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:

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 ( 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]

Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

  3. 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

  4. 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?

  5. 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

  6. I’m, shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, to see Kouz’s name three times on the top 10 worst WPA in Padres history.

    In all seriousness, I think the Runners Left in Scoring Position, 2 out stat should be renamed the KOUZ.

  7. I am sorry, but I for one am tired of the year after year horrible hitting. This is not just a petco park issue. I don’t want to hear about small sample sizes…. I have 5 years of Padres bad hitting. For once, make a change early and get on with it:

    Cut Hawpe and bring up Rizzo.
    Trade Ludwick for some bullpen depth and bring up Jaff Decker.
    Trade Headley for a mid level prospect and bring up Darnell.
    Trade Cantu for some more minor league bullpen depth and bring up Forsythe.
    Trade Venable for whatever you can get and bring up Tekotte.

    Can a lineup of:
    Darnell, Tekotte, and Bartlett possibly do worse than the current one?

  8. …and we are shut out again!

    That’s number 6 in this season early going. Just fan-frakking-tastic.

    At some point, couldn’t the Padres just get a HBP with the bases loaded? come on, do it for the team…take one in the keister.

  9. Why didn’t the Padres claim Wood?

    Once he cleared the AL and the ‘stros and Mets, the Padres should have been next.

    His .143 average would fit in nicely with the team. He seems like a perfect fit!

    On the serious side, he has a lot more upside potential than some of the dead wood currently in the lineup (I’m looking at you Brad Hawpe) and makes the major league minimum. What do you have to lose?

  10. Sean – I do think the roster spot is more valuable than Brandon Wood … I think they feel like they have options and a plan … and the only mistake they can make right now is to panic.

  11. I’m creeping ever closer to the panic button. Having seen this team do the single, single double thing pretty well in Arizona, I am surprised that they have hit this poorly for so long. Their performance on the road trip to Houston and Chicago was especially frightening. If you can’t hit the Astros in Houston you’re not going to break out against the Phillies at Petco.

  12. terrrrrrrrrible. we’ve seen some bad offenses, but this team looks like it is going to take the cake. these alleged “bounce-back” candidates that i was soo excited we acquired are bouncing about as much as a Wisconsin beer-softball league team in an inflatable castle (hawpe, ludwick, cantu, et al.). the only silver lining here is that hamels is a hell of a hurler, and hopefully the boys can figure out the likes of sam lecure and bud norris our next go-around. but as for now this looks: Terrrrrrrrrible.

    now transitioning to ’08 “keep the faith” mode.

  13. @ClementeRF:

    No Idea. Hawpe most certainly was not a product of Coors Field. His numbers from 2007-2009 show an even split between home and road games. He hit everywhere, including Petco. Perhaps it’s injury, perhaps it’s his vision. But there is a reason why Colorado just dumped him last year and why Tampa Bay chose not to bring him back. His bat can’t catch up to any pitch. Kind of reminds me of another player who ‘lost it’ unexpectedly – Carlos Baerga.

    @PadresFuture, Matt:

    All of this has happened before and all of this will happen again.

    This is Padre baseball – we will win our share of close game this year and we’ll lose our share. The team is built for this, like it or not. I’m just as frustrated with the lack of hitting execution and the poor approach several Padres have at the plate right now, but it will pass. The past 5 years (2006 – 2010) saw us in it until the final week (or beyond) 3 times (’06, ’07, and last year) with 88, 89, ad 90 wins, and if you count 2005 that’s 4 out of 6 years. Past results aside, let’s not hit the panic button with an 8-12 record with a week left in April.

  14. I wouldn’t call the trades and minor league promotions suggested “panic,” but excessive comes to mind. Though I’m totally with Matt on the disappointment in our performance in Houston.

    I’m thinking Hats for Bats, keep bats warm. We have a giant driver in RF now, why not start keeping golf club covers on the bats in the dugout? Couldn’t hurt!

