There is a common theme when speaking about the 2019 San Diego Padres and that is inconsistency. The youthful team has struggled to play to their ability all year, but that was to be expected with the youngest team in the major leagues.
Until the Padres signed Manny Machado to his 10-year $300 million contract, the best-case scenario looked to be a .500 finish this season. Then the Padres got off to the team’s hottest start in what seems like ages and occupied first place in the National League West for a couple of days.
Lately, though, weaknesses and inconsistencies have reared their ugly heads. The Los Angeles Dodgers have returned to the top of the heap in the division, and San Diego has lost three games in a row including two to the struggling Colorado Rockies.
With the season in its first full month and an 11-8 record, the Padres still have plenty of opportunities to regroup if the team performs more consistently.
San Diego especially needs to improve its run differential which stands at -12.0. In contrast, the Tampa Bay Rays (+47.0), Seattle Mariners (+30.0) and Dodgers (+29.0) lead baseball in that key measurement. Other inconsistencies in the numbers match the play on the field.
Last year the Padres ended the season at the bottom in multiple categories including on-base percentage. So far, the team has improved but still doesn’t sport the numbers expected of a winning team. With a huge assist from espn.com, below you’ll find an exploration of the Padres performance measured against the best at this point.
Runs scored Mariners 1st 132 SD 23rd 68
HR Seattle 1st42 SD 7th 28
Hits Seattle 1st195 SD 20th 139
BA Dodgers 1st .277 SD 21st.229
OBP Atlanta 1st .365 SD 22nd .300
OPS Dodgers 1st.874 SD 19th .721
SO Angels 1st103 SD 18th 166
Walks Dodgers 1st 87 SD 22nd 57
GDP Miami 1st 23 SD 7th 17
XBH Seattle 1st 88 SD 10th 60
ERA Rays 1st 2.33 SD 10th 3.91
Walks Houston 1st 38 SD 6th53
SO Tampa 1st 186 SD 6th 173
BAA Houston 1st.199 SD 14th .241
OPS Rays 1st.563 SD 15th .724
SV% Angels 1st100.00 SD 10th 76.92
WHIP Houston 1st 0.97 SD 8th 1.23
K/BB Houston 1st 4.55 SD 6th 3.26
K/9 Cleveland 1st 10.67 SD 12th 9.27
P/PA Seattle 1st 3.73 SD 8th 3.89
Errors Royals 1st 4 SD 14th 9
FPCT Royals 1st .994 SD 11th .987
Assists Rockies 1st 199 SD 10th174
DRS Giants 1st 31 SD 11th 9
The stats match the inconsistencies we see on the field, as do some of the moves by the front office. The two most experienced starting pitchers, Joey Lucchesi, and Eric Lauer have one year to their credit. Chris Paddack, Nick Margevicius and Pedro Avila (who had a spot start against the Arizona Diamondbacks) skipped a bunch of traditional stops on the way to the big leagues. So far, A.J. Preller and company have chosen not to acquire a veteran starting pitcher.
However, the front office did sign a 36-year-old infielder (Ian Kinsler) to a two-year contract with an option instead of trusting Luis Urias at second base. Kinsler’s leadership abilities cannot make up for his batting line of .148/.246/.241, and platooning will not help Urias’ development. Even more confusing, the Padres signed Eric Hosmer last year in part for his leadership abilities so why the need for another veteran position player?
At the beginning of the season, the team even played a little small ball, highlighted by Wil Myers bunting down the third base line for a base hit in a close game against the San Francisco Giants. Austin Hedges drove him in, and the Padres came away with a 3-1 victory. Now the strategy seems to have reverted to waiting for the big fly. The Padres rank only 11th in home runs per game with 1.47 per game, while Seattle leads with an average of 2.00.
The Padres enjoyed an off day on Wednesday and surely recharged their batteries. Perhaps that will help the team to get back on track and aim for an increased measure of consistency. Coming off three straight losses (against the Diamondbacks and the Rockies), the Padres have what Jerry Coleman would have called a “golden opportunity.” The Cincinnati Reds, a team with five wins total and second only to the Miami Marlins in futility in the National League, will play four games against the home team.