Behind the Seams with Blake: Padres Season Takeaways So Far

Behind the Seams with Blake: Padres Season Takeaways So Far.

Hello readers! I’m back with another post about the 2021 MLB season. For this edition of Behind the Seams, I will be recapping the biggest takeaways from the first 21 games played by my hometown team, the San Diego Padres. As of this writing they have a record of 11-10, placing them 3rd in the NL West standings. They sit behind the Dodgers and the 12-7 Giants, who have benefited from the Houdini magic of backup catcher Curt Casali, who amazingly has caught 5 consecutive shutouts in games he has started behind the plate. I have watched every Padres game this season, and there have been some really awesome moments, but also I’ve unfortunately gotten used to watching them miss out on some really big run scoring opportunities. Add in a few injuries to big stars, and that’s where the Pads find themselves at the moment. They began their second series against the division-rival Dodgers on Thursday, and the 4 game series will be going on all weekend long.

The first topic I will discuss is the various injuries the Padres have been hit with just a few weeks into the season. Every Padres fan held their breath when 22 year old face of the franchise Fernando Tatis Jr. fell to the ground in pain after a swing 2 weeks ago. It turned out to be a shoulder injury, and the idea of him having to undergo surgery and miss the season was being floated by media outlets. Thankfully, he only ended up missing about 10 days, and while he has struggled to start the season, I know Fernando is bound to get red-hot offensively any moment now.

Another promising Padre who has been bitten by the injury bug this season is left handed starter Adrian Morejon, but unfortunately for him, he will miss much more than 10 days. He left his last start with a forearm injury, and he has undergone the infamous Tommy John Surgery, which has come to mean that he will miss about a year and a half rehabbing. It’s a shame to see a talented young pitcher like Morejon miss an extended period of time with injuries, as he was going to have a really good chance to make a name for himself on this 2021 Padres squad. Now, we’ll have to wait until either late in the 2022 season or 2023 to see what Morejon can become for the team. 

One of the top starting pitchers in the MLB in the 60 game 2020 season, Dinelson Lamet has also struggled with injuries to start this season. He went down with arm troubles late in 2020, and the Padres have been extremely cautious with him since in hopes of him not requiring surgery. As of right now, their strategy isn’t paying off… Lamet made his season debut a few days ago on April 21st but had to leave after just 2 innings due to forearm soreness. He is now back on the injured list, but the team believes he will be back on the active roster shortly.

The Padres have also started the season quite badly when hitting with runners in scoring position. (Don’t worry, I’m saving the good story for last) In terms of runners left in scoring position per game, the Padres have the 3rd worst mark this season, leaving an average of 4 ducks on the pond per game. What’s most frustrating for me to watch is that the team seems to have a habit of taking fastballs down the middle for strike 3 in big moments with runners on base. I don’t have a grand scheme for how they could turn this habit around, but I’d at least like to see them swing at the pitches instead of giving up as soon as they don’t get the pitch they’re looking for. Yes, I know it’s easy for me to say because I’m not the one who has to try to hit 95+ mph pitches on a daily basis, but it’s food for thought. Perhaps the team just needs a slight altering of their approach at the plate and then their struggles with runners in scoring position can become less of a glaring issue.

As promised, I’m going to end on a high note. In just his 2nd start of the season and as a Padre, Joe Musgrove threw the FIRST NO HITTER OF FRANCHISE HISTORY! This game was truly awesome to watch. Musgrove was in total control of the Rangers, as the only hard hit balls of the game were liners to Wil Myers in right to close out the 8th inning and to 2nd baseman Jake Cronenworth in the 9th. I was so glad that manager Jayce Tingler left Joe in the game to complete the career night, as it’s become common for pitchers to be removed in the 6th or 7th inning with no hitters intact because their pitch counts are already at or approaching 100. I will say this until the end of time; a combined no hitter is nothing compared to an individual no hitter. Every franchise in the MLB now has at least one no hitter in their history, but none of them took as long to get one as the Padres did, waiting 8,205 games until finally getting that first no hit performance from Musgrove. It is such a great story that Musgrove ended up being the first to do it as a Padre, as he is from the San Diego area, and even got a Padres tattoo on his arm when he was 18. The Padres acquired “Java Joe” from the Pirates over the offseason, and I hope that this is only the beginning of the great pitching performances that we will see from him in a Padres uniform.

