I just stared at the Baseball Reference page for the San Diego Padres for 30 minutes. I did not cut a hole in a box and look at the reflection. I did not wear special glasses. This is my story.
Studying the stats
Light-headness, nausea, possible boredom and/or depression
The stats turn into one of those Magic Eye things, and you see a unicorn.
The unicorn eventually gets tired and takes a nap. So do you. When you wake up, you're covered in camouflage and bitterness.
The Padres, even when they're good, are a little soporific. Now they don't even have Adrian Gonzalez. They have a riveting farm system, though! The Giants aren't playing their farm system this week. Which is probably a good thing because the farm system is really good, but it's a bad thing because we don't get to see players with names like Jedd Gyorko, Amadeo Zazueta, and Beemer Weems. If I were an announcer, I'd make up a special call for Weems -- "Mmmmm-mmm, that was a real weem-beemer from Beemer Weems!"
Also, I'd use mmmmmmm-mmm before every home-run call. E-mail me for more information, Lee Hammer.
But these are just the regular Padres. And they're having a discouraging, miserable season. Does that mean the Giants should expect to roll into San Diego and come out with a series win? How cute. You must be from Finland. No, that's not how baseball works. But before this series, at least, the Padres have been in a dark place.
So here are a few things I noticed about the Padres after staring at their Baseball Reference page and going on a vision quest:
• The Padres have used a lot of players. The Giants have had their fair share of injuries and suck-related demotions, so they've used 33 players this year. The Padres have used 42 players. They've used 21 pitchers -- nine different starters. They've been riddled with injuries.
• Bad things happen to players who want to stay in San Diego. Nick Hundley was just signed to a decent-sized extension; he's hit like Matt Cain. Cameron Maybin signed an extension; he's hit like Aaron Rowand. Cory Luebke signed an extension; he's out for the year after Tommy John surgery. Chase Headley carries pepper spray on his person in case someone from the front office approaches him with a piece of paper.
• Remember when Jesus Guzman was the best hitter in baseball? Feels like we didn't talk about that enough. He was almost like a proto-Belt, with a small-but-vocal free-Guzman movement back in 2009. Then he doubled his walk rate in the minors and had the same OPS+ as Giancarlo Stanton and Evan Longoria last year. He's bad again.
• Who's the worst hitting glove-first shortstop from Mountain View? Ah, ah, ah, not so fast, Brandon Crawford. You're actually the best! Here's a ribbon. No, Jason Bartlett has been the worst hitting glove-first shortstop from Mountain View. Rumor has it they built the Shoreline on top of landfill that was mostly made from Hal Lanier baseball cards. Crawford's had a rough year. Bartlett has been unbelievably awful.
• Alex Hinshaw is on the Padres, and he has an at-bat this year. He struck out looking.
• Mark Kotsay is still active
• Mark Kotsay is on the Padres
• Mark Kotsay is hitting .324 with a home run.
• Mark Kotsay's first game against the Giants came in a complete-game shutout by Shawn Estes
• Jeff Suppan was on the Padres
• Now Jason Marquis is on the Padres
• Jeff Suppan and Jason Marquis were actually different people this whole time
There are still 15 games left against the Padres this year.
I can't ...
Screw it. I know how to make this interesting.
I think every Padres series preview is just going to be this video and nothing else. Not because I'm totally living in the past (I mean, I am), but because I've run out of things to write about the Padres.
Hitter to watch
You see all of those hitters up there? Yeah, they're going to go nuts. I'm not superstitious, it's just that I believe that the universe cares about the things I write and reacts accordingly to punish me and only me. But I'm not superstitious.
Pitcher to watch
Anthony Bass hasn't become one of those super annoying Padres pitchers yet, probably because I can squint and pretend that he's like a Tim Lincecum who isn't broken. That comforts me.
Three Giants/Padres games.