300 blows

short post today; i’ave got another busy travel week, and another early a.m. departure (behind the wheel this time). for those of you who went to bed at a decent hour, the cardinals won 8-2 last night behind 4 home runs --- 2 by pujols, 1 by ludwick, and 1 by (who else?) cesar izturis. that’s right, iz2 went yard at petco --- a powerful 335-foot clout that sheared open a new hole in the ozone layer. it’s the first 4-homer game by a visiting team at petco since . . . . (processing) . . . . . aw, since not that long ago. the astros whacked 4 over the wall at petco in the second game of this season --- and one of them was a game-winning 3-run job by lance berkman. but prior to that it hadn’t been done since july 2006.

albert’s 2 homers were nos. 292 and 293 in his career; he ought to reach 300 sometime next month. when he does he’ll become only the 2d player to hit 300 hrs in a cardinal uniform, joining that guy they held a day for in busch 3 on sunday. and he’ll become only the 4th player who broke in with the cardinals to reach 300 career home runs, joining The Man and which two other players? and to make it a little more challenging: when albert gets to 300, he’ll become the 117th man to reach that threshold. 17 of those players (including pujols) hit at least one home run for the cardinals. can you name all 17?

izturis’s homer, for those who are wondering, was no. 12 of his career. . . .

ludwick now has 8 homers in may. anybody know what the frachise record for homers in may is? i’ve spent 10 minutes looking for it and can’t come up w/ a definitive answer. the probable answer is mark mcgwire 1998 ---- 16 may homers, en route to 70 for the season. big mac also hit 13 in may 2000; pujols hit 11 in may 2006. the latter would be a good target for ludwick. . . . he’s now tied w/ berkman and soriano for 3d place in homers this month; dan uggla has 9, and ryan braun has 10.

i’m outta time, i gotta run. right before the series i exchanged e-mails with geoff young, one of the very best baseball bloggers in the country, who writes at Ducksnorts; i spaced out putting up a link yesterday, so here it is now, my answers to his questions (which included a vincent price shout-out). and here are geoff’s answers to my questions about the padres:

1. Is the San Diego offense really this bad? What glimmer(s) of hope do you see that suggest they might start scoring some runs?
Well, it shouldn't be this bad, but I'm starting to think it might be. Everyone except Adrian Gonzalez and Brian Giles is hitting well below career norms. Josh Bard and Khalil Greene have seen their offensive games go into the tank for no obvious reason; Kevin Kouzmanoff is finding his second trip around the league a little more difficult; Scott Hairston has forgotten the difference between balls and strikes; and of course, the Jim Edmonds experiment turned out to be a disaster. The glimmer of hope, I guess, is a belief in regression to the mean. I can't accept that Bard and Greene, who are (or should be) in their primes, are this bad. I don't see any reason for Greene to hit like Jeff Blauser or Jay Bell at age 27 and Rey Ordonez at age 28. There's just no room for that in my view of the way things work in this world.

2. Did the front office blow it this off-season? What personnel moves could / should they have made?
Yes and no. I don't think anyone could have seen Bard and Greene's poor performance coming. And I still think bringing on Edmonds was a reasonable gamble. That said, it's a gamble that had a pretty good chance of not paying dividends, which means a contingency plan should have been in place. When the Padres finally cut bait on Edmonds, the backup plan was... Jody Gerut, a non-roster invitee who hadn't seen big-league action in more than two years. Gerut's actually done a good job since taking over in center, but the "plan" of falling back on him when Edmonds failed isn't befitting a team that fancies itself a contender. Beyond that, the club's infatuation with Glendon Rusch baffled me, as did its failure to procure a legitimate fifth starter (e.g., Livan Hernandez) despite the second-half meltdown of incumbent Justin Germano. How do you defend Shawn Estes in your rotation? I don't think you can.

3. To what extent do you attribute the early-season sluggishness to a hangover effect from the final weekend of last season?
Not at all, unless you consider the fact that Milton Bradley and Mike Cameron are no longer Padres part of that hangover effect. Even then, Bradley can barely play the field because of his knee and Cameron missed the first month of the season while sitting out a suspension, so I'm not sure how much of a difference they would have made.

4. Any help on the horizon at Triple A? There are some guys down there that can play, though I'm not sure how much of an immediate impact any of them will make. It's not like we've got Ryan Braun stashed away somewhere. Chase Headley is the big prospect, and he's been playing very well lately while learning the outfield. I imagine we'll probably see him up after the All-Star break, if not sooner. Brian Myrow can hit big-league pitching right now but he's 31 years old and defensively limited. The pitching at Portland has been dreadful. We might see Dirk Hayhurst (of Baseball America's "Non-Prospect Diary" fame) up at some point, but that's about it.

5. If the Pads become sellers at the trade deadline, will they be marketing anybody the Cardinals might want?
This is pure speculation on my part, but maybe Tadahito Iguchi or one of the veteran starters -- Randy Wolf or Greg Maddux? I could see Tony Clark becoming available if you're looking for a guy who can run into one every now and then. Honestly, though, I don't know that any team should pay much for these guys. With the possible exception of Maddux, none of them is a real difference maker. (Yes, I'm the world's worst salesman; thanks for noticing.)

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