The Padres are off to a horrible start, so a housecleaning might be forthcoming. Who stays and who goes?
The San Diego Padres, perhaps predictably, have gotten off to a miserable start in 2012. Although expectations were not high coming into the season, almost nothing has gone right for the club. Between injuries and ineffectiveness, not to mention ongoing ownership/television deal issues (I live 15 minutes from Petco Park and cannot watch the team on TV in my home, which might qualify as “charmingly retro” if it weren't so annoying), the Padres are staring at their worst-case scenario only a month into the campaign.
Last week, Kevin Goldsteinsuggested that a “housecleaning in San Diego could be coming.” Reader pobothecat wondered what such a housecleaning might look like, and so did I.
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The Padres pitching staff pools its knowledge about offense in an attempt to snap a hitless streak.
Pitchers are terrible hitters, but their terribleness is at least consistent. Since 2000, as offense overall has declined, pitchers have never slugged lower than .175 (nor slugged higher than .195). They've never batted lower than .130 (or batted better than .150). Pitchers can't do what you want them to do, which is get a hit, but at least they fail at a rate you can rely on. There's something okay about this arrangement.
This year's pitchers, though, are just so bad at hitting. They're hitting .110, and they're slugging .123. Both of these totals would be the lowest in the post-WWII era, and probably the lowest ever. We can't even blame it on some sort of seasonal disadvantage that hitting pitchers face in the spring. Switching to TAv, we find that April has traditionally been a strong month for pitchers at the plate, with April representing pitchers' best months of the 2009 and 2010 seasons:
Sorting out the odder types among pitchers asked to start and relieve.
Last week, we took a look at swingmen, those pitchers that spend a decent amount of time in both the rotation and bullpen during the same season, doing so as a means of gauging the true expected performance differential when a pitcher shifts roles in either direction. The number of pitchers of this ilk have declined over the last few decades, but they still surface from time to time for one reason or another. Some are young prospects who, when called up, are instantly installed in the pen, to develop confidence, to get exposure, just help out in middle relief, or a combination of the three. At other times, putting young starters in the pen aids the team's efforts to limit their workloads. In certain situations, the ability to serve as both a specialist and emergency starter provides some additional utility to teams, as they don't need to sign Josh Towers to take a start, or dip into the farm system in the event of a doubleheader or an injury.
For those of you keeping score, don't try all of this at home.
So, I admit it, I do some of the things that I shouldn't do behind the wheel. Consider my lot yesterday-running late because of that compulsive need to finish yesterday's article, I'm driving down 31st Street and crossing the Dan Ryan before hanging that eventual left that puts me in the promised land of Parking Lot A (easy in, easy out) and a quick run to the elevator and the press box to follow Game Four of the ALDS, and Ed Farmer's announcing the lineups on the radio, and I realize that there's just no way I'll make it in time. I keep score as another matter of compulsiveness, and I realize that the school bus that's parked in the left turn lane isn't going to evaporate no matter how much I expend telekinetic energy in that direction.
So, waiting for the indolent traffic cop to eventually feel inspired to unsnarl the same snag that's been there for the last 10 minutes, I reach to my bag, fetch a pen, unsling my scorebook, and get the lineups down in my book. It's Ed at his most cooperative, and I'm reassured that, yes indeedy, neither Ozzie Guillen or Joe Maddon is doing anything funky in Game Four in the ALDS. It's another Hinske-free day, another moment for Dewayne Wise to try and enjoy the benefits of the BP reverse curse.