-Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
When you’re not hitting, anything that goes wrong, snowballs in a hurry, and puts pressure on everyone else. Pressing at the plate, pitchers trying to make perfect pitches, defenders booting balls that are routine. This is what happens when a team is in a season-long hitting slump, and that is exactly what is happening to the San Diego Padres. A single, a pair of errors, a double steal, and a 3-0 first inning deficit might as well be 20-0–especially when you run yourself out of rallies when given the chance to get back into the game.
The Padres dropped the series finale to the Kansas City Royals at Petco Park Wednesday afternoon. While the Friars were able to piece together several hits, nothing of any consequence in terms of a rally developed. Royals’ starter James Shields was in complete control throughout. He finished his day by going 7 innings, not allowing a run, and scattering 7 hits. He walked 2 and whiffed 4 for his fourth victory of the season.
Unfortunately for the Padres’ ace, Andrew Cashner, the same could not be said. The usually sure-handed Everth Cabrera put his pitcher in a hole early, one in which the Pads were never able to recover. Cashner only lasted 4 innings, allowing 4 runs (2 earned), while yielding 7 hits, walking 2 and striking out 4. Donn Roach came on for Cashner, and in 2 innings of work, allowed one earned run. When he left for the recently recalled Hector Ambriz, the score was 5-0 Royals.
The poor defense wasn’t just on Cabrera. As if 5-0 wasn’t a big enough mountain to climb back from, a passed ball by reserve catcher Rene Rivera allowed Jarrod Dyson to score from third, advancing Alcides Escobar. A misplayed ball by Kyle Blanks at first base allowed Escobar to come home, and before anything else could be done, it was 7-0 Royals. Ambriz’s return to the big leagues didn’t go well. In 2 innings of work, he allowed 2 runs (1 earned), with 2 hits and 2 walks. Alex Torres pitched a meaningless ninth for the Padres as the Royals tacked on one more run on an error by Rivera, while Louis Coleman closed things out for the Royals.