Dennis Gulyas – Part-Time Producer with The Mighty 1090 Radio Network
Returning from a road trip through Houston and Colorado, the Padres hosted NL West rivals – the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers – for a seven-game homestand. Posting a (3-4) record at home, San Diego is currently in the midst of its second road trip of the season traveling through Arizona and Denver (again) before a three-game home series – as they will host the New York Mets.
By the Numbers
Early in the season, the Padres are proving that they are a better road team than they are at home.
Nearly a month into the 2018 campaign, the Padres are (8-13). At Petco Park, San Diego currently holds a (4-10) record. As a road team, the Friars are (4-3).
Their resume is worthy of holding last place in the division, chasing the Arizona Diamondbacks by six games.
The Padres showed some resiliency in their series against the Giants. After being shutout 7-0 in the opener, the Friars bounced back to win three games in a row to pocket their first series against San Francisco.
The series against the Dodgers was particularly embarrassing. They were swept, and outscored the 30-10, thanks in large parts to ex-players like Yasmani Grandal and Matt Kemp.
Aiding Los Angeles’ prodigious run scoring was San Diego’s inability to play defense – the pinnacle of embarrassment coming in the third inning of the series opener when Christian Villanueva, Hunter Renfroe, and José Pirela committed errors and misplayed balls that would set the ominous tone for the following games.
Pundits will clamor that it is too small of a sample size to make definitive claims as to how this team will continue to improve, if at all, during the remainder of the season. What is abundantly clear is that this team is not built to compete in its spacious abode at sea level.
The Padres statistics prove it.
As a team, San Diego has a better batting average (.235 BA road vs .216 home), and earned run average (2.34 road ERA vs 4.36 home) on the road.
Even more frustrating, whether it’s pitching or hitting, the Padres seem to lack players in place that can take advantage of the dimensions at Petco.
Andy Green continues to tinker with the lineup as offensive production lacks in three key spots. The leadoff spot (.151 BA), the sixth spot (.167 BA), and the eighth spot (.107 BA) have been the most glaring deficiencies. A combined .142 batting average is more anemic than the ninth spot in the lineup (usually reserved for pitchers) which boasts a collective .162 batting average.
The season may be young. The sample size may be small. But the struggles are real.
Wil Myers returned from his stint on the disabled list Friday night, going 2-4 with a run scored in the 4-1 victory over the D-Backs. Myers was on the DL with a nerves/triceps issue diagnosed in the initial series against the Rockies.
Hunter Renfroe was added to the ten-day DL with right elbow inflammation.
In a corresponding move, Manuel Margot was activated Saturday. Margot had been on the DL after being hit in the ribs in a game against the Rockies in Denver. He is set to start Saturday against Arizona.
Eric Hosmer was troubled with “lower back tightness” during the most recent homestand. No DL stint was needed for Hosmer, as manager Andy Green used thirdbaseman Chase Headley to fill in for a couple of games.
Down On The Farm
In a move that most people suspected, and many agree came far too late, Luís Perdomo was demoted to the minors after a terrible start against the Dodgers. In his start Wednesday night, Perdomo surrendered seven earned runs in three innings pitched, watching his ERA balloon to 8.36.
At (A) Lake Elsinore, P Pedro Avila, a twenty-one year old Venezuelan, fired seven innings of one-hit baseball in a victory over Lancaster.
Josh Naylor has started off his minor league season at (AA) San Antonio on absolute fire. Naylor is batting .404 with six home runs and fifteen RBI. The Missions are using Naylor, a natural first baseman, in the outfield. Speculation is that Naylor’s path to the big leagues is currently blocked by Eric Hosmer and his best chance at breaking in would be via the outfield. If Naylor continues to hit like he has early this year, San Diego will be hard pressed to move some of its current pieces (Wil Myers, Manuel Margot, Hunter Renfroe, Matt Szcur, and Franchy Cordero) to make room.
Friday night, Tyson Ross pitched 7 ⅔ innings of no-hit baseball. A misplayed line drive by Franchy Cordero ended the epic bid at baseball immortality. The Padres would respond in the top of the ninth, scoring three runs to take down Arizona.
San Diego is the last Major League baseball club without a no-hitter. Even the Rockies and Rays have one in their franchise history. Ross became the Padres’ twenty ninth pitcher to allow just one hit in a game.
Of course, when chasing history, the magnitude surrounding in-game decisions are scrutinized greater than ever. And with the advent of social media, simultaneously everyone becomes a critic.
The elephant in the room is the asinine allegation that by simply mentioning the phrase “no-hitter”, you can jinx the outcome of the game.
No one is denying that baseball is a superstitious sport. In fact, baseball might be the most superstition saturated out of all of the professional sports. From the Curse of the Bambino (Red Sox) to the Curse of the Goat/Black Cat (Cubs), baseball lore has created inescapable mysticism, convincing fans that cosmic forces can determine the outcome of a game and the destiny of a franchise.
But it’s time we separate fact from fiction. Unless you are literally on the field of play, or in the clubhouse/dugout, no media commentator, writer, broadcaster, podcaster, blogger, or average joe on his couch can prevent history coming to fruition by simply mentioning what is happening.
If that were the case, might I suggest pursuing a career in the stock market or real estate where that kind of psychic prescience can build you a fortune.
In the end, baseball is just a game. Twenty-seven consecutive outs can grant instant immortality. But unless you are between the lines, no matter how many followers you may have, you have to understand that your words cannot change fate.
For Padres fans, it’s just another instance of a sadistic tease coupled with late inning heartbreak. On the wrong side of history. Coming up short, again.
Follow Dennis on Twitter @DennisGulyas