You spilled the salt!
I feel like that’s what you should yell after your Hodgepadre gives up more than three earned runs at home. Raise the fences PETCO! When your Hodgepadre spills the salt, you have to throw the shaker over your shoulder.
But what if your Hodgepadre is un-throwable? Mat Latos sure toed the line last year, but ended strong. Cory Luebke stayed on the table all last year but won’t even be in the restaurant until mid-May next year. But beyond that it’s been a revolving door of spilled salt everywhere for the Padres pitching staff the past few seasons. Wait, where was I going with this?
Oh yea! Anthony Bass. Could he become the Hodgepadre a lot of people are hoping he can become? Flashing nearly a K per inning and all the peripherals to make you love those camo-jerseys, and Anthony could get some serious Pet-co-ed Bass up in San Diego.
Still out there in tons of leagues, I watched Bass’s start against the Angels on Sunday afternoon to see how his stuff looks and if he’s the Hodgepadre that can keep your roster on a low-sodium diet. Here’s how he looked:
First Inning: Bass’s first pitch is a 93-MPH fastball right down the middle for a strike to Mike Trout. His second pitch hits 95 but is down and a tad outside, 1-1. I’ve never watched much of Bass; he’s got a ton of body motion going into his pitches that’s got to be a little deceptive to hitters, especially in an interleague game where there’s not much of a scouting report on him. Trout works it to 3-1 and bangs one up the gap for a leadoff single. How dangerous is Mike Trout looking right now? The first pitch to Maicer Izturis is a wild one that skips a few feet away from Nick Hundley, but Trout didn’t pick it up and can’t advance. There’s a break early on for Bass. Bass then checks on Trout and almost picks him off; he’s got a pretty nice pickoff move and is holding Trout well. On 2-1, Trout takes off, and even with a perfect throw from Hundley and Trout without a huge lead, Trout barely gets in safe to second. I attribute that more to Trout than any shortcomings in Bass’s ability to hold runners. On 3-2, Izturis grounds out weakly to first, but it moves Trout to third with one out. Falling behind 1-0 to Albert Pujols, Bass dials up a nasty slider for a swing a miss, 1-1. Nice 87-MPH breaking pitch there. On 2-1, Pujols dribbles one that goes only about 10 feet from the plate, and he’s thrown out by Hundley without scoring Trout. Wow, what is the deal, Machine? On 0-1 to Mark Trumbo, Bass hangs a slider that was a horrific pitch you never want to see. Trumbo crushes it to the wall and is safe with an RBI-double. Left fielder Blake Tekote crashed into the wall almost nabbing that one, advantage Petco. That’s a home run virtually anywhere else, and if you started Bass, Petco just saved you a run. Either way, Trout is in, 1-0 Angels. After Howie Kendrick swings and misses on a slider for 2-2, he takes a fastball painting the inside corner for strike three and Bass’s first K.
Second Inning: Bass falls behind early to Vernon Wells 2-0, and on 3-1, Bass loses him for a leadoff walk. He bounces back though going up 1-2 on Erik Aybar, then on 2-2 he ties up Aybar on an inside slider that made Aybar look silly. Nice pitch right there, 2 Ks for Bass. On 1-0 to catcher Bobby Wilson, Wells takes off and steals second, but to the detriment of his arthritis. He looks a little beat up right now, shaking his hand. Bass went with a slightly higher leg kick on his delivery from the stretch; I don’t think he thought Wells was going there. Maybe I was wrong about him holding runners… On a 2-1 change-up, Wilson bangs one to the pitcher, and Bass is able to poke his left foot out to smother the ball and throws him out at first. Fantastic play right there. And with a man on third with two outs, Bass now gets Ervin Santana, and promptly strikes him out on three straight pitches. Oh, to pitch in the NL.
Third Inning: Back to the top of the order, and on 2-1 Mike Trout laces one to center, but it’s caught by center fielder Cameron Maybin while backpedalling. Maybe there’s been something spotted by the Padres pitching coaches, but Bass’s fastball is sitting 90-92 now, and none are at 94 or 95 like we saw in the first… Maybe he was overthrowing early. On 1-1 to Izturis, Bass goes with a change-up to get Izturis to once again ground out to first, two down. And right after it looks like a quick inning, Bass loses Pujols to a four-pitch walk. The first pitch to Trumbo is a 93-MPH fastball barely outside for a ball, so there’s a little added velocity resurfacing. Bass again falls behind, now 3-1 to Trumbo and already at 55 pitches. And the 56th pitch is ball four, two straight two-out walks. After again falling behind 2-1 to Kendrick, Bass pours in a tough fastball for strike two, then gets Kendrick to swing and miss on a slider in the dirt to get out of the inning.
