Sunday, May 3, 2009

Padres-Dodgers: Padres' Free Fall Continues, Swept by Dodgers

It's been a long few weeks for the San Diego Padres, a few weeks they would rather forget they even played. When their offense put up runs, their pitching was giving up runs. When their pitching finally came around, it was their offense that fell apart.

Jake Peavy and Chris Young did their jobs on Friday and Saturday nights, but the Padres' offense decided to take both nights off, scoring just one run combined in the two losses, both were decided by just one run.

On Sunday afternoon, it was a completely different story. This time, the pitching and offense both couldn't get anything started. Padres' starter Chad Gaudin, after a good first start in his debut, got shelled by the Dodgers' offense. Gaudin gave up six runs on eight hits in just five and two-third innings in a 7-3 loss, getting only an RBI double from Edgar Gonzalez in the second inning in support. The other two runs came late in the game on solo home runs from Brian Giles and Jody Gerut.

So, the Padres will limp back to San Diego having lost nine of their last eleven games, included five straight. A team that was one of the surprises early on, jumping out to a 9-3 record and were sitting on top of the National League's Western Division, have now dropped back to earth with a resounding thud, currently holding an 11-14 record.

This team can't point fingers, both sides have been at fault for their free fall, both sides haven't done their jobs. Their bullpen is overworked, starters have only gone more than seven innings a few times this season and their closer, Heath Bell, has only pitched once in the last eight days. His last appearance was April 28th against the Colorado Rockies, a game the Padres won 4-3. You have to wonder why you don't bring this guy into a close game, he may be the only one that can shut a team down and keep the Padres in a game they can still win.

Instead, guys like Edwin Moreno, Edward Mujica, Luke Gregerson and Duaner Sanchez have been brought into close games, all four guys unable to hold leads, and those games eventually slip away.

The question now becomes, when will this frustration boil over for the players that have been here the longest. We all know the rumors about Jake Peavy being traded out of town, will it go from the Padres shipping him somewhere, or will Jake be the one to ask out of San Diego? What about Adrian Gonzalez? When will enough be enough for the Gold Glove first baseman? Can the Padres survive without one or both of these guys, because it could be a very real scenario of this free fall continues.

After being swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Padres will return home to begin a four game home stand against the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks before going back on the road for six games against the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs.

It could be very possible that the Padres could be a lot further out of the NL West race after the next 10 games than a lot of us want to even think about.

Don't be surprised that, if this free fall continues, the Padres may start to bring up some of their pitchers and position players from Triple-A Portland. We may see guys like Will Venable, Chad Huffman and maybe Kyle Blanks. Blanks would be the biggest surprise to see in San Diego after only a month of the season complete. But as well as the big first baseman is playing the Padres may not have a choice if they're wanting to keep themselves within striking distance of the front running Dodgers.

No comments: