The Padres have had a tough month of July, as everyone knows. Their record of 5-20 during the month tells you enough about how they’ve performed. It was the second-worst month in the 49-year history of the franchise. Only a 5-22 record in August of 1969 was worse — the year the team first came into existence.
The starting pitchers on the team have had a FIP of 5.55. That made it really difficult for the team to have a chance to win games. By starting pitcher WAR, the team ranks dead last in the league during July, accounting for -0.5 WAR according to Fangraphs.
As for the team’s offense, it was a little better during the same period of time. It was largely propelled by strong performances from Wil Myers and Manuel Margot, while most of the rest of the lineup slumped. The Padres only scored 89 runs throughout July, with a team wRC+ of 75. For those unfamiliar with wRC+, a value of 100 is around league average — to give you an idea of how the team under-produced on offense.
Let’s get to more specific analysis of the Padres’ July — game by game studying what exactly went wrong, and why it did. Buckle up for a long ride through one of the toughest months in San Diego Baseball recently, because it’s going to be fairly long.
Though the point of analyzing so many losses is understanding how the team can improve based on what happened during the last month.
July 1: 7-5 Loss to Pittsburgh Pirates
Tyson Ross gave up seven earned runs in five innings, while not even getting a strikeout in the loss to the Pirates. The lone bright spot was the team’s bullpen pitching the final four innings without allowing a run, and only surrendering two hits. A common theme with this team is that it has a strong bullpen, despite its shortcomings in other areas. Hunter Renfroe impressed with an RBI double and solo homer, while A.J. Ellis, Tyson Ross, and Wil Myers each had an RBI as well. The offense was fine, but the tough start from Ross made a comeback simply too difficult.
July 3: 6-2 Loss to Oakland Athletics
The start from Clayton Richard was one of what would end up being multiple rough July starts, giving up five earned runs over six innings. Offensively, the team went quiet and only put two runs on the board, fueled by a 3-for-5 game by Travis Jankowski, and RBI from Wil Myers and Eric Hosmer. It was really a story of missed chances though, as the team left twenty two runners on base, also only walking four times in the loss. More than anything else, the starting pitching made it too difficult once again for the offense to make up for.
July 4: 4-2 Loss to Oakland Athletics
This was a game the Padres really had a chance to win, and Luis Perdomo made a really nice start, throwing 5.2 innings while only allowing two earned runs. It was a rarely underperforming game for the bullpen pitchers, as Jose Castillo and Craig Stammen each gave up an earned run. Christian Villanueva had a rarely good game himself, as he hit a two-run homer in the second inning. The story was really that the first four hitters in the lineup only mustered one hit as a group. That is almost never enough to win a game in the major leagues. The first four did walk four times collectively, but the bottom of the lineup was only able to bring one of them home for a run. Really, a loss due to general mediocrity in the lineup and pitching.
July 5: 6-3 Win over Arizona Diamondbacks
Behind a highly impressive start from Eric Lauer, the Padres came up with the first of their five July victories on this day! Though he did give up seven hits, Lauer did a good enough job keeping Arizona off the board and only ended up allowing one earned run. Matt Strahm followed in relief and gave up a couple earned runs, but Kazuhisa Makita and Brad Hand pitched well at the end of the game to seal the victory. Wil Myers went 2-for-4 with two RBI, while Carlos Asuaje also went 2-for-4 with an RBI, and scored two runs as well — as the key offensive producers in the win. Everyone on offense produced up and down the lineup well enough for the team to hold on for victory. The valuable innings from the starting pitching were also key to the win.
July 6: 3-1 Loss to Arizona Diamondbacks
The offense was really lacking in this game, which was pretty disappointing for the team. They only left ten runners on base, but considering that they only had five hits, it’s not a good look for the offense. Lucchesi was solid in his 5.1 innings of work, giving up two earned runs on only three hits. The bullpen was solid, only giving up one run themselves. This game was defined for the Padres more by what didn’t happen, because they simply didn’t do hardly anything when hitting. To make matters worse, they only walked once throughout the whole game. If they couldn’t score runs, the effort of their pitchers obviously couldn’t be rewarded.
