To continue a long-standing tradition, I conducted an email interview with Justin, editor of Chicken Friars, the FanSided blog for the Padres.
Here are his answers to my questions:
1) The Pads have struggled to keep pitchers healthy this year. Do you see trade activity stabilizing? What transactions may affect the series?
The Padres aren’t looking to bring in any starters at this time. This season is a lost cause, but there have been signs of life from the offense. They have who they think will be their ace in Cory Luebke. He’ll be back next season. They have Tim Stauffer who is a veteran, and when healthy can anchor the rotation. And they have Edinson Volquez. Volquez is interesting because he seems to be getting better as the season goes on.
Beyond the current 25-man roster players, the Padres like what they have in the farm system. Casey Kelly is injured this season, but you can expect to see him in the rotation next year.
The only transaction that may affect the series would be one including Chase Headley. Headley is the biggest trade chip on the Padres roster. However, San Diego is asking for so much in return, it may not happen.
2) Please comment on the following matchups:
Zambrano is wild, and the Padres have taken the 10th most walks in all of baseball as a team. However, Wells has struggled this year, which is to be expected. After all, this is first year back in the big leagues since 2009.
Your guys have faced him far more often than us. What’s the history there? The Padres actually haven’t faced Eovaldi. He has managed to miss the Padres every time his start came up. Ohlendorf is really more of a bullpen guys for the Padres, so as long as Eovaldi doesn’t crumble under Ozzie Guillen’s pressure in Miami, the Marlins have a good shot in this game.
I have a feeling, Johnson will not be making this start in South Beach. If he does, I’d expect the game to be close. Johnson has been decent against the Padres in his career, but his ERA of 3.90 against them in 32 innings-pitched is actually his fifth highest ERA against any opponent. Clayton Richard is actually one of the Padres’ most reliable starters. He may have the most losses in the league, but he allows base runners to score too often. He is only stranding about 68% of base runners.
3) We have legendary troubles with getting runners around to the plate. How do you see the Pads capitalizing?
The Padres have a similar problem, so both teams will probably just cheat. During time outs, I expect base runners to sneak to the next base, hoping the umpires and opposing team don’t catch them. In all seriousness though, the Padres are sending three pitchers to the hill in this series with ERA’s over 4.00. Considering the Pads only score 3.64 runs per game, Miami has a solid shot at getting runners around to score.
And, in response, here are my answers to his questions:
1) Are the Marlins done dealing, or are they going to sell off much more?
My gut tells me that they’re done with headline trades. Their ask for JJ is rumored to be astronomical, much like Headley. Plus, I think the citizenry would be breaking out the torches and pitchforks if Loria traded JJ away for anything less than 2 All-Stars and a top-shelf prospect.
2) It’s been a little over half a season, what are your thoughts on Ozzie Guillen as the new Marlins manager?
Dynamite. He brought small ball back to Miami. We’re tops in the league for stolen bases, and by a comfortable margin. Those few times that we’ve managed to drive in runs, we have months like May. The Castro flap was just that. A flap that gave the national-level press some grist for their anti-Marlin mill. If any coaching changes are to be made, it would be Eduardo Perez, the hitting coach. When that many good hitters are performing that poorly, you have to look at common factors, and the top of that list has to be the hitting coach.
3) Is Heath Bell really as bad as he seems out there in Miami? He was deteriorating slightly in San Diego, but that was a fast drop-off.
It’s looking more and more like Heath Bell might be an albatross. He leads the league in blown saves, and instead of owning his mistakes, he’s been heard to blame his catcher. John Buck may be having one of the worst hitting years of his career, and he’s never been a Gold Glove defensive catcher, but his pitchers almost never shake him off. His best asset is his ability to call a game, and for Bell to toss him towards the nearest public transportation conveyance is the act of a weak man in trouble. I think that if Bell were to lose some weight and get fitter, it would be easier for him to get his chest down on his follow-through, and his consistency would improve. Right now, his mechanics look awful. Stiff as a board and upright.
4) Is Jeffrey Loria the most hated man in all of Miami?
It’s a tossup between him and Samson. They outwrangled the city to build the stadium, and the locals are blaming him for cutting the best deal he could, rather than blaming the city fathers for rolling over like a beaten dog. He’s also carrying around his history with Montreal and the actual fire sale he had in the pre-’06 season. My take is that they made all the right moves in December, and it looked like they had all the pieces in place. In March, no one would have guessed that five players would have an offensive meltdown. The front office is trying to make a change, and so far, it looks good.
Topics: Carlos Zambrano, Casey Kelly, Chase Headley, Clayton Richard, Cory Luebke, Edinson Volquez, Eduardo Perez, Heath Bell, John Buck, Josh Johnson, Kip Wells, Miami Marlins, Nathan Eovaldi, Ozzie Guillen, Ross Ohlendorf, San Diego Padres, Tim Stauffer