Well, one thing is certain after the Padres 12-2 loss to the Rockies on Friday night.
Eric Lauer does not like Coors Field.
Unfortunately, the Padres continued their up and down May by dropping to 4-5 through 9 games. Let’s explore a few key areas that have been pain points thus far.
The bullpen is over worked. 3 times in the last 10 days Andy Green handed the ball over to the bullpen with a lead in the 5th or 6th inning. All 3 times, the Padres lost. They simply don’t have enough depth to accommodate a 6 man rotation, along with a revolving door of decent middle relievers. Despite Kirby Yates being lights out, the Padres bullpen actually owns a -0.9 WAR. (Sorry anti WAR crew out there) This problem isn’t going away anytime soon. The Padres desperately need a consistent 2 inning arm in the middle innings if they’re going to be in the mix come September. Their inability to get to Stammen and Yates is concerning. Paging Scott Linebrink...
Losing Tatis was BIG. Everyone knew losing Tatis would be a blow to the team. What some didn’t consider was how big that impact would be. Tatis is the team leader in OBP (Andy Greens proclaimed measure of success) in addition to leading the team with a .300 batting average. His defense has been spectacular as well. What’s difficult to quantify is youthful enthusiasm and timely hitting. Tatis has a knack for coming up big at critical times. Losing a superstar is never good, but this one has been particularly painful. Ty France certainly has a place in this team, but Garcia and Kinsler are both liabilities in the lineup. It’s decision time when Tatis gets healthy.
The starters need to be extended. The Padres have been very open about limiting innings through the first month and half of the season. At times, it’s been downright silly. There have been a number of times where Andy Green went to the bullpen laughably early, causing the bullpen to be overworked early on. The Padres lead the league in an odd stat. Lowest pitch count per start. On average, SP’s are throwing 84 pitches per outing. There have been 11 outings where their starter threw less than 80 pitches. In fact, only Joey Lucchesi has thrown more than 100 pitches in a game... and it was exactly 100. Here’s the point. Most of this has to do with arbitrary inning limits. Nobody is saying our young starters should go out and throw 156 pitches like Mel Clark in Angels in the Outfield, but the team is in deep trouble if their starters don’t get into the 6th and 7th inning consistently.
At the end of the day, the Friars are competitive again. This team is an absolute joy to watch. When Tatis and Wingenter get back this is an 85+ win team without a doubt. But, we need to let the boys play! Plus, Preller might have help on the way.
You never know.