What to make of the first week …
Before we pass judgement on the first week of the regular season — and, really, it wasn’t even a full week, instead, the Padres played all of four games, dropping three before defeating the Dodgers on Sunday.
I’m not a big fan of passing judgement — good or bad — on small sample-sizes. It’s not a good way to go through life and in terms of a full Major League season of 162 games, it’s mostly a pointless venture.
That said …
Let’s look at a few things that really stood out during these first four games. As you might guess, most of them aren’t really pleasant. This wasn’t a team that was snake-bitten or largely unlucky in these three games. You can’t really argue that they ‘should have won’ this or that game. You don’t play well, you lose. It’s pretty simple.
Still … it’s four games and if this funk happens in June, few notice. But we don’t have a lot to compare this week with (not Spring Training results, since those are about as salient as the Pet Rock).
So what did we see this week?
— Not much in the way of defense. Through their first four games, the Padres have eight errors. That’s two more than the Giants. Eight errors for a team that has/will depended/depend heavily on run prevention? That was surprising. I don’t think the Padres are a bad defensive team, but I don’t think the will be as good as, say, 2010. We could easily check back in next week and the team might still have eight errors. This looks like a little bit of an aberration to me. Again, let’s give this a little time with the understanding that this team can’t be successful at their current defensive rate.
— The starting pitching scares me. It was easy to pinpoint the Padres hopes for a big season on an improved effort offensively. That’s still the case, but I think what got overlooked some was the starting pitching and that you had two starters coming off surgery (Moseley, Richard) and all without much in the way of a history of being innings-eaters, guys capable and with a history of working deep into games. The first three starters of the year go 5, 4 2/3 and 5 innings. That places a tremendous burden on the bullpen. Add to that Tim Stauffer’s strained right elbow. This is something well worth watching moving forward. The Padres don’t need everyone to do what Clayton Richard did Sunday (7 innings, no earned runs), but it would certainly help.
— The offense. Again, no need to read too much into numbers here, though the 36 strikeouts in four games is a little alarming. No matter what you think of Chad Billingsley, you have to give him some credit for having a monster outing (11 strikeouts, 8 1/3 innings) on Saturday, even if he’d never really shown some of the things he did well (according to the Padres) in his previous starts against them (he has defeated them 12 times, I should add). Are the Padres missing Carlos Quentin? No doubt. They should be better off when he returns from the DL. Strikeouts are bad, hits are good. Duh, I get it Corey.
Again, it will be interesting to review these points in a week, two weeks to see if there’s improvement.
Corey Brock, MLB.com