“No rotation changes.” That the simple message manager Bud Black delivered to the media this week.
The rumors, according to MLB.com’s Manny Randhawa, had Black mulling over the possibility of tinkering with his rotation to separate his left-handed starters. But, at least in the case of his rotation, Black seems to have settled into an ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it’ mentality.
Of all the problems the Padres have faced in their line-up through the first month of the year, the pitching for the most part has been far from broken. And the rotation of Andrew Cashner, Ian Kennedy, Tyson Ross, Robbie Erlin and Eric Stults specifically has begun to excel as the calendar turned to May.
As Randhawa pointed out, the Padres boast the best ERA of any starting staff in the month of May so far. Number five starter Stults has the highest ERA of any of the five, a respectable 4.36. But the other four all check in with an ERA at 3.00 or lower for the month.
Of the six wins for the Padres this month so far, starters have earned the win in half, picking up the victory in each of the first three wins on the current four game win streak.
Still not sure the starting five deserve a pat on the back? Here are some more numbers to chew on. With 67 innings pitched as a staff, the starters have been on the hill for more than 63 percent of the Padres innings this month, allowing black to set his bullpen most nights as he pleases. The shortest outing of the month was a four inning start for Cashner, one of just three starts this month with less than six innings for the starter.
Efficiency and strike outs have also been a large part of the May success for the rotation. So far the starting staff has compiled a strike out to walk ratio of nearly 4:1. With 61 combined strike outs the starting staff is averaging more than eight K’s per nine innings pitched.
Fans can hope the ‘no changes’ edict from Black can only increase confidence and lead to ‘no changes’ in production for the firm of Cashner, Kennedy, Ross, Erlin and Stults.