -- through the magic of modern technology and, for that, I'm eternally grateful.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"We played king of the mountain out on the end
"The world come chargin' up the hill, and we were women and men
"Now there's so much that time, time and memory fade away
"We got our own roads to ride, and chances we gotta take
"We stood side by side, each one fightin' for the other
"We said until we died we'd always be blood brothers
"Now the hardness of this world slowly grinds your dreams away
"Makin' a fool's joke out of the promises we make
"And what once seemed black and white turns to so many shades of gray
"We lose ourselves in work to do, work to do and bills to pay
"And it's a ride, ride, ride, and there ain't much cover
"With no one runnin' by your side my blood brother
"On through the houses of the dead past those fallen in their tracks
"Always movin' ahead and never lookin' back
"Now I don't know how I feel, I don't know how I feel tonight
"If I've fallen 'neath the wheel, if I've lost or I've gained sight
"I don't even know why, I don't why I made this call
"Or if any of this matters anymore after all
"But the stars are burnin' bright like some mystery uncovered
"I'll keep movin' through the dark with you in my heart
"My blood brother"

-- Bruce Springsteen, Blood Brothers



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 26, 2011 4:39 pm
 

Stuff my editors whacked from the column

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Outtakes from some time spent with Jered Weaver and his choir of Angels. ...

-- After tagging Jered Weaver with the only loss he's taken in 2011 -- an arbitration beating last winter -- Angels general manager Tony Reagins confirms Weaver's account, that it was business as usual when the right-hander came to camp this spring.

"Unchanged," Reagins says of Weaver's demeanor. "I think he knew what to expect in the process. He went through it, but he didn't let it affect him.

The Angels had offered $7.365 million. Weaver, who earned $4.265 million in 2010, countered at $8.8 million. Weaver says he arrived in spring camp with neither a chip on his shoulder or with excess motivation to prove that he should have been awarded his payday.

"Not at all," Weaver says. "Business is business. Obviously, it was the first time I've gone through anything like that. You never take the business side of baseball and bring it to the fun part of it. That gets you in trouble. I've got pretty thick skin."

-- Weaver is eligible for free agency after the 2012, season, by the way. And with Scott Boras as his agent, Angels fans are advised not to fall too deeply in love with him.

-- Weaver gives off the appearance of a quiet, laid-back guy. But there's more beneath the surface.

"I see a guy who is a leader," Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher says. "He really stepped into the role last year. He wanted to challenge himself, and he reaped the rewards. He puts in a lot of hard work. He communicates very well with his teammates. He's very open. He mingles with everybody."

Says fellow starter Dan Haren: "I'm laid back off the field, and I don't wear my emotions on my sleeve on the field. He's laid back off the field, but on the field he's competitive and fiery. I've pitched on quite a few teams, and he ranks right up there with his will to win. He'll do anything. I've seen him throw 125 pitches and then beg to go back out there.

"You don't see that much anymore. At least, I don't."

-- Weaver doesn't throw as hard now as when the Angels made him their No. 1 pick in 2004, but he's acquired the wisdom that comes with five years in the league and that's made him more dangerous.

"He understands how to pitch," Reagins says. "When we took him, he threw much harder than what he throws now. But velocity is not as important as being able to throw the ball where you want to."

Weaver's fastball averaged between 93 and 95 m.p.h. a few years ago. Now, it averages somewhere between 91 and 93.

"But I like the results better," Reagins says.

Likes: Glad to see Ryan Ludwick slam the game-winning homer in the 13th inning in San Diego the other night. Not because I was rooting against Atlanta, or rooting for the Padres. It's just that Ludwick is a good man and has been buried in such a dreadful slump all season. Cover this game long enough and that's what happens: You don't root for teams. You root for people. ... Speaking of which, a pleasant memory came floating back Tuesday when a friend was trying to recall the name of the sweet old elevator operator at Tiger Stadium. Sarah, bless her soul. ... The framed Tiger Stadium print in my home office. Takes me right back to Midwestern summer nights. We're never too old to be reminded of our youth, are we? ... Here We Rest, the new CD from Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit. ... Blessed, the new CD from Lucinda Williams. ... Pipes Cafe, a great breakfast and lunch joint in Cardiff, Calif. Get the breakfast burrito.

Dislikes: The dead hummingbird I found on by back porch Tuesday morning, courtesy of my cat. At least, that's my current suspect, though CSI is still investigating and there is no proof. ... Never saw the J. Geils Band before they split up. That's probably the only band I never saw live that I really, really wish I would have (not counting groups that existed before I was old enough to go to concerts, like The Beatles). I would think there would be a ton of dough to be made with a J. Geils reunion tour. (I'm also not counting U2, which I've never seen, because they're currently on tour and, as such, they don't rank in the "Missed Chance" category. They're coming to a stadium near me in June and I figure I'll catch 'em.).

