The Padres knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Not only are the Washington Nationals arguably the best team in the National League, they have two of the best pitchers in the game in Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. The Padres somehow got unlucky enough to draw both in this weekend’s three-game series in Washington. Predictably, things have not gone well.
In just two games, the Padres have managed to strike out 31 times. Considering the Padres have made 54 outs in those two games, that’s a strikeout rate of 57 percent. Not good at all. On Friday, it was Max Scherzer and his 13 strikeouts through eight plus innings. After getting into a ninth inning jam, Nats’ reliever, Koda Glover, came into the game and struck out Hunter Renfroe to end it with the Nationals’ 14th strikeout of the game. With eight plus innings, 13 strikeouts, and only one earned run, it was going to be hard for Stephen Strasburg to top Max Scherzer.
Well lucky for Strasburg, anything is possible with the San Diego Padres. On Friday night, Cory Spangenberg and Ryan Schimpf were the only Padres starters who did not strike out against either Max Scherzer or Koda Glover. On Saturday night, they weren’t as lucky. Somehow the Padres one-upped themselves on Saturday night, striking out 15 times against Strasburg, and 17 times overall. Of those 15 strikeouts, Strasburg struck out every Padres starter except for leadoff batter, Allen Cordoba, who ended up striking out against Matt Albers in the 8th inning, and also struck out newest Padre Franchy Cordero in his major league debut.
So the last two games obviously weren’t good for the Padres at the plate, with 31 strikeouts and only one earned run. Against Scherzer and Strasburg, that is to be expected. However, this has been a fairly common theme for the Padres so far this season. Through 51 games, the Padres have had 1865 plate appearances and have struck out in 24.6 percent of those, good for (or bad for?) the second-worst strikeout rate in all of baseball. Add to that their 75 wRC+ (second worst in baseball) and 172 runs (second worst in baseball), and the Padres have pretty easily been one of the two or three worst offenses in all of baseball. If not for the dreadful offenses in Kansas City and San Francisco, the Padres would clearly be the worst.
However, there have been some bright spots over the last few days. The Nationals are easily the best offense in all of baseball, but both Luis Perdomo and Clayton Richard limited them to just three runs on Friday and three runs on Saturday. Michael Taylor went deep in both games and against both pitchers, but a total of eight earned runs in two games against the Nationals has to be considered a win. Weirdly enough, even though the Padres’ pitching staff was supposed to be the worst part of the team, they have actually outperformed the offense to this point. It remains to be seen if this trend keeps up, but it will certainly be something worth watching.