Balsley feels pride watching former pupils in WS
Padres pitching coach worked with Royals' Young, Volquez in San Diego
SAN DIEGO -- Darren Balsley won't exactly be glued to his television for each and every pitch of the World Series between the Royals and Mets, but he'll certainly take time to sit down and zero in when two former Padres take the mound.
"I don't watch every inning of every playoff game," said Balsley, who is San Diego's long-time pitching coach. "But it's fun to tune in and see former players playing in meaningful games.
"For me, there's a sense of pride watching former Padres pitching in the playoffs."
Balsley won't have to wait long, as Edinson Volquez, who pitched for the Padres from 2012-13, was scheduled to start in Game 1 for the Royals. Chris Young, slated to get the start in Game 4, pitched in San Diego for five seasons (2006-10).
Balsley, who was named the Padres' pitching coach in May of 2003, certainly has a much longer history with Young, who the Padres acquired from the Rangers in the Adrian Gonzalez deal in January 2006.
"[Young] was targeted. We liked him, I know KT [then-general manager Kevin Towers] liked him," Balsley said. "He's a unique pitcher, not a power pitcher, velocity-wise, but the results were that of a power pitcher. He could get the weak fly ball.
"He was very coachable. He's a very good athlete. He was very good to work with. His work ethic is great. I never had to worry about that. It wasn't even work. I'd say it was more fun."
Young was 33-25 with a 3.60 ERA in 97 starts with the Padres, making his first All-Star team in 2007.
Balsley said that Young used to bristle at the notion of people calling him a fly-ball pitcher. Balsley also pointed to Young's high spin rate with the Padres as a reason why velocity isn't everything.
"He didn't like that. He would say he's a popup pitcher. The perception of a fly-ball pitcher is giving up fly balls to the warning track. But what I like to say about fly balls is there are no bad hops in the air."
Volquez, acquired from the Reds in the megadeal with the Reds in December of 2011 that involved Mat Latos, went 20-21 with a 4.96 ERA in 59 starts. He was durable. He was electric at times and wildly inconsistent at others.
"The stuff was always there. I know [Volquez] didn't have a great stint with us, but there were flashes of brilliance with us. I think he was on the verge of doing really well with us.
"We always said he might be the first Padre to throw a no-hitter. We actually said that about CY, too."