I hope everyone had a good St. Patrick’s Day and that you’ve recovered
from everything green. I’m still a bit green though but not from good ol’
St. Paddy. It’s more from the fears of Spring Training. Let me elaborate.
When the Padres were a floor mat for the division, they consistently did well
in Spring Training. Maybe because players wanted to make the team so bad they
put extra effort into the spring and the Pads did fairly well. Now if we fast
forward to this year, we see a different "philosophy" taking place.
The Padres are expected to do well and things are turned upside down now. They
are losing more than winning (until the last few days) and to be honest, they
are getting pummeled in some games. Now spring is a time for working out kinks,
etc. but what’s the difference between going all out when you are a returning
losing team vs. a winning team? Do players take it easier when they are expected
to win during the regular season or do the fans just dismiss the losses more
easily? The Giants have the best spring training record and the Padres are
towards the bottom. That concerns me since Bonds hasn’t been a factor and as I
predicted earlier I think his injuries will catch up to him this year (he just
had a second knee surgery if you missed it and now the former girl-friend and
Steroids comes up again along with some "tax" issues). If he’s out
and they are still doing well, it doesn’t look well for the Padres at this
point trying to unseat them.
I’m concerned a bit because the pitching seems a bit "rough" to
me. Players that are supposed to be in the starting rotation are getting
tattooed. In one of my earlier articles I expressed concerns about the ages of
some of the players. Maybe it just takes them a little longer to get up to speed
now or maybe they are pacing themselves. I’d be a lot more comfortable if the
Padres had a few more wins (over the last few days the bats have certainly come
alive and that has helped the overall Win/Loss record, but pitching is still
What I am not concerned about is the infield of the Padres. I think that the
middle infield is set for some time and will again produce outstanding numbers
in fielding, on base, average, etc. percentages. I also think that Nevin and
Burroughs will have better years after a complete year in the new park. Behind
the plate the Padres have that covered too. The outfield is still a question
mark in my mind. Roberts is already having problems and regardless of how he’s
feeling, look at the past. He has a history of injuries that continue to plague
him. I have always liked Klesko and I hope that he improves the numbers a bit
but I’m not worried about his production this year. Lately he’s been coming
on strong and is peaking at the right time.
It’s a cliché but I think it’ll be the pitching this year that makes or
breaks the season. No real news there and the Padres have some quality in the
first 3 spots of the rotation. After that though, I’m a bit worried.
I know, I know. Everyone will say that it’s only Spring Training and it
doesn’t matter. I say it does. It does from a momentum standpoint. At the end
of the day though, it only matters what happens when the season starts and I’ll
try to sit back and keep quiet until then but in the mean time I’d like to see
the pitchers starting to make better progress during the time when it doesn’t
I know it seems as if I’m being a bit contradictory in this article. Let me
clarify. I think Spring training is important. I think getting more wins than
losses in Spring training is important – helps build a winning attitude. I
think the pitchers have more work to do than hitters and fielders do (takes more
time to get your pitching groove and I don’t see it happening while batting
can come around quickly).
I’ll make a pre-season prediction. Padres finish in second place this year.
Kevin can be reached at: email@example.com