The San Diego Padres month of April can be summed up with two simple words, “No hitting.” Their bats have been ice-cold, as their inability to hit the ball and get on base is a major concern for the Friars in the early going of a long season. Saying that their bats are “cold,” is an understatement—it is like they are approaching the batter’s box equipped with a 30 oz. icicle. Things better change soon for the Padres, before they find themselves battling the Arizona Diamondbacks for last place in the NL West.
Currently, the Padres offense ranks last or second to last in four offensive categories. Their team batting average (.217) and slugging percentage (.327) are ranked 29 out of 30 MLB teams, while total runs (77) and on-base percentage (.270) rank dead last in the majors. The only respectable bats in the Padres lineup during the month of April were shortstop, Everth Cabrera who hit .289 during the month, but struck out 27 times, and right fielder, Chris Denorfia who hit .305 during the month. Besides these two players, the bats have been cold despite the warm 90 degree weather that has swept through southern California.
Top Padre Player for April: Ian Kennedy
Despite a rough start to the season at the plate, the Padres can thank their pitching staff for keeping them in games and only 4.5 games behind the league-leading Giants. Although Kennedy’s record does not show it (2-3), he pitched a solid month, giving the team 37.0 strong innings. In his six starts, the right hander from USC fanned 37 batters, walked only 8 and allowed 13 runs, giving him an ERA of 3.16 during the opening month of the season. He has been solid, has shown great command and stands out as being one of the bright spots for the Padres.
Top Padre Pitcher for April: Ian Kennedy
Pitching was dynamite for San Diego during April which included the 6’6 right hander, Andrew Cashner (2-3). Cashner also put together a strong 2.68 ERA, while striking out 36 and walking 11 batters. It was a toss-up between Kennedy and Cashner for pitcher and player of the month, but Kennedy had the slight advantage on the mound. With opponents only batting .199 against him, he looked like the Friars most dominate pitcher, and helped keep the team within striking distance.
It is still early in the season but the Padres cannot wait much longer to fire up the bats. For now, they are fortunate that Ian Kennedy, Andrew Cashner and the rest of the pitching staff whose overall ERA is 3.26 have been throwing the ball well. Their first games heading into the month of May will be home games against the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are having some major issues in the early going. They are a decent hitting ball club, but pitching has been their Achilles heel during April. The Diamondbacks will be riding a little bit of momentum going into the weekend series, following an extra innings walk-off homerun from Miguel Montero in the bottom of the tenth. Good news for the Friars though, as both Ian Kennedy and Andrew Cashner are scheduled take the mound, which should give the Padres a good opportunity to pick up a couple of wins. If the bats remain quiet as they did during the month of April, they could be in for a long month of May.
Commentary by Johnny Caito