04/20/11 2:48 PM ET
Adams nearly flawless to start season
By Bradford Doolittle / Special to MLB.com
That left Adams one batter short of a multi-outing perfect game. He's retired 26 straight batters since allowing a solo homer to St. Louis' Matt Holliday on March 31 -- the second batter he faced this season. Overall, Adams has set down 27 of the 28 hitters. Padres manager Bud Black says Adams could well be perfect with a little bit of luck.
"That was a great pitch, too," said Black of the ball Holliday hit out. "Down and away."
The success is nothing new for Adams. He posted a 0.73 ERA in 2009 and a 1.76 mark last season. Not that the righty would be willing to discuss such things.
"I don't talk about stats," says Adams, perhaps exhibiting a time-tested bit of ballplayer superstition.
Fair enough. Adams is at least willing to admit that things are going particularly well for him at the moment, though he's not doing anything stylistically that he hasn't done in the past.
"I feel pretty much the same," said Adams. "I think I'm pretty locked in right now. I take every game one step at a time. Every time I take the mound, I'm focused on what I've got to do and keeping the ball down."
It's been a gradual rise for Adams, who bounced back and forth from the Minors for most of his career before becoming a vital cog in the Padres' bullpen the last few seasons. One thing that sets Adams apart from most short relievers is his repertoire. Whereas pitchers of his type usually rely on one or two pitches, Adams throws four pitches, perhaps five if you count both two- and four-seam fastballs.
"The more you can do, the better you can be," said Adams. "It allows you to throw something different at a hitter whenever you can. It allows them not to sit on one or two pitches.
"Every once in awhile, you throw them a surprise pitch and you don't even have to throw it for a strike. You just show it to them and they have it at the back of their head. They can't just sit there and ambush you."
All that makes Adams the kind of pitcher suggested by his amazing results: Almost perfect.
"He's a very talented pitcher," said Black. "He has great stuff, is deceptive, has a good head on his shoulders -- everything you look for in a late-inning reliever. He has the ability to get the strikeout, has the ability to get the ground ball, throws the ball to both sides of the plate, is effective to both right- and left-handed hitters, fields his position.
"Add it all up, you've got a pretty good pitcher."
Bullpen consistently a boon for Padres
CHICAGO -- One of the most volatile aspects of putting together a ballclub from season to season is the bullpen, as relief pitchers can be inconsistent. It's a fact that concerns managers all around the Majors, but in San Diego, an effective bullpen has become almost a given.
"It's a number of factors," said Padres manager Bud Black. "First of all, the general managers have done a great job of recognizing talent, both within the organization to retain guys and also to identify guys on the open market that we think will be a good fit in our ballpark.
"Combine the front office with the pitching coaches, [pitching coach] Darren [Balsley] and [bullpen coach] Darrel [Akerfelds] both do a great job coaching our pitchers. In regards to the bullpen, they've been so integral to the success of those pitchers as far as game-planning, pitch selection, how they're used -- all those things."
The Padres currently rank third in the National League with a 2.75 bullpen ERA. Last season, San Diego led the circuit with a 2.81 mark. In 2009, the Padres were sixth at 3.75. Closer Heath Bell has converted 38 consecutive save opportunities, the longest active streak in baseball and the eighth-longest since 1919. Reliever Mike Adams, who has a 1.00 ERA over nine innings so far this season, says the success is infectious.
"It's become a little bit contagious, as far as the relief pitchers are concerned," said Adams. "We have a good group and they continue to bring in good replacements for the guys that we lose. The camaraderie that we have in the bullpen catches on, and when we go out there, we have a common goal: Put up zeroes. And it's contagious."
Moseley keeps perspective amid bad luck
CHICAGO -- The Padres went into Wednesday's doubleheader opener at Wrigley Field hoping to finally score some runs for starter Dustin Moseley. If they scored even once, it would surpass what they've given Moseley so far this season.
San Diego has been shut out in all three of Moseley's starts. If that sounds unusual, it is. It last happened to Detroit's Kenny Rogers in 2008. Before that, you have to go back to 1972, when the Angels were shut out in each of the first three starts by Rudy May. Moseley seems to take it all in stride.
"You just got to worry about what you can control, and that's going out and doing my job," said Moseley. "I leave the rest up to the game of baseball. [The hitters] could go out and score all sorts of runs for me in the next 10 outings. It's just part of it."
Moseley has been holding up his end of the bargain. He's allowed just four earned runs in 19 2/3 innings in three quality starts, giving him a sparkling 1.83 ERA. Yet his win-loss record stands at 0-3. It's enough to get under the skin of a lot of pitchers, but Padres manager Bud Black isn't worried about that happening with Moseley.
"I think it can be a frustration with certain pitchers, most notably with young pitchers," said Black. "In our case with Mose, he's got a great head on his shoulders. He's got a great perspective of this game. At 29 years old, he's been around the block a little bit.
"He knows that this number of starts he's going through, it happens. At some point in his career, it may have happened before -- in the Minors or a few of his Major League starts."
Black mindful of weather-related risks
CHICAGO -- While the temperatures at Wrigley Field were still very un-San Diegoish for Wednesday's doubleheader -- barely pushing 40 degrees at game time -- there were at least patches of blue in a mostly overcast sky and a forecast calling for little threat of precipitation.
That stands in stark contrast to the previous two days. On Monday, rain, sleet and snow pelted Chicago most of the day, though it was mostly dry during the Cubs' 1-0 win in 10 innings. On Tuesday, heavy rain, gusting winds, low temperatures and even some lightning storms made for brutal conditions. As a result, the Cubs called the game off well before the gates were open to the fans, and Wednesday's twin bill was scheduled.
Padres manager Bud Black is circumspect when pointing to weather factors, even though his team is used to the much cozier conditions of PETCO Park.
"In games like this, when you're in this game as a player, especially as a pitcher or a catcher, you don't feel the cold," Black said on Monday, sitting in a dugout warmed by a heater that sounded a little like a jet engine. "You're working and you're exerting energy, keeping yourself warm. I worry least about the pitchers, really. Pitchers and catchers."
What about when teams are forced to play on a sloppy field, with a muddy infield and a slushy outfield? At what point does safety become a concern?
"The only thing you worry about is if you have a player who is playing through an injury," said Black. "He's able to play, he's bothered by something. Then you might be a little more aware of the field conditions and the weather. Slippery outfield, whether it's really cold, it might affect a small muscle strain.
"Right now [knocks on wood], we're in good shape. We don't have a player with a nagging injury where we'd have to be concerned with the conditions."
One practical matter arising from the doubleheader was the disruption it causes to the Padres' rotation. San Diego doesn't have a day off until April 28, which could leave Black short a starter. However, he wasn't ready to address that problem after learning of Tuesday's postponement.
When asked if the Padres might call up a starter for the weekend, Black said. "Not necessarily. Maybe. It's possible, yeah. Unless somebody goes on three days' rest."
After pausing, Black added, "Let's get through tomorrow and we'll tackle those questions when they arise."
Bradford Doolittle is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.