Much of the San Diego Padres starting pitching staff left a lot to be desired.
The biggest positive takeaway from this year’s pitching staff has been the solidifying of the back end of the future rotation. Rookie Joey Lucchesi is having one of the best rookie seasons ever experienced by a Padres pitcher and Eric Lauer continues to show growth and development in his first season by increasing his velocity and even showcasing a brand new pitch.
The bullpen has been one of the best in the major leagues and has been even better since the trading away of Adam Cimber and Brad Hand, two solid relievers in their own right (well, Cimber saw much better days in San Diego, not so much in Cleveland). With this position solidified, let’s look at a few starting pitchers that could not get the job done in 2018.
San Diego placed Walker Lockett on the 40-man roster last winter to protect him from the Rule-5 draft, hoping he was fully recovered from injuries that limited him over the years. Lockett made his MLB debut this season, appearing in four games and starting three earlier this summer. There was very little in the way of positives from Walker Lockett after recording an 0-3 record, 9.60 ERA, 2.13 WHIP, and giving up 16 earned runs on 22 hits in 15 innings.
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We also can’t ignore the team’s ace, Clayton Richard. No one expected Richard to put up ace-like numbers, seeing as the only reason he was the Opening Day starter was that there’s no one else on this staff. Richard pitched like Clayton Richard for much of the year, until his performance tanked, hard.
Over his final seven starts, Richard averaged less than five innings per start (34 innings), walked 13, struck out just 16, and gave up 33 earned runs (8.57 ERA). Far from the six/seven innings, three/four-run performance fans and the team were expecting from a Clayton Richard start. His final line: 7-11, 5.33 ERA, 60 BB, 108 K, 1.38 WHIP.
His season ended early with knee surgery, however, Richard is expected to be back next season and will surely be in the mix for Opening Day 2019 (pending potential free agent signings and Joey Lucchesi’s spring training).
The San Diego Padres will play their final three games of the 2018 regular season, beginning Friday night at Petco Park against the Arizona Diamondbacks.