Ending their second road trip of the season, the Padres return home after a week on the road to host the New York Mets. San Diego faced division rivals, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies, in consecutive three-game series. The Padres’ starting pitching woes once again proved to be the difference, as they dropped both series while striking out at an alarming rate.
Click here ↓ to listen to the Padres (WIR) Podcast – Episode 08
By the Numbers
One month into the season the San Diego Padres are (9-17) firmly in last place in the National League West, chasing the division leading D-Backs by nine full games.
Statistically, the Friars are better on the road considering overall record (5-7), earned run average (giving up 0.75 less earned runs than at home), and batting average (.018 better than at Petco).
San Diego went (2-4) in its most recent road trip, posting a (1-2) record in both series against Arizona and Colorado, respectively.
The two largest contributors to the Padres’ struggles this year are as frustrating as they are predictable: starting pitching and the inability to put the ball in play.
The starting pitching for San Diego, as anticipated, has been atrocious. Even with Joey Lucchesi making his early season bid for NL Rookie of the Year, collectively the Friars have struggled throughout their rotation.
Luis Perdomo has been demoted to the minors. Dinelson Lamet, injured in his final tune up of Spring Training, was lost for the 2018 campaign and will undergo Tommy John’s surgery.
Tyson Ross flirted with a no-hitter Friday night in the desert but came up short, yielding a single in the eighth inning, in a Padres 4-1 victory over Arizona . He then followed up his 127-pitch, 10 strikeout performance by allowing four earned runs in four innings in the series finale against the Rockies, a 5-2 loss.
Bryan Mitchell, who leads the majors in walks allowed, has been nauseatingly inconsistent – making the sour taste of the Chase Headley trade on fan’s tongues even less palatable.
Rookie call-up Eric Lauer was rocked in his Major League debut, giving up a grand-slam to Trevor Story en route to surrendering six earned runs in three innings pitched in a 8-0 shoutout loss.
Clayton Richard, dubbed the anchor, has struggled with command and walks. Richard, who is (1-2) has a 5.67 ERA, has allowed thirteen walks in 27 innings pitched.
Going from bad to worse, the Padres are striking out at an epic rate.
San Diego may have changed their hitting coach (exit Alan Zinter & Luis Ortiz – enter Matt Stairs) but the results are excruciatingly similar. At the conclusion of the Rockies series, the Padres led all of Major League baseball in strikeouts with 257 K’s – twenty more than the second place Baltimore Orioles of the AL East.
The Friars are on pace for 1,601 strikeouts in 2018 – potentially eclipsing the previous high of 1,571 set by the Brewers last year.
Fans would gladly trade in high strikeout rates for prodigious power in the form of home runs (see the New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge). But Padres fans are afforded all of the fuss, with swings and misses, and are seldom rewarded with celebrating taters.
Despite the Padres leading the majors in strikeouts, they sit in the middle of the pack with twenty-five home runs and rank 24th in slugging percentage with a 0.368 clip.
The Padres may have broke out in the seventh inning of the series opener in Colorado by scoring nine runs. However, following that outburst, San Diego posted seventeen scoreless innings and struck out 28 times over the next two games
To put this in perspective, in the final two losses in Colorado, San Diego surrendered 51.8% of its outs via strikeout. More than half the time, the Padres are conceding outs to opponents by not putting the ball in play.
It has fans, pundits, players, and coaches shaking their heads in disgust. The franchise is admittedly in the midst of a rebuild. But the way that the club is building its foundation has many questioning the fundamental process and approach, as the early results are lackluster and appalling.
Gotta Love Franchy
Of all of the Padres #HotTalentLava, Franchy Cordero is proving to have the loudest of all tools.
Cordero hit a 480+ foot bomb in Arizona and has been impressive through the statistical lens of launch angle and exit velocity.
Nuanced, book-worm statistics aside, Cordero has also had his fair share of defensive gaffes and puzzling at-bats.
Cordero recorded a “Golden Sombrero” by striking out four times in Colorado a day after hitting a moonshot, Ruthian blast in the Padres’ nine-run seventh inning explosion.
Cordero was also responsible for misreading a line drive in the eighth inning of Tyson Ross’s no-hit bid, leading to the game’s first hit, and ending Ross’s chance at baseball immortality.
The future looks bright for San Diego with Cordero in the outfield. But with Cordero starting to become a part of the starting lineup, players like Manuel Margot, Hunter Renfroe, Wil Myers, and Jose Pirela have to wonder how long their time with the club remains before they are either demoted or traded to make room.
Dennis Gulyas – Part-Time Producer with The Mighty 1090 Radio Network. Follow Dennis on Twitter @DennisGulyas