Welcome back Padres fans! The 2023 season is in full swing and our beloved Padres are tied for first atop the NL West standings. They are 6-4 10 games in and just 10 games from now will be welcoming back Fernando Tatis Jr. This offense is about to be even more formidable. Joe Musgrove is nearing his return, so the pitching staff is about to get a boost as well. It should be interesting to see how the starting staff rounds out with Musgrove back. Bob Melvin said Ryan Weathers has earned another start and he will get the ball on Tuesday in New York. Yu Darvish will start Monday night against Max Scherzer in what should be a decent duel. But if Weathers has another start that Melvin likes, does that mean Weathers sticks around a bit longer?
Weathers has seen his fastball tick up a couple of mph over last season while he slowed his slider (the sweeper!) and increased his change up. He used his change a bit more too. But here’s the thing. He’s not missing many bats. He struck out two in his first start over five innings pitched and only induced a swinging strike rate of 11%. He gets hit. And his exit velocity allowed ticked up too. He’s throwing harder and they are hitting him harder. Fortunately he kept the ball in the park. But that has not been typical of his years past. Maybe his new pitch mix is doing enough to keep the ball in the yard, and Ryan sticks around for a few more starts.
So what happens if Weathers is fine and Musgrove is back? I certainly can’t see Melvin employing a seven man rotation. Does he want to kill the bullpen? I think he will have to either send Weathers back to El Paso, or move one of Nick Martinez or Seth Lugo to the ‘pen. Lugo has looked terrific in his first two starts and Nick Martinez wears tight pants, so he looks terrific, but throws like shit. No really, BDN has been BAD. His K-rate is down, his walk rate is up. His HR allowed rate is up, and everything else is up too; ERA bad, xERA terrible. FIP horrible, xFIP pretty horrible as well. Seth Lugo has been terrific. He walked a few too many last night, but other than that he’s been spot on. He’s not giving up many runs and he’s not giving up any home runs. He’s pitching like he belongs in the rotation for a while. Martinez might be better suited for the ‘pen. And the ‘pen could use another arm.
Robert Suarez landing on the IL to start the season teamed with a six man rotation has strained the bullpen right away. Add to it Blake Snell only throwing 8IP in two starts and the usage is a bit high. The Padres have just started an 18 game stretch with no days off, so maybe another stretched out arm would be beneficial. Martinez could still work a lot of innings. I’m not sure who goes down if Martinez has to join the ‘pen, but Domingo Tapia has an option. Apropos of nothing Josh Hader has been awesome. Totally awesome.
Speaking of awesome, Xander Bogaerts, everybody. No wait, Nelson Cruz everybody. And Juan Soto is alive! Manny Machado, Trent Grisham Ha-Seong Kim and Jacob Cronenworth are all off to nice starts. And they are going to get Tatis back. The only out machine in the line-up is Austin Nola. Maybe Melvin can mix in Luis Campusano a bit more. If that is their only weakness then that is really nothing to complain about. I’m not sure if I’m going to know how to come after this season. Nothing to complain about. What’s that going to be like?