Padres Week in Review May 18-24th: Black’s Time Ending Soon?

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May 20, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres left fielder Justin Upton (10) hits a two run home run during the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Friar of the Week

It is not so easy to pick a Friar of the Week in a week where the Padres played to a dramatically losing record. However I think it is important that we don’t get caught up too quickly in a gloom and doom scenario. Much was made on the Saturday Fox Sports SD telecast that the Padres of 2015 have at this point in the season the same record of the 2014 season. However, the 2014 Padres were playing UP to their ability. It is quite clear that the 2015 Padres are playing DOWN to their ability. Here are some positives to look at from this team:

– Yangervis Solarte has played very well so far this season, forcing Bud Black to find him a spot in the lineup. He has filled in at first while Yonder Alonso is out, played second when Jedd Gyorko was really struggling, and played well at third too. He is 4th in the National League in BA with RISP and tied for third on the team with 22 RBI. For comparison sake, Solarte is hitting .273 with 2 HR and 22 RBI. Chase Headley over on the Yankees does have 5 HR and 18 RBI but is hitting just .235. Headley is being paid $13M to $516,000 for Solarte.

– Speaking of Yonder Alonso, many had him written off as a hitter anymore after two bad seasons. He leads the team in BA and has proven to be the capable left-handed hitter we all expected when he was traded for from the Reds. However, would love to see him develop more gap power as in his 29 hits only FOUR have been for any sort of extra bases.

Justin Upton has 11 home runs and when he hits them you just sit back and watch them with him. Monster power, and making up for the lack of power from Matt Kemp…but we are looking at positives here. He is also tied for the team lead in 14 walks despite his team leading 43 strikeouts.

Wil Myers has proven to be great at the lead-off spot and in center field, hitting .291 with 5 HR. He has played well at first base when needed and while not stellar his defense has been more than serviceable.

James Shields has taken charge of the pitching staff as expected and when he pitches he demands attention. He leads the team in wins, the league in strikeouts and is without question the “go to” guy for the Padres.

Brandon Maurer, Dale Thayer and Kevin Quackenbush have helped stabilize a bullpen that struggled early in the season. Benoit has had a few hiccups and Kimbrel as well, but I’ll take those two at the end of the game more than most.

All this looks great, yet the teams record still doesn’t. What could be the piece that brings it all together?

The manager.

Bud Black, it is time for a change.

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