July 7: 20-5 Loss to Arizona Diamondbacks
Boy, this was a really tough loss, as the Diamondbacks crushed Padres pitching from the very start. Tyson Ross only lasted two innings, surrendering eight earned runs on seven hits. Then, Kazuhisa Makita gave up seven runs, five of which were earned, in his two innings of work. Even the great Kirby Yates allowed three earned runs and only managed to get one out, which shows that this was a truly rough game for the entire pitching staff. The bright spot for the Padres was Wil Myers hitting three home runs and having four RBI, but that was about it for the positives. Jose Pirela added a solo homer for the fifth run.
July 8: 4-3 Win over Arizona Diamondbacks
Likely the most exciting game and victory during a dismal July, the Padres pulled out the victory on Wil Myers’ solo homer in the sixteenth inning! The pitching came back after a disastrous game the day before, and only allowed three runs. It was an especially strong game for the bullpen, as all the runs were given up by starter Clayton Richard over five innings of work. Offensively, Myers and Hosmer each only had one hit in fourteen combined at-bats, though each ended up with an RBI. Austin Hedges and Jose Pirela had RBI to add on the other two runs the team scored. Clearly, this was a win on the back of excellent work by the pitching staff.
July 9: 8-2 Loss to Los Angeles Dodgers
The story of this game centers around six earned runs being allowed by Luis Perdomo over seven innings. Walker Lockett then pitched two innings and allowed two runs himself, but at that point the game was already out of reach. Myers was the lone player in the lineup with a multi-hit game, and added an RBI in the loss. Pitcher Luis Perdomo added a hit, for what it’s worth, though the rest of the lineup’s performance was dismal. It was another game in which the team walked only once collectively, which never bodes well as far as being able to score runs. Perdomo was bad, but the offense was just as disappointing.
July 10: 4-1 Win over Los Angeles Dodgers
Eric Lauer was the unquestioned most valuable player of the game on this day, as he pitched 8.2 innings and nearly threw a shutout before giving up a solo homer to Max Muncy in the ninth inning. His fastball velocity was sitting 93-96 mph, and he made things tough against a pretty good Dodgers lineup. He finished with eight strikeouts, while walking only two batters. Myers went 1-for-4 with an RBI, and Austin Hedges had a big game, going 2-3 with three RBI and a run scored. When the pitching is as good as it was during a game like this, the team will always have a great chance to win, and Lauer did exactly that in the win.
July 11: 4-2 Loss to Los Angeles Dodgers
Carlos Asuaje and Christian Villanueva knocked in the only two runs the Padres’ offense could muster in this game, and Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers went 0-7. Joey Lucchesi pitched four innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits. The bullpen was solid in relief of Lucchesi, only allowing one run in their five innings of work. When the offense simply doesn’t produce much, the team isn’t going to stand much of a chance of winning unless the pitching is nearly perfect, which is simply unrealistic.
July 12: 3-2 Loss to Los Angeles Dodgers
The start by Tyson Ross was really good in this game, as he only allowed two earned runs on three hits with five strikeouts. Stammen then came on in relief and allowed a run, but Strahm and Cimber pitched 2.1 shutout innings to finish the game. The highlight of the offense was Wil Myers and his three hits. And he knocked in the lone runs the Padres scored. Once again, no one else had multiple hits, which illustrates how much the offense was struggling. When the offense only puts up two runs, it puts too much pressure on the pitching, which was the same issue in the previous game as well.
July 13: 5-4 Loss to Chicago Cubs
It was a solid outing from starter Clayton Richard, despite the fact that he walked five batters. He gave up two earned runs, and then the bullpen was solid until Brad Hand blew the save in the ninth inning. Travis Jankowsi had a great game out of the leadoff spot, going 2-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored. Carlos Asuaje also added two hits, but didn’t score or knock in any runs. Austin Hedges had a notable game, going 3-for-5 with an RBI. It was a solid game all-around until Hand blew the save, which was a rare occurrence.
