Padres Daily: Regressing rotation likely requires reinforcement – The San Diego Union-Tribune

Good morning,

The Padres say they don’t need another starting pitcher.

They also don’t deny they are looking to possibly add a starting pitcher before the July 30 trade deadline. Because they are.

And they were before Chris Paddack turned in another one of his bad performances last night, allowing a career-high nine runs in two innings in the Padres’ 15-5 loss to the Washington Nationals.

Bad performances (for all the smart alecks who are thinking it) are not the only kind Paddack has. In fact, his five quality starts since May 21 are most by a Padres pitcher in that span.

Now, therein lies the problem for the Padres. They expressed confidence the rotation would begin covering more innings. Instead, it is largely regressing.

Their starters have gone at least six innings and allowed three or fewer earned runs (officially a quality start) in just 17 of the past 43 games. That is tied for 17th most in the major leagues during that span.

The Padres are tied for 22nd in number of quality starts this season, and that could be a sign they don’t presently have what it takes to be a legitimate championship contender.

Only one of the past 20 World Series winners has finished ranked lower than 18th in number of quality starts, and 11 of the 20 finished in the top five. The 2015 Kansas City Royals finished 24th. Like the Padres, they had a highly ranked bullpen.

But the Padres were built to have their rotation carry the bulk of the burden. Their starters have thrown 419 innings, their relievers 371 1/3. That’s not a big enough disparity. The bullpen has accounted for 47 percent of their innings. (The ’15 Royals got just 27 percent of their innings from relievers.)

The Padres traded for Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and Joe Musgrove in the offseason with the expectation they would form a formidable trio in big regular season series and, moreover, in the postseason.

Darvish is an All-Star and ranks 12th in the National League with a 2.56 ERA, but he has gone six innings just four times in his past seven starts and has a 4.02 ERA in that span.

Snell has gone six innings once and seven innings once and has a 4.99 ERA in 16 starts.

Musgrove had a 2.22 ERA after his first 15 starts (sixth in the NL) and had gone at least six innings and allowed threw or fewer runs seven times. But he has allowed five runs in both of his past two starts, going four and five innings.

“If we’re going to go where we want to go, we’ve got to have more length and a little bit more consistency out of the starting pitching,” manager Jayce Tingler said last night. “The reality is the starting pitching, if we don’t get deeper, we’re going to be in a lot of dog fights. To get where we want to get to, the second half those guys are going have to go deeper. That’s the bottom line.”

Rookie Ryan Weathers almost certainly wouldn’t be allowed to go much beyond 90 pitches very many times, and Dinelson Lamet is not going to be pushed when he returns (likely later this month).

So … the Padres probably have to get another starting pitcher.

Word is the they have been looking at veterans with a record of filling innings. (Danny Duffy and Sonny Gray have been among the discussions.)

It appears any serious talking between teams has slowed to a trickle until after the All-Star break, which is also when the draft is being held this year.

A.J. Preller and his lieutenants might be putting out the word that they are unlikely to make a deal, but no one believes that.

Tidbits

  • Last night’s crowd of 26,353 was the smallest in the 13 games since Petco Park was allowed to go to full capacity.
  • Eric Hosmer was 2-for-4 with a home run, his first in 58 at-bats. He is 10-for-27 over his past seven games.
  • Nabil Crismatt, who replaced Paddack, allowed one run in a career high-tying five innings. He also threw five innings April 13 at Pittsburgh.
  • Manny Machado’s fifth-inning single drove in Pham with the Padres’ first run. It was also the end of the night for Machado, as Jorge Mateo pinch-ran for him and then replaced him at third base. Jurickson Profar entered the game in the sixth inning to play second base while Ha-seong Kim moved to shortstop in place of Fernando Tatis Jr.
  • Mateo, who had not reached base in 17 plate appearances since May 31, walked his first time up last night and doubled in the ninth inning.
  • Trent Grisham was 2-for-5 with a home run. His 1.027 OPS in 43 plate appearances since June 27 is 18th highest in the NL in that span. Machado’s 1.259 OPS is the only higher mark by a Padres player in that time.
  • The 15 runs were the most the Padres allowed in a game in exactly three years. They lost 20-5 to the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 7, 2018. Last night was just the third time this season the Padres allowed 10 or more runs. It was just the second time they lost by more than six runs.

Still in it

It cannot go unappreciated that Tingler challenged the call that the Nationals’ Victor Robles had been hit by a pitch in the fourth inning — with the Padres down 10-0.

The review took 57 seconds, and the call was upheld.

All right, that’s it for me today. I paid my penance.

Talk to you soon.