Sep 10, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Ian Kennedy (22) walks off the mound as Padres manager Bud Black makes the call to the bullpen for a pitching change in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
3. Can the team finally get off to a hot start in April?
It is no secret that the Padres have historically struggled out of the gate. Last year was no exception. After winning the first game last year in dramatic fashion on ESPN, the Friars dropped their next 4 games and were 2-6 in the first 8 games. They finished the month of April 12-16. This was not a one-time thing.
In 2013, they were 10-16, 2012 was worse at 7-17. Having a losing April just makes the team have to work harder earlier in the year to keep up. Ideally, you want a hot start so there is some room for error when the dog days of summer come along and disabled lists start lengthening. The Padres have stumbled out of the gate a lot lately and have not had a winning record in April since 2010, and that year they were right there in the division race until the final days of the season. A winning April sets a team up to contend when the summer heats up.
On paper, it looks like the Padres should easily have a winning April with all this new firepower. A word of caution: baseball is a team sport and teams need time to gel. Examples can be found throughout sports: the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers “dream team” this year has taken a couple of months to finally come together, but now they are in the hunt for the postseason. Patience is a key word here.
But at the same time, the Padres cannot afford a 12-16 April if they want to chase the Dodgers and Giants. The Padres will be better than last year when all is said and done, but it will behoove the Padres to play above .500 baseball right from the get-go.