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What’s gotten into the Padres?

Aug 11, 2011, 12:05 PM EDT

Kyle Blanks, Jesus Guzman, Will Venable AP

The Padres last night started their fourth options at first base and catcher, their third options at third base and in left field and their backup second baseman, yet scored nine more runs in a win over the Mets.

Their batting lines by month to date:

April: .211/.293/.308, 14 HR in 27 G
May: .249/.303/.363, 19 HR in 28 G
June: .249/.325/.351, 12 HR in 27 G
July: .223/.290/.316, 11 HR in 27 G
Aug: .292/.349/.454, 7 HR in 11 G

By month, they’ve averaged the following number of runs per game:

April: 2.85
May: 3.93
June: 3.63
July: 3.63
Aug: 6.50

And they’re doing it even though their best hitters from the months of April (Nick Hundley), May (Brad Hawpe) and June (Chase Headley) are all on the disabled list.  They’re also absent team home run and RBI leader Ryan Ludwick, who was sent to the Pirates prior to the trade deadline.

Ludwick may even finish the season as the Padres’ leader in homers and RBI.  He had 11 and 64 before being dealt.  Cameron Maybin is second on the team with six homers, one more than Chris Denorfia and Jesus Guzman.  Headley is second in RBI with 43, but now that he’s on the DL, he’s something of a long shot to overtake Ludwick.  Next best on the team is shortstop Jason Bartlett‘s 32.

The Padres, though, are breaking in newcomers with increasingly impressive results.  Guzman has been a revalation at first base after taking over for struggling top prospect Anthony Rizzo.  Kyle Blanks, back from Tommy John surgery, has been red-hot in the outfield.  Luis Martinez, the aforementioned fourth catcher, has driven in nine runs in 11 appearances.  Aaron Cunningham also seems poised to make an impact in a limited role.

None of those guys are locks to turn into quality regulars for the Padres, but Blanks and Cunningham are still young enough to do so and Guzman could at least contribute against lefties going forward.  Maybin and Headley will also be back next year as the foundation of the San Diego lineup.  The team won’t keep scoring runs like this, but the future is looking brighter than it did a month ago.

  1. Ari Collins - Aug 11, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    Still not Mariners Bad. Or even Giants Bad.

  2. seanmk - Aug 11, 2011 at 12:11 PM

    playing the pirates not at petco certainly helps. 28 runs in 2 games boosts a lot of stats. only played 3 home games this month so far

  3. SmackSaw - Aug 11, 2011 at 12:13 PM

    Bud Black is a genius.

  4. FC - Aug 11, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    Not surprised at Jesus Guzman, the question is he can be consistent. Playing Venezuelan Winterball during the 08/09 season he was the RBI leader with a league record of 67… that doesn’t sound like a lot but it is when you play only 70 games a season, that’s akin to producing 150+ RBIs in a 162 season. The Giants invited him for tryouts in ST in 09 but I believe he only made it to AAA, he got called up and really didn’t impress much in 12 games (I don’t recall who he was filling in for, while that player was in the DL), Anyhow he hooked up with the Padres and here he is.

  5. jamie54 - Aug 11, 2011 at 12:30 PM

    You said it all Matt, addition by subtraction. Getting rid of Ludwick, offense turned around. Of course you don’t mention that prior to last night the previous two night’s blown games where they could have used Adams and probably won, but hey, even with him they’re not going to win anything so the pen (read Qualls) has to go through its ajustment phase without him. True Rizzo’s swing was VERY long but he’s the preferred long term answer at first with Guzman certainly opening eyes, just a matter of finding somewhere for him to play since he’s not a glove man.

    • FC - Aug 11, 2011 at 12:57 PM

      I don’t really think Guzman can play anything other than 1B. So that’s a problem. If Rizzo is the future and Guzman keeps shining, Padres may want to trade him in the off-season to a team in need of a productive 1B. Of course there’s no history suggesting he can be an MLB regular. He might fade away to become a backup/bench option.

  6. cakrywyj - Aug 11, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    What sense does it make to compare stats from fully completed months (April-July) to a month that is 11 days old (August)? The Pads are a couple of bad games away from driving that run average right back down to 3 where it’s been all year. 20 more days to go in August will make this entire story meaningless.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Aug 11, 2011 at 1:45 PM

      Most of my posts are rendered meaningless within an hour or two. If it takes 20 days for this one, that’d be a new record.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 11, 2011 at 2:44 PM

      No matter how they do the rest of the month, this story has meaning for the first 11 games of August.

    • Utley's Hair - Aug 11, 2011 at 2:57 PM

      The number of homers can only go up.

      And the point is that they’ve gotten a bunch of productivity from a bunch of greenhorns while the regulars would be ripped by Logan Morrison for um…well…I’m not exactly sure, but they would.

    • b7p19 - Aug 11, 2011 at 3:52 PM

      Who cares what sense it makes?! It’s a Padres post! Keep ’em comin Matt. The public demand is very high for Padres info right now.

  7. dailyrev - Aug 11, 2011 at 1:59 PM

    I suspect it’s much the same thing as what Gibson noticed after the Snakes’ first game against Houston: most of these kids are playing for their personal careers, their future in the bigs, not just for a playoff spot or a shot at free agent money next year. In other words, they’re not merely in team-survival mode, they’re in me-survival mode right now, knowing that how and what they produce this month and next will determine whether they can remain big leaguers and go on from there. It’s a different and maybe deeper motivation. That’s why teams like the Stros, Pods, O’s, and Fish can be fun to watch this time of year.

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