In his acclaimed epic, The Wasteland, T.S. Eliot called April the “cruelest month.” However, in baseball, April marks a brand new beginning for every team. Coming off the second-worst month (five wins in 25 games) in the history of the franchise, August may prove to be the cruelest month.
The fact that rookie pitcher Eric Lauer has been placed on the disabled list with a forearm strain (yes, those dreaded words) doesn’t improve the outlook. The team has minimized the seriousness of the injury, but that’s hardly a comfort.
San Diego hits the road to start the month having lost seven games in a row, and travels to the toasty, humid climes of Chicago and Milwaukee. Both the Cubs and Brewers have winning records, as does every team the Padres will face this month, except the Angels (54-56). In fact, every opponent but the Angels have at least a slim shot to reach the postseason.
On Thursday, the Padres (42-68) began a four-game series against the Cubs (62-45), the first place team in the Central Division. In a home series against Chicago, the Padres lost three games in mid-July. Robbie Erlin will come out of the bullpen, where he’s excelled. However, he has been less effective in limited action as a starter and will be unable to go deep in the game. The Padres will have the misfortune of facing both Jon Lester and his 3.22 ERA, as well as Kyle Hendricks, who leads the Cubs in strikeouts with 103.
On Monday, the Padres will have a day off and then continue on to face the Milwaukee Brewers (63-48), the second place team in the Central. Currently, the pitching matchups look like this: Game 1 Robbie Erlin vs. Chase Anderson, Game 2 Tyson Ross vs. former Padre Jhoulys Chacin, Game 3 Joey Lucchesi vs. Junior Guerra.
After a day game in Milwaukee, the Padres will fly home and get ready to face the East-leading Phillies (59-48), Angels, and Diamondbacks (60-49) (the latter for four games). Currently, the D-Backs are tied with the Dodgers for first place, with the Rockies just 1.5 games back.
Then the schedule takes the Padres to Colorado (58-49) for a three-game series on the moon (as radio broadcaster Ted Leitner frequently calls Coors Field). On the way home, the Padres will stop by Dodger Stadium for three games. The season series stands at 4-9 against Los Angeles. In fact, San Diego has a losing record against every team in the division. The month winds up at home with two games against the Mariners (at 63-45, in second place behind the Astros) and another two against the Rockies.
Perhaps the best that can come of August’s challenging schedule is that the Padres have a chance to affect the division races. Of course, the team will also be tested against teams in contention, which could either be somewhat positive, or completely demoralizing.
Baseball has been a part of Diane’s life since her father played professionally (mostly at the minor league level). She has written for a number of publications and concentrated on companion animal welfare. She welcomes the opportunity to write about the sport she loves. Diane shares her home with her husband and a house full of rescued animals.