Apr 4, 2013; New York, NY, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Eric Stults (53) throws a pitch against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim O
The Padres started off the year losing two of three to the New York Mets at Citi Field. While they looked virtually uncompetitive in the first two games of the series, they salvaged the finale with a great pitching performance from a combined six Padre pitchers. The Padres now head to Colorado to face the Rockies in a three-game weekend set before returning to San Diego for their home opener against the Dodgers on Tuesday.
A few things about the opening series stood out to me.
If the Padres don’t pitch, they don’t win
Nothing has changed on this front. The Padres will go as far as their pitching takes them this season, just as it has for many years. They cannot and will not “out-slug” anyone, although I do think the offense is improved, as I mentioned in a post from a couple weeks ago. Just look at the results from the first three games. Eric Stults and the bullpen combined for 14 strikeouts in a 2-1 win on Thursday. During the first two games, which were blow-out losses, the Padres gave up a combined 19 runs and 21 hits. The Mets offense isn’t exactly the 1927 Yankees and, while it was just one outing for each of them, it’s a little concerning that veterans Edinson Volquez and Clayton Richard couldn’t pitch well in a pitching-friendly environment, given the colder weather and spacious dimensions of Citi Field.
MLB has attendance issues
I don’t care if overall attendance has been increasing over the years, and I don’t care that overall attendance was the 5th highest ever in 2012. Some of that data is skewed because of bigger ballparks and a massive contrast between the top of the pack (Phillies, Yankees, Rangers) and the bottom (Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Houston). Additionally, I think 2012 was a bit of an anomaly because there were several teams that had been virtually irrelevant in previous years, and subsequently had very low attendance numbers, who either made the playoffs or were competitive throughout much of the season and, therefore, had above-average attendance numbers (Nationals, Orioles, A’s, Pirates). Much like college basketball, I go by the eye test. And I don’t need any statistics to look around at some of these ballparks and see all of the empty seats. Oh and by the way, it’s only day 4 of the season. It’s terrible for TV and the lack of a full ballpark creates no buzz in the atmosphere. Even staple organizations like the Yankees and Red Sox are having trouble selling out, which was pretty much a given over the last decade. Maybe as the weather gets warmer and basketball ends, fans will get more passionate about attending ball games.
At least the Padres aren’t the Astros
No real information to report here. If you follow baseball, you see how bad the Astros are and will be this season. It will be a long season in Houston. As a Padres fan, it’s good to try and keep these things in perspective.