Morning Coffee with Mark Whelan: Padres’ Second Base is Jinxed


Second base for the Padres must be jinxed.

What else could explain it? Every player who has come in to play second base this year has failed miserably at the plate.

Jedd Gyorko started the year as the team’s cleanup hitter. After his impressive rookie year, the expectation was that he’d be a primary offensive force on the team this year, probably hitting 30 homers and driving in 100 runs.

Instead, he was the worst hitter in all of baseball.

He went 0 for his first 10, had a two-hit game, then went 0-for-7 before getting another hit. He was 2-for-21 six games into the season, hitting .095. His average never rose above .170 at any point in the season. He was hitting .162 when he finally went on the DL with plantar fasciitis. At the time, he had the worst on-base-percentage in baseball by 50 points.

Enter Jace Peterson. Peterson had played a few games with the team already at third base. He wasn’t setting the world on fire at third; in fact, he was in a slump with the rest of the team, hitting a measly .174. But when Gyorko went down, Peterson slid over to second. And was immediately hit by the jinx.

Peterson batted .037.

That’s 1-for-27. One hit in 10 games. Without doing any research at all, I feel safe in saying that he was the worst hitter in all of baseball during that stretch.

The Padres were 2-for-2 in having the worst hitter in baseball playing second base. So what did they do next?

They went 3-for-3. Brooks Conrad was the next victim. In his nine games, he hit .111, going 3-for-27.

Alexi Amarista has also played some second base. While his overall BA is .231, he has hit only .196 while playing the keystone corner.

When the team called up Chris Nelson in yet another move to try to get some offense, it appeared that the jinx might have dissipated over the All-Star Break. Nelson went 4-for-10 in four games. But the Padres got greedy, and put newcomer Yangervis Solarte at second. In last night’s game, every Padres starter, including the pitcher, got a hit… except for Solarte.

The second basemen have combined for a total of 59 hits in 101 games over 321 AB, and have a slash line of .184/.236/.274. No player in baseball with at least 250 plate appearances is that bad in any one of those categories.

Maybe we need to have Chris Nelson do a little voodoo ceremony, offer up some rum and cigars to Jobu in the locker room, or rub the bats with chicken bones, a la Pedro Cerrano. Anything’s worth a try at this point.