The Padres were able to avoid a sweep in Milwaukee and snapped a three game losing streak by coming back from a 6-0 deficit to take a 7-6 win in the final game of the season. Andrew Werner, who came out of nowhere to make an impact on a injury-riddled starting rotation, has been struggling of late, and the struggles continued as he allowed six runs in less than three innings. Homers by Chris Denorfia and Cameron Maybin helped the Pads claw back, and the game-tying RBI came on an triple by Chase Headley, his 115th of the season. The go-ahead run came a batter later, when rookie Yonder Alonso hit a sacrifice fly that scored Headley.
Headley entered the final series of the season with a slim one-RBI lead over Milwaukee slugger Ryan Braun for the NL lead. Neither added to their total in the first two games, but Chase had two on Wednesday to pad his lead. Braun seemed poised to possibly cut into his deficit, but was denied on an incredible diving catch by Maybin in the first inning.
Congrats to Chase for his league-leading season. Seriously, leading the league in any offensive category is impressive when you play half of your games at Petco Park.
The most impressive aspect of Cabby's total is that he did it in only 115 games, as the Padre faithful had to endure a miserable stretch where our middle infielders were named Bartlett and Hudson. Any coincidence that once they left, the team started improving? By the way, Cabrera was shut out from all Topps 2012 releases. Not as bad as the Omar Vizquel omission, but still not great.
While he didn't lead the league in any categories, Alonso did lead NL rookies in a few categories, proving that he deserves to be considered the Padres first baseman of the future. I'm sure Anthony Rizzo will do well in Chicago, but I didn't really see him putting it together in San Diego.
Yonder led all NL rookies in hits (150, tied with Nori Aoki of Milwaukee), doubles (39), and walks (65). He also placed third in RBI (62) and OBP (.348). Don't know how many votes (if any) he'll get for NL Rookie of the year, but I will say that offensively, the only NL rookies that I'd put ahead of him would be Bryce Harper and Todd Frazier.
Clayton Richard is the most valuable pitcher on the Padres starting pitcher. At first glance his numbers aren't that impressive. To be honest, they probably don't look that great at the second glance, either.
Aside from posting an average W-L record (14-14) and a just barely sub 4.00 ERA (3.99), he also placed fourth in the league in innings pitched with 218.2. Why is that stat so important? Only one other Padre pitcher notched more than 100 innings (Edinson Volquez, 182.2). Only the Rockies had fewer pitchers who threw 100+ innings (1). In case you were wondering, the Cardinals, Brewers, Phillies, and Cubs led the NL with six pitchers who threw 100+ innings. In case it's not apparent, the fewer innings your starter goes, the more your bullpen has to pitch. With all the injuries the Padres had this year, the Padres would've been in even bigger trouble if they hadn't had Richard to be their stopper.
Unfortunately, the more innings you pitch, the more batters you face, and the higher likelihood that they have success off of you. Richard has the dubious honor of leading the NL in hits allowed (228), and homers allowed (31). Those numbers aside, I'm sure that at the beginning of the year that Clayton would've been pretty happy to know that he would go on to allow less earned runs than Tim Lincecum and have as many wins as Clayton Kershaw. Who saw that happening?
Before wrapping up this post, thought I'd make a quick lineup comparison between Opening Day and game 162:
Opening Day Game 162
Cameron Maybin CF Everth Cabrera SS
Chris Denorfia RF Will Venable RF
Chase Headley 3B Chase Headley 3B
Jesus Guzman LF Yasmani Grandal C
Nick Hundley C Yonder Alonso 1B
Yonder Alonso 1B Chris Denorfia LF
Orlando Hudson 2B Cameron Maybin CF
Jason Bartlett SS Andy Parrino 2B
Edinson Volquez P Andrew Warner P
Maybin and Hundley: Huge offensive disappointments this year, with Maybin being moved from leadoff down to 7th, and Hundley being shipped down to the minors. Not a great sign for guys that are signed to the Padres for the next few years.
Hudson and Bartlett: As previously mentioned, all Padre fans are relieved that Hudson and Bartlett are gone. Hiding them in the 7th and 8th slots didn't help matters early on.
Headley and Alonso: In my opinion, both exceeded expectations
Yasmani Grandal: A mid-season call up that made Josh Byrnes look like a genius for orchestrating the Mat Latos deal (heads up: the first-place Reds don't seem to be complaining about the deal).
Chris Denorfia: Given just enough opportunity to show why he's my favorite player on the team (.293 average in just 348 ABs).
Anyways, I'm not usually so heavy on stats in my posts, but now that the season's over, it's cool to look back and see what numbers we'll see on the back of next year's cards. Thanks for a
great exciting memorable interesting year, Padres. I enjoyed most of it, and I'm excited to see the improvements they've made continue into the next season.