It would have been bad enough that the Padres set a new franchise record for most scoreless innings to start a baseball season. That’s an embarrassment all by itself. But when you throw in the fact they’ve scored fewer runs than the opposing pitchers, you realize just how awful the season-opening series against the Dodgers was.
The Padres lost 7-0 at Petco Park on Wednesday night, becoming the first team in Major League Baseball history to be shut out three times to start a season. Still, manager Andy Green says the sky is not falling.
“There is still perspective here,” said Green after his team was outscored 25-0 over the three game series. “We do have 159 games left and we will score runs this year. We will win series this year. Each individual guy needs to focus on what he can control. It really is nothing more than that.”
One of the runs the Padres gave up was on a solo homer by Kenta Maeda. If you don’t recognize the name, you’re not alone. Maeda spent eight years in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League before joining the Dodgers this year. In those eight years he hit two home runs, but as a high school senior he did hit 27 dingers so the guy knows what he’s doing with a bat in his hands.
In his second at-bat in America’s big leagues, Maeda took Andrew Cashner deep, meaning in three games in their home ballpark the Dodgers pitching staff beat the Padres on both offense and defense. Cashner only survived 4.0 innings, allowing five runs on six hits with five strikeouts.
The Padres almost scored a run in the 6th inning. With runners at the corners and one out Wil Myers hit a ground ball to Adrian Gonzalez at first base. Instead of trying for the double play Gonzalez threw home to cut down Cory Spangenberg. It looked on replays like Los Angeles catcher A.J. Ellis was blocking the plate (a no-no with the so-called “Buster Posey Rule”) and Spangenberg might have gotten in under the tag but a lengthy video replay did not overturn the call of the home plate umpire. Yangervis Solarte struck out to end the inning, continuing the Padres’ march towards the history books.
Green says his club is suffering from what he calls “collective pressing,” something the guys in the locker room would agree with.
“For sure guys are pressing. I’m one of them,” said catcher Derek Norris, who went hitless in the series. “I can see it in my swing when I watch tape. I think once guys get a little bit settled in we’re going to be fine.”
The previous MLB record for consecutive scoreless innings to start the season was 26, set by the 1943 St. Louis Cardinals. That year, believe it or not, the Cardinals won 105 games and went to the World Series (they lost to the Yankees in five games). So perhaps history is on their side and this was actually a good thing for the Padres?
If you believe that, I have some oceanfront property in Nebraska you might be interested in. The Padres take a day off Thursday before starting a three game weekend series against the Rockies. If this offense can’t score in Colorado then the season is indeed lost.