Adams nearly flawless to start season

Adams nearly flawless to start season

Adams nearly flawless to start season
CHICAGO -- Lost in the hubbub over the Padres' 10-inning, 1-0 loss at Wrigley Field on Monday was yet another perfect outing from reliever Mike Adams, who retired the side in the ninth.

That left Adams one batter short of a multi-outing perfect game. He's retired 26 straight batters since allowing a solo homer to St. Louis' Matt Holliday on March 31 -- the second batter he faced this season. Overall, Adams has set down 27 of the 28 hitters. Padres manager Bud Black says Adams could well be perfect with a little bit of luck.

"That was a great pitch, too," said Black of the ball Holliday hit out. "Down and away."

The success is nothing new for Adams. He posted a 0.73 ERA in 2009 and a 1.76 mark last season. Not that the righty would be willing to discuss such things.

"I don't talk about stats," says Adams, perhaps exhibiting a time-tested bit of ballplayer superstition.

Fair enough. Adams is at least willing to admit that things are going particularly well for him at the moment, though he's not doing anything stylistically that he hasn't done in the past.

"I feel pretty much the same," said Adams. "I think I'm pretty locked in right now. I take every game one step at a time. Every time I take the mound, I'm focused on what I've got to do and keeping the ball down."

It's been a gradual rise for Adams, who bounced back and forth from the Minors for most of his career before becoming a vital cog in the Padres' bullpen the last few seasons. One thing that sets Adams apart from most short relievers is his repertoire. Whereas pitchers of his type usually rely on one or two pitches, Adams throws four pitches, perhaps five if you count both two- and four-seam fastballs.

"The more you can do, the better you can be," said Adams. "It allows you to throw something different at a hitter whenever you can. It allows them not to sit on one or two pitches.

"Every once in awhile, you throw them a surprise pitch and you don't even have to throw it for a strike. You just show it to them and they have it at the back of their head. They can't just sit there and ambush you."

All that makes Adams the kind of pitcher suggested by his amazing results: Almost perfect.

"He's a very talented pitcher," said Black. "He has great stuff, is deceptive, has a good head on his shoulders -- everything you look for in a late-inning reliever. He has the ability to get the strikeout, has the ability to get the ground ball, throws the ball to both sides of the plate, is effective to both right- and left-handed hitters, fields his position.

"Add it all up, you've got a pretty good pitcher."