Not much to say. It’s been looking fairly bleak for a little while now. This season has exposed the Padres as lacking in one key area: How to coach pitching. Because they just haven’t done it lately. Which means this regime has probably not done it very well if at all. Somebody is collecting all the pitching data. How well that data is analyzed is probably on par with most MLB clubs in baseball. But how well are players developed using the analysis to improve their chances of getting outs?
It was disheartening to hear from a National writer known to scrutinize every facet of pitching from every angle one can observe the Padres coaching as severely lacking when it comes to feedback to the pitcher of the data they generate in season. They aren’t helping, so they aren’t coaching. When other teams’ coaching staff comment how surprised they are by the Padre players and prospects lack of use and understanding of pitch data.
A fairly pedestrian stat like Swinging Strike Rate by pitch type probably wasn’t a part of Rothschild’s vocabulary. I certainly hope the next pitching coach not only speaks the latest language to the front office and coaching staff, but also can be fluent with the players as well. Making adjustments seems to come slow for much of the staff. The Padres need a coach who can help tune his staff in real time.
So what do the Padres do? They fired pitching coach Larry Rothschild. Rothschild was not in charge of the development of minor league pitchers, but he was responsible for their tuning once they reach the big league club. The problem is further down the pipeline, but maybe people will feel better about this collapse knowing someone has taken the fall. I’m sure if the skid continues, Damion Easley, the Padres hitting coach, will be next. If the team slides further after that? Well, Jayce Tingler probably doesn’t want to think about that.
The season going sideways so fast speaks more to how difficult it is to win in MLB as much as how mediocre the team has been playing. They haven’t played winning baseball in months. But they hung around .500 and were 17 games over just ten days ago. Everyone is slumping. Okay, Manny Machado is slumping. I hate it here. Jake and Wil have been hot. Hos has been league average. They appear flustered, but maybe it gets old quick watching your starting pitching get their asses kicked three out of every five starts.
Can the pitching rebound? Yu Darvish should be back to face the Dodgers. Blake Snell has had some solid starts both of his last times on the bump. Joe Musgrove is still kind of up and down, so maybe interim coach Ben Fritz can help him for this playoff drive. Chris Paddack should be back next week too. Mackenzie Gore is alive. I believe that is all I am legally allowed to report about him since the cease and desist order after my last piece about him. Let me just say Fangraph’s prospect writer Eric Longenhagen said Gore looked ready to get 12-15 MLB hitters out right now. Okay, I’ve probably said too much.
I admitted to saying too much about the playoffs and the baseball gods quickly sent the Padres into a tailspin of the likes the season may not allow them to survive. Somehow though, the Padres are in a playoff drive. September starts next week. This team will be playing meaningful games. It would be nice if that meaning was pleasant and resulted in victories. But I also hope everybody has fun. I’d prefer this fun not be alcohol fueled fun because this team drives me to drink, but hey, baby steps. It’s a long season.