No Offense, but This Is Offensive

Q: How do you keep the Padres from scoring?
A: Put them on the field.

The Padres got shut out again on Thursday. Through 19 games:

Year  PA   BA  OBP  SLG RS RA  W-L
2009 728 .260 .333 .421 82 97 10-9
2010 726 .240 .317 .392 84 72 11-8
2011 735 .217 .306 .326 60 64  8-11

The team went through a few stretches like this (worse, actually) last year. The low point came before, during, and after the disastrous 10-game losing streak that kept the Padres out of the post-season. August 28 to September 16 was you-ain’t-got-no-alibi ugly:

 PA   BA  OBP  SLG RS W-L
674 .235 .287 .350 50 6-13

Hey, maybe the Padres are just getting this out of their system early to save us all the heartbreak of last summer. You know, crush any hope before it has a chance to grow. Those Padres are nothing if not compassionate. (Some would disagree… Speaking of which, does anyone else appreciate the irony of a Native American tribe sponsoring a team named after Catholic priests? Money is money, but damn…)

We’ve picked on Brad Hawpe and deservedly so (he pinch-batted in Thursday’s loss and… wait for it… struck out). Did you know that his -0.559 WPA from Wednesday’s loss is the worst by any batter in MLB this season? The last guy to do worse was Arizona’s Gerardo Parra (-0.627) on July 29, 2010, against the Phillies.

Relax, Hawpe’s performance is only the 38th worst since 2000 and the 10th worst in Padres history. Here are your top 10 Padres tank jobs:

Player             Date      WPA
Kevin Kouzmanoff 05/30/08 -0.769
Bobby Tolan      07/17/75 -0.668
Sixto Lezcano    07/03/82 -0.634
Ruppert Jones    09/13/82 -0.622
Paul Dade        08/31/79 -0.578
Kevin Kouzmanoff 08/07/08 -0.576
Reggie Sanders   07/10/99 -0.572
Kevin Kouzmanoff 08/01/08 -0.572
Terry Kennedy    07/04/84 -0.563
Brad Hawpe       04/20/11 -0.559

KOOOOOOOZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!!! Oh, wait… that’s not a good thing.

The pitching, you’ll note, has been fantastic:

Year    IP  ERA BB/9 SO/9
2009 169.2 4.83 4.03 6.79
2010 171.0 3.26 3.53 7.84
2011 175.2 2.97 2.87 6.76

Aaron Harang is 4-0 with a sparkling 1.88 ERA and even more sparkling 4.2 SO/BB ratio. Dustin Moseley could be 4-0. The only guy not getting it done right now is Mat Latos, and he’ll come around at some point (yeah, Cory Luebke has a stratospheric ERA, but that’s the result of one bad outing; he’s been pretty solid in an unfamiliar role).

Anywho, we can take comfort in the fact that it’s a long season. And if things keep going the way they are right now, it’ll seem even longer. Huzzah! Oops, still not a good thing…

* * *

  • Ultimate Sacrifice Baseball Card Set (Seamheads). Gary Bedingfield is creating baseball cards to honor the 142 players who were killed in WWII. How very cool.
  • Reading between the (baseball) lines (MiLB.com). Remarkably (and sadly), I haven’t read any of these. A book written by former Padres right-hander Steve Fireovid ranks among those mentioned.
  • Big Swing: Robot Sportswriter Outperforms Human (NPR). In all seriousness, how does a human bury the fact that the pitcher threw a perfect game? [h/t BBTF]
  • The 2011 Brad Emaus All-Stars (FanGraphs). Ex-Padres Kouzmanoff and Tony Gwynn Jr. show up here, although I would submit that both have established track records of mediocre hitting ability.
  • Giants Face Imminent Decision on Belt (FanGraphs). As a Padres fan, I favor a panic move. Send the kid back to Fresno, mess with his head.
  • A 16-Game Baseball Season (Joe Blogs). Bob Fothergill? Played in the ’20s and ’30s… 5’10″, 230 lbs… good hitter… I hadn’t heard of him either.
  • The Great MLB2K11 Giveaway (Seamheads). If you do the video game thing, you’ll want to get in on this action.
  • The 2011 all-underrated squad (SweetSpot). Orlando Hudson and the Padres bullpen make appearances on SweetSpotter-in-Chief David Schoenfield’s list… Speaking of whom, next on his tour of Padres unis are those from the 1990s and 2000s. Like Ryan, I’m sticking with 1975…
  • The Hall of Not Famous Enough (Joe Blogs). I disagree with his picks of Keith Hernandez and Willie Randolph — those guys were plenty famous. Lou Whitaker and Bobby Grich? Absolutely. Rick Reuschel? Huh, now that’s an interesting one. He was a much better pitcher than many of us remember.
  • First Ludwick, now Hawpe? (Inside the Padres). From where I sit, Ryan Ludwick and Hawpe are two completely different cases. Even when Ludwick was struggling, he looked good doing it.
  • Kevin Goldstein’s writing advice: Read out loud, write how you talk (Bleacher Report). This may be of interest to some of you. And yes, I read everything out loud — often, to the dismay of Mrs. Ducksnorts, several times — before I submit it for publication. [h/t BBTF]

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23 Responses »

  1. Fire the hitting coach!

  2. For me, Hawpe’s plate appearance last night (I refuse to call it an at-bat) was the final straw. When his name was announced, the game was already over. He didn’t look like he even intended to swing the bat for any pitch, perhaps out of fear that he’d go down swinging once again. Not surprisingly, 3 called strikes on him to end the game, the last of which was not even close to being a ball. Only Contreras throwing him three balls way off the plate prolonged the agony. When a hitter goes up there whose only hope is to take a walk (or get a HBP) it’s time to put an end to his tenure. Send him down, send him out, just send him somewhere. Please.