That said, it is frustrating to play the bottom team in the NL East and lose two in a row. What's more frustrating it the way they have been losing.
San Diego has leapt into first place by preventing runs through superior defense and a lock-down bullpen. The pitching model really works when the team turns over a lead to the Gregerson/Adams/Bell cohort. Since their 23 June game in Florida, however, they've shown a disturbing trend to get behind early. See for yourself:
- 24 June (@ Tampa Bay): Trailed 1-0 after one inning. They came back with 3 in the second, but lost 5-3.
- 25 June (@ Florida): Shutout (Win).
- 26 June (@ Florida): Trailed 1-0 after 2 (came back to win).
- 27 June (@ Florida): Scored first; game tied 2-2 after 7 (Win)
- 28 June (vs Colorado): Trailed 2-0 after 1 (Loss).
- 29 June (vs Colorado): Trailed 1-0 after 4 and 4-0 after 6 1/2 (Loss).
- 30 June (vs Colorado): Scored first, tied 2-2 after 2 (Win).
- 1 July (vs Houston): Trailed 3-0 after 1 (Loss).
- 2 July (vs Houston): Shutout (Win).
- 3 July (vs Houston): Shutout (Win).
- 4 July (vs Houston): Trailed 1-0 after 1 (Win).
- 6 July (@ Washington): Scored first, trailed 3-1 after 1 (Loss).
- 7 July (@ Washington): Scored first, trailed 4-1 after 1 (Loss).
I know this is small sample size, being only 13 games and all. I further realize the All-Star break starts after Sunday's games, which will give everyone a much-needed 3 days off. But this trend seems - SEEMS - to indicate the pitching is starting to wear down a little bit.
Losing an early 2-run lead isn't that unusual in baseball, especially when teams average scoring around 4 runs a game. I'd be much more worried if the Padres were blowing 4+ run leads (like the Cardinals have the last 2 nights in Colorado - thanks fellas). It's the early runs allowed that's bothering me. This team's offense simply isn't built to come from behind night after night. Much like the US Men's National Soccer team (Hey! World Cup Reference!) , they don't have the firepower.
I'm quite sure Bud Black and Darren Balsley are scratching their heads and actively working on a solution to the first inning run problems.
Finally congratulations to Heath Bell on being added to the All-Star team. He probably should have made the team out of the chute, but at least that wrong was addressed.