Padres Lose Series to KC; Bullpen Exhausted


May 5, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Eric Stults (53) is taken out of the game by manager Bud Black (20) during the fifth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Padres lost the series to the Royals after getting pummeled in the finale, 8-0. Perhaps this was due to the Padres’ bullpen being overused. Twice in the series, the Padres starting pitcher failed to get out of the 5th inning. During the first game, Eric Stults pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowing 11 hits. That game ended up going 12 innings, which caused the San Diego bullpen to pitch 7 1/3 innings that night. The Padres came out on top Monday night due to a clutch double from Will Venable, which looked like it would propel the Friars back into contention. But a poor offensive showing in Tuesday’s 3-1, 11-inning loss and the beat down on Wednesday once again poses the questions, where are the Padres’ bats? And what is wrong with Andrew Cashner? Granted, it’s not all his fault, Everth Cabrera has been an adventure at shortstop lately, with 2 more errors in Wednesday’s loss behind Cashner. To make matters worse, the bullpen, during the whole series, had to eat up 16 1/3 innings. That’s an average of 5 1/2 innings per game. That is not a good sign.

There were a few bright spots during this series. There was the emergence of the Padres’ offense in Game 1, scoring 6 runs and the strong start by Robbie Erlin in Game 2. Jedd Gyorko was 1-or-13 in the series, but Monday he hit his 2nd bottom-of-the-ninth home run in a week. Yasmani Grandal had 2 HRs in the series, and leads the team with 4. He is now San Diego’s hottest hitter. Erlin pitched 7 solid innings Tuesday, allowing only 3 hits and striking out 5 Royals. The team hit .205 as a whole. Monday’s thrilling win showed a lot of promise, but Kansas City’s good pitching took over the final 2 games.

The Padres must find a way to spell the bullpen in Thursday’s series opener against the Marlins. Ian Kennedy (2-4, 3.43 ERA) needs to eat up 7 innings at least. The bullpen looked spent in the finale against the Royals. The Padres even called up Hector Ambriz, who made his Padres debut Wednesday, to help out. There is no rest for the weary, as the Padres still have to play 4 more games before a day off on Monday. All in all, this series showed that the Padres do have a pulse offensively, but they must find a way to have it show up more than once a series.