P.S. In my prior blog post, I wrote about how the As got off to such a horrible start this season, and I must point out that they have completely turned around their season since. They have won an astounding 11 games in a row, and now look like the contending team they’ve been the past few years. Maybe reading my Behind the Seams post about their struggles gave them motivation to prove me wrong and reach their potential. The baseball season is full of surprises, and that’s one of the many reasons I can never get enough of it. 

Written by: Blake Koziel 

Photo Source: San Diego Union Tribune

Behind the Seams with Blake: Postseason Preview

Hello readers, my name is Blake Koziel, and I will be coming at you with new insight about the baseball and football world in this non fan-friendly, crazy 2020 sports year.

Before we get started, allow me to catch you up on how I got here. I have been following baseball frighteningly closely since about age ten, and I quickly found myself obsessed with baseball statistics, while watching my local team, the San Diego Padres. My favorite player on the Padres was, understandably, Adrian Gonzalez, and I remember how amazed I was the first time I saw his statline of 40 home runs way back in 2009. I continued to be a huge fan of Age, as I called him, all the way through his post-Padres teams until he retired in 2018. You will find that I tend to follow and know how certain players are doing more than the teams they are playing for, and my love for certain players centers around the stats they put up.

In case you are wondering, I also played baseball myself. My main positions were centerfielder, first baseman, and pitcher, and I played up until sophomore year of high school, when I made the curious transition from JV baseball to D1 varsity tennis within a span of two weeks. However, my heart was still with baseball even as I aced 100mph serves past nationally-ranked tennis players (It didn’t go in quite that often, but hey, I had the velocity). I stopped playing tennis competitively after high school, but it was definitely a fun experience. I then moved on to just focusing my attention on studying baseball.

In future posts I will also be writing about football, a sport that I didn’t really follow at all until 2014, when my uncle got me to join a fantasy football league with him, and my study of the game and its players began. I adopted the Denver Broncos as my favorite football team, as they had my favorite player, running back CJ Anderson, to go with an amazing crop of wide receivers Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, and redzone monster tight end Julius Thomas. And who can forget living legend, quarterback Peyton Manning, whose forehead is as big as his accomplishments (I say it out of love, Peyton). I was not yet following football when the Broncos were in the Super Bowl to conclude the 2013 season, and I always wish I had seen that season, because Peyton threw a single season record 55 touchdowns that season, but I did get to watch my Broncos win against the Panthers in the 2015 Super Bowl, and it was simply wonderful. The Broncos have had a rough stretch of seasons since then as they’ve struggled to find an answer at quarterback after Peyton retired, but I believe in Drew Lock, and I hope he will finally provide the Broncos with some stability at the position once again.

Now for the present-day sports discussion. In this first post, I will be sticking to baseball, giving a quick rundown of the journey that the Padres have made to get to the postseason in this 60 game season. 

Major League Baseball decided to raise the number of postseason teams from 10 to 16 for this season, and Commissioner Rob Manfred says that he will consider making the change permanent for future seasons too. To be truthful, I do not like that idea, as I believe that the best of the best teams should be in the postseason, so a smaller number than 16 teams would be better in terms of the “they earned their postseason spot” argument.

As of this post, 11 of 16 spots for the postseason have been clinched, those 11 teams being the Dodgers, Rays, Twins, Padres, Athletics, Braves, White Sox, Indians, Cubs, Yankees, and Blue Jays. I will now break down some key players for the Padres that have helped them get there.

