The San Diego Padres Good, Bad, and Ugly

Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 San Diego Padres’ season has been a pleasure to watch. The team has played well, but there are some negative aspects to the season as well. Here is the good, bad and ugly for the Padres season.

For the first time in what seems like an eon, the Padres have started a baseball season with more wins than losses.

At 21-17 the team finds itself tied for second place in the National League West with the Arizona Diamondbacks rather than sharing the rear with the San Francisco Giants.

In the offseason, the Padres made a huge commitment to Manny Machado.

Equally surprising, the organization ignored conventional wisdom and brought up top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. opening day rather than playing the arbitration game. Both moves have paid dividends so far.

The positives far outweigh the negatives so far, but the young team has struggled in certain aspects of play. Improvement in those areas could make this season truly memorable.

Here’s a breakdown of the good, the bad, the ugly 38 games into the schedule.

The Good

  • Fans filling Petco Park once again
  • Eric Lauer outpitching Madison Bumgarner in the first game of the season
  • The signing of Manny Machado to the largest contract in Padre history
  • Machado’s defense at both shortstop and third base
  • Machado’s presence in the lineup
  • Fernando Tatis Jr.’s prowess on both sides of the ball
  • Tatis’ batting line of .300/.360/.550/.910
  • The vastly improved infield defense
  • Taking a chance on young pitchers Chris Paddack, Nick Margevicius and Cal Quantrill, as well as former reliever Matt Strahm
  • Paddack’s 3-1 record, ERA of 1.55, 46 strikeouts and ten walks
  • Paddack’s ace attitude
  • Margevicius holding his own without the benefit of a high-velocity fastball
  • Ranking sixth with 57 home runs but also first in bunt hits
  • Hunter Renfroe’s moon shots against star starters and relievers in crucial situations
  • Run differential just +1 but has finally moved into positive territory
  • Losing the first series against the Los Angles Dodgers but in close games rather than blowouts like the 15-0 score on April 4, 2016, which made the record books as the most lopsided score in opening day history
  • Unique victory celebrations from Tatis Jr.’s chop to the Austin Hedges/Renfroe leaping body slam
  • Gerardo Reyes’ dominant performance (including a 99 mph fastball) in 3-2 victory Wednesday against the New York Mets despite an ERA of 13.50
  • Young hitters not cowed by the likes of Felix Hernandez, Jacob deGrom or Kenley Jansen
  • Eric Hosmer’s rebound (.280/.325/.469/.793) after a rough start to the season
  • Manuel Margot‘s acrobatic catch robbing Pete Alonso of a home run, rating a star
  • Wil Myers’ early success, perhaps fueled by comfort level in left field
  • Franmil Reyes’ continued development at the plate after a slow start

The Bad

  • Losing Tatis Jr. to an injury and interrupting his fast start
  • Myers’ frigid streak including 48 strikeouts, .231 BA and sub-.300 OBP
  • Lack of real center fielder other than Margot
  • The absence of Travis Jankowski, who can play all three outfield positions
  • Hosmer’s cold start
  • Manager Andy Green’s bullpen management
  • Closer Kirby Yates tendency to make things harder for himself,
  • Quantrill giving up four straight hits (on 64 pitches) and digging himself an early 2-0 hole against New York Mets on Tuesday
  • Joey Lucchesi’s reliance on two pitches and inability to pitch successfully the third time through opponents’ batting average
  • Reyes’ lack of wheels in right field especially in more spacious ballparks of NLW

The Ugly

  • Sharing a division with the Dodgers who have the, best record in baseball (25-14)
  • The Dodgers’ run differential of +51
  • Losing the first two games of the series with the Dodgers despite leading in the 9thinning
  • Ian Kinsler’s presence on the team (-0.6 WAR in 113 /AB .177/.238/.327/.565 OPS+ 53)
  • Opponent’s fans filling stands, especially those of the Dodgers who may have outnumbered Padres’ fans
  • Head-scratching base running, including five pickoffs already, despite the team’s emphasis during spring training
  • Team’s rank of 28thin walks and 6th in strikeouts

The Padres have made great strides this season. However, the organization will face multiple dilemmas as the season progresses from the usage of young pitchers to improving baserunning and cutting down on strikeouts to bullpen management to the necessity of adding of one or two veteran starting pitchers.

But, in the meantime, we’re all finding winning a lot more fun than losing.

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Diane Calkins
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.

