San Diego Padres: Baptism by fire
As a result of injuries, the San Diego Padres starting pitching rotation looks completely different than anticipated, forcing some young hurlers directly into the fire.
It is amazing how just two injuries can change a starting rotation completely. The San Diego Padres made two major signings this offseason, 34-year-old right-hander Jered Weaver and former right-handed reliever Trevor Cahill. Now, midway through June, both are sidelined.
As a result, the rotation looks a lot like it would have if the club never added the two veteran arms. But that doesn’t make everything all alright. In fact, it makes the rotation inexperienced to the point at which it is hard to watch.
Thankfully, the top two rotation spots remain the team’s stabilizers. Even though Jhoulys Chacin hasn’t had ace like stuff with a 5.10 ERA, he and Clayton Richard are holding down the fort very nicely. The problem comes beginning with the third starter, and it isn’t necessarily the fault of the pitchers themselves.
Luis Perdomo is now the third starter, an important role that the 23-year-old has not been equipped with adequate preparation for. After all, the right-hander only has 31 starts under his belt. While he has shown slight improvement over his starts this season, Perdomo still holds a career ERA of 5.55 and is just 1-3 this season.
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The two injuries not only promote Perdomo, they also force two more starters into action. And with potential starters such as Colin Rea and Jarred Cosart still out due to their injuries, the Padres are forced to go with two inexperienced pitchers who may not even make the average major league roster.
Miguel Diaz and Dinelson Lamet were who the organization ended up deciding to go with, at least for now. Diaz made his second career start in Milwaukee Friday night, going three and a third innings, allowing four earned runs.
Lamet hasn’t fared much better, starting his major league career with an 8.50 ERA in 18 innings. He is set to start Saturday.
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Besides surrendering more runs, another result of a rotation including three starters who struggle to go deep into games is a bullpen which is easily taxed. If the Padres can’t get five innings from their starters three days in a row every five days, their relief pitching is eventually going to wear down. This underscores the significance of either getting Weaver and Cahill healthy again, or allowing Lamet and Diaz to work through their struggles rather than implement a quick hook.
Regardless, the reality of the situation is that something is going to need to be sacrificed. If the Padres allow these pitchers to try and work things out themselves, they may keep themselves out of a position to win a lot of games. Yet on the other hand, if they play every game with only winning on their mind, they run the risk of giving the bullpen far too many innings and taking away from their young starters’ development.
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The state of the Friars’ rotation right now is not an ideal one, and it’s really unreasonable to blame anyone. Injuries have caught up to them, as has their lack of pitching depth. For fans, it is time to make the most of the situation, and try to enjoy and learn from what the young guys have to bring to the table, and how they respond to the very difficult task of being thrown into the rotation under these circumstances.