That San Diego Padres go into the All Star break at a record of 42-54, and remain 8.5 games back in the NL West. For a while, the Padres were fighting along like the little engine that could, storming into contention with a lineup that could take pitches and string along hits with some pop. However, as injuries began to pile up with hitters such as Everth Cabrera, Jedd Gyorko, Yonder Alonso, and Yasmani Grandal missing games, the lineup was unable to sustain the continuity, and the losses started to mount. The Padres pitching staff has been inconsistent overall. At break, the Padres are 17th in hitting in scoring runs, and 25th in pitching in allowing runs.
There have been many positives so far this year. For the hitters, I have enjoyed the play of Carlos Quentin, Jedd Gyorko, and Everth Cabrera. Carlos is having a fine season, although I wished he had more ABs. Buddy Black has a done well managing the OF and I expects as the weather starts to change in San Diego, for Carlos to continue to hit well if he can stay healthy. Jeff Gyorko has also played very well for a rookie, and has shown excellent hitting potential with some pop. It was a shame that he got hurt when he was on a roll, and I hope he can regain his form soon. Watching him against SF coming right back from injury, I could tell he was very anxious to perform well and may have been pressing a bit. Everth Cabrera has grown into everything that an MLB team can hope for in a SS – excellent defense with his crowd wooing spinning throws, a solid top of the order style of batting, where he takes and sees a lot of pitches early, gets on base with a good OBP, and distracts the opposing pitcher and swipes bags. Kyle Blanks is also a worthy mention in terms of showing he can produce for the team. It was not that long ago, when Blanks was our minor league player of the year and was the prospect that was supposed to replace AGon. I have to say I am happy with his production so far.
For the pitchers, this year I have enjoyed the play of Eric Stults and Jason Marquis. Both fit the profile of journeyman pitcher on paper, but their play and execution this year has been more of stopper and ace. Marquis has pitched with a 3.77 ERA, with a 9-4 record. The Padres have gone 11-8 in games he has started. Eric Stults has pitched with a 3.40 ERA, with a 8-7 record. The Padres have gone 12-8 in game has started.
The have also been many negatives, with the biggest culprit as the injury bug and suspensions – anything that causes missed time. Cameron Maybin has also been hurt, at a time when he was supposed to grow as a player. Clayton Richard has not pitched well at all this season and has elected to have season ending AC surgery. Casey Kelly was expected to make an impact this year, and had Tommy John surgery. Cory Luebke, was coming back from Tommy John but has had set backs in rehab.
So what’s in store for the Padres for the rest of the season? With the July 31 Trade Deadline approaching, and some of the pitchers on Padres’ radar already snatched up, do the Padres fade quietly and pack in the season? Josh Byrnes has made it clear that the Padres need to go on serious run before any trade is made. With the summer in full effect already, expect to see the Padres hitters rebound and excel, with players like Chase Headley making another post all-star break run in hitting production. In his last 10 games, he is hitting .314 (11-35). The Padres may continue to examine young talent in pitching, both in the bullpen and starting lineup. I expect the Padres to continue to fight and crawl their way back into relevancy. Go Padres