The number of scoreless innings the San Diego Padres have had to start the 2016 season. Yes, it is a new Major League Baseball record. Furthermore, the Padres have been outscored by a total of 25-0 in those three games. As depressing and disheartening as it is to go scoreless through the first 3 games of the season, that 25 runs represents an 8.3 average margin of loss.
Ouch. Not only do these three games suggest the bats have been cold (and they have), but it also makes our rotation and bullpen situation a little shaky.
It all started with Opening Day against the Los Angeles Dodgers and perhaps the best pitcher in baseball, Clayton Kershaw. The guy was awesome. He pitched 7 scoreless innings of 1-hit baseball and 9 strikeouts. On the contrary, Tyson Ross (that guy we all think of as an All Star) had given up 3 runs before I even sat down in my seat. For granted, Kershaw went up against a lackadaisical Padres offense, while Ross had to go up against one of the best offenses in baseball for his season debut. Ross ended up giving up 6 runs in 6 innings.
We all saw the final score, 15-0. This set a record for most lopsided Opening Day loss in the history of MLB. Considering that the bullpen gave up 9 of these runs, this makes it even more concerning. The Padres successfully completed the Triple Crown of Failure: bad starting pitching, no runs, and terrible bullpen play.
Being at the game, the vibe was not awesome. Unfortunately pretty typical when the Dodgers come to town, there was a large percentage of Dodgers fans in the stadium. So much so that there were times where it seemed as if they were taking over the stadium. One would imagine this has got to effect the psyche of a player. Compacting this with the huge blowout loss, most Padres fans were out of their seats by the 7th inning. Honestly, whose idea was it to have the Dodgers be the Padres home opener?
By the time it was Game-2, everyone was able to take a deep breath and put the season in perspective; there are still 161 games to play. This is what we kept hearing Andy Green say on the radio. Many were also excited about James Shields, who was our Opening Day starter in 2015.
Then came the actual game. Shields really did not pitch a bad game, giving up only 3 runs, all in one inning. The inning that he gave the runs up was a little concerning, however. CF Jon Jay misplayed back-to-back fly balls quite badly, one very badly, which led to all of the runs. He was not charged with an error, but he clearly made big mistakes that cost some runs. Jon Jay seems promising, but at the same time he does look lost out in Centerfield right now.
The Padres faced Starting Pitcher Scott Kazmir whom the Dodgers acquired in the offseason. Again, the Dodgers starting pitching had a solid game as Kazmir pitched 6 shutout innings of 1-hit baseball and 5 strikeouts. Still, this was the best game the Padres have played all season.
Next came game 3 against a Japanese pitcher named Kenta Maeda, who was making his Major League Baseball debut. Padres are historically bad against pitchers they have never seen, and it was nothing but the same last night. The Japanese hurler did give up 5 hits, however, did not give up any runs and pitched well when the Padres finally had baserunners.
The biggest problem in this game was again the Padres shooting themselves in the foot. It seems to be less of the Dodgers and more of the Padres just not being a good team. By the time I turned the game on it was already 4-0 and the first inning wasn’t even over.
Andrew Cashner was the starter and he just could not get it going. Cashner has been a player over the years who has had high expectations and is seen as a high-potential starting pitcher. He has pitched well in past seasons, but then had a high drop-off in production last year. Many were hoping that 2015 was an outlier year and that Cashner would bounce back in 2016. Did not seem as so in his first start.
To top it all off, Andrew gave up a solo homerun to Kenta Maeda in his first Major League at-bat. I must remind you he is the pitcher. That means opponent’s pitchers have scored more runs and RBI than the entire Padres baseball team… wow.
Although the 4-run first pretty much sealed the loss from the get go, it didn’t end there. The Padres bullpen also managed to give up 2 late runs. Rookie reliever Luis Perdomo gave up 4 runs in his Major League debut on Monday, and then gave up another last night. His ERA currently sits at 31.50.
The bottom line is that this is only 3 games of a 162 game season. As easy as it is to say, the Padres really cannot let this first series define their entire season. Another fact they can take solace in is that the Dodgers boast the best pitcher in baseball and have probably the best offense in baseball. This team has been a World Series contender for multiple years now and could be considered a favorite again this year. It’s unfortunate, but they played a good team. With that said, they absolutely have to get things going.