The Padres lost to the Mariners 6-1 at PETCO Park on Sunday, capping off a weekend San Diego baseball fans will try very hard to forget.
The Padres only scored two runs in the entire series. On their current homestand, they're averaging just 1 run a game, a massive drop off from their most recent road trip, when they averaged nearly seven runs a game.
"You saw it on the last road trip, a lot of guys really started to climb and guys were feeling better about themselves," said Padres manager Bud Black. "Then we ran in to these guys (the Mariners). I don't like to give credit a lot of times to opposing pitchers but these guys threw well this weekend."
Seattle's starting staff is one of baseball's best, but the Padres have not hit well at home all season. A lot of people think the problem is the ballpark itself. PETCO has earned a reputation of being unkind to hitters, but the Padres offensive issue has to be more complicated than that.
"I have a hard time believing that anyone will honestly tell you that's the reason it's not going well," said outfielder Will Venable, who has yet to hit a home run anywhere in 2011. "It's not like it's impossible to hit the ball here. This is where we play, and if that's a mindset the guys have, then hey, gotta move on. It's still a baseball field, and you've still gotta hit the ball. It's definitely not an excuse anyone's using."
Right now the offense is offering a convenient target, but Black thinks the problem goes beyond the batters box.
"Through the course of this season, we've seen spurts of good play