The weekend series against the Los Angeles Dodgers had many positives for the San Diego Padres. Despite the fact the Padres gave away two games to the Dodgers, they did compete as a team, and were able to do so against the Dodgers two best pitchers in Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.
Dale Thayer failed to limit the Dodgers bats on both occasions. He was charged with his first two loses on the season with days of each other, and in a huge series against the division leading Dodgers. Thayer could not have picked a worse time to melt down.
The Padres could have easily swept the Dodgers if not for a few key plays here and there. That’s the way the game is, the whole game can ride on a single play or two. There is not much you can do as a ball club except remain confident that the breaks will come your way.
The Padres appear to be destined to hover at the .500 winning percentage mark, unless the team steps up. A lot of the future of this team relies on the bat of Matt Kemp. His defense in right field has been more than adequate. He does not have the greatest of range right now, but his arm is still very capable of throwing out runners on the base paths.
Kemp’s bat has been less than stellar. He currently sits with two home runs on the season and Padres fans are begining to wonder if they are getting the second coming of Brian Giles. He, like Kemp came to the Padres with much power potential but failed to live up to that power in a Padres uniform.
Kemp should get hot eventually. He has always been a streaky hitter ad you see flashes of his potential still, but it really hasn’t clicked for him yet this season. He hit .269 with eight homers and 35 RBIs before the All-Star game last season. He also struck out 87 times in 305 at bats. This season so far, Kemp is hitting .246 with two home runs and 33 RBI’s in 248 at bats. He currently has 61 strike outs on the season.
Kemp exploded in the second half last season with a .309 batting average and 17 home runs and 54 RBI’s. He also cut down his strike outs. To say that will happen again is anyone’s guess but looking at his numbers from last year at this time, they are very similar. The home runs are down but Kemp has just missed a round tripper on many occasions. The power and the home runs will and should come.
Bud Black was relieved of his duties by the San Diego Padres on Monday morning and his tenure as Padres manager is officially over. With his dismissal the team has a month and a half to get above .500 and within reach of the Dodgers for first place in the National League West. If the team fails to reach this goal, then players like Justin Upton, Will Venable, Joaquin Benoit and Ian Kennedy will be moved to rebuild the farm system. Padres fans hope that never happens, but A.J. Preller is sure to have all potential angles covered. Stay tuned, we will all see what happens with this team.