As the Los Angeles Dodgers concluded their series sweep of the San Diego Padres on Sunday afternoon at Dodgers Stadium, one thing stood out above all: the Padres have some much-needed work to do if they want to fathom contending in the NL West, let alone end their five-game skid.
Sure, the Padres have only played about 15 percent of the 162-game schedule but, already 6.5 games back of the NL West-leading Dodgers, the up-hill treck is already underway. Plus, when you play in a division that continues to head the rear of the National League, the chances of competing for the wild-card slot are slim-to-none—and slim just left town.
Throughout the three-game series, the Padres mustered a total of four runs (three of which came in Sunday’s loss) and 13 hits. Their jerseys might as well have read “The Hijos” as they mightily struggled with runners in scoring position, batting a mere 2-18 in such a situation and stranding 21 of their own.
The offense lacks creativity, versatility and depth. Adrian Gonzalez, who is hitting .315 with 9 home runs and 20 RBI, is responsible for 35 percent of the team’s home runs, 20 percent of its RBI, 19 percent of its runs, 17 percent of its total bases and 14 percent of its hits. Conversely, Manny Ramirez—undoubtedly the Dodgers’ best slugger—is responsible for 22 percent of their home runs, 11 percent of their RBI, 13 percent of their runs and total bases and 12 percent of their hits. Either Gonzalez is that much better than Man-Ram, or Gonzalez has to do that much more to barely keep his team above water. I think I’ll side with the latter.
To add insult to injury, the Pads currently rank in the bottom half of seven NL offensive categories: runs, hits, RBI, stolen bases, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and batting average. Simply stated: The tank is emptying and there is no fuel to spare.
Pitching wise, it gets even uglier. The Padres are second in hits and runs surrendered, and third in walks. They have a team ERA of 4.74, good for second-to-last in the NL West and thirteenth overall. Supposed ace Jake Peavy, who is 2-3, has yielded at least three earned runs in five of his six outings, and his one superb effort—8 scoreless innings, 2 hits and 8 strikeouts—resulted in Friday’s 1-0 loss. If that’s not enough, Kevin Correia, a highly-touted off-season pickup, has yet to rack up a win.
At the end of the day, the question arises: Are the Dodgers that much better than the Padres, or are the Padres really that bad? Either way you look at it, the answer is bound to be found at the bottom of the NL West standings.
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Written by Josh Hoffman