So Tuesday during the doubleheader against Bowling Green, we had the train wreck of the millennium (six games into the season, no less) when the following occurred (or you can just watch the video yourself):
Fly ball to left-center. CF Donavan Tate and LF Everett Williams converge. It looks like nobody makes the call. Tate makes the catch, Williams tries to duck out of the way at the last moment, they collide, limbs go flying. After a few seconds, the ball comes trickling out of Tate’s glove. Umpire says it’s a dropped catch, the batter is not out, the hitter races all the way around to score. Manager Shawn Wooten comes out, argues the call, gets ejected. Walks the rest of the way out to left-center where he finds Williams and Tate crumpled on the ground being attended to by both teams’ trainers. I’m sticking with my original description as “the worst-case scenario in all aspects.”
Well, not quite. From what is listed here and from what I can share, tests showed no structural damage for either guy. Tate went on the DL Wednesday with a hyperextended left knee. Williams is day-to-day with some tightness/soreness in his right knee. All things considered, as bad as it looked, neither guy was horribly injured. My cell phone, however, is irreparably damaged by all the text messages I received that afternoon.
Random thoughts (all based on the small sample size of 7 games):
- RHP Keyvius Sampson has now thrown 11 scoreless innings (19 strikeouts, 1 walk) this season. He retired 20 straight hitters to open the season. Fastball in the low-to-mid 90s, arm speed consistent on fastball-curveball-changeup. I talked to a scout before the game tonight who said “the secret’s out” that Sampson is really good.
- I’m pretty fired up to see Zach Cates throw again on Thursday. Liked him the first time I saw him. Good fastball, better secondary stuff than I expected.
- RHP Yefri Carvajal has looked fine so far in his transition to the mound. Fastball looks legit, command is good enough. And he still likes swinging the bat, hitting fungoes to infielders during batting practice.
- The TinCaps’ pitchers’ batting practice should be something to watch. Zach Cates was recruited as a catcher, Mark Hardy has a 1.000 career batting average (2-for-2 with San Antonio although he says he just got lucky), Carvajal is a converted outfielder, Chase Marona is a converted shortstop… These guys should drop some bombs.
- Before he was injured, Tate impressed me with a couple of things: First, just about all of his hits were either to the middle or back side of the field. Solid approach. Second, on Tuesday there was a ball smoked to the gap in right-center. He moved over, picked it off the wall and threw a one-hop strike to second to nail the runner. He got there quickly but I still thought there was no shot at getting the runner. Good arm, although I guess I shouldn’t be surprised about it, him being a D-I quarterback recruit and all.
- On the infield defensively (especially on the left side), this team is so far ahead of last year’s club it’s not even close. B.J. Guinn can cover ground and pick it at short (haven’t seen many throws from deep in the hole yet) and Jake Blackwood has made every play at third. The catchers have blocked well and have thrown out all three runners who have tried to steal against them (Bowling Green isn’t even TRYING to steal against them, and Bowling Green steals against everyone). You get the feeling this is what the Padres have in mind when they talk about building a team for Petco Park: Pitching and defense, aggressive baserunning.
- I think this team will hit a little more when they’re not facing left-handed pitching every night. For whatever reason they’re on track for a string of facing lefty starters in 5 of their first 8 games.Which is a lot, especially for a team with so many left-handed hitters.
- Bowling Green is Reds country, so we’ve been able to watch the Padres-Reds the last couple of nights. Former TinCaps RHP Mat Latos looked really good through four innings on Monday and Fort Wayne alum 3B Chase Headley looks lost at the plate. The Padres won in comeback, walk-off fashion today while the TinCaps were in progress.
- What the heck is going on when a guy gets beaten to within an inch of his life because he’s wearing the wrong team’s jersey? Unbelievable.
- Bill Simmons wrote a pretty good story about watching The Masters on TV with his young son.
- Cavaliers radio guy Joe Tait called his last game on Wednesday. Between his curmudgeony self and his Bill Cosby sweater collection, it won’t be the same without him.
Musical guest… Howie Day!