Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Your Division-Leading San Diego Padres
2005-07-08 17:06
by Mark T.R. Donohue

Man, the NL West is bad is it? It's so bad that the Padres, whose RS/RA suggest a record just a tick above .500, will have a nice cushion going into the All-Star Break. It's so bad that the five teams boast a 19-27 record against the NL East, a 46-53 mark against the NL Central, and a 32-55 interleague tally. It's so bad that the Rockies, Dodgers, Padres, Diamondbacks, and Giants will only have one starter (Jeff Kent) and six players on the National League All-Star Team. The absolute minimum would be five.

Jake Peavy, a starting pitcher, got the All-Star nod, and despite their position in first it's hard to argue that any of San Diego's offensive players got slighted. They're 12th in the league in OPS, 15th in slugging, and 12th in home runs. Only part of that can be blamed on Petco Park. Brian Giles is having a very good all-around season (.296/.423/.510) but he doesn't have a lot of homers (9) for a corner outfielder. Ryan Klesko leads the team with 13 long balls but is hitting "only" .262. Two regulars, Geoff Blum and Sean Burroughs, are having brutal years. Burroughs is slugging .297. Celebrated second-year shortstop Khalil Greene has regressed offensively. A lot of the guys with good numbers are platoon players like Mark Sweeney, Robert Fick, and Xavier Nady. Dave Roberts has responded well to the everyday leadoff role, with a .346 OBP and 14 steals.

Pitchingwise the Padres are not as good as they could be. Considering their home ballpark and the talent they have assembled, a middling 7th in the NL in ERA is not very good. Peavy is the ace, with an ERA of 3.14 and blazing peripherals -- 1.01 WHIP, 9.99 K/9. Adam Eaton has been solid. Woody Williams has been Woody Williams-like. So, for that matter, has Brian Lawrence. If the Padres had the Cardinals' offense, this pitching staff would be more than acceptable, but as it is, they need more from the 3rd and 4th guys than steady innings-eating and mid-4.00 ERAs. The fifth spot, not uncommonly, has been a problem. Tim Stauffer and the departed Darrell May and Tim Redding are a combined 3-12, although Stauffer has shown some signs of life. Trevor Hoffman leads a very good bullpen that mixes warhorses like Chris Hammond and Paul Quantrill with younger guys like Akinori Otsuka and Scott Linebrink. It's a good thing San Diego is built for close games because they're going to be in a lot of them.

Lucky for the Rockies, they miss Eaton (who has a middle finger injury on his pitching hand) and Peavy this time around. It'll be Stauffer vs. Jamey Wright today, Lawrence and Jason Jennings on Saturday, and Dennys Reyes (not to be confused with Danys Baez) facing Jeff Francis on Sunday before all baseball shuts down for the interminable All-Star Break. At least we can check out Chris Iannetta and Juan Morillo in the Futures Game.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.