San Diego Padres: Kirby Yates Off to Slow Start in 2020

(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /

The San Diego Padres are off to a hot start in 2020, but their lights out closer from 2019 has been ice cold to start the year.

A lot of talk in the offseason was whether or not the San Diego Padres might try to extend Kirby Yates who will become a free agent after the 2020 season.

That obviously never happened, and instead, the Padres went out and gathered a host of dependable bullpen arms that have the ability to close games.

I’m sure the Padres weren’t expecting Yates to get lit up to start the year and envisioned him being replaced. Rather, I think those moves were simply fallback options in case Yates does sign elsewhere after the season.

When the Drew Pomeranz signing happened we wondered if he could be the closer of the future once Yates is gone.

And right now its Pomeranz who leads the team with 2 saves while Yates has yet to record his first save of the season.

Now, Yates is still firmly the primary closer on this team. But with the depth the Padres have in the bullpen, how many more blowups like Friday night will it take for him to be replaced?

Let’s not forget that last year Yates was the best relief pitcher in baseball. He never gave up more than 1 earned run in any outing and only gave up 8 earned runs all season.

He’s already given up 4 earned runs this season, including back-to-back outings in which he’s given up 2 earned runs in each.

His first outing of the season was great as he struck out two batters in a perfect inning that was not a save situation.

But in his last two outings, he’s given up 4 earned runs on 5 hits and 4 walks with just 1 strikeout and had to be pulled both times.

I’m certainly not pushing the panic button on Yates and saying he’s washed up — the stuff is still there as far as I’ve seen.

The Padres bullpen, in general, has not been as great as we thought with a 5.40 ERA, which ranks 24th in baseball.

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You can either be worried or look on the bright side and see that the Padres are winning and perhaps the strongest part of their team isn’t clicking on all cylinders right now. I have confidence that Yates and the rest of the bullpen will get on track here soon.