The San Diego Padres are one of four teams tied for the 4th best record in the league with 34 wins. I must admit I’ve spent 1000% more time watching the Padres this season than any other team, as I can count on one hand the number of their games I didn’t watch this season. The story of the Padres season has centered around 21 year old phenom shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., as he was pretty much the biggest story of baseball for the first month or two of the season prior to the cold stretch he is currently in. Even with his current cold streak factored in, Fernando has still hit .278 with 15 home runs, 11 stolen bases, and a .561 SLG% through 55 games this season. Third baseman Manny Machado has turned in quite the performance as of late, and is really starting to look like he’s worth the 10 year, $300m deal he was given prior to the 2019 season, as he has hit .313 with 16 home runs and a .603 SLG%. Other honorable mentions for this team are OF Wil Myers, 1B/2B/SS Jake Cronenworth, and Cy Young award candidate SP Dinelson Lamet, who have all turned in fantastic performances this season after coming into the season with perhaps much different expectations of them. On a different note, Mike Clevinger, one of the many players whom the team acquired during their busy trade deadline, has been diagnosed with a sprained right elbow, and it’s still unknown how long he will be out for. Fingers crossed he will be able to contribute for the Padres in the postseason this year. Optimism is high in San Diego for a team that hasn’t reached the playoffs since 2006.

Written By: Blake Koziel

Photo By: Denis Poroy

Breven’s Blog: MLB Trade Deadline Recap

MLB Team Logos

The July 31 trade deadline for all 30 Major League Baseball teams has come and gone, but this year was different from the years past.

Before 2019, teams had the opportunity to make trades in August, but it was eliminated before the start of the season. Now teams have to decide two months in advance what piece(s) they need to progress in the playoffs and have a chance to win the World Series. Teams also use this deadline to improve the depth of the franchise, whether it is at the major league level or in their minor league farm system.

Today we are going to recap this year’s trades. 

The San Diego Padres were involved in two trades. 

The Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, and Padres combined on a three-team trade. The big names of this trade included Yasiel Puig going to the Indians, Trevor Bauer going to the Reds, and the Padres got the Reds’ top prospect Taylor Trammell (No. 30 overall, according to In addition, Padres’ outfielder Franmil Reyes and pitcher Logan Allen were sent to Cleveland.

In the other deal, the Padres received Carl Edwards Jr. and cash from the Chicago Cubs for Brad Wieck. So, it was a bullpen switch for both clubs.

On July 31st alone, there were almost 30 trades and close to 70 players went to another team.

Things started to heat up in the final hour as teams were looking to upgrade any needs they have. From starting pitching to adding bullpen depth, every type of move was made ranging from minor moves to blockbuster deals.

Before the Wednesday deadline, the big names going to new teams included Marcus Stroman going to the Mets from the Blue Jays and the Padres-Indians-Reds trade.

Then, there were some players that were projected to help a team make a playoff push but in the end, didn’t get traded. Both Giants’ pitchers Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith didn’t go; New York Mets’ starting rotation trio of Noah Syndergaard, Jacob DeGrom and Zach Wheeler stayed together.

Two teams make big moves.

The major blockbuster move on Wednesday was the Houston Astros getting Arizona Diamondbacks’ pitcher Zack Greinke.

In return, the D-Backs got the Astros’ 3, 4 and 5 top prospects in the Astros’ farm system. The move gives the Astros not one, not two, but three reliable starting pitchers for the rest of the season and into the playoffs (Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Greinke). The Astros also got Aaron Sanchez and reacquired catcher Martin Maldonaldo. These transactions pushed them into favorites to win the World Series. 

Another winner from the trade deadline was the Atlanta Braves. They filled the hole of the lack of bullpen depth. They got three relievers including Detroit Tigers’ pitcher Shane Greene. Green has converted 22 out of 25 saves chances and will help out the Braves bullpen. 

