Recapping the best and worst of the second week of May for the San Diego Padres, and analyzing the play of some of the club’s top players.
Finally, the Padres are starting to hit. It comes as no surprise that Wil Myers and rookie Manuel Margot, who are leading the club in average and hits, continued their strong campaigns this weeks. What may come a surprise though is that power hitters Austin Hedges and Ryan Schimpf are starting to break out of their slumps, after spending the first five weeks of the year well under the Mendoza Line.
Still however, the improved offense hasn’t yielded any better results in the win column. San Diego was only able to notch two victories this week as inter-league play began with a four game series with the Texas Rangers and a weekend set with the Chicago White Sox.
Monday’s inter-league opener against the Rangers at Petco Park gave the fans something to get excited about, as the Padres rode strong pitching from Trevor Cahill and their deep bullpen coupled with homers from Hedges, Schimpf, and Cory Spangenberg to come away with a 5-1 win.
The very next night, the week turned for the worse, as the Rangers shellacked San Diego, shutting them out 11-0. As the series shifted to Globe Life Park in Arlington, the struggles only continued, as the Padres dropped the remaining two games of their showdown with the Rangers, by finals of 4-3 and 5-2.
Rolling into Chicago in a dry spell, the Padres did come through on Friday night in the series opener, led by the third consecutive productive offensive performance from the newest member of the lineup, outfielder Matt Szczur.
Another close game in which the Padres lost in walk off fashion followed on Saturday, a game in which Margot homered on the very first pitch of the contest and Myers hit his tenth blast of the year. The two tight games give fans a bit more reason to be encouraged, though it can be overwhelmingly discouraging when the team makes a habit of losing these games.
Even if the statistics from this week look stronger, San Diego is still finding ways to lose, and as a result, are 14-24 and a half game away from the National League West cellar. The main reason for this is the lack of chemistry offensively, as the big hit is hard to come by despite offensive talent. Every home run that is hit seems to be a solo shot, and the Padres aren’t putting up crooked numbers on the scoreboard in any inning. This is understandable, but still makes keeping up with opposing lineups a difficult task.
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The pitching continues to be up and down, but has mostly been sufficient, thanks to strong starts from rotation staples such as Trevor Cahill, Jhoulys Chacin, and Clayton Richard. Still, rotation depth is a problem, as beyond these three, Jered Weaver has struggled, and the fifth starting slot has been all over the map.
There is still hope for the Padres, of course, but they continue to find themselves slipping in the division standings. Entering Sunday’s action nine games behind first place Colorado, playoff contention is looking more and more bleak. While slipping out of contention early in the season was the expectation to begin with, staying competitive as long as possible is beneficial in the long run for this young roster.
The Padres will conclude their first stretch of inter-league play with the rubber game in Chicago on Sunday, an opportunity for Weaver to begin to turn his season around. The week will then continue with a series at home against the Milwaukee Brewers, winnable games that the Padres will hopefully take advantage of.