Last night, the San Diego Padres set a major league record that they would rather forget: they were shut out in their opening three game home series against the rival Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Padres tied what was then the major league record — set by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1943 — when they did not score in the bottom of the eighth inning last night. San Diego then set the new record when they went down in order in the bottom of the ninth to relief pitcher Joe Blanton.
The San Diego Union-Tribune chronicled the depths at which the Padres have begun their 2016 season.
“Over the series, the Padres, who lost their ninth straight to Los Angeles, were out-scored by a 25-0 margin. In 92 at-bats, they totaled 11 hits, two walks and 29 strikeouts. It was the roughest introduction imaginable for new manager Andy Green.”
To add insult to injury, one of the runs against San Diego came from Kenta Maeda, a Japanese pitcher who was making his major league debut. In the fourth inning, he took a pitch from Padres right-hander Andrew Cashner 369 feet into the left field stands. It was only Maeda’s second big league at-bat.
Conversely, the Dodgers became the first team since 1963 to begin their season with three consecutive shutouts, according to Yahoo Sports.
On the other hand, San Diego is a major league team that should have done better than this. During the three game series, a runner made it as far as third base only once–in the fourth inning of last night’s game.
But they may have been robbed in that situation. There were runners on the corners, and first baseman Wil Myers hit a hard ground ball towards right field. Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez snagged it, and threw home as Corey Spangenberg was trying to score from third. Spangenberg was called out by the home plate umpire, but Green appealed the call as it was a very close play. The Padres lost the appeal, and the scoreless record continued.
San Diego also broke its own record of futility in the bottom of the fifth inning; when they went down, they surpassed their previous record of 22 innings to open the season without a run, set in 1974.
The Padres now move on to Colorado this weekend to play the Rockies, where they should have a better chance to score — the Rockies’ pitching is nowhere as good as the Dodgers’, and with the higher altitude, there is always more potential for Padre offense there.
“There’s no panic in us,” Padre right fielder Matt Kemp told the Union-Tribune. “We’ve got a good team.”
2016 is a rebuilding year for San Diego. They are coming off a disappointing 2015 season, where they failed to make a playoff run after general manager A.J. Preller traded away many of their prospects for established major leaguers like Kemp, outfielder Justin Upton, catcher Derek Norris, and closer Craig Kimbrel. But the 2015 Padres disappointed, going 74-88.
This offseason, San Diego traded away Kimbrel for minor league talents Manuel Margo, Javier Guerra, and others. Margot, 21, begins this year at AAA El Paso, and may make his major league debut later this season. The Padres also sent infielder Jedd Gyorko to St. Louis for outfielder Jon Jay, who thus far has been their primary center fielder and leadoff hitter.
This is also Green’s rookie season as a manager. He was picked over longtime Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who has 11 years experience there, and made six playoff appearances. How Green handles this early setback will be an early test of his managing skills, and how the Padres will fare in 2016, and beyond.
[Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images]