One of baseball’s best months is here, but when looking at the Padres, you thinking sparklers or duds? We know the answer as no one needs to light a match.
July with all its baseball, fireworks and apple pie has arrived but only the Padres core fans are keeping the faith.
Yeah, I’m bummed about it, too. A season that began with such promise has segued into a season like so many others. The fourth-place Padres are just that, sitting five games under .500 and seven behind the first-place Dodgers.
Beat L.A.? That’s cool. But when having fewer wins than only six other National League teams, the Padres can’t be picky. They’ll take a victory over any body, any time and how did they get in this mess?
There’s still time for the Padres to mount a charge, to prove everyone wrong, to get into the playoff picture which they photo-bombed in the offseason. With three months of baseball left teams often change, standings can flip and an outcast finds a role in the postseason.
Then again one sits through another listless performance like Tuesday. The Padres were one-hit by a Mariners pitcher making his sixth start. Mike Montgomery looked like Sandy Koufax and I never thought I would type that line, either.
So the Padres were shut out for the 12th time — no team has produced more goose eggs after nine innings. To put it in perspective last year’s Padres, which hit like Greece saves money, were blanked on 19 occasions.
Putting the ball in play remains an issue. Starting pitching bobs like a raft in the ocean. When eyeing the defense, why does it seem rivals get a rover while the Padres just keep chasing the ball, over and over?
The question to be repeated is this: when do the Padres go all Kobey’s Swap Meet and start peddling pieces?
July lets folks look to the sky and go ‘wow’! July also lets baseball folks eye their teams and go ‘ugh’! July comes with the trading deadline and does anyone really think the Padres will be buyers?
So, just what would All-Star outfielder Justin Upton return? The Padres are three months from the season ending, as well as their association with Upton.
If Preller isn’t contemplating about moving Upton, he should.
When Preller went about upending the Padres’ roster, it came with a cost. Youngsters like Joe Ross, Matt Wisler, Jesse Hahn, Brad Boxberger and Trea Turner were shown the door and that wasn’t a bad thing.
The Padres needed a makeover and those beauty docs in La Jolla couldn’t help. Instead a transfusion of excitement was what the wobbly organization required, and it got it. But it hasn’t worked as planned and welcome to baseball. It’s a game with three outs an inning and that’s among the only guarantees.
The key is recognizing when something ain’t right and Preller did that when canning Bud Black. Unfortunately the Padres are still a horse of a different color.
Pat Murphy replaced Black and we can’t notice a difference. Murphy is a hoot and spins baseball yarns with the best of them. But he’s learning on a job that won’t be his on next year’s opening day.
So as the Padres sink, the man at the helm needs to do more than tread water. In a season which featured rough seas — not one four-game winning streak — Preller has to be as active in July as he was in the offseason.
Replenish the depleted farm system by moving Upton. See if anyone will bite on Joaquin Benoit now that Craig Kimbrel is in the fold. Ask around about Will Middlebrooks. If sold on Derek Norris, could Austin Hedges be a valuable piece? We know Matt Kemp is untouchable — no other team will touch that contract.
Starting pitching could bring a bounty, but what was once a team strength has become a head-scratcher.
Preller has painted himself in a corner. A team that was supposed to win now hasn’t. A farm system that was the pipeline for the future has few top-shelf prospects remaining.
Preller needs to shine this month, like one of those big fireworks shows over San Diego Bay. It’s imperative to keep tinkering with a Padres roster which is prone to strikeouts, has shaky defense and issues on the mound.
July is here and so are decisions many are reluctant to make.
(VIDEO) Interim Manager Pat Murphy says he’s shocked how tense Padres’ players are. Are expectations too high for this team?