|10-12 (3rd place, NL Central)
7-16 (5th place, NL West)
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While you were taking a nap and getting ready for a late night watching the Brewers in San Diego, Dex from Gaslamp Ball was kind enough to answer a few questions about the Padres. Dex will also be appearing this afternoon on The Home Stretch with Justin Hull on AM 1570 The Score in Appleton, if you'd like to hear more.
BCB: Monday night the Brewers will match up for the first time ever against Joe Wieland. What can you tell us about him?
GB: Joe got the call-up with injuries to Tim Stauffer and Dustin Moseley. In each of his starts so far, he's needed an inning or two to really settle in. Runs are tough to get against him, but he's also been the victim of an exceptional lack of run support. Joe's one of the top prospects out of the system, which is rated very highly, though more for its depth than the presence of any studs. Expect excellent control and placement of the fastball. The change is starting to work out as a good pitch of his. The Brewers will have to score runs early on him or get him to exit before the 7th and score runs on the soft part of the bullpen.
Follow the jump for much more!
BCB: Coming into Sunday's game this team's best hitter (by the numbers, anyway) was Chase Headley, who leads the team in hits, homers, RBI, walks, OBP and slugging. Is Headley actually this team's top performer, or is this just small sample size talking?
GB: Of the truly productive players for the Padres last season (Cam Maybin, Cory Luebke, Nick Hundley, Chase Headley), Chase was the only one that didn't get a contract extension and so far, he's been trying to prove that he deserved one. The rest of the team started out very slowly and Chase started hot, though he's cooled in the latter weeks of the month. Over the entire month, he's the teams top offensive performer, though the guys currently riding hot bats are Yonder Alonso (4 doubles in the last 5 games) and Orlando Hudson (recently had a 10 game hitting streak snapped). Hot bats are relative on the Padres though who typically refuse to score runs.
BCB: Obviously the Padres are without Heath Bell this season, but through Saturday's game they had five relievers (Huston Street, Andrew Cashner, Luke Gregerson, Ernesto Frieri and Joe Thatcher) who had appeared in at least eight games with an ERA of 2.31 or less. With the exception of Street this is a pretty unknown group Should they be getting more attention?
GB: The other "name" to know is Andrew Cashner, who the Padres got from the Cubs in the Anthony Rizzo deal (who previously was acquired in part for Adrian Gonzalez). Some scouts are projecting Cashner as future rotation material to make the trade worth it for the Padres, but with the team's slow start and speculation that Huston Street may be dealt sooner rather than later this season, Cashner would be the obvious choice to move into the closer role with Gregerson taking the setup spot. Frieri and Thatcher are solid middle relievers. If Josh Byrnes continues the gameplan previously established by Kevin Towers and Josh Byrnes, both Frieri and Thatcher could be shopped as closer material and converted into more needed pieces for the Padres.
BCB: Brewer fans are certainly familiar with Edinson Volquez after his time with the Reds, but it's been a long time since they've seen him pitch this effectively (3.60 ERA over five starts). Has moving to a pitcher-friendly ballpark helped him that much?
GB: The pitcher friendly ballpark helps, but one person who goes somewhat unspoken is pitching coach Darren Balsley. Under his watch, Volquez just looks to be the next in a long line of pitchers who bloom or are reborn with the Padres. Even though the park takes the credit, similar effectiveness was seen with Aaron Harang, Jon Garland, Randy Wolf and others. Balsley of course was the pitching coach that helped produce Jake Peavy and Mat Latos. So yes, the park helps, but it's also likely that the coaching has just helped him find his stuff.
BCB: Entering play Sunday this team was 7-15, on pace for a 51-111 season. They're better than that, right? How much better?
GB: They're definitely better, though possibly not a lot better depending on how they respond to the slow start. Injuries have started them off on the wrong foot. Both of the veteran bats that they acquired in the offseason, Carlos Quentin and Mark Kotsay, started on the DL and Quentin has yet to return. Part of their power depth in Kyle Blanks has also lost the season due to injury. On the pitching side, they also took a hit in losing two of their rotation in Dustin Moseley and Tim Stauffer. Pythagorean says that the Padres should've been good for a 9-14 season so far (after Sunday's game), which suggests a 63 win season. Getting Quentin back and getting healthy should help, but if this is a lost season by the end of May and the Padres start moving some of their marketable talent (Street, Headley, Quentin), then they may settle for 65 wins as a success. Getting beyond 70 looks like a challenge, but may not be out of the realm of possibility given the quick emergence of the young pitching so far.
Thanks again to Dex for taking the time, and be sure to check out Gaslamp Ball for more on the Padres!