San Diego Padres Success w/RISP Being Wasted by Poor Starts

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How could a team like the San Diego Padres, who have the second-best average with runners in scoring position in the league, own such a pedestrian win-loss record?

The San Diego Padres are currently in last-place in the National League West, with an 11-21 record. They are already eleven games behind the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks and we haven’t yet hit the quarter-way point of the season.

After an offseason that saw the Friars add a perennial All-Star in Eric Hosmer, and a league-leading .300 batting average in Cactus League play this spring, some folks, including myself, got our heads a bit gassed up over the true identity of this team.

Even after the first few weeks, although the wins weren’t exactly rolling in, guys like Freddy Galvis, Jose Pirela, and Christian Villanueva were leading this squad while Hosmer and Wil Myers, the presumed leaders of this young team, found their strokes.

Myers has been on-and-off of the disabled list so he’s never had much time to get into a rhythm, but Hosmer has absolutely taken off. The problem is, once he got hot, the rest of the team cooled off.

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Carlos Asuaje was forced out of the lineup when Franchy Cordero returned to an everyday spot in the San Diego Padres’ outfield and Myers hit the DL again.

This current collection of Friars in Andy Green‘s starting lineup (Pirela at second, Manuel Margot and Travis Jankowski in the outfield along with Cordero), has the potential to do some damage until Myers returns.

When the Padres’ starting pitchers don’t get shellacked, putting up that type of production has, and will continue to give this team more chances to win.

What baffles me most about this team is the fact that they rank second in the National League with a .278 batting average with runners in scoring position (Braves, .316), yet they can’t seem to win games that they should be winning and have already dug themselves into a very deep hole in their division.

They’ve had 237 at-bats with RISP this year, good for eighth in the league. Clearly, they’re putting themselves in a position to succeed offensively. If that’s the case, then why are they ten games below .500 only a month into the season?

I don’t want to point fingers, but…

Well, obviously, it’s their third-worst in the NL 4.54 staff earned-run average that’s to blame. The Padres’ bullpen has been pretty darn good (3.47 ERA), but they’ve pitched the most innings in the league with 127 (second-most in MLB; Angels 129.2).

The San Diego Padres’ starting rotation owns a 5.39 earned-run average as a group, second-worst in the NL (Cincinnati, 5.50) and has only pitched a combined 160.1 innings.

By comparison, the Washington Nationals’ starters have thrown 188 innings combined. Clearly, the Friars’ hurlers aren’t on the same level as the Nats, but the Pittsburgh Pirates’ starters, a similarly mixed group of pitchers, has 175 innings pitched already.

Next: Real Stats vs. Expected Stats

Bottom line, in order for the San Diego Padres to be competitive, they will need their starting pitchers to keep them in the game and stay on the hill longer. Six innings should be a benchmark; seven is where they should really be, though.

As long as the offense continues doing what they’ve been doing, although it’s not always pretty, their 3.94 runs per game this season should have afforded them a marginally-better start than they’ve experienced.

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