The San Diego Padres (27-33) faced low expectations coming into this season, widely thought to be condemned to the NL West basement behind four relatively talented teams. Two months into the season, that prediction has largely come true, and the only thing buoying the Padres has been the massive underachievement of the Arizona Diamondbacks. But even with that bonus, the Padres are still the fourth-worst team in the NL, ahead of only the Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs, and the Washington Nationals‘ (30-28) most recent victims, the Philadelphia Phillies.
The weight dragging the Padres down to the bottom of the league is their offense. San Diego ranks last in baseball in runs scored, batting average, and on-base percentage, and 29th in slugging percentage. Only outfielder Seth Smith has hit productively, posting a .951 OPS. No other Padre with at least 100 at-bats has an OPS over .681, which is 20 points below the NL average of .701. Second baseman Jedd Gyorko is the most egregious offender, posting a league-worst.482 OPS in 204 at-bats.
Though their hitters are scuffling, the San Diego pitching staff is among the league’s best. At 3.37, their team ERA ranks fifth in baseball, and their 1.23 WHIP is eighth. Specifically, the Padres’ bullpen has been stellar, with a 2.47 ERA that places third in the league.
Andrew Cashner has led the way for San Diego’s rotation this year, throwing to a 2.35 ERA in 57.1 innings. An elbow injury has kept him out since May 13th, but he will be reinstated from the disabled list to start against the Nationals on Saturday, which will surely be a boon to the Padres’ hopes.
The Nats’ recent offensive resurgence will face a test in the cavernous Petco Park, but they will surely be eager to prove they are for real after a disappointing split with the Padres in D.C. in April. Cashner may prove formidable, but the Nats should get their licks in against the other Padres starters. A few wins in this series will be crucial, as the following seven games at San Francisco and St. Louis will be serious challenges.
In The Zone
Anthony Rendon (3B) .375/.412/.656, 3 HR, 9 R, 6 RBI (last seven games)
Will Venable (CF) .500/.500/.750, 2 R, 3 2B (last seven games)
Adam LaRoche (1B) .320/.419/.600, 2 HR, 7 RBI (last seven games)
Everth Cabrera (SS) .214/.267/.250, 1 XBH, 1 RBI, 7 K (last seven games)
Chase Headley (3B) .125/.22/.250, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 10 K (last seven days)
6/6, Tanner Roark (3-4, 3.25 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 2.78 K/BB) vs. Tyson Ross (6-4), 3.05 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 2.41 K/BB )
5/31, Blake Treinen (0-2, 1.40 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 2.00 K/BB) vs. Andrew Cashner (2-5, 2.35 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 2.77 K/BB)
6/1, Jordan Zimmermann (4-2, 3.59 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 3.86 K/BB) vs. Eric Stults (2-6, 5.03 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 2.46 K/BB)