The Padres have struggled to fill Joey Lucchesi’s spot in the rotation, but they may not need to given how the remainder of the schedule plays out.
Who knew replacing Joey Lucchesi in the starting rotation would be so challenging? When the Padres optioned the big lefty to the team’s alternate site, it might have come as a bit of a surprise. But the fact of the matter is that the team needs guys to eat innings, and Lucchesi was not doing that. Since then, it’s been a plethora of bullpen days, with Luis Perdomo getting the first shot at potentially locking down a spot.
The Friars won his first start, albeit he only tossed 1.0 inning in the opener in LA. Cal Quantrill has been given a look, as has Adrian Morejon, but neither has proven they can eat up major innings. Quantrill should be given a longer shot, but that’s neither here nor there. Besides, the team also needs him in long relief, at this point.
I think most Padres fans have anxiously been waiting for MacKenzie Gore to slide into the rotation. It’s been nearly a foregone conclusion that the 21-year-old would get his turn, but the Padres have yet to give him a shot. And with Luis Patino showing some growing pains, general manager AJ Preller might have some reservations about throwing Gore into the rotation. And right now, these bullpen days…are working.
Monday marked the Padres first off-day since August 6, and they’ll have another day of rest on September 1. After that, September 17. After that, September 21. And that, September 24. So the team might be able to get away with just four starters for the remainder of the season.
And assuming no major collapse happens in the second half, the Padres are looking at a playoff spot, which has largely seen a team’s three-best starters used. And while it’s not out of the question that the Padres could pursue a starting pitcher before the August 31 deadline – or conceivably call up Gore – it would make more sense to grab another bullpen arm for the home stretch.
Given how this bullpen has generally performed this season, while also losing Kirby Yates – we’ll see what happens on the Emilio Pagan front – but the Padres need right now are in the ‘pen.