The slow start to the San Diego Padres season had a lot to do with the performance of the pitching staff. The staff still leads the Major Leagues in home runs allowed, but they have shown signs of improvement in the last few weeks. Just in time for the Padres to make a playoff run.
The Padres starting staff currently has 32 quality starts out of the 47 games started. That is the best total in the league and shows you the ability of this staff. A quality start is when a starting pitcher goes at least six innings and allows no more than three earned runs. The starting five have had no problem producing for their team, but the offensive output has been hit and miss all season long. Really a strange thing to see as the club struggles to find its identity.
Even though Andrew Cashner had been struggling to get wins, his ERA is outstanding. He just was not getting any run support from his hitters. Getting the win on Wednesday night was fantastic for Cashner, who really has pitched well all season long. Cashner moved to 2-7 on the year with a 3.00 ERA. Very solid numbers for the big right-handed Texan.
James Shields has been everything as advertised. He remains perfect on the season with a 6-0 record and a 3.75 ERA. He does lead the Majors in home runs allowed, but in his defense, almost all of those homers were solo shots. Shields has struck out an impressive 82 batters in 62 innings. Easily his highest strikeout percentage in his 10 year career. He is liking the National League game of baseball very much.
His presence has surely help calm Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross. They no longer are looked upon as the aces of the staff, and that is fine with Shields. Shields treasures the competition of pitching against the other teams best pitcher. He leads by example, and I am positive Shields has been of great interest to those two big right-handed pitchers. Ross and Cashner can learn a lot from the veteran right-handed pitcher.
With a scoreless ninth for his 12th save, Craig Kimbrel lowered his ERA to 5.00 on the season. With a lifetime ERA of 1.76 he is surely to be flat-out dominant the rest of the way for the Friars. Joaquin Benoit has given up some big home runs this season, but has been solid most of the time. Brandon Maurer and Kevin Quackenbush along with Dale Thayer have locked down the late innings. The Padres bullpen is a strength of the team and the horrible start just means they are going to be unhittable the rest of the season.
All in all the future for the pitching staff is really bright. If the hitters can be more consistent the team should easily improve on it’s sub .500 mark. With a little luck and a winning streak the team can easily get within reach of the division leading Dodgers. With the arrival of Yonder Alonso and Wil Myers back into the lineup the team should be a little more consistent with their offensive output. Melvin Upton Jr. is also close to returning, we shall see where he fits on the team. Stay tuned Padres fans, the team is starting to play a little better and the future could very well be bright in Padres land.