While two teams made none.

Two teams that were looking to make big moves that didn’t were the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Many analysts said each team needed to add to their bullpen depth, but decided to stay with what they have. 

With no August trades in 2019, July 31 was the last day for teams to get a player that could be the difference-maker in the playoffs.

Written by: Breven Honda

Breven’s Blog: MLB All-Star Snubs

The 2019 MLB All-Star starters and reserves were announced this past week for the annual Midsummer Classic. Every year, there are those that do not get in, but deserved to. They are called snubs.

Typically, there are a few snubs, but this year, there was an unprecedented amount. And they affected more than just the San Diego Padres. The Padres’ closer Kirby Yates, who has an MLB-leading 27 saves (entering July 1), was the only one who made the team. This means no Fernando Tatis Jr., no Manny Machado, no Eric Hosmer and no Hunter Renfroe.

Even if Fernando Tatis Jr. missed a month due to injury, he changes the hometown team from good to great. He does it all. Speed. Strength. Power. Awareness. Energy. The energy that he brings to his teammates, his coaches, the fans and to this organization is electrifying and attracts people to watching him and this team play. Even MLB Network Insider Ken Rosenthal said Tatis Jr. is an All Star, while CBS Sports has called him “special.”

In his first year, Tatis already has a 3.0 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), has scored from third base on a fly ball to the second baseman and scored from first on a single to right, and he became the first rookie shortstop since Nomar Garciaparra to record ten home runs and ten stolen bases before the All-Star Break. These are remarkable achievements in baseball, and it is unfortunate that his talent (including the other Padres that did not return) cannot be seen to the rest of the sport.   

Throughout MLB, there were snubs all across the league.  

In the National League, one of the biggest names besides Machado to not make the team is Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper, who signed a 330 million dollar contract this past winter. 

There is also Los Angeles Dodgers’ infielder Max Muncy, who hit a walk-off homerun in Game 3 of last year’s World Series. Muncy is tied sixth in the NL in WAR and 18 of the top 21 position players made the roster. 

Furthermore, Milwaukee Brewers’ starting pitcher Brandon Woodruff did not make the team and his numbers are one of the best so far in 2019. Woodruff leads the National League in wins with ten and is also in the top spot in WHIP (Walks plus hits divided by innings pitched) with a whopping 1.14. 

The American League is much of the same, whether a team is in a big-market city or not. 

That includes the New York Yankees. First Baseman Luke Voit, who suffered an abdominal injury last weekend during the London Series, was one of the biggest snubs on the American League side. Voit was outlasted by Chicago White Sox’s Jose Abreu and Seattle Mariners’ Dan Vogelbach. What makes this surprising from this is that Abreu is one of three White Sox (pitcher Lucas Giolito and catcher James McCann) to make the team, despite only having a 39-42 record. 

A couple other snubs comes at the shortstop position with Boston Red Sox’s Xander Bogaerts and Yankees’ Gleyber Torres. Both players are hitting over .290, getting on base more than 36% of the time and slugging at least 54%. Torres, along with Voit, were playing and not one to get hurt, like most of their teammates.  

The Minnesota Twins, one of baseball’s surprises in 2019 with a 53-30 record have two All-Stars.  

That was starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi and shortstop Jorge Polanco. However, a couple others from the team had the potential to also be on the team. One of those is outfielder Max Kepler. He already has a career-high 21 home runs. 

It is surprising that the Twins, who are in first place of the AL Central by eight games to the Cleveland Indians, the host team, and 13 games to the Chicago White Sox, only have two players going, but the Indians and White Sox each have three members.  

Even though the reserves were announced this past Sunday, players that had already received the invitation, have the option to decline and not participate in the game for any reason (injury, personal, etc.). Most likely, a couple of players from each side will back out opening it up for some of these players to make a dream turn to reality and be a part of a showcase with the game’s best players. 

Written by: Breven Honda