Fourth Inning: The first pitch to Peter Bourjos, in for Vernon Wells, is a slider way outside 1-0. Wells indeed hurt himself on the slide to second in the 2nd inning. On a 2-2 change-up, Bourjos taps it down the third base line, and with his speed he’s safe at first without a throw from Headley. On the first pitch to Aybar, he slaps it to third with Headley playing in protecting the bunt, and with the ball hit that hard and with Headley in, the Padres are able to double up a very speedy set of runners in Bourjos and Aybar. Nice defense there from the Padres infield. 1-1 to Wilson, and the opposing catcher rips one down the line, just foul. The next pitch is a 93-MPH fastball on the fists that Wilson grounds weakly to short, and Bass has another scoreless frame.
Fifth Inning: Bass starts the fifth by striking out Santana on four pitches, and Bass’s 5th K on the day. And then on the first pitch, Bass hangs another slider or change-up, (I couldn’t really tell it was just a nothing pitch at 80-MPH that didn’t break) which Trout crushes for a home run. Man, Mike Trout is awesome, all three of his at bats were hard hit balls. 2-0 Angels. Bass works a full count to Izturis, and for the third time gets him to ground out softly to the right side, this time to short, two down. On 2-0 to Pujols, Bass throws a solid slider this time that Pujols misses, 2-1. The next pitch is a fastball way outside, then Bass throws a meh change-up that Pujols bangs to third, but Headley is able to dive and catch it for the final out. Nice defense from Chase Headley today, and he robs a hit from Pujols.
Sixth Inning: With two runs of support to tie up the game, Bass gets Trumbo to fly out softly to right, one down. The Padres bullpen begins warming up, suggesting this will be Bass’s final inning with him due to bat in the bottom of the frame. On the first pitch to Kendrick, it’s lined into right for a first-pitch single. On 1-2 to Bourjos, Bass turns on a pickoff move that Kendrick was fooled on for an easy pickoff. So maybe I was right with Bass’s ability to hold runners… And the next pitch is a 93-MPH fastball that Bourjos swings through, and Bass ends his day with his 6th strikeout. He’s lifted for a pinch hitter, and leaves with a no decision.
Final Line: ND 6 Innings 97 Pitches (53 Strikes)
5 Hits 3 Walks 2 Earned Runs 6 Ks
Final Analysis: All said and done, Bass gave you exactly what you wanted from any Hodgepadre – a quality start and 6 Ks in 6 innings to boot. But I wasn’t exactly blown away. Bass got caught up with some high pitch counts (barely half his pitches were strikes), and when you’re on such a scuffling NL offense and still a young starter, you’re going to pulled early for pinch hitters.
Bass’s mechanics are sound and he utilizes a delivery that uses a lot of body motion that’s got to be slightly deceptive to hitters. My hesitation stems from just all-around inconsistencies. His fastball was 94-95 early on, then was 90-91 for a stretch, then built back up to 93 and fell back down to the 90 range, all the while not consistently getting strikes. He did dial up a 93-MPH heater to end his outing, but his fastball was all over the radar gun. His slider is nasty when on, but he had trouble with hangers, as early as the first inning with that booming RBI-double from Trumbo. His change-up also seemed to be a bit of a work in progress and didn’t do too much to keep hitters off his fastball or slider.
In the end, Bass is still my favorite Hodgepadre right now. He clearly has the stuff to be a K per 9 guy, but it will come at the cost of high pitch counts and early exits. Working in the NL and in Petco benefitted Bass greatly in this game alone with a home run staying inside the park from Trumbo and seven pitches leading to two easy strikeouts against Ervin Santana (given he’s an AL pitcher and NL pitches will probably work him harder, but it counts on the stat sheet nonetheless). If you’re streaming guys, Bass is a great pickup for his Petco starts against poor offenses, but I don’t think he’s a set-it and forget-it starter to keep on your roster all year. The inconsistent stuff has me a bit worried and it’s going to be tough to get many wins with that brutal offense backing him up.