Wanted: The San Diego Padres Offense.
It hasn’t been pretty for the Padres so far in 2016. In the first two game of the year, they have scored zero runs and have recorded just six hits. Yes, six hits, zero runs.
Meanwhile, their opponent the Los Angeles Dodgers have pounded out 18 runs and 23 hits in the first two games of 2016, much to the demise of Padres fans and players.
Why are the Padres bats missing thus far? It is early in the season, very early that is, but the offense needs to find a way to get the ball rolling: literally. When we take a look at their performance so far, it looks bad. However, when we dig deeper into the stats and who they have faced it may not be so bad after all.
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Opening Day the Padres had to face Clayton Kershaw. Yes, the same Kershaw that had 300 strikeouts last year, and the same Kershaw who has made six straight Opening Day starts, including three of those six against the Padres.
Kershaw’s numbers on Opening Day are ridiculous. The lefty has gone 31 2/3 innings, giving up 21 hits and four runs, which is good for a 1.14 ERA in his last five starts on Opening Day. Perhaps even more impressive is Kershaws strikeout-to-walk ratio in those outings. Clayton has a 7-1 to K-to-Walk ratio with 35 punchouts and just five walks. Kershaw has already become just the third pitcher in MLB history with 1,500 K’s and an ERA of 2.50 or lower before his age-28 season. The other two pitchers in history to do that? Walter Johnson and Christy Mathewson. That is some company to be a part of.
It’s safe to say Kershaw is almost always unhittable, but Opening Day is when Kershaw might just be at his best. That’s saying something for a guy who finished third in the NL Cy Young last season, behind Jake Arrieta and teammate Zack Greinke, respectively.
With all of that, we can give the Padres a pass for not hitting Kershaw in that first game of the year.
The second game? Scott Kazmir. Kazmir is no slouch by any means, and even though he was making his first-ever National League start, the veteran lefty was not fazed at all. Kazmir delivered for Dave Roberts‘ team, going six shutout innings with just one hit to go with his five strikeouts. Kazmir only threw 75 pitches in the game and didn’t surrender a single walk in his first outing in Dodger Blue.
Kershaw and Greinke were a nightmare 1-2 punch, but Kershaw-Kazmir is almost just as deadly. The Padres will be extremely happy once L.A. leaves town after Wednesday’s game, and even the final game of the series is a tough one. Another new Dodger, Kenta Maeda, signed a deal in the offseason after spending his entire career in Japan. Maeda went 97-67 with a 2.39 ERA and over 1,200 strikeouts from 2008-2015 with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. Maeda is a guy who can flat out throw, and making his first major league start, we will see just how good this guy is.
The Padres offense really isn’t as bad as these past two games make them seem. With new additions of Jon Jay and Alexei Ramirez, the Padres actually have a better lineup than last season. Yes, Justin Upton is gone, but Wil Myers is the starting first baseman and is finally healthy. Myers, in most ways, is an upgrade of Yonder Alonso, who was traded to Oakland in exchange for Drew Pomeranz.
The Padres bats will surely wake up, and hopefully sooner rather than later. Matt Kemp, Derek Norris, and Yangervis Solarte were the catalysts for this offense last season, along with departed-outfielder Justin Upton. With Myers at full strength, and Alexei Ramirez a substantial upgrade over Amarista, not to mention Jay in center, who has hit .300 in a lot of his MLB seasons, this Padres team is not half-bad.
Jabari Blash was a pleasant surprise for Andy Green’s team in the Spring, and his time will come to start, especially if Melvin Upton continues his struggles at the dish. Not to worry Padres fans. This happens with every team, and when you face Kershaw, Kazmir, and Maeda in the first three games of the season, this is somewhat understandable.
The Padres season has just started, and there is still 160 games left to play. Don’t hit the panic button just yet.