My friend Q and I got back into it. He is still a Dodgers fan living in Texas and I am still a Padres fan trying to deal with the ups and downs of the season while somehow being-what feels like-the only person defending Bud Black. Enjoy.

NICHOLAS MCCANN Friday May 22nd 11:34am PST

Dear Q,

The Padres are two games under .500 and five games back of the Dodgers. This is where we stand. As a whole, the NL West has pretty much kept itself under the radar in the national baseball conversation. The current standings are about what most people thought they would be and little change is anticipated. It looks like it will be LA and SF battling it out for the Division and one of them will likely get a Wild Card.

I’m sure you love this.

Matt Kemp is scaring people down here. We puffed our chests out and now he looks old. There is obviously a hole in his swing because something is ailing him. It’s tricky because Bud Black doesn’t want to sit him or move him down in the lineup because of what it will mean symbolically to the team and the fan base after our December to remember.

I hope he bounces back against his old team. It’s only May, but the clock is ticking.

Nick

Q Friday May 22nd 4:45pm PST

Nick,

Strange to start this way, but can we talk about the Giants?  Have you seen the guys on their team?  Angel Pagan is batting 3rd!  Other than Bumgarner, they have no one who would even be a good 4th starter.  Bullpen is fine, but meh.  How do they do this?

Ok, back to your therapy.  Kemp gon’ Kemp.  He was hot garbage the first part of last year, then had 6 weeks or so of MVP Kemp.  I expect the same, following his 2nd DL trip, which will likely end approximately August 18th. This isn’t your most pressing issue.

It’s the defense, dude.

Sabermetrics is, admittedly, behind a bit when it comes to measuring defense. There are different metrics that measure different things.  DRS measures “runs saved,” ARM measures how well runners are kept from advancing, UZR measures how many balls hit into a players ‘zone’ are played correctly and so on.

By pretty much any measure, the Padres outfield is last.  Like, dead last.  Historically, only 10% of these teams make the playoffs and only one has won the World Series. Add that to the fact that Petco’s biggest strength is holding fly balls in and, probability-wise, you are likely dead in the water already if nothing changes.

And, yes, I’m talking about your shortcomings to avoid saying that the Dodgers are limping home after being swept AGAIN by the Giants, Kershaw isn’t Kershaw (and it’s been long enough that it at least might mean something), and we haven’t scored a run since Fatboy Slim was the future of EDM.

On the other hand:

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Zach will be accepting your first born sons in exchange for a quick death.

Welcome to Doyertown.

The Dodgers won Game One 2-1.

NICHOLAS MCCANN Saturday May 23rd 1:22pm PST

Q,

I agree with you on the Giants. I don’t know how they do it, but they are going to be around until the end of the race. Will the Padres poke their heads in to that conversation? It feels still in play, but we’re worried.

The defense is the biggest problem. The infield hasn’t been solidified and the outfield is worse than I thought it would be. All signs pointed towards being one of the worst defenses in the league, but I didn’t think it would be this bad. It’s pretty jarring to watch because every ball hit can be a problem.

People down here want Bud Black’s head for being 3 games under .500. I’m not ready to go there yet, but the torches and pitchforks are out for most people. I think there are glaring problems with the roster that have created this result. I don’t see the in-game-managerial decisions to be the big factor.

Zack Greinke got us last night. Hopefully we’ll avoid the sweep. Feel free to send me broom pics if it happens.

Q Saturday May 23rd 4:43pm PST

Nick,

You need to exorcise that Greinke demon. One way would be to figure out a way to do more charity work; I’m thinking doing household chores for people with broken collarbones. Or if you don’t want to go the karma route, cover Carlos Quentin in chicken blood and symbolically flog him with his favorite crutch, chanting “Plate Crowder! Plate Crowder!”

Of course, the fan base at large wants the manager’s head. One cursory listen to callers on sports talk radio tells you that most people are unrealistic. Two things can happen when a starving fan base is thrown a bone. One, they are so beaten down that the think the bone is a trick and refuse to embrace it, in fear of more disappointment (see Manziel, Johnny). The other more common reaction is to think that bone is a filet mignon and that the championship is now in the bag. Sounds like y’all are the latter. Bud Black is who he is. He wasn’t a great manager when he won once in a while with crap talent and he’s not bad now. I mean what is he supposed to do, sub in Venable in the 2nd inning every time the Pads lead? Rub Kemp’s knees himself between innings? Clearly, this is not his fault. If he is fired, this will tell you a lot about this Preller guy, none of it good.

I never heard of our next two starting pitchers. So if you’re gonna win the series, I’d start now.

The Dodgers won Game Two 2-0

NICHOLAS MCCANN Sunday May 24th 10:37am PST

Q,

Are you aware that the Padres drafted Johnny Manziel in baseball? You don’t have to answer that. Look, I just think people are used to some much losing with Bud Black navigating through it. I think he deserves this season to prove what he can do.

Justin Upton got ejected last night and Buddy stuck up for him with out getting tossed. What are your thoughts on that? Was it pointed? Was it a message?

Congrats, you won the series.

The Padres smashed the Dodgers 11-3

Q Monday May 25th Memorial Day 10:21am PST

Nick

Well, if they gave series wins based on total runs, you’d have it. Might want to spread those out next time.

Ejection-wise….I mean…..would you want to hang around and watch your team get one hit by someone named Ballslinger? Has there ever been a name that is both so appropriate for a pitcher yet inappropriate for a human being? I mean besides Mark Grant. But hey, Justin Upton killed us yesterday by himself , so I suppose you could say it worked.

As far as Bud, you gotta fall on the sword for your best player. Really, your only player. I mean, imagine your season without Justin Upton on a 20/20 pace and batting .300? You really should lock him up long term, so he will go into a 6 week slump.

I wanted your expectations to be higher for the year, but maybe you hit it right on the mark. It’s an exciting year relatively, right? Just happy to be here.

Dodger-wise….I’m worried. Both the staff after Greinke and the bottom of the lineup look pretty bad. And Mattingly ain’t exactly up for the Joe Maddon Strategy Award. Luckily, we can trade for any expensive pitcher that we want and buy at least a playoff spot. Someday that will be you, too (it won’t be).

Good luck with the Chargers. Everything coming up roses in SD!

Dodgers won the series 2-1. We will meet again.

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