2023 San Diego Padres First Look
Someone tell me again why aren’t pitchers allowed to hit? San Diego is making a great case for letting hurlers get back in the box. First baseman Jake Cronenworth is hitting .209. Center fielder Trent Grisham is hitting .197. And then…and then there’s our old friend, catcher Gary Sanchez, who is hitting .190.
I do not know how Matt Carpenter hit .305 last year after three years that could only be described offensively as “rhymes with dog crap”(.226, .186, .181). But he did and the Padres picked him up to be their designated hitter. Actually, they picked him up to be one of TWO designated hitters. Nelson Cruz is hoping to reach 500 homers but might have to wait until his 20th season to do so. He has 10 dingers in 40 games. He needs 36 more big flies to reach 500. Interesting note (or not), in the same number of career at-bats as Yogi Berra, Cruz has hit 106 more home runs. He has also struck out 1500 more times while driving in 100 fewer runs. Cruz is 6’2, 230 lbs. Berra was 5’7”.
So, those are the players who aren’t. That’s a lot for the stars to overcome and they generally are failing. Fernando Tatis Jr. Is carrying his fair share, but Manny Machado is hitting .251, Xander Bogaerts (.256) is hitting 35 points below his career average, and Juan Soto (.268, 15 HRs) isn’t exactly Freddie Freeman or Bryce Harper (in a good year).
This would explain why they are four games under .500 near the halfway point of the season.
On the mound, the team earned run average is more than respectable at 3.74. Blake Snell (3.22), Michael Wacha (2.90), and Seth Lugo (3.86) have been solid. Joe Musgrove (4.22) has won five straight starts but manager Bob Melvin isn’t letting him go past six innings. Yu Darvish (4.84) can’t seem to keep runners from scoring, but otherwise he looks fine. David Weathers is still searching for the magic as he has failed to produce in his third year (1.60 walks and hits per nine innings). The Padres just called a knuckleballer up to help which tells us…
I could list all of them, but suffice it to say the bullpen has a gaggle of guys with ERAs under 3.60, which means they are probably due for a rough stretch. Closer, Josh Hader has 18 saves to go with a 1.26 ERA.
Forecast: this could be one of those teams that has an offensive surge in the second half and wins 55 games. Orrrrr the offense comes alive and the pitching falls apart and they win 35. Orrrrr things stay pretty much as they are. I’ll take a version of the second option. Offense improves, pitching falls off a little. 41 wins from here on out makes for a 78-84 finish.