I am not ashamed to admit that I have pondered the question above many times over the last week. Moreover, I am sure that many of you fans have done so at some point during the Friars’ current nine game losing streak.
Why have the Padres been so hapless over the last two weeks though?
I think that it is pretty obvious once one looks at the following statistics:
Inability to Hit and Manufacture Runs
No team will win more than they lose if they are unable to hit consistently, put men on base, and manufacture runs. During the nine game span of San Diego’s losing streak, their hitters have collectively struggled to succeed in all three of those areas.
From their first loss to Miami to their final loss to Washington, the Friars hit a collective .217 (65 for 300). Of course when a team cannot hit, their on-base percentage must be pretty lowly. Thus, is was no surprise that the Friars were only able to reach base at a .274 clip during their nine game slide.
Compounding San Diego’s low on-base percentage was the fact that their hitters have exhibited some terrible plate discipline too. During their last nine games, Friars’ hitters posted 20 walks and a ridiculously high 68 strikeouts!
Not putting men on base has definitely cost the Padres when it has come to scoring runs. Overall, San Diego has only scored a total of 23 runs during their losing streak. The team’s slugging percentage, a collective .347, reflect how members of the lineup did not produce the types of important big hits the team needed on a consistent basis either.
To be fair, the Padres’ recent losing streak should not be entirely placed on their hitters and their recent struggles. In fact, their teammates in the starting rotation deserve a hefty chunk of the blame.
Starting Rotation Struggles
I am sure that most of you have witnessed how ineffective San Diego’s starting rotation has been over the last week and a half. In fact, their starters have saddled the rest of the team with large deficits early in six of their last nine games.
Here are the numbers for those of you who were interested:
- Eric Stults: 3.2 innings, six runs, seven hits, two walks. (June 29, 2013)
- Jason Marquis: 6.1 innings, four runs, five hits, seven walks. (July 1, 2013)
- Robbie Erlin: 3.2 innings, three runs, five hits, three walks. (July 2, 2013)
- Stults: 4.1 innings, four runs, nine hits (July 4, 2013)
- Andrew Cashner: 2.0 innings, six runs, five hits, three walks (July 5, 2013)
- Erlin: 4.0 innings, nine runs, six hits, four walks (July 7, 2013)
To his credit, Edinson Volquez has been the only starter who has not completely crapped the bed in one of his last two appearances. In fact, the usually wild Volquez won the first game of the road-trip before he pitched six strong innings of one run ball against the Red Sox on July 3, 2013.
Outside of Volquez though, the rest of San Diego’s starting staff has been knocked around early and often at least once during the losing streak. Their inability to locate and command the strike zone as of late has become very troublesome, and their high pitch counts have not helped them go deep into games either.
As much as the Friars starting rotation has struggled, the back-end of their bullpen has not been of much help during the nine-game skid.
While the Friars have been blown out in six of their last nine games, they have been tied or held a late-game lead in the other three. Unfortunately for them, their bullpen has served up three victories to the opposition over that span in the following fashion:
- Tyson Ross: Gave up a game-winning grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Marlins with the score tied 2-2. (June 30, 2013)
- Luke Gregerson: Played “hero” for the Red Sox after he served up a game-winning dinger to Jonny Gomes at Fenway Park with the score tied 1-1. (July 3, 2013)
- Joe Thatcher & Gregerson: Blew a 4-3 lead on Saturday afternoon after they allowed two runs to score against the Nationals. (July 6, 2013)
Although San Diego’s bullpen had some issues through the months of April and May, their ineffectiveness has been particularly highlighted during the month of June and early July. Gregerson and Huston Street, once thought to be the veteran lynch-pins of the unit, have been nothing short of disappointing this year. Moreover, it has to be disheartening for a team to watch a potential “turn-around game” fall to pieces when a lead is squandered late.
In no facet of the game have the Padres excelled or even performed up to a collectively competent level over the last week and a half, and those types of struggles are worrisome for any team to solve. I certainly hope that San Diego can record at least one of their next seven games in their “win” column though, especially since they are playing two divisional opponents.
Otherwise, they will be back in familiar territory: the National League West cellar.
Readers: Will the Padres win one of their next seven games? Or will their recent issues prevent them from doing so?
Statistics Courtesy of: Baseball Reference
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