Bell blows first save at home

Saturday September 12, 2009

The San Diego Padres lead every inning going into the 9th.

Closer Heath Bell came in and it looked like the Padres would continue to be hot and take the 1st game of the series with Colorado.

And then the unthinkable happened. Heath Bell couldn’t find the plate and walked two of the first 4 batter and gave up 4 runs for his first blown save of the season at Petco Park.

Game over. Padres lose 4-1 to the Colorado Rockies.

A bevy of Padres relievers had pitched 8 scoreless innings prior to Bell’s appearance. Led by Mujica who threw 4 scoreless innings and two effective appearances by Sean Gallagher and Adam Russell.

Then Joe “Becky” Thatcher was brought in to face the lefties in the 7th and nearly gave the game away. Thatcher hit Helton, struck out Hawpe, and then gave up a double to Hawpe. How he got a “hold” for that one I don’t know. For Thatcher’s second straight appearance and third in his last 5, Gregerson had to come in and pull his fat out of the fire.

Regardless of the hype from Corey Brock at, Thatcher has just not been effective in pressure situations. In 21 opportunities he has just 4 holds.

Sometimes stats like ERA just don’t tell the real story. Thatcher has a great ERA. Mostly because he only allows other pitchers runs to score and he is taken out of the game after he fails to get out his batters out like last night, but without giving up a run. Others are left to clean up his messes and luckily for the Padres, Gregerson and others have been able to on a consistent basis.

When Gregerson or other relievers come in and pick him up, Thatcher’s ERA doesn’t go up even though he was totally ineffective, like his last 3 of his last 5 appearances.

Even holds can be a deceiving stat. 2 of Thatchers 4 holds have been in situations where he came in for a single batter. Last night he was totally ineffective, hitting a batter and giving up a double before being pulled, but he still got a hold.

Since being called up on July 20th he has 3 appearances in which he failed to even record an out and another 6 in which he was pulled mid-inning. In other words in 25 appearances since he was recalled from the minors, he has failed to get the job done 36% of the time including 3 of his last 5 appearances, but did it without giving up an earned run. So Thatcher’s stats look good, but he still failed at his job. Someone else, namely Luke Gregerson lately, had to come in and saved his worthless behind.

Do you get the idea I don’t like Joe “Becky” Thatcher? Well you would be correct. What I don’t like even more is the media campaign by Brock and others to push this loser on the fans of San Diego.

Ok enough of my influenza influenced tirade.

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