Padres baseball. First place looks good but it doesn’t feel good.
The Friars have a 228M-payroll, ranked 5th in all of MLB, an astounding figure for a small market team.
The franchise is averaging 37,418 as they began the series with the Chicago Cubs.
They are in a neck and neck race with the Dodgers a month into the season, with a ton of games to be played.
It has been an amazing start for Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer, hitting (.385-351) respectively.
The defense has been superb, including the play of Ha Seong-Kim and the rookie CJ Abrams.
And the closerTaylor Rogers has been exceptional, 11-saves, no runs allowed in those saves and a sub 1.00-ERA.
The starting rotation has been rock solid, with the five starters combining for a (3.08-ERA). Joe Musgrove is (5-0)…Yu Darvish has had 1-bad outing. Sean Manaea has been decent. Nick Martinez has had good outings. Mackenzie Gore has been electric. Now back is Mike Clevinger and still to come is Ryan Weathers.
So all is well in Padresville?
Not really…despite a (19-10) record as the Cubs came to town, it is their best start since 1998.
The Padres have opened the season with 19-wins against some of the bottom-dwellers in baseball. That’s the way the schedule has fallen, so you play who you play.
But aside from the blazing Machado-Hosmer start, the Padres have holes everywhere in the batting order and no hope in the upper minor leagues.
A team batting average (.223)-ranked 23rd in baseball. Take Manny and Hos out of the batting order, the rest of the team is hitting (.188). How do you stay in a pennant race with those stats, and when you start playing real people?
The Friars start has come at the expense of teams that have gone (53-86). Once they get done with the struggling Cubs, they play 9-on the road including at Atlanta-at Philadelphia-at San Francisco. They also have 7-with the first place Brewers, a series against the red hot Mets on the road and a trip into St-Louis.
Oh by the way, they still have 16-left with you know who..the Dodgers.
Teams hitting (.223) might not be able to stay in the chase for first place.
Many games this first month of the season have seen the Padres send 7-out in a batting order hitting less than (.211). A lineup under performing.
..Wil Myers (.218) facing a long comeback from a thumb injury
..Ha Kim (.211)..a shade above last year’s rookie struggles.
..Jake Cronenworth (.208)..a disappointing start for someone so solid
..CJ Abrams (.182)..a bit overwhelmed
..Jurickson Profar (.170)..as good as he plays in the field-this is a poor start
..Austin Nola (.200)..his glove more value than his bat
..Trent Grisham (.158)..a really poor start compared to a year ago
..Luke Voit (.143)..an all time low..and coming off an (0-18) 12K rehab
..Mat Beaty (.108)..and now hurt, nowhere’s near what he did with the Dodgers
..Jose Azocar (.208)..overwhelmed.
There are two problems this morning for AJ Preller.
Unless he is willing to deal one of his pitchers or a top prospect, how is he going to acquire another bat. He chased Japanese star-Seiya Suzuki, Bryan Reynolds-Pirates, Ced Mullens-Orioles, free agent Nelson Cruz among others. It did not get done either because of the prospects other teams wanted or the price tag added into the budget.
Compounding all this is the fact Preller has dealt so many bats away in his bundle of deals to get the team he currently has. Take a look at who is producing elsewhere, who used to be here.
..Manny Margot-Tampa (.325)
..Josh Naylor-Cleveland (.383)
..Owen Miller-Cleveland (.385)
..Francisco Mejia-Tampa (.355)
..Ty France-Mariners (.309)
..Adam Frazier-Seattle (.248)
..Hunter Renfroe-Brewers (.248)
..Travis Jankowski-Phillies (.321)
..Franmil Reyes-Pirates (.247)
..Austin Hedges-Cleveland (.159)
..Luis Torrens-Seattle (.175)
Wonder if any of those guys would make a difference on this year’s team?
.Not time to panic, but not a time to feel very comfortable, for this franchise seems painted into a corner by its GM. The solution has to come from within. Only time tells if Myers-Grisham and others hit.
Only time will tell when Fernando Tatis will be ready to play, maybe July, how his wrist will hold up, and if he can be the straw that stirred the drink all thru last year’s Swagg Chain Summer.
Padres baseball may be in the chase. Will the pitching hold up? Will they stay in that chase when they start playing real teams?
Padres…a for real team…or a fraud?