Scanalysis – Pads Lose Strange One 5-4 In Sweep By Dodgers

Baseball 15 Apr 2012

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, this great game of baseball will throw you a nasty curve to keep you honest.  Today it was a potentially game changing triple play that created heated controversy on the field, and lively discussion off.

 Combine that with the battle to control the scalding hot Matt Kmep, and the Padres making a gutsy comeback against Clayton Kershaw, it made for a great game to watch.  Unfortunately for the second time of the series the final outcome was a Dodger walk off victory, this time at the hands of Dee Gordon on a 2-out bases loaded single completing the Dodgers’ sweep.

THE GOOD:

  • GREAT defensive plays by the Padres throughout the game.  It started  in the first with Jesus Guzman making two diving plays at first, and Will Venable laying out at full speed to take away a run scoring extra base hit bid to keep the early Dodger rally from getting out of control.  As the game progressed, Andy Parrino playing SS, Orlando Hudson at 2B, Nick Hundley behind the dish, and Guzman again at 1B made slick plays to help keep the Pads within striking distance.
  • No quit attitude, and some clutch hitting performances.  For the second time in the series the Friars were facing an uphill battle trailing with a 3-run deficit, this time against the reigning Cy Young award winner, Clayton Kershaw.  It would be easy to accept defeat and reason away a comeback effort with “Kershaw isn’t going to let us back in this”, but they resisted that temptation and kept the pressure on until uncharacteristically Kershaw cracked.  Back to back walks to start the 6th, one the result of a nice at bat by Nick Hundley who didn’t give in after being down 0-2, set the table for Orlando Hudson to drive in a run, and for Jeremy Hermida to come off the bench and come up big.  After fouling off 7 pitches Hermida finally lined a single to left to score two runs, and the unlikely became a reality with the deficit erased and the game tied at 4.
  • Ernesto Frieri, Andrew Cashner, Joe Thatcher, and Luke Gregerson all doing their job to post zeros out of the bullpen.
  • Will Venable great all around game with the diving catch mentioned above, as well as 2 singles and a perfect sac bunt that almost turned into a hit against the leagues toughest lefty.
  • Chris Denorfia for turning a ground ball single through the left side into a hustle double.
THE BAD:
  • 2 strike mistake pitches in the zone to Matt Kemp and Dee Gordon that resulted in Kemp’s 6th HR and 16th RBI against the Padres in 7 games, and Gordon’s walk off single.
THE DIFFERENCE:
  • The triple play turned by the Dodgers in the bottom of the 8th to snuff out the Padres rally, and swing the momentum to the Dodgers dugout. In one of the strangest plays I’ve ever seen, with no outs and runners at first and second, Jesus Guzman squared around to sacrifice bunt the runners to second and third – routine enough.  However, the pitch to Guzy was so far inside that it would have hit him in the chest had he not attempted to bunt it mainly out of self defense.  The ball hit his bat on the handle in between his hands snapping the bat. As he spun out of the way in self preservation the ball trickled slowly from the batters box in foul territory towards the plate, eventually reaching fair territory, much to the stadium’s surprise. Everyone on the play, including it appeared home plate umpire Dale Scott, assumed the ball to be foul and the play dead.  In fact, Scott initially held his hands up in the air ambiguously around his shoulders, as he waited a moment to assess what had taken place, then opened his hands for a brief moment declaring the ball foul before then emphatically pointing towards the field of play signaling fair ball.  About the only one on the field who was aware of the potential windfall developing in front of him was Dodger catcher A.J. Ellis.  To his credit he never gave up on the play, and as the Padres base runners were heading back to their bases, Ellis picked up the ball the moment it reached fair ground, fired it to Juan Uribe covering third to start the 2-5-6-3 triple play…unbelievable.
Buddy Black rightfully argued the call under the contention that Scott had initially appeared to signal the ball foul which at a minimum affected the Padres base runners, and arguably as the initial call should have been the standing call.  Buddy lost the debate, was ejected from the game, and the Padres would lose the rally, their momentum, and a few minutes later the contest. While it can be argued that the Padres base runners should have kept running if there was any uncertainty during the play, the fact that it was such an unusual play and the plate umpire originally signaled foul, make it hard to hold anyone seriously guilty of dereliction of duty.  However, it is a good reminder that to always play under the assumption that any ball is live until it is 100% clear by the umpires that the play has been called dead.
The Padres played hard, played well, and with tenacity throughout the game.  Losing this one the way they did was a tough loss to stomach, no question about it, but if they continue to leave it all out on the field like they did today, their fortune will turn.
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