It is quite evident in watching the San Diego Padres play so far this season that something is just missing from the team. A decent April in which the team showed a lot of heart has long been forgotten, and the play of the team has been rather stale of late. Padres fans are running around saying the sky is falling, and that feeling just doesn’t want to go away.
What is it that’s missing from the team? Baseball purist and those that truly study the game would point to the fact the team is too right-handed with a propensity to strike out. Also the Padres defense, or lack there of has definitely been an issue. Those two aspects of the game are very important and can demoralize a team when exposed by an opponent. Oh, and exposed the Padres have been.
The powerful offense has been just as suspect, as the team has been so inconsistent with their hitting. The Padres can score 12 runs one night, only to be shut-out two out of their next three games. Nine shut outs on the season for this offense is not acceptable. The team needs to learn how to generate runs on a nightly basis. Some how, some way this team needs to start to be more accountable for their action on the field.
That leads us to the manager Bud Black, who by now, must surely be feeling some heat from the front office. The fact Black is in the final year of his contract is mind-blowing. He was set up to fail, in my opinion. Nothing less than a playoff appearance and he will be replaced. For a manager to go into a season in his final year of a contract is really unusual. Most times the manager is extended or just fired. The feeling of limbo must be tough for the Padres manager.
It’s natural for fans to blame every loss on the manager and his vital decision-making. The fact is the manager doesn’t play the games, he doesn’t throw the pitch, or take the swings. The players themselves must be accountable for the play on the field. The Padres are just way too streaky. To play this game properly, you must not get either too high nor too low. An even-keeled baseball team wins out in the sport of baseball. This team needs to find that consistency in order to get back into the race. Easier said than done.
So what will it take to be more consistent? Perhaps a steady lineup in which manager Bud Black is not forced to shuffle players around would be the answer.
Only a trade would do that, as the team is presently rotating Cory Spangenberg, Jedd Gyorko, Yangevis Solarte, Will Middlebrooks, Alexi Amarista and Clint Barmes in the infield. With that type of rotation, it’s no wonder the team is struggling to find consistency. A.J. Preller has already shown that he is not afraid to make a deal, so we will just have to wait and see.
Changes are surely on the horizon. The Padres will either be heavy buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. This next month and a half will dictate the whole season. If the team is hovering around the .500 mark come July 31st, then who knows what will happen. If the team is well below the .500 mark then the team could easily trade off Justin Upton, Ian Kennedy, Joaquin Benoit and Will Venable. Perhaps the long-awaited hot streak will happen, and the team will be buyers come July 31st. That is completely feasible with the talent level on this team.
A trade does not really have to happen come July either as A.J. Preller is more likely to pounce on a potential shortstop upgrade once he finds it. Stay tuned Padres fans, this season is far from over. The drama of a baseball season is long and can be exhausting, especially when the team you root for has playoff aspirations.