Padres cannot take the next step without starters going deeper

Since the Kansas City Royals cracked the code on super bullpens six years ago en route to a World Series title, how teams view pitching, as a whole, has changed a great deal. But as pitching staffs transition back to a typical workload after last year’s 60-game season, getting depth from starting pitchers is more important than ever.

Padres: Depth, injuries remain questions as the season continues

The San Diego Padres’ prized trio of hurlers – Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove and Blake Snell – have been solid in the early going. But after tearing out of the gates with a dazzling stretch, Musgrove has looked like a mortal and Snell continues to struggle to eat innings. Darvish, well, has been just as good as advertised.

After those three, the Padres rotation is a whole lot of mixing and matching with some big-time question marks thrown in. Dinelson Lamet is back – but the Friars aren’t asking a lot from him yet out of an abundance of caution – Ryan Weathers has battled fatigue and Chris Paddack has been on the IL for a couple weeks.

In short, with all the uncertainty in the rotation, San Diego will have to make up for a lot of starts, which only means more stress on the relievers. Now is the time for the starters to do what they can to help out their teammates in the pen or else risk injuries becoming an even bigger issue moving forward.

“We’re getting to the point where if they’re able to find their rhythm and timing, we’re capable of going another inning or two with the majority of those guys,” Padres skipper Jayce Tingler told MLB.com on Saturday.

This story isn’t anything new with Snell. He came to the Padres with that narrative already fully enveloping him. It’s on the left-hander to shake that moving forward. Darvish has been as consistent as they come and the team has tightrope-walked its way to an 18-16 record as the offense continues to struggle.

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Last week, I wrote about the fact the Padres will only go as far as the duo of Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. carry them. That remains the case. But given the injuries and lack of depth on the staff, it’s on this team’s horses to start picking up the slack or by the time August hits, this bullpen could be running on fumes.