First, if haven't seen this team play (and judging by the attendance, you haven't), the Padres have managed to win a few games here and there. With last night's 3-2 win, they sit 1.5 games ahead of the Giants in the NL West.
How are they doing it? Not so much with the bat (19th overall in team AVG, 19th in wOBA, 19th in OPS), although they are 13th in BABIP.
Nope, it's been all about the pitching (4th in FIP, 1st in xFIP, 3rd in ERA). In this series, they've had to have the pitching, because they've scored only 5 runs against the Colorado Rockies (while allowing 7), and yet have split the first two games of the series.
Kevin Correia pitched well Monday, but Ubaldo Jimenez was flat-out better. That happens.
Wade LeBlanc - 6 innings, 2 ER, 4 K? Slacker. Actually, he continues to strengthen his case for staying in the rotation long-term. Had the Padres cashed in on any of the numerous chances Greg Smith created for them, Wade could have been the winning pitcher in this one. Wade is second only to Correia in xFIP among the starters; in fact, the two of them are the only starters with xFIP's under 4.00.
We've talked a lot about LeBlanc vs Latos in the rotation; the original post on the subject generated discussion at at least three different Padres websites. One of the Ducksnorts commenters suggested, should CY be activated, the odd man out be Sean Gallagher. Based on his numbers, that makes a lot of sense. As far as who would go to the pen in his place, I'd think I'd keep riding the hot hand in the rotation and send Latos there. That, of course, is subject to change based on how the season progresses.
Speaking of Chris Young...
... his rehab start on Sunday did not go well, and he's getting another MRI on his troublesome shoulder. CY is justifiably frustrated by the shoulder's lack of response following surgery, and I can't help but feel for him. From a purely Machiavellian perspective, continued delays in his recovery push off the need to make a decision on Latos/LeBlanc; however I think I speak for all Padre fans everywhere when I say I'd like to see Young back on the mound this season - and sooner rather than later. My fear is that Young's career trajectory is starting to look more and more like Mark Mulder's who, although suffering from a different shoulder injury (rotator cuff, then 'impingement'), never recovered fully and retired this past February.
I was going to ask how long the Padres keep Sean Gallagher in the bullpen, since he's pretty clearly the weakest link down there, but today they placed Sean on the 15-day DL due to his toe. Ryan Webb has been recalled to take his place. I'm not going to question the move, but I find it curious they picked Webb over Adam Russell, who was LIGHTS OUT in his stint with the big club.
We'll close this pitching thread with a non-pitching related thought. Bud Black wanted the club to be more aggressive on the basepaths this year - and they have been, leading the NL in steals (31). However, they almost fatally shot themselves last night with the baserunning gaffes (cataloged by Geoff over at Ducksnorts). If there's one area they need some improvement (other than, perhaps, their getting on base), it would be baserunning. Being aggressive is good; running out of innings isn't.
Be smart out there.
Padres look to win the series today behind Clayton Richard.
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