Jun 15, 2014; New York, NY, USA; San Diego Padres manager Bud Black (20) reacts during the game against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Week That Was: Bye Bye Bud Black?


 

There are bad weeks, and there are bad weeks. Despite playing two teams 15 games under .500 combined, they managed to win one game. Just one. Cashner lost. Ian Kennedy lost twice. Andrew Cashner lost. Tyson Ross allowed no runs in 8 innings…and lost. The only winner of the week was rookie Jesse Hahn, who twirled a gem in the lone victory of the week.

Where do we go from here? Apparently, the bad play is finally percolating to the top and might start forcing some changes. This is a good thing. The All-Star Game is about a month away, and the Padres only likely selection Huston Street could very well be auditioning for other teams that need a closer and could be traded by the time July is over. Particularly as Joe Nathan continues to struggle for the Tigers.

The Padres only managed to score more than 3 runs once. They managed five hits or less 4 of the 6 games, and the bullpen is starting to fall to injury as Nick Vincent heads to the disabled list as well.

Yet, Jesse Hahn really deserves some praise. With Robbie Erlin hitting a snag in his rehab, the Padres were looking for someone to step up from their minor league system and take advantage of the opportunity. In his first start a couple of weeks back, Hahn pitched serviceably but allowed two home runs that hurt him. Not on Friday. As explained by colleague James Kreuger, Hahn even showed up the hitters with a “how hard can this be?” display of his own.

The consensus is building that Bud Black should be fired as manager of this club. What is hard to accept for fans is not only the lousy hitting, but the apparent lack of even caring. Bud Black is calm, and this can be a great trait. He is a good manager in fact and should have no trouble finding a home. I even think a place like under-achieving Kansas City would be good for him, a slightly older and more talented version of the Padres.

Yet, for the Padres in 2014 and beyond, I think they need an attitude shift. Sure, the team is struggling to hit. That happens. Never mind that Kyle Blanks is hitting over .300 with 2 HR since his trade to Oakland. However, the job of a manager of an under-achieving team is to change that attitude. Show some fire. Get mad! Throw a base!

I grew up watching the Atlanta Braves, and Bobby Cox is one of the best managers of all time, proven by his induction to the Hall of Fame this year. He got mad a lot. Sometimes it was to protect his own players, but mostly it was to send a message that we are all professional baseball players and will not accept losing. This message is not getting through to Padres’ players. Management sees it.  The fans see it, but Bud Black doesn’t see it.

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  • ballybunion

    Well, I’ve likened Bud Black to former Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta, a guy who knew transportation issues inside and out and could speak for an hour without notes, never giving a memorable quote or saying anything to get higher-ups in trouble. As the token Democrat in a Republican administration, he was tagged most likely to be fired, but lasted 6 years and left on his own terms when he decided to retire from public life when he reached age 65.

    Your last sentence is the reason I believe Bud Black won’t be leaving on his own terms. Despite his knowledge of pitching and his relationship with Josh Byrnes, his future has to be based on the team’s on-field production. That in turn is based on the manager’s ability to put his players in the best position to succeed, to get the most out them. His juggling of line ups and penchant for platooning and frequent in-game changes for match ups looks more and more like an impediment to player development and performance.

    That’s not to say Plantier is safe. Padres hitters all have swing-for-the-fences mechanics, and I don’t see many of them who shorten that swing with two strikes. Only Seth Smith and Denorfia do that, and they learned it elsewhere. It looks like Sandy Alderson is still in charge, demanding hitters “work the count”. The result for the Mets is the league lead in walks, but second in strikeouts. The Padres haven’t been getting as many walks, but they’re up there in strikeouts too. That approach has to change, and it’ll take a coach who stresses swinging at fastballs over the plate, shortening the swing with two strikes to make solid contact, and fouling off borderline pitches.