Not everything has gone wrong for the 23-34 San Diego Padres. In fact, there are a number of small victories from which fans can find encouragement.
For the first time this season, the home team has a five-game winning streak. Those wins included a sweep of the World Series champion Chicago Cubs and an impressive come-from-behind victory against the formidable Colorado Rockies.
Home runs by Austin Hedges, Yangervis Solarte and Wil Myers fueled the victory, but manager Andy Green has said repeatedly that no team can count on the long ball in the long run. In fact, this team (which will most likely be stripped down of just about every tradable veteran at the deadline) must concentrate on what Green calls the “little victories.”
“You have to create something special inside the house so guys will guard their minds, guard their focus and show up every day to play,” he told Audrey Stark of beyondtheboxscore.com. “Without a doubt, it’s a challenge, but a challenge I welcome every single day. … I wake up and get excited about helping the group of guys I’ve got become the best version of themselves.”
Veteran pitcher Clayton Richard has gifted the team little victories in innings eaten (68.2 innings in 11 games), including a complete game victory over Arizona May 21. Jhoulys Chacin has pitched 8 innings three times but also had starts of .2 and 4.1 innings. Jarred Cosart’s longest outing lasted only 5 innings, making Richards’ contribution more important.
Other younger Padres have also contributed to little victories. On May 31, Luis Perdomo gave up only one run in seven strong innings against the Cubs. Last year’s Rule-5 success jumped from low-A ball to the Padres. Although he struggled at first he has made steady improvement despite the hiccups expected of a 24-year-old catapulted through the system.
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Another Rule-5 pick, Allen Cordoba, has taken over left field, played acceptable defense and rewarded the team with a .310/.346/.460 slash line. Green sees him as a possible super-utility player in the future. However, Cordoba sees himself as a shortstop, and the perpetual lack of depth at that position almost demands that the rookie gets playing time at short.
When Jered Weaver went on the disabled list, the Padres called up Dinelson Lamet, 24, from El Paso. He has two wins in two tries and an ERA of 2.70. Lamet seems completely unfazed by the leap from the minor leagues so far.
With key outfielders Alex Dickerson, Travis Jankowski and Manuel Margot on the disabled list, Cordoba and Franchy Cordero, who was recently called up, have filled the void. The 22-year-old Cordero, signed out of the Dominican in 2011, may not be a highly rated prospect but can fill a hole in the outfield and bedevil other teams with his speed.
Despite the five-game streak, the Padres currently find themselves tied for last place in the division with the San Francisco Giants. Fans will have to count on little victories to weather the rest of the season.