Apr 19, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres third basemanChase Headley
(7) on deck prior to his at bat during the sixth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Twenty games into the baseball season, the Padres are at 9-11 and sit three games back of the division leading Dodgers. Not a great start for a team with post-season aspirations, yet nevertheless the Padres are hanging in there with the injuries and slow start by the hitters. The pitchers are doing well so far, giving up only 64 runs which leaves them in a tie for 3rd for runs allowed. The hitters have to improve and come up to speed with what they have been capable of in the past. They are currently sitting dead last with only 56 runs scored. Bottom line, the Padres need more offense. Fan attendance is up for the Padres at Petco so far. The current attendance at Petco Park is at 69.2% full on average, which ranks 14th out of 30 MLB teams. This trend is an improvement from last year, when the Padres were at 62.7% of Petco Park capacity and ranked 22nd.
There are many early season stories for the Padres. The continual emergence and growth of ace Andrew Cashner who has been lights out is definitely the most intriguing. Watching replays on television and the Padres.com highlights, it has been beautiful to behold the additional movement on Cashner’s fastballs. It just darts, and reminds me of tennis ball with spin. This movement is deadly for hitters and will propel him into stardom. According to Michael Beller of SI.com, Cashner has developed almost two additional inches of horizontal movement on his fastball this year. Cashner now uses his two-seam fastball that has both sink and movement, and pairs that with his high velocity four-seamer. Another feel good story is return of Everth Cabrera who leads Padres hitters with 25 hits. His steals and walks are a bit down so far, but it is promising to see that Cabby has been hitting from the top of the order and is on the path for to another great season for our last year’s all-star shortstop.
Some of the other stories that don’t feel so good are the injury bug and how it has hit Josh Johnson, Carlos Quentin, and Cameron Maybin. Johnson’s injury hurts big time, as he was the club’s biggest free agent acquisition and had ace caliber upside if healthy. That health factor appears to be a “big if” that has not come through. So far, the news on the wire about Josh Johnson has not been promising and vague. To me this is a bad sign and I can only hope for the best and expect the worst. Carlos Quentin is about to start minor league rehab games and we’ll need his offense in a huge way. By all accounts Cameron Maybin is healing without surgery and it will be nice to see him back soon.
Finally, the elephant in room is Chase Headley and whether or not he still has what to takes to be the superstar that everyone wants him to be. For the second year in a row, Chase has found himself injured in spring training with a calf strain, and by current accounts is dealing with a biceps injury. An inauspicious start for someone expecting to make a big splash in the free agent market. Here’s hoping that he gets 100% healthy soon and regains the swing that terrorizes pitchers.