Their latest series loss against the Dodgers and a slew of major injuries are only the tip of the iceberg for the Padres. With nineteen games left, there’s no room for error and a short memory mindset has to be implemented if they wish to find themselves in the postseason.
Injuries, Pitching Woes, Offensive Struggles, Oh My!
It feels like I’m repeating myself with how many times I’ve mentioned these two topics but the Padres just can not seem to catch a break. Losing ball games isn’t fun unless you’re the Orioles where losing is practically a way of life but for San Diego, it’s a big shock. In their most recent loss, Blake Snell and Jake Cronenworth suffered injuries that would cause them to exit the game prematurely and leave San Diego in a hole.
Snell started grabbing at the lower left side of his body as he departed which was later revealed to be left adductor tightness. His track record of dealing with the muscular injury goes back to his days in a Rays uniform so as such, he’ll be listed as day-to-day. Cronenworth was struck by a pitch on his left ring finger resulting in a fracture but fortunately for the Padres, he won’t be seeing any time on the IL.
Adding insult to injury (literally), the bullpen can’t seem to field healthy pitchers, and the ones that do make it out provide little defensive support. Relief pitcher Austin Adams tied the Live Ball Era record for hitting the most batters in a season when he struck his 21st, 22nd, and 23rd batters in the eighth inning of Sunday’s loss. The record was set by Howard Ehmke in 1922 when he hit twenty-three batters in 279 2/3 innings of work. It took Adams 48 2/3 innings to get there.
The offensive side of things could be classified as mute given the Padres were shut out three times in their last five ballgames. That’s tied for the most times they’ve been shut out in a month this season and they still have half of September left to play. Their lineup also ranks towards the bottom in slugging percentage (22nd) and home run percentage (25th) but are top five in strikeout percentage. None of these stats are surprising, considering they’ve been playing mediocre baseball all year long.
Hope Isn’t Fading Just Yet
Their next two series feature matchups with the division-leading Giants followed by a set against the Cardinals who are within striking distance of a Wild Card spot. These games may seem like a David versus Goliath situation but there is good news in the midst of the chaos for the Padres. San Diego will be starting Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta, Joe Musgrove, and Chris Paddack in their series against San Francisco.
These starters may have had their struggles this season but when push comes to shove, this could work out nicely for the Friars. The bullpen may be in shambles but having five (somewhat) healthy starters to pave the way is just what they needed to continue their push into the postseason. Keeping Cronenworth off the IL is another big win for them especially since Fernando Tatis Jr. was off and on all season but has remained healthy since his return last month.
Even with an optimistic outlook, I believe that’s being generous given they’ve been playing streaky baseball since April. I think if they find their balance between limiting runs and putting together more hits, their dreams could become reality.
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