After two seasons and one playoff run later, the San Diego Padres have decided to release veteran pitching coach, Larry Rothschild.
A Step In The Right Direction
This move isn’t surprising, considering the Friars have won two out of their last eleven matchups and now sit one game behind the Reds for the second Wild Card spot.
To make matters worse, they’re an eye-popping thirteen games out of first place in the NL West and are stuck in freefall unless a change is made. This change just so happened to be firing Larry Rothschild who had success in his last two seasons with San Diego but hasn’t found paydirt as of late.
When asked about the move, Padres manager Jayce Tingler didn’t hesitate to admit that it was ultimately his decision to let go of Rothschild citing his concern with the starting rotation. Tingler also said that he didn’t want to remain flat-footed and believed that his team needed a “different voice, different message, and different perspective” moving forward. Bullpen coach Ben Fritz will be taking over as interim pitching coach until the organization can find a suitable candidate for the role.
The beginning of the season saw the struggling rotation doing just fine with their newly acquired assets but since the end of June, they haven’t looked the same. Injuries and inconsistent performances (I’m looking at you Chris Paddack) have culminated into the perfect storm for San Diego and have held them back from reaching their full potential this season. Padres starters are feeling the heat as they rank second in the fewest innings pitched while posting a 4.34 ERA, good for seventeenth in MLB.
With only thirty-six games left to play in the season, San Diego will look to get back to basics and fight for their right to compete in the Fall Classic. With Tingler stating that he doesn’t feel his team has reached its full production consistently on the mound, it seems to me like Fritz will have to dig deep if he hopes to revive what life is left in the bullpen. Fritz, formerly manager of the Tampa Bay Rays from 1998-2001, held long-term pitching contracts with the New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs before making a stop in the SoCal.
The hope here is that an improved pitching staff will go hand-in-hand with a powerful lineup that boasts hitters such as Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, and Eric Hosmer. Time is running out for the Padres so for them, this gamble could be the biggest one we’ve seen them take all season.
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