Look, we all knew that the Padres would struggle mightily without Chase Headley and Yasmani Grandal in their lineup during the month of April. But I for one did not believe that Headley’s and Grandal’s replacements would struggle as much as they have so far when it has come to producing at the plate to begin the 2013 regular season.
Nick Hundley has received more playing time in Yasmani Grandal’s absence. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
With Headley sidelined in addition to his backup Logan Forsythe, the Padres have been forced to use Alexi Amarista and Cody Ransom in their places in the field and in the lineup. I mentioned last week how both players would be counted on to lessen the blow of Headley’s absence, but so far both players have yet to find their offensive groove. In fact, both players are struggling to even make solid contact.
Ransom has already started the year 0 for 6 with 3 strikeouts, while Amarista has only gone 2 for 18 with 1 RBI. For those of you playing the “home game,” both guys are hitting a combined .083 over the season’s first week, have logged a combined .083 on-base percentage, and have only driven in one run while the 2012 NL RBI leader has been sidelined. I certainly did not believe that they would be able to replace Headley in the aggregate from an offensive perspective, but his replacements have not been able to produce runs or reach base with any sort of consistency so far this year.
Grandal’s main replacement Nick Hundley has not fared much better than Amarista and Ransom either. After a dreadful 2012 season which saw the veteran catcher lose his starting job, get injured, and play poorly, 2013 was supposed to be Hundley’s fresh start. Unfortunately, Nick’s struggles have continued at the plate. So far, Hundley has hit only .133 (2 for 15), driven in 1 run, recorded only 1 extra-base hit, and logged a 6 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio. If the back-stop’s issues at the plate continue, the team might be forced to play veteran John Baker (3 for 8) more often in his place until Grandal returns.
This post however is not my attempt to place the entirety of the team’s offensive woes on Headley’s and Grandal’s replacements. Others on the team have struggled so far as well, and there have even been some in the lineup who have shined on occasion like Chris Denorfia, Carlos Quentin, and even the ageless Mark Kotsay. Nevertheless, without their #3 and #5 hitters, the Friars’ offense has been treading water to start the 2013 campaign. The team as a whole has only scored 4 runs once this year, have scored a total of 14 runs in 6 games, have only held two leads over the entire season, and are hitting a collective .204. While I am not saying that Headley and Grandal would not have struggled to begin this year, I doubt that they would be hovering around the .100 mark in terms of their batting averages.
Hopefully this team will either improve over the coming weeks enough to make due without two of their three best hitters, or the starting staff can get their stuff together (6.45 ERA right now) to keep the team in some games until Headley and Grandal can come back to the lineup. I hate to be a “Negative Nancy,” but if this team struggles collectively to hit and are hovering at 20 below .500 by June again this year, then they can kiss any sort of postseason berth goodbye.
Stats Courtesy of: Baseball Reference