What's wrong with the Padres? With Thursday's 4-0 loss to the Cubs, our Closest Team to Mexico is at 15-27, the worst record in the majors ... that's more horrible than Detroit, folks. The big reason seems to be the strikeouts-per-at-bats ratio, or as scientists call it, tight booties. Just listen to occasional Padres hitting instructor Tony Gwynn, who recalls former San Diego manager Dick Williams once saying that players sometimes fail because of "a tight butt."

"I still use that line today. I just changed it up, but I tell the kids you can't play with a tight booty. There's nothing you can do in the game with a tight booty. You can't run, you can't pitch, you can't hit, you can't do anything."

The Padres struck out 14 times on Thursday, (after whiffing 15 times the night before), creating a breeze in a place that doesn't need the extra wind. The San Diego Union Tribune points out that that's 29 strikeouts in a span of 54 outs and 20 hours. Chicago's Ryan Dempster set a career high with 12 strikeouts Thursday (his previous high this season was seven). On Wednesday, Ted Lilly struck out 11 over six innings.

Over two games, 41 percent of the Padres who stepped into the batter's box walked away without putting the ball in play. Not that they were working the count. Only three Padres drew walks over the course of 18 innings.

The Padres, who have been shut out four times this season, are last in the league in runs scored (140, 3.3 per game) and hitting (.233). Tadahito Iguchi struck out five times in the two games. Greg Maddux gave up 11 hits over 4 1/3 innings, leaving in the fifth following Derrek Lee's two-run double. The Wrigley Field crowd gave the former Cub a standing ovation. Thanks to Gaslamp Ball for pointing out that Gwynn quote.


Brandon Webb Is Probably A Robot. Or a Replicant, whatever they call things that look like us but are three times as powerful. Webb went 9-for-9 for the season, becoming the majors' first nine-game winner in Arizona's 8-5 triumph over Colorado. Of course it helps to have offensive support, as Stephen Drew had two doubles, a triple and a single. No one has won his first 10 starts since San Diego's Andy Hawkins in 1985, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Webb has won 11 straight starts dating to this past September. The Diamondbacks are 8-1 against the Rockies this season.

Introducing Your Last-Place New York Yankees. I really didn't mean to dwell on the negative today, but I've praised the Rays two or three times already this season, and the Yankees would have slipped silently into last place in the AL East had I not pointed it out. Scott Kazmir's first start since agreeing to a $28.5 million contract extension was a winner, and Akinori Iwamura and Shawn Riggans each had homers as first-place Tampa Bay won 5-2. It may be time for George "Little Enos" Steinbrenner to give another pep talk.

Gimme A Big Wet One. Top of the ninth, tie game. Catcher gives a target low and outside to the Astros' Lance Berkman. Giants' reliever Vinnie Chulk throws it inside at the belt. What happened? You freakin' guess!


The Dance, She Is Over. The Indians had to try really hard to break their scoreless innings streak, but they did it. Aaron Laffey gave up an unearned run on his own throwing error which ended the team's streak of scoreless innings by starters at 44 1/3. Howevah, Cleveland won 4-2.

Wizard Cat Defensive Play Of The Day. Wizard Cat is outraged at those fans who claim that Willie Harris' diving catch in the bottom of the ninth may have been a trapped ball. The catch, which robbed the Mets' Ryan Church of extra bases and probably saved the game for the Nationals, was clearly legal, and anyone who says otherwise will deal with a furious cat who is not above using your penis as a scratching post. Wizard Cat gives this catch: Six wands. And now it's time for ...

Wizard Cat's mailbag! (Wizard Cat is a cat, and therefore cannot reply to email. He also cannot read. Email will not be read to him).

• You shouldn't make fun of cats. — Cindy Lehr, Miramar, Calif.

• Are Wizard Cat's abilities limited to rating individual defensive plays, or can it also provide general life advice? Because I've got this upstairs neighbour who is constantly vacuuming, and I'm at my wit's end. — Gourmet Spud


• For a nominal fee, Wizard Cat will sneak into your neighbor's home, claw-up their furniture and shit in their shoes. — Weed Against Speed

• Come back to mommy. I have new poems, and several new outfits for you to try. — Dee Mirich

• Wizard Cat: What do you think of the Jim Edmonds deal? — zebra66

Contact Wizard Cat at WizardCat@live.com