Padres Bullpen (Mostly) a Silver Lining to Black Cloud of Opening Series


We know, we know. All-time record for scoring futility at the start of a season. No runs in three games. 12 hits. We’ve heard nothing but that for the last few days.

But how about this? With one notable exception, the bullpen in the series was, well, is magnificent too strong a word?

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Maybe not. While Luis Perdomo was, well, as bad as the offense, the rest of the bullpen did pretty much exactly what you want a bullpen to do: keep the opponent from scoring to give the offense a chance to catch up.

How good were they? Well, again, without Perdomo, the bullpen only allowed two runs.  And one of them was allowed by Colin Rea, who is actually the Padres’ fourth starter.

Don’t expect to see Rea working out of the pen again. Manager Andy Green hadn’t selected his fourth and fifth starters until a day or two before the season started, and Rea hadn’t pitched in almost a week. In what was already a 14-0 game, this was simply a case of Rea getting some work.

So, the regular bullpen (without Perdomo – don’t worry, we’ll get to him soon) allowed one run in 8.2 innings, allowing four hits, two walks, and striking out ten. That’s an ERA of 1.04 and a WHIP of 0.69. Small sample size be damned, that’s magnificent.

Additionally, in Game 2, the only game that was even close to competitive, Green used what will likely be his regular inning 7, 8 and 9 guys: Kevin Quackenbush, Brandon Maurer, and Fernando Rodney. The troika pitched three hitless, shutout innings, allowing only a single walk while striking out four. That’s a very good sign for the future, assuming the offense occasionally gives the starters a lead to work with.

Another solid performer was Ryan Buchter, one of two lefties in the pen. Buchter pitched a scoreless inning in Game 1 and another in Game 3, allowing a total of three baserunners while striking out three.

Carlos Villanueva gave up a single run in three innings of work, on a home run to Yasiel Puig, who hit .600 in the series.

And then there was Perdomo.

The Rule 5 draftee, a talented 22-year old who, until Monday, had never pitched above A ball, is having a little bit of a tough time with the transition to the major leagues. In Monday’s season opener, he was called on to pitch the seventh inning and also faced three batters in the eighth. Three singles, two doubles, a triple, a wild pitch, two walks and six runs later, Green mercifully pulled him out of the game. That’s when Rea came in.

After his first day in the majors, the young righthander was sporting a whopping 54.00 ERA with a WHIP of 8.00. When he came into Game 3 and was immediately greeted by a hard-hit line drive off the bat of Kike Hernandez, Padres fans cringed, hoping the rookie wasn’t in for another beating. Perdomo settled down a bit, allowing just another single and a sac fly, escaping the inning with only one run allowed. His two game numbers: 31.50 ERA. 5.00 WHIP. .615 batting average against. The bright side? The side that gives us a glimmer of hope? Perdomo recorded three of his six out via strikeouts.

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But, as we said, WITHOUT Perdomo, the bullpen was quite good.

And actually, if you take away Perdomo’s first game, but include his second game, the bullpen is showing a 2.79 ERA and 0.93 WHIP over 9.2 innings, with two walks and 11 strikeouts.

We can live with that, can’t we?