Ken Leighton 2 p.m., March 12
Padres floundering on opening road trip
San Diego lost two of three against the New York Mets and now look to get swept in three games in Colorado against the Rockies
In case anyone wondered how important Chase Headley is to the San Diego Padres, look no further than the current road trip without him. The New York Mets aren't special, and the Padres lost 2 of 3 there, and the Colorado Rockies were widely picked to finish last in the division and the Padres will get swept with a loss this afternoon.
Chase's absence is felt in the lineup, with batting in front of Carlos Quentin being the change that seemed most to affect the performance of the club in the second half of the season. Quentin is hitting just fine, but many of the other Padres bats are struggling.
Will Venable, Cameron Maybin, and Nick Hundley are below the Mendoza line (under .200 batting average) while Alexi Amarista has yet to get a hit. The sample size is still small, but the results are reminiscent of last season's horrible start.
Errors are an issue again, and even some balls that aren't errors are misplayed. Pitching has been spotty, with the Padres 28th of 30 teams. San Diego is also 28th in hitting.
However, as manager Buddy Black is found of pointing out in such situations, it's a small sample size. It's only five games.
After scraping by the Mets 2-1 on Thursday to get the club's only win so far, the Padres went into Colorado and lost on Friday 5-2. Jason Marquis took the loss although only 2 of the 5 runs he allowed were earned.
On Friday, Tyler Ross made his National League debut, coming to the Padres via a trade with the Oakland Athletics, but he couldn't get out of the fifth inning after racking up a pitch count of 96. Ross took the loss while former Padres and Dodgers pitcher Jon Garland picked up the win.
The Rockies took that game 6-3, which included a home run in the seventh inning by Michael Cuddyer of the Rockies off of Padres reliever Andrew Cashner to seal the victory. Carlos Quentin and rookie Jedd Gyorko each had two hits for the Padres in the loss.
Although Tyler Ross looked good in spring training, good enough to win the fifth starting job, he was erratic on Saturday. Along with four walks, Ross also pitched deep into counts, an issue he had in seasons past with the Athletics. Everth Cabrera also recorded his second error in five games.
Sunday, the Padres will try and take the last game in the series, sending Edinson Volquez (0-1, 18.00) to the hill, and the Rockies will counter with Jhouly Chacin. Game time is at 1:10 PDST and can be seen on Fox Sports San Diego or heard on radio 1090 AM.