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4.04.2006

Opening Day Notes and Quotes 

* Jason Schmidt was throwing harder than last year. According to the FSN gun, his fastball ranged from 90-92 with an occasional 93 or 94. That's not as fast as he used to throw regularly, but it's plenty if his other stuff is working. Which it wasn't -- he threw at most three good changeups all game, and he left several breaking pitches up. At least he lasted longer than Barry Zito, who took the earliest exit of his career against the Yankees.

* Jake Peavy is the spitting image of Kevin Brown (ED. NOTE: the 1998 version, not the 2005 version): the big leg kick, the herky-jerky motion, the fastballs at 92 to 96 and moving all over the place. Nasty, even though like Schmidt he had trouble all game with his off-speed pitches. Their ace is better than our ace; no surprise there. Best pitch of the day: one at-bat after Bonds sliced a tailing fastball over the center-field wall on a hop, Peavy busted Barry's hands with a cutter and forced a weak pop-up.

* It's the rest of the Padres rotation that raises eyebrows. Shawn Estes, #2, followed by Chris Young, Woody Williams, and Dewon Brazelton? It's a sure sign of the sad decline of Chan Ho Park that he couldn't crack this starting five.

* Mike Piazza: who cares about his inability to throw runners out when no one's getting on base. If he can hit crazy-huge opposite-field home runs, the Padres will be happy. Lesson: do not let him get his hands extended. Learned: the at-bat after his home run, Schmidt busted him inside and got him to pop up.

* Quote of the day: "The difficult thing with Jake is, one of his balls moves one way and one moves the other way." - Lance Niekro, telling us things we'd prefer not to know.

* Made-up quote of the day: "All I need is some cool bud and some tasty hanging change-ups, and I'm fine!" - Khalil Greene, shown below getting ready for the game in the Padres' clubhouse.


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