Heading into the sixth game of the season, the San Diego Padres sit at 1-5 and have scored a grand total of eight runs. Offensive struggles are nothing to new to the Padres, but coming off of a season where the offensive woes were routinely blamed on injuries, the lack of offense from a relatively healthy Padres lineup is discouraging.
Yes, it’s early in the season — actually very early — but anytime you look at the offensive ranks in MLB and see your team’s ranking in runs, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage sitting at 29th, 30th, 30th and 30th respectively, it’s never a good thing.
Not to pile on here, but the team’s 29 total hits on the season rank dead last as well. I would think it would be kind of hard to accumulate hits when you’re hitting a combined .185 as a team. Long story short, the Padres have struggled thus far.
So now that we’ve established that the Padres have struggled out of the gate, the question of why they have struggled has to be visited. Outside of Carlos Quentin and Cameron Maybin, the lineup is healthy and intact, so there goes the not being healthy excuse we’ve come to know and love.
If health isn’t the reason for the offensive woes and we all believe that there is talent throughout the lineup, then what gives? Well, actually talent is the issue; not lack of talent in regards to the Padres players, but abundance of talent in regards to the opposing pitchers the Padres have faced this season.
Removing the multiple teams played from the equation, through five games this season the Padres have basically faced a starting rotation of Hyun-Jin Ryu — 3.00 ERA in 194 innings in 2013 — Zack Greinke — 2009 Cy Young award winner — Dan Haren — three-time All-Star — Tom Koehler — okay, nothing special here — and Jose Fernandez — 2013 Rookie of the year.
Outside of Koehler, the Padres have clearly faced some recognizably tough pitchers so far, and things wouldn’t get any easier in Sunday’s series finale against the Miami Marlins. Nathan Eovaldi and his 98 MPH fastball presented another tough task for the Padres, and again they struggled mightily — that is until an at-bat real reminiscent of an at-bat that took place in the Padres’ lone win of the season saved the day.
Flash back to opening night when the Padres were being shutout and down one run heading into the eighth inning only to have Seth Smith step up and hit a game tying pinch-hit home run as the Padres went on to win the game. Now fast-forward to Sunday’s game, and you would find the Padres being blanked and down one run again. This time they were heading into the seventh when the birthday boy Alexi Amarista stepped in and hit a pinch hit three-run homer to give the Padres the lead and eventually their second win of the season.
Good pitching and excellent pinch-hitting has been the recipe for both Padres wins on the season, and as we all know, that’s a combination that is unlikely to happen often. With that said, the Padres need to get going offensively.
That’s easier said than done given the quality of opposing pitchers they have faced, but hopefully the quality of opposing pitchers will get a little easier and the team will start to get it done at the plate.