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"You talk about the junk you do
"Like you talk about climbing trees
"You live the life of a little kid
"With bruises on your knees
"You will never cop to the damage that's been done
"But you will never stop 'cause it's too much fun
"Now you want somebody to be your buttercup
"Good luck finding your buttercup"

-- Lucinda Williams, Buttercup

Posted on: July 31, 2010 1:06 pm
 

Cards land Westbrook & Padres Ludwick in 3 way

Two National League contenders strengthened themselves impressively for the stretch run with one bold three-way trade on Saturday, with St. Louis acquiring right-handed pitcher Jake Westbrook from Cleveland, San Diego landing hard-hitting outfielder Ryan Ludwick from St. Louis and the Indians receiving a couple of prospects from the Padres, including Double-A pitcher Corey Kluber, multiple sources have told CBSSports.com.

While Cleveland rebuilds, the Cardinals and Padres, two clubs with serious playoff aspirations, landed exactly what they needed.

In Westbrook, the Cardinals gain a solid starter who adds significant depth to a rotation that will nevertheless continue to live and die with co-aces Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright.

A veteran right-hander who missed most of 2008 and 2009 following Tommy John ligament replacement surgery, Westbrook bounced back to make the opening day start for Cleveland in 2010 and has gone 6-7 with
a 4.65 ERA over 21 starts.

The Cardinals have been searching for a starter because things have been in flux in the rotation after Carpenter and Wainwright. Rookie Jaime Garcia has been sensational, but there is concern over his workload. Kyle Lohse has been out for much of the season due to a forearm injury. And Brad Penny has battled various nagging injuries.

Lohse has made an injury-rehabilitation start and the Cardinals hope he will return to the rotation in a few weeks.

"There is a better expectation [that he'll be good]," Cards manager Tony La Russa told reporters recently in St. Louis. "He's feeling really normal, and he says he likes the way he's responding."

In Ludwick, the surprising Padres got what they have been searching for: An outfielder who will help add pop to a sluggish offense. Ludwick is hitting .281 with 11 homers and 43 RBI for the Cardinals this year, and his defense is very underrated. In that department, he fits perfectly into a Padres team that is strong with the gloves and whose pitching staff leads the majors in ERA.

The Padres are sending Kluber to the Indians and minor-league right-hander Nick Greenwood to the Cardinals.

Posted on: July 31, 2010 12:31 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2010 12:53 pm
 

Cards, Indians, Padres three-way nears completion

Locked in a battle with Cincinnati in the NL Central, the Cardinals are on the verge of a deal to fortify their rotation with right-hander Jake Westbrook from Cleveland, but there's a twist:

San Diego is engaged with those two clubs and has become part of an expanded trade that will send Cardinals outfielder Ryan Ludwick to the Padres, Westbrook to the Cardinals and Double-A pitcher Corey Kluber from San Diego to Cleveland, multiple sources have told CBSSports.com.

The deal is very near completion, according to sources, and the Indians scratched Westbrook from his scheduled Saturday start against Toronto 40 minutes before game-time.

Among other things, the deal would have to approved by league officials and the players' union. That step is necessary because there is a significant amount of money involved: Westbrook is due roughly $3.2 million of his $11 million 2010 deal, plus clauses in his contract call for him to receive a $2 million bonus if traded plus the last year of his contract also is prorated by $1 million if he's dealt.

Westbrook is in the final season of a three-year, $33 million deal.

A veteran right-hander who missed most of 2008 and 2009 following Tommy John ligament replacement surgery, Westbrook bounced back to make the opening day start for Cleveland in 2010 and has gone 6-7 with a 4.65 ERA over 21 starts.

The Cardinals have been searching for a starter because things have been in flux in the rotation after aces Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright. Rookie Jaime Garcia has been sensational, but there is concern over his workload. Kyle Lohse has been out for much of the season due to a forearm injury. And Brad Penny has battled various nagging injuries.

Lohse already has made an injury-rehabilitation start and is due back within a few weeks.

"There is a better expectation [that he'll be good]," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa told reporters recently. "He's feeling really normal, and he says he likes the way he's responding."

The surprising Padres have been searching for an outfielder who will help add pop to a sluggish offense and Ludwick would help on several fronts. He's hitting .281 with 11 homers and 43 RBI for the Cardinals this year, and his defense is very underrated. In that department, he would fit perfectly into a Padres team that is strong with the gloves and whose pitching staff leads the majors in ERA.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com