July 14: 11-6 Loss to Chicago Cubs
The team never really had a chance to win this game, as Luis Perdomo gave up five earned runs in 4.1 innings of work, surrendering seven hits. The relievers weren’t much better, as Maton and Hughes each allowed three earned runs in the eighth and ninth innings. Carlos Asuaje was on base four times, going 2-for-2 with two walks and a run scored. Eric Hosmer went 1-for-4 with two RBI as well. Renfroe also added a two-run homer in the loss. The offense was pretty good in this game, but the pitching made it impossible to make up for the runs allowed.
July 15: 7-4 Loss to Chicago Cubs
Manuel Margot returned to the leadoff spot for the Padres, and went 2-for-5 in the game. Christian Villanueva had a rarely good game following his torrid April, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored in the loss. The problem was that Eric Lauer only lasted two innings into his start, allowing five earned runs on five hits. The bullpen was predictably strong after Lauer was removed, but the damage was already done. Craig Stammen had five strikeouts in two innings, which was a great performance. Lauer just never gave the Padres a chance to win the game, really.
July 20: 11-5 Loss to Philadelphia Phillies
The struggles of Clayton Richard continued in this start against the Phillies, in which he only lasted three innings, and allowed seven earned runs. Essentially, his command was totally off and he couldn’t avoid the middle part of the plate enough. Robert Stock also had a rough outing in relief, allowing four earned runs in the seventh inning. Myers went 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored, and Freddy Galvis had three hits and two RBI in his return to Philadelphia. Manuel Margot continued his hot July, going 1-2 with two walks and two runs scored in the loss. When the starting pitcher allows seven earned runs, it doesn’t make it very easy to win the game, as the Padres illustrated in this contest.
July 22: 10-2 Win over Philadelphia Phillies (Game 1)
It was a rare game in which the Padres scored a lot of runs, putting up 10 on 15 hits against the Phillies. The first six hitters in the order tallied nine RBI between them, and five of them had at least two base knocks. The guy who only had one hit, Wil Myers, hit a 450-foot, two-run homer. Tyson Ross was solid in his five innings of work, only allowing two earned runs while striking out five. Following him, Strahm, Stammen, and Brewer pitched four clean innings while only allowing one hit, striking out six as a group to finish off the game. This was a game that modeled what the Padres hope to be in the future — a team with players producing up and down the lineup, and with pitching to cement the victory once the runs are scored.
July 22: 5-0 Loss to Philadelphia Phillies (Game 2)
In the second game of the doubleheader against the Phillies, the Padres’ offense went completely quiet after their ten-run outburst during the game earlier in the day. They only managed two hits against Philadelphia pitching, and managed for the first time in July not to walk even once as a team! Luis Perdomo was solid on the mound, only giving up three earned runs in 6.1 innings. Phil Maton came in after him and gave up another two runs that cemented the Phillies’ lead. This was another time in which the offense was simply atrocious, and never gave the pitching any chance to win the game.
July 23: 3-2 Win over New York Mets
Freddy Galvis and Manuel Margot both drove in runs as the team squeaked past the Mets in Queens. Wil Myers was 2-for-4 with a run scored as well, and Christian Villanueva added a run scored in the victory. Joey Lucchesi pitched well, going 5.1 innings and allowing two earned runs, striking out six and not walking a single batter. Then Craig Stammen, Phil Maton, and Kirby Yates finished off the game while only allowing one hit. It was Yates’ first save as the established Padres closer, following Brad Hand being traded to the Indians. It was a solid victory in which the team had just enough offense to back great pitching.
July 24: 6-3 Loss to New York Mets
Starter Eric Lauer was shelled in his four innings, allowing six earned runs that ended up sinking the team’s chances of winning. Robert Stock pitched three shutout frames, and Phil Hughes pitched another clean inning, but it was too late. The key offensive performers were Manuel Margot and Wil Myers. Margot went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, and Myers was also 2-for-4 with three RBI. This was a game in which the theme of Wil Myers producing alone first appeared, and was a recurring trend throughout the month. When the pitching is so weak, and only one guy in the lineup is producing, the team doesn’t have a very good shot at winning.
