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]
Fire the hitting coach!
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.
This Padre team is a joke! There are way too many non-MLB players on the roster. Maybe MLB czar Bud should take over this team and put the fans out of their misery.
I almost forgot———What did my $10 per seat raise in ticket prices get me?
Answer: Another pathetic hitting performance
A disgruntled season ticket holder
Re: Hawpe: Anybody have any theories as to how a player who is only 31 and who had an OPS+ as high as 130 in 2007 and 125 as recently as 2009 can suddenly not hit at all? Surely his success was not all due to Coors Field?
The Padres offensive production is killing me. I actually liked the lineup a lot more then last year, with obvious upgrades at SS, 2B and CF, I figured we’d lose some power, but make up for it with more basehits. But without Adrian to bail us out with the occasional big HR, the team can’t seem to produce anything beyond singles.
Hawpe has been an unmitigated disaster (why I wanted LaRoche, a notorious slow starter, but would give us more than Hawpe), and Ludwick just isn’t built for Petco. He’s getting good at bats, but he doesn’t have true Petco-level powers, so the result is a lot of disappointing long fly balls caught at the warning track. If he played for a lot of other teams, I imagine his numbers would look a lot better because several of the balls he hit this year for outs would have been HRs.
The good news is, Maybin looks good, and I think as he creeps his way up the lineup card, it will start generating more runs, and if Hundley can keep it up (a big IF), the 3/4 and 5th spots in the lineup should stabilize some. Maybin’s avg isn’t going to blow us away, but the way the ball just seems to all ways leap off his bat, I think he can be something special. That said, unless Maybin makes a big leap to a 30HR level player this year (I think he can be that player next year), the offense, and team, will be stuck in the doldrums. And that makes for a loooooong season