But around here these days, the term "complete catastrophe" is relative, and while their ace is shelved on the 15-day disabled list at least through month's end, the Padres might want to think in terms of being very cautious in his return.
|Josh Bard (left) and Sean Henn can't figure out how the Padres dropped to the bottom of the NL West. (AP)|
A wicked combination of underachieving players and poor offseason personnel decisions following the best three-season stretch in club history has veteran players angry, coaches searching and the general manager downright livid.
"We're bad, no question about it. There comes a point in time where we can't just say it's early," GM Kevin Towers said late Monday following another debacle, this one an 8-2 loss to St. Louis featuring left fielder Scott Hairston misplaying Ryan Ludwick's first-inning drive to the wall into a two-run homer. "I haven't seen any signs the last couple of weeks that leads me to believe, or our fans to believe, that we're going to turn this thing around.
"It's up to the guys in the clubhouse. I'm certainly not going to watch this for another four months."
At 16-30 and 13 games behind first-place Arizona in the NL West, the Padres own baseball's worst record and are looking at a deficit nearly twice as large as the next-biggest last-place gap in the majors (in the NL Central, Milwaukee trails the Cubs by 7½ games and, in the AL West, Seattle trails the Angels by 7½ games).
Exactly how a two-time division winner (2005 and 2006) that fell a game short of playing in the postseason for a third consecutive season in 2007 could fall so far, so hard, so quickly ... well, let me count the ways.
• They have the ultra-rare combination of no power AND no speed.
• The lack of speed is a hallmark of Moneyball teams, of which club president Sandy Alderson is the godfather. I remember talking with Towers midway through the Padres' first season in Petco Park in 2004 and asking what he had learned so far about the way the new place played. His answer was that it's such a big outfield, you'd better have guys who can cover it.
Flash forward four years later, with Alderson and special assistant Paul DePodesta on board and, suddenly, after fleeter fielders like Dave Roberts and Mike Cameron had been in San Diego, the Padres' lack of speed has killed them in the outfield more than on the basepaths.
And it makes absolutely no sense because, indisputably, the best thing this team has going is a starting rotation with Peavy, Chris Young and Greg Maddux. And that has been sabotaged by slow-footed, clumsy outfielders. Paul McAnulty might be a fine fellow, but exactly how he has started 18 games in left field is utterly inexplicable.
• The Padres are batting .205 from the seventh inning on. They're 0-22 when trailing after seven innings and 0-24 when trailing after eight.