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Can it get worse for San Diego? It had better this weekend

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If the Rockies want to make up ground in the NL West, they had better start beating the teams in the division. The only team Colorado has a winning record against is the team they face tonight (5-3), the cellar-dwelling San Diego Padres. Let's rid this tendency of playing down to the competition, shall we?

It would definitely be playing down to the competition to lose a series to the Padres too. They won last Sunday, but all that did was avoid entering the break with an eight game losing streak. They've won just one series since May 27. They traded away their third biggest power threat. Their run differential has fallen lower than the Nationals for worst in the majors. That's a cold team. And a bad one.

Even when they weren't playing games, the Padres weren't doing well. Adrian Gonzalez and Heath Bell missed their plane to the All-Star Game and had to drive from Indianapolis. A-Gone then hit two measly home runs in the Home Run Derby, beating only the miniscule Brandon Inge. In the actual game, Bell became the third Padre to be saddled with the ASG loss in four years while A-Gone failed to get an at-bat.

So what do the Padres have going for them? About the only thing at this point is Petco Park. They are 23-20 in San Diego - compare that to the Rockies 23-19 Coors record. Colorado dropped one of two at the metal factory May 4-5 this season. They can protect their home field very well for a weak team, and Petco doesn't treat the Rox well traditionally.

Gaslamp Ball is the Padres blog.

Padreslogo_medium

San Diego Padres (36-52, W1, 5th, 20 GB)

Thursday-Sunday: 4-game series at Petco Park

The Bats: D

I doubt it's surprising to you that San Diego is dead last in batting average. In fact, their .233 average is a whole 13 points below their nearest company - Oakland. They're last in wOBA with .302 (almost Yorvit territory), last in runs 334, last in slugging, last in OPS. Their second highest batting average (by a familiar name) is just .255. It's like reading lines for the Rockies pitching staff in the 90's. Both have been mistreated by a ridiculously biased ballpark.

That's why I included OPS+ for this one. Their team OPS+ is 89, which is still bad, but it's better than San Francisco (84), Cincinnati (84), Oakland (86), Chicago Cubs (86), and Kansas City (88). So as weak as this lineup looks, I can't give it an F, even though some key contributors (Gerut, Eckstein, Hairston, Blanco) are hurt or have been traded.

LINEUP Avg HR RBI OBP SLG wOBA OPS+
Everth Cabrera - SS .255 0 10 .340 .340 .321 91
Tony Gwynn Jr. - CF .297 1 8 .374 .394 .340 115
Adrian Gonzalez - 1B .250 24 52 .387 .523 .383 151
Kevin Kouzmanoff - 3B .244 12 47 .280 .405 .299 89
Chase Headley - LF .232 8 32 .308 .366 .304 87
Will Venable - RF .233 1 5 .313 .367 .308 89
Eliezer Alfonzo - C .237 2 7 .274 .356 .278 74
Luis Rodriguez - 2B .205 1 9 .329 .262 .272 68

By wOBA metrics, the lineup features one All-Star (Gonzalez), one slightly above average hitter (Gwynn), three below average (Cabrera, Headley, Venable) and three well below average ones (Kouzmanoff, Alfonzo, Rodriguez). However, via OPS+, Gonzo's a star, Gwynn is solid, and other than Alfonzo and Rodriquez, they are just a bit below average. Interesting stat of the day: Scott Hairston had a .390 wOBA with San Diego, better than even A-Gone.

Bud Black is only carrying three guys on his bench - rookie Jose Lobaton (0-for-6), enormous rookie outfielder Kyle Blanks (7-for-50) and Edgar Gonzalez (.180/.241/.361). That's about the most sorry looking bench you'll find.

Hop after the jump for the scouting report on the arms, the D, the pitching matchups and the hot/cold players.

The Arms: D

it's tough to pitch poorly when you get to play at Petco Park, but believe it or not, the Padres have done it. Their ERA+ is 80, much worse than their offense. Their staff ERA is 5th worst at 5.71 in spite of the home park. Their ERA/FIP/tRA splits for starters are 5.23/4.59/5.06 and for relievers 3.86/4.11/4.29. Those aren't very pretty.

Still, the we could have challenges with their four starters. Gaudin and Correia are above average pitchers by tRA. Geer gave up just one run at Petco against the Rox in eight innings earlier this year. ESPN lists Mat Latos as Sunday's starter. He'd be making his MLB Debut after starting the year at Low-A Fort Wayne. He has torched the minor leagues, is listed by Baseball America as the Padres' #2 prospect behind Kyle Blanks and has the best fastball in their organization. MLB.com has Tim Stauffer as the starter, who pitched very well in his 2009 debut last week, but indicates Latos is likely to be called up in coming days.

Bud Black's bulging bullpen includes All-Star closer Heath Bell, obviously. Also currently listed in the pen are righties Mike Adams, Josh Banks, Greg Burke, Mike Ekstrom, Luke Gregerson, Cla Meredith, Edward Mujica, Luis Perdomo, and Ryan Webb (from the Hairston trade). When Latos is called up for Sunday, one of those nine righties will get the boot. My guess would be Banks. Note: There are no LHP on the Padres' active roster.

The D: D+

With a -3.5 UZR/150, the Padres don't seem to have great defensive range. Their 48 errors are respectable, but FG gives them a -13.4 rating, decidedly below average.

The Ballpark: VERY HEAVY pitcher's park

You probably knew that. However, it's park factor is 89, which is more influential on the pitching side than Coors Field has been for hitters since 2005. That's substantial, considering Coors hurt Matt Holliday's MVP dreams in 2007. Petco makes their pitchers look far more acceptable and their hitters far more putrid. The park factor at Petco will affect stats more than any other park.

Probable Pitchers:

Tonight, 8:05 pm MDT

W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2009 - Aaron Cook 8-3 3.98 1.39 55 34

W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2009 - Chad Gaudin 4-7 5.03 1.41 85 44

Friday, July 17, 8:05 pm MDT

W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2009 - Ubaldo Jimenez 6-9 3.81 1.32 101 46

W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2009 - Josh Geer 1-4 5.79 1.31 47 17


Saturday, July 18, 8:05 MDT

W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2009 - Jason Hammel 5-4 4.43 1.46 61 21

W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2009 - Kevin Correia 6-7 4.50 1.30 82 34

Sunday, July 19, 2:05 MDT

W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2009 - Jason Marquis 11-6 3.65 1.31 58 40

**Lo-A and AA Stats** **MLB Debut** W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2009 - Mat Latos 8-1 1.37 0.75 73 12

33_15_10---fire-flame-texture_web_mediumWill Venable is 9-for-28 with a HR in July. Kevin Kouzmanoff has a couple HR in July, while Heath Bell, Mike Adams and Mike Ekstrom all have ERAs under 2.00 this month.

IceJosh Geer was lit up for 6 runs and 3 HR in his last start and hasn't won since May 24. Adrian Gonzalez has been ice cold in July, going just 6-for-46 with just one XBH - a double. Everth Cabrera is just 9-for-45 (10 TB) in July while Chase Headley and Luis Rodriguez join the sub-.600 July OPS club. Kyle Blanks singled Sunday, his first hit in 18 ABs.

Bandaid_mediumSix pivotal contributors are on the 15-day DL. Jake Peavy (ankle), Chris Young (shoulder), Nick Hundley (forearm), Brian Giles (knee), David Eckstein (hamstring) and Henry Blanco (hamstring) are all hobbled. RHP's Cha Seung Baek (forearm), Shawn Hill (elbow) and Mark Worrell (elbow) are on the 60-day DL along with Cliff Floyd (shoulder)