Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
The Padres are enjoying an off-day Monday. Being halfway through May, it gives them some time to take a look at how their team is shaping up and especially their starting rotation.
Though the decision to make Robbie Erlin the 5th starter was forced after Josh Johnson was injured in spring training, the 5-man rotation has held steady and carried the Padres much of the way. The rotation along with the unstoppable bullpen has helped the Padres post the 3rd best ERA in all of baseball with a 3.06. Certainly on this last homestand the rotation settled into a nice groove.
One impressive member of the rotation, besides Ian Kennedy, has been Tyson Ross who bested Jose Fernandez last Friday and in general has pitched well in his starts since the two to open the season. So it is a little surprising to hear that according to Tim Powers, Bud Black is considering switching things up a bit, toying with the idea of swapping Stults and Ross in the rotation. This would allow them to switch up the left-handers at the end of the rotation with a powerfuly righty in Ross in between.
“I’ve got to talk to Darren about that,” Black said. “Whether we split up the lefties or not. We may have [Stults] pitch Thursday or have Tyson pitch Thursday. We are going to look at that a little closer. We’re going to talk about all that and what makes sense.”
The NL West is loaded with top left-handed hitters, and this effect does help to bring in a lefty nearly every series. From CarGo to Adrian to Crawford and on, there is no escaping left-handed hitters in the division.
I like the move and hope Black goes for it. Furthermore, Stults has struggled to go deep into games this season while Ross has excelled. Not counting those first two starts, he has gone six innings or more every time but once. He has gone 7 IP three times, 8 once, and hasn’t walked more than 2 since his second start. He currently sits at 4-3 with a 3.02 ERA through 8 starts.
This move will help to ease the bullpen’s load a little on days that Erlin does struggle since all rookies are expected too. If Stults can go 6 every time out, Ross 7 or more, Black will have flexibility if Erlin struggles after 5, or even earlier. It won’t just be Tim Stauffer Time.
I also like the idea that now Ross will be going against (in theory) weaker number 4 starters, which will only help his own cause. He might balk at that, noting he did just take out Jose Fernandez.