April 23, 2013:
Padres are 5-15. Losers of five straight games. Boasting a 1-7 record at Petco. Eight and a half games out of first. Last place.
May 8, 2013:
Padres are 15-18. Winners of 10 of the last 13 games. Winners of eight of the last nine at Petco. Four and a half games out of first place.
Take a moment, not to enjoy it but to reflect.
Coming into the season, Padres’ front office noted starting pitching as their number one priority in the offseason. Nothing happened. No trades, only hopeful rumors.
What did happen was a 5-15 record, four quality starts, an overworked bullpen, and unwatchable baseball. Based on the numbers the same pitching staff put up last season, no one expected the starting rotation to be so terrible. It was a miracle to see a starter pitch more than five innings.
I don’t know what happened to remind the pitchers they are a crucial part of a winning formula, but in their 10-3 run, Padres starters have a 3.95 ERA and eight quality starts. Six of those starts have gone into the seventh inning and two into the eighth. *As this is being written, Jason Marquis has pitched eight innings allowing zero runs.
Clayton Richard has surprisingly been the worst of the bunch. In the last 13 games, he is the only pitcher without a quality start and
has an 8.19 ERA, only managing 9.1 innings. It was pointed out in a Padres pregame show Richard has been suffering from a flu virus causing him to lose 12 pounds. Minus Richard, the rest of the rotation has posted a 3.13 ERA with eight of 11 starts being quality starts.
Looking at this, the front office was right in looking for another quality arm. Right now, the Padres are playing “competitive” (ugh) baseball and a quality arm would have only made them better. But Byrnes and Co. were not comfortable with the starting pitcher market and rightfully so. Every pitcher rumored to be coming to Petco has stunk this season. Rick Porcello is the only pitcher not mentioned in the piece but he has been so bad he might lose his job.
If the starting pitching can stay afloat, it will be interesting to see what the Padres do at the trade deadline. Or scary as hell.