Saturday, August 20, 2005

X Man Returneth?

As I mentioned earlier this week, neither Paul nor I feel much like writing about baseball these days since the NL West is such a slovenly division. But a couple of bust-out offensive days by my Padres against NL East leaders Atlanta has buoyed my spirits, at least temporarily.

Of course, no buoyed spirit in Padreville is buoyed without a healthy dose of bitterness. Which brings me to today's topic: Xavier Nady.

The talented Nady has been blocked from a roster spot on the Padres for a couple of seasons by such "luminaries" as the since-departed Phil Nevin and Jay Payton, as well as Ryan Klesko and Sean Burroughs. He's been promoted to San Diego several times over the last few years to caddy for the aforementioned jokers, but manager Bruce "I Never Met a Talented Young Player I Would Play Over a Career Bench Jockey" Bochy just refuses to give the kid at-bats. I've mentioned this miscarriage of justice several times this season, most recently in my Bon Voyage Phil Nevin post but also in June with my The X Man Cometh post.

When Nevin was dealt on July 30, I was optimistic that Nady would get more ABs. But alas, career back-up and pinch-hitter Mark Sweeney (who is a fantastic role-player) is basically splitting time with X. While I have no problems with Sweeney (save his bone-headed base-running errors), Nady is clearly the better offensive player. And this matters on a team which struggles to score runs.

So Bochy gave all Padres fans a treat the last couple days in Atlanta by starting Nady both days. The result? On Friday, Nady had three hits in five at-bats and scored a run to key a Pads 12-7 win. Today, the Nady was 0-5 as the Pads battled the Braves to a 2-2 tie in regulation play. But in the top of the thirteenth, the X Man clubbed a grand-slam which propelled the Friars to a 7-2 victory over the NL East leaders.

Look I'm a simple man. I like simple pleasures. Like the lilting scent of freshly mowed grass at a baseball diamond. In particular, I like the sight of well-played baseball. But if there's one thing I want in this life it's to watch winning Padres baseball. Is it too much to ask Bruch Bochy to play his most talented players every day? Difference makers? Anyone? Bueller?

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