Morning Coffee: Historically Bad Hitting Ends Tonight


In honor of the absolute end of the hitting slump that the entire Padres’ team has been mired in since the beginning of the year, let’s take a look at a couple of the ghastly numbers that they have compiled. In October, we can look back on this day, and be amazed at how suddenly and completely the slump ended on that Friday in mid-June at Citi Field in New York against the Mets.

I believe in the power of positive thinking.

Prior to tonight’s lucky Friday the 13th game, the game in which the Padres will end two 45-year old curses by both throwing a no-hitter and having not one, but two players hit for the cycle in the same game, the offense has been having a bit of an off year. Here are some of the numbers from just prior to the upcoming offensive explosion.

Scored 197 runs in 66 games, an average of 2.98 runs per game. This is a historically bad pace. If the scoring drought continued at that pace throughout the year, rather than ending tonight, it would yield the second worst offensive output by any team since 1968, the year in which they lowered the pitcher’s mound to increase offense. 2.98 runs per game, projected to 162 games, is 483 runs. Only one team in a non-strike year since 1968 has scored fewer than 483 runs. You’re not going to like the answer. It was the 1969 Padres, in their inaugural year. The only two non-strike-year teams to score under 500 runs in the last 45 years are the ’69 Padres and the ’71 Padres. Fortunately, the 2014 Padres will not add to that ignominious list.

The 2014 Padres team on-base percentage is .275. Among qualified major league hitters, the worst two, and three of the worst five, are Padres. Jedd Gyorko is blowing away the competition with an astonishing .213 on-base percentage. In second place is Yonder Alonso at .251. Everth Cabrera has the fifth worst OBP in baseball, at .260. All in all, only 11 qualified hitters in baseball have a lower OBP than the Padres team.

Even the 1969 Padres beat that. (.285)

The team batting average is .216. When I was a kid in the mid-70’s, there was an excellent defensive shortstop for the Orioles named Mark Belanger. The guy won 8 Gold Gloves. People talked — a lot — about how Belanger’s defensive skill was so great, so over-the-top great, that the O’s would actually keep him in the starting lineup in spite of his unspeakably bad batting average. Belanger hit .228 in his career. There are 8 Padres with at least 120 ABs this year. Belanger’s .228 would be the third highest average among them.

In Belanger’s worst season, when he was 37 years old, he still hit higher than Gyorko. But only by a little.

Fortunately, all that ends tonight.