The Morning Report
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The San Diego Padres’ offense struggled to put together anything against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night, allowing an unknown pitcher by the name of Stephen Fife to get his first major-league win after giving up just 1 run in 5.1 innings pitched on way to a 2-1 victory. Fife is not a hot prospect and, for all intents and purposes, the Dodgers didn’t expect him to do much more than keep them in the ballgame.
San Diego saw its first four hitters go 7-for-15, with Chase Headley picking up the team’s only RBI. Unfortunately, the bottom half of the lineup went 1-for-15 and contributed to the 5 Padres that were left on base.
The 6th inning single by Headley was encouraging only because he’s been in a free-fall in the last few weeks, with his batting average dropping from .274 to .236 and his OPS (On-base plus slugging) dropping over 100 points in the last 10 games. He was expected to carry more of the offensive load against Los Angeles on Monday, with Carlos Quentin missing the game with a shoulder injury (the result of a diving catch into the left field wall at Petco Park on Sunday), Yonder Alonso missing his second consecutive game with a bruised hand, and Yasmani Grandal absent from the lineup while he tries to knock the rust off that has accumulated during his 50 game suspension. Going 1-for-4 was not enough on this night.
Eric Stults gave up solo home runs in each of the first two innings before settling down and pitching 5 scoreless. Stults has been the Padres’ best starting pitcher this season, and the pitching staff probably isn’t going to get much better as the season progresses. If San Diego is going to start consistently winning series and getting back into the race to win the NL West, it’s going to be on the back of their big bats. We’ve seen the team look good when Headley, Quentin and Nick Hundley were hitting the ball, and now we’ve seen how hard it is to win without them playing at the top of their game.
The Padres play two more games in Los Angeles on Tuesday and Wednesday, and don’t see an off day until next Thursday. If Headley, Hundley and Grandal continue to struggle until then, the 2013 season could look quite bleak by time the Padres players have time to catch their breath.