  15. If Garvey buys the Dodgers, isn’t it more rude to leave his number on Petco’s OF wall than it is to take it down?

    Just checkin’ …

  16. @Lynch, I’m with you on taking down #6.

  17. I struggle to believe that Hawpe is part of any long-term plan – he was a stop-gap to play an unfamiliar position until one of the kids (Rizzo or Blanks) could be promoted. I guess there’s a possibility he turns out to be Edmonds (and learns to hit after he leaves), but considering there’s no real plan to contend this year, Wood seems to be a better option (e.g., roll the dice and see if you get lucky).

    I have no problem letting the young guys work out their struggles (Kouzmanoff comes to mind), but I have little patience for the veterans that are on the downhill slide, particularly when the difference between the choices are unlikely to make much difference in the season.

    Hawpe vs. Wood is much like the drafting strategy for so many years – take a college pitcher with a low ceiling instead of younger kid with a high ceiling (nothwithstanding Batt Mush).

  18. I have to admit, I watch almost all my games on MLB TV after the fact. This allows you to skip through the painful parts. I tried to look it up, but does anyone to the MLB record for 162 games for fewest runs scored? If we are going to be offensively pathetic I want to be so in an epic way.

    I trust the powers that be on player development, but it is nice to see Rizzo’s 1.200+ OPS in Tucson. I am guessing Tucson plays like Chase, so should not get that excited but it is nice to see.

  19. here we go again! hey there’s new grass on the field…..lets hope there is much discussion in the club house concerning plate approach and runners in scoring position. WE ARE CLOSE to winning alot of games even with this offense..Come on FRIARS..HAPPY EASTER!

  20. Wow, seems like the Pads find themselves this year with a good performance by bunch of unheralded starters, great bullpen work, good D, can’t score any runs. Big offensive black hole at first base, need a guy who can hit the ball to left field for power and drive in runs, with a good glove. I know who: Albert Pujols. They tried it without Adrian for a few weeks and get shut out a quarter of the time. Albert is a stand-up guy with no character issues, and needs a new contract. Now, it may cost a few bucks to get him here, probably would put the Pads in the middle of the salary pack. But, even with no one hitting behind him in the order, he could put the Pads in the playoffs every year and put asses in an extra 5,000 seats per game.
    I’m only half kidding. If St Louis doesn’t money up, he’ll end up somewhere that doesn’t already have a $20 million first baseman. Let’s not let it be the Yankees, or Giants.

  21. Adrian > Pujols. Off topic, but I remain skeptical there is much performance gap between Albert and Adrian. I used to gripe to BP about why Albert VORP >> Adrian VORP when their road numbers were very similar. Albert had terrific home numbers while Adrian’s had a about 200 OPS gap. My answer was Petco; theirs was “there is now way a park would drop a player that much”. I think his tenure in Boston will show I was right.

    Toss in that Adrian is 2.5 years younger and Adrian is a much better bet right now.

  22. @ jay stokes

    It’s not just VORP. It’s every park-adjusted measure that shows Pujols has been better than Adrian. He’s a better defender and even though he often seems to have an injured leg he’s a better baserunner. Much was made of his slow start this year but he’s still outhit Adrian. It’s no slight on Adrian to “only” be one of the best 5-10 hitters in baseball instead of the very best.

    Adrian could very well be the wiser investment going forward, especially with Pujols’ demands. The last half of a 10 year deal for Pujols could be very dangerous. Over the next 5 years, though, he could continue to outproduce Adrian just like he has for the last 5 years.

    Back on current Padres, at least they’re not waiting until September. Get this losing crap out of everyone’s system now. Maybe they’ll finish strong instead of faltering.

  23. I’m all for getting the losing streak out of the way this early in the season but this is ridiculous with the bats.

    Maybe the clubhouse needs to be tented and Corky’s Pest Control needs to be doing its job…there are some termites eating the bats in the home clubhouse.