The newest member of the San Diego Padres starting pitching rotation has risen to the occasion when the club was in most desperate need of someone just like him.
It is safe to say that matters have been far from smooth for the San Diego Padres’ pitching staff so far in 2017. Within the season’s first two months, the club lost 40% of their starting rotation by way of injuries to veteran offseason acquisitions Trevor Cahill and Jered Weaver.
Under-performing veterans have also complicated daily business of a pitching staff which already seemed to lack depth coming in to Opening Day.
The solution? Far from smooth, yes, but in reality, the Padres are quite fortunate. Two starters have stepped in to much greater roles, and have done so boldly. Luis Perdomo was the initial fifth starter, but now his role in the rotation has been solidified and he has become more consistent
But the most pleasantly surprising addition to the rotation as the current fifth starter is 24-year-old Dinelson Lamet.
Lamet has naturally struggled a bit since being called up to the big league club, and still holds a bit of an inflated ERA of 6.60. However, the way the right-hander has battled in his six starts and overcome a rocky beginning to his major league career has exceeded many expectations. Lamet has pitched 30 innings, an average of five per start, striking out hitters at a very high rate, as he currently has 42.
The eight home runs Lamet has surrendered early on is a bit of a red flag, but it is more easily corrected than a pitcher who loses control easily or is constantly surrendering hits. Looking at the positives is more revealing early on, as
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Looking back at Lamet’s minor league career, the opportunity he has received at the big league level is no fluke. The Dominican rose through Fort Wayne, Lake Elsinore, San Antonio, and El Paso in less than two seasons. His ERA remained low throughout his career and his strikeouts high, justifying his many promotions.
So it isn’t just because of injury that Lamet steps into this role after all. He has proven that he isn’t destined to be a career minor-leaguer, and that he could even find a home in San Diego’s rotation in years to come. Ultimately, it was Lamet’s methodical approach to his pitching which has landed him the role he currently plays on this Padres club.
It seems strange to consider a 32-46 club who ranks 21st in ERA giving up almost five runs a game fortunate, but it’s the reality of this situation. A club who has made the most of what they have, San Diego is getting by when it comes to pitching with starters like Lamet who likely didn’t even foresee this type of opportunity himself.
Lamet will start Thursday’s rubber game between the Braves and Padres on Thursday night, opposing Atlanta starter Jaime Garcia. First pitch is set for 6:10 PM PT.