Padres Need to Set the Tone in the First Month of the Season

Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: AP Photo

The new and (we hope) improved version of the Padres lost the first three games of the season to the Milwaukee Brewers. The local team desperately needs to regroup and reset the tone for the first full month of the season.

Since 2010, the Padres have lost all but one opener and have had losing records in each first month as well as each season. The 2010 team had a 15-8 record in April and won 90 games. Both Clayton Richard and Chase Headley were on the roster then as they are now. General Manager Jed Hoyer put together a team that included Adrian Gonzalez (who was named team MVP), David Eckstein, Tony Gwynn Jr., Jon Garland, Mat Latos, and Heath Bell under manager Bud Black.

However, the Padres played the season under the cloud of the impending sale of the team by John and Becky Moores in divorce proceedings to a group led by Jeff Moorad. Moorad never managed to consummate the sale, and the Padres existed in limbo until August of 2012 when the current ownership group, including Peter and Tom Seidler, took over.

In 2011, the Padres began the season 10-17, ending up with a 71-91 record and 19 fewer wins than the preceding year. At the end of that year, Hoyer left San Diego to become general manager of the Chicago Cubs. Gonzalez, Eckstein, Gwynn Jr., Garland, and Bell also moved on before the season began.

The following year, the Padres lost the first three games of a four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers and went on to a 7-17 record in April. San Diego finished fourth in the National League West, 18 games behind the first place San Francisco Giants, who won the World Series that year as they had in 2010 and would again in 2014.

In 2013, the Padres lost the first two games to the New York Mets and ended the month with a 10-16 record, the season with a 76-86 record. The Dodgers began their run of dominance in the National League West with 92 wins, and the Padres finished the season tied for third with the Giants.

The Padres did win the first game of the series against the Dodgers in 2014 and improved slightly to 13-16 in April, ending the year third in the division with a 77-85 record. The Colorado Rockies (66-96) and Arizona Diamondbacks (64-98) helped by finishing fourth and fifth respectively in the National League West.

In 2015, the Diamondbacks won 79 games and took third place behind the Dodgers and Giants. The Padres, in General Manager A.J. Preller’s first full season, had a record of 11-12 in April. In mid-season, Preller fired Bud Black and installed Pat Murphy as the interim manager. At that time the Padres had a 32-33 record but ended the season at 74-88.

Credit: USA Today Sports

In the opening game of 2016, Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers pummeled the Padres and starting pitcher Tyson Ross in a 15-0 shutout. In fact, the Padres failed to score a single run in all three games against LA. Thus began Andy Green’s tenure as Padre manager. By the end of April, the team had managed to win only 9 of 15 games and had a losing record in each of the following months of the season, finishing with only 68 wins and in last place in the division.

Last year, the Padres improved slightly to a 71-91 record, beating the Pythagorean prediction of 59 wins. But records of 11-16 in April, 11-17 in May and 11-14 in June doomed the team to a fourth-place finish at a whopping 33 games behind the Dodgers and their 104 wins.

If the San Diego Padres actually do plan to compete in the next two to four years, the team needs to regroup after finding a way to lose all three games in the home opener against the Milwaukee Brewers. On the positive side, team defense has improved especially at shortstop with Freddy Galvis. He also leads the team offensively with a .417 BA, and .462 OBP.

However, the opening of the young season holds dire warnings. The Padres had a runner on third with no outs and couldn’t manage to get him home. Manuel Margot got picked off first base. Brad Hand, the closer, snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by yielding five runs in the 9th inning. Starter Luis Perdomo gave up five runs in four innings and left the game with a pitch count of 96.

San Diego must use this weird Sunday off day to regroup and reset the tone before the Colorado Rockies come to town for a four-game series. The team has 27 games remaining in April, which provides ample opportunity to put up a winning record to start the season for the first time since 2010.

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Diane Calkins
Baseball has been a part of Diane's life since her father played professionally (mostly at the minor league level). She has written for a number of publications and concentrated on companion animal welfare. She welcomes the opportunity to write about the sport she loves. Diane shares her home with her husband and a house full of rescued animals.

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