July 25: 6-4 Loss to New York Mets
Again, Clayton Richard was roughed up in a July start, doing his best impression of Lauer’s start the night before, by allowing six earned runs. At least he lasted five innings, but he wasn’t much better than Lauer was. Maton, Strahm, and Stammen pitched three shutout innings that weren’t really worth much after Richard dug the team into such a hole. Hedges was the best offensive producer in the game, going 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Manuel Margot also continued his hot hitting by going 2-for-4 with a run scored. The team only walked once in the whole game, and it was a reason for their lack of scoring. The starting pitching was bad, and the offense wasn’t very impressive either. Not a very good game all-around.
July 27: 6-2 Loss to Arizona Diamondbacks
The offense ran into a strong start from Zack Greinke, and for the second time during the month of July, didn’t even walk one single time during the game. Manuel Margot went 2-for-4 during the game, and Austin Hedges went 1-for-3 with an RBI. For yet another game, the Padres’ starter was shelled. Luis Perdomo only lasted 2.1 innings, and only struck out two hitters. Though the score may indicate the game was at least decently competitive, it was really in the Diamondbacks’ control the entire way as the Padres’ hitting and pitching was mediocre, to say the least.
July 28: 9-4 Loss to Arizona Diamondbacks
Tyson Ross started the game and promptly allowed four earned runs, lasting five innings and striking out three. The offense quickly tied the game though, highlighted by a Manuel Margot RBI double, and a Wil Myers two-run double. Tyson Ross even went 2-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored. The lesson here is really that when a team’s pitcher is one of their best hitters, they should think about upgrading the lineup. It was a rough night for the bullpen, as they allowed five earned runs in the eventual loss to Arizona. Overall, a rough game for the team as a whole more than anything else.
July 29: 5-4 Loss to Arizona Diamondbacks
Joey Lucchesi faltered in his final start of July, as he gave up five earned runs and only struck out three hitters in 4.1 innings. The bullpen pitched well to end the game, as Lyles, Stock, and Maton threw 4.2 shutout innings with a combined five strikeouts. Wil Myers hit another two-RBI double for the second game in a row, and went 2-for-4. A.J. Ellis made a rare start, and went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Other than those two hitters, the offensive performance was largely nondescript. The bad pitching and hitting did the team in during the loss.
July 30: 5-3 Loss to San Francisco Giants
The start by Eric Lauer was solid, as he threw five innings while allowing three earned runs. He also added his tenth pickoff of the season, catching Evan Longoria off guard at first base. For those interested, the record number of pickoffs in a season by a starting pitcher is sixteen. On offense, Christian Villanueva went 2-for-5 with an RBI, Eric Hosmer was 2-for-4 with a run scored, and Manuel Margot knocked in a run as the most significant contributors. The bullpen was solid and kept the team in the game until faltering in the twelfth inning, after the Padres failed to capitalize on having runners on the corners with one out in the bottom of the eleventh inning. Execution of not bunting down the third base line, or not bunting at all, would have given the Padres at least some chance of scoring the winning run when the game was tied in the 11th.
July 31: 3-2 Loss to San Francisco Giants
Clayton Richard finally righted the ship by throwing five innings of two run ball. The bullpen was great until Phil Maton allowed the go-ahead run to score for the Giants late in the game. The offense was largely held in check by the Giants’ pitching, as Eric Hosmer and Manuel Margot drove in the lone runs the team could muster. Christian Villanueva went 0-for-2, but at least walked twice, and Wil Myers went 1-for-5 with a run scored. It was an occasion on which the offense was held in check, and really struggled. It was a fairly rare game in which the pitching was really impressive, yet the offense simply couldn’t capitalize on the good work of the hurlers.
There were a lot of rough starts by Padres pitching during the month of July that can be seen as the primary culprit of the team’s struggles above all else. The offense wasn’t very impressive in its own right, though — having only a few guys hitting well during a given season is not sufficient for winning games consistently. The bright side is that the Padres’ farm system is full of pitching prospects on their way to the major leagues as reinforcements. Guys like Fernando Tatis Jr., Luis Urias, and Francisco Mejia also figure to beef up the lineup fairly soon. It’s looking dark right now, but the future is very bright in San Diego.
A sophomore at Willamette University in Oregon, Conrad is majoring in Spanish but is also a writing center assistant for other students at Willamette. He has been a Padres die-hard his whole life and hopes to bring comprehensible statistical analysis to the site.