Cokin’s Corner, Wednesday 1/20/16

  • January 20, 2016

I won’t chisel this in granite just yet. But as I was spending some time on Tuesday evening perusing likely depth charts for the upcoming 2016 baseball season, I arrived at a very early conclusion. The San Diego Padres are not only going to be bad, they could well be 100+ losses bad.

Talk about a different tune from last year at this time. There was some genuine excitement surrounding the 2015 possibilities for this franchise. I’ll admit that I was one of the Kool-Aid drinkers. While there were some concerns, most notably involving the infield, there seemed to be much to like. The San Diego rotation looked stellar, the bullpen, which hadn’t yet added Craig Kimbrel, still looked very adequate. With what appeared to be some weakness everywhere but in LA as far as the NL West was concerned, I was among those very bullish on the Padres.

We all know how that worked out. San Diego flashed some promise in April, but that gave way to a very unpleasant balance of the season. The infield was worse than expected, the team didn’t hit nearly as well as they might have, and the starting pitching didn’t dominate, and the outfield defense was really bad. By mid-season, playoff hopes had been dashed and AJ Preller was getting raked over the coals, first for going all-in, and then for not going all-out at the deadline to call it a day and go into rebuild mode.

There will be no high hopes for 2016. Forget about the Diamondbacks, Dodgers and Giants. They’re all miles ahead of the Padres. My initial thoughts are that even the downtrodden Rockies might end up looking down at the Padres in this year’s standings.

The everyday lineup as it stands right now for San Diego is stunningly terrible. Derek Norris, Matt Kemp, and Wil Myers are the three best offensive players. That’s not exactly a murderer’s row. As for the rest of the lineup, the less said the better. The glass half full approach might be that at least the defense will be better, but scoring runs is almost certain to be a major issue again for San Diego.

As for the pitching, there’s Tyson Ross and James Shields, although the latter might be heading into his decline years. Andrew Cashner would benefit from a change in scenery. Brandon Morrow is a very bad bet to stay healthy for an entire season, and Robbie Erlin just hasn’t shown he can get it done every fifth day at this level.

Then there’s the relief corps. I wouldn’t be surprised if Brandon Maurer becomes a good closer if given a real chance to do so. But getting to Maurer is going to be a big area of concern. Quackenbush, Vincent, Pomeranz, etc. is hardly a setup crew that will rival what we’ve seen in Kansas City. Or almost anyplace else, for that matter.

I’ll be looking forward to seeing what the O/U win total is for this team. Again, I won’t call this an absolute just yet, but at 65 or higher, there’s a good chance I’ll be going with the low on this year’s Padres.

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Wow, two straight winning nights! That’s not supposed to be exclamation point material, but the way things have been going, it’s almost reason to get the champagne out of storage. I still managed to lose the one coin flip game at the finish with Butler, but everything else won. Remarkably, or maybe not, I still had to sweat OT with Georgia Southern and Fresno State, so the agita factor remains in play.

In any event, I’m hoping this is the start of a heater. And I mean a major one. For info on my available services, contact me directly via email at cokin@cox.net.

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Good work by the Bruins as they extracted a bit of revenge for the horrendous Winter Classic showing by defeating the Canadiens in Montreal. I’ll stay a little closer to home tonight with a call from the Wednesday Mountain West slate.

569 NEVADA  @  570 WYOMING

Take: NEVADA +3.5

It’s the second time around already for MWC rivals Nevada and Wyoming. The Wolf Pack won the first meeting in Reno, and they’ll go for the series sweep tonight at Laramie.

Nevada has shown some real improvement this season. The Wolf Pack have already exceeded their win total from a year ago, and with Eric Musselman now running the show, fans in Reno have a right to be excited about the future of the program. As for Wyoming, even with the rock solid Larry Shyatt in charge, the Cowboys figured to be down some this season, and that has indeed been the case.

The first game between these two teams was very competitive, with Nevada earning a 71-68 decision. That was a pretty tight game throughout, with eight points the greatest separation at any point. I’d expect more of the same this evening.

Tempo figures to be a key tonight. Nevada wants to push the ball and Wyoming wants to go the snail route. This is clearly a push vs. shove duel with two dramatically different philosophies going head to head. Being that this game is in Laramie, I won’t be surprised if Shyatt wins the pace battle.

But that doesn’t mean that Wyoming automatically gets the win by slowing the Wolf Pack down. Breaking down this game categorically, the fact is that the guys from Reno get multiple check marks when matched up head to head with the Cowboys.

I think a vital factor tonight will be Wyoming’s accuracy from the field. If the Cowboys are able to knock down shots on a regular basis, the scattershot Wolf Pack could be in trouble. But in looking at what took place in the first game. even that’s not an absolute.  In that matchup, Wyoming did a terrific job hitting their threes, got to the foul line on a more frequent basis, won the offensive glass battle, and still lost the basketball game. What that tells me is that Nevada was able to garner a win in spite of not having a great game statistically, and I think that bodes fairly well for them tonight.

The revenge factor is in play for Wyoming, but Shyatt is just 6-9 outright in conference revenge games since returning to the Wyoming sidelines. In fairness, he’s done okay when trying to avenge a road loss, while actually going 0-7 when it’s the other way around. I also see that revenge angle being in the line to a minimal extent, as I made this game Wyoming -2. But this is more on matchup than value for me, and I see Nevada having a good chance to win again on that count. I’ll take the available points with the Wolf Pack tonight.