Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Where Have You Gone Bullpen?

The other day someone asked me whether it was "time to panic." My initial, gut reaction was no, absolutely not, its way to early. Keep in mind I said this with this in mind: Peavy was pitching tonight, against the Astros, followed by the Giants coming to San Diego.

Well...Peavy pitched admirably. Pedestrian by his own, astronomical standards. 6 IP, 4 ER, 2 SO. More indicative of his performance was where the Padres were when Peavy left. Down 4-3.

Black went to Thatcher who quickly gave up 3 runs, missing his spots badly. In a park like Minute Maid Park against a lineup such as the Astros, missing your spots is a recipe for disaster. This ran the score to 7-3.

Unlike what has happened often this season however, the Padres fought back. PMac went deep, and AGon did his best Charger impersonation at home. A 4 run 8th inning had tied the game and Heath Bell was coming in. Finally, the Padres had a game set-up as they would want it. I was going to argue a few days ago that the Padres unusually high bullpen ERA was more a case of mop-up guys getting knocked around (Rusch, Ledezma, etc.).

Heath Bell gave up 4 runs, putting the game out of reach, and the fans into panic mode.

So to answer the question that began this post, "is it time to panic?" Yes.

But hang on...it's April after all. How many times have fans seen things take place in April that never pan out (Shelley Duncan of Detroit, I'm looking at you). So let's review the Padres last three years and see how important April really is:

2005 (note: the Padres won the division with an 82-80 record):
April Record: 11-13; Most Games Under .500: 4 games under, on April 27. What drove that team to the playoffs was a 22-6 May and a winning record in 1-run games 29-20.

2006 (won division with an 88-74 record):
April Record: 9-15; Most Games Under .500: 7, on April 29. Perhaps most interesting was the team ERA of April: 4.57.

2007 (finished third with an 89-74 record):
April Record: 13-13; never under .500.

NOTE: statistics provided by http://www.baseball-reference.com/

I guess my point is this. In the past three years, the Padres have never left April with a winning record. Currently they are sitting at 9-12. They have a run differential of -28 and a bullpen ERA of 5.54.

So, time to panic, or just another April in San Diego? Time will tell, but my money is on history, and history dictates that the Padres play extremely well in May. For now, the panic button will be put away...for now.

Coming Up

Another bizarre two game series coming up, this time against the Giants. Maddux goes for win 350 tonight. Lucky for us, we get Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum. Sometimes its not stats, its luck.

1 comment:

maddy said...

I'm not panicking. After the all-star break it's always impossible to remember what even happened beforehand... well, for me anyway.