11 thoughts on “The San Diego Padres Good, Bad, and Ugly

  1. Green not a great manager. Hedges hits a grandslam and is batting much better the last few games and day after slam Green sits him down. Not good psychology for Hedges or the team in general. Lost game scoring 1 run after scoring 19 the day prior. Green treats the regular season like spring training. Players doing well need to play every day in the same position. He also mismanages the relievers and base runners. Needs to teach how to take advantage of shift like was done by Myers one game when he bunted against the shift. If they are going to give you a base take it every time so you force the other team out of shift. Also Myers should be hittinf over 300 but never will until his scotopic sensitivity is corrected ( this is a real Dx that can be easily fixed)

    1. Hello Bart,
      I think we’ll know more about Andy Green after this season. He hasn’t had much to work with until now. He does, however, make some head-scratching moves. I too was astonished that Hedges hit a grand slam and then sat on the bench the next game. That’s a real momentum killer, especially for a guy fighting for every hit. I’m curious about the comment about Myers and scotopic sensitivity. Can you elaborate? Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment,

      1. Diane, just google scotopic sensitivity or Irlen Syndrome
        23 % of the population is scotopic but it really effects only 7% where it creates problems. Atheletes have to work xtra hard if its not corrected with them. Myers after watching him for the past 2 years looks to have it and its amazing he does fairly ok but should be great with his gifts.

  2. Does anyone mention the lost art of “small ball” and playing the game with a little intelligence? For instance, when the opposing pitcher is struggling and throwing plenty of pitches including LOTS of balls and walks, why do OUR hitters swing like crazy? That’s dumb but it’s also bad coaching! For the life of me, how hard is it for Green and his staff to tell a hitter to take some pitches? Or when we have a runner on third with one or less out, there is no need for a HR, a nice fly ball will work just fine – just get the guy home! PLEASE PADRES, play the game with some “smarts!” This is all on Andy Green. He can do it if he wants.

    Regarding Eric Lauer, if he struggles again, then YES, send him down. The Pads have options and no one should be guaranteed a spot in the rotation. Speaking of options, wouldn’t it be nice to see the Pads trade for Madison Bumgarner? But as much as the Pads could use him and certainly have the trade chips to give the Giants, there is just no way SF will trade him to a division rival. Too bad.

    I feel terrible for Austin Hedges. He has NEVER been a favorite of AJ Preller and I think he tries too hard and presses too much at the plate. Baseball is a game where the player has to be confident about himself and his abilities. If Hedges doesn’t believe in himself, it’s the fault of our OUR management. What a terrible shame….. I wish I could be the GM!

    1. Hi Gary,
      Thanks for reading. Actually, we have had some small ball with the timely bunts, which I love. But for the most part, the approach seems to be swing for the fences. Every damn year, the Padres have such a hard time getting a runner in scoring position home. It doesn’t matter who is batting and certainly not who the batting coach is, same old story. Drives me nuts. I am and will always be an Austin Hedges fan. Never underestimate the value of an elite defensive catcher.

  3. Thanks for the article, Diane….a lot of good points, and I agree with most of them…The PADS can potentially overcome most of the bad and ugly…but the consistent lack of offense, besides the homers, cannot and will not be overcome…the NLW has too many great offensive clubs, and the pads are relying way too much on the ‘ smoke and mirrors – 5 hits a game ‘….approach….I’m still hoping for a chance at a wild-card, but if the offense doesn’t pick it up, and NOW…this is a 4th place club, pure and simple….? Paul….

    1. Hi Paul,
      I agree about the offense, especially in areas like getting a runner in scoring position home with fewer than two outs. Relying on home runs is not a great strategy. The Wild Card looks tantalizing, but the competition will be fierce.
      Thanks much,

  4. -That run differential took a hit tonight. Green leaves Lauer in to give up 8 runs in 3 innings. Is he ever going to learn? Stupid is forever.
    -The Padres are 1 game out of the 2nd wild card spot, Green better start managing like it. He almost single-handedly lost the Dodgers series, and nearly every loss features him leaving the starter in too long, and then having to burn out the pen because he still hasn’t earmarked Warren and Erlin for long relief roles. Talk about a steep learning curve.
    -I’m not worried about Kinsler. He’s only a bridge to Urias, and a role model for the youngsters. The guy to be worried about is Myers. He more or less is 0 for April-May. He should have been traded this off season, now Preller might be stuck. Probably have to sell low on Myers, take our lumps, save whatever money we can and move on. Or bench him, that’ll be fun.
    -For the staff, it’s time to demote Lauer and Luchessi, they sort of suck right now.
    – What is going on at C? Surprised you didn’t mention it. Bench Hedges. It’s one thing to hit .220 and play great “D”, but when you “hit” .157? No. Sit him for a week, and let’s see what Mejia can do with a chance.
    This team has a chance to hang in the playoff picture, and they should seize it.

    1. Hello Tom,
      The Wild Card is the only way to the playoffs in this division. The flaws in this team are really starting to show though.
      I totally disagree about Hedges, as I believe that catcher is the most important defensive position and entails far more than framing, etc. especially with a young pitching staff.
      Thanks for the comment.

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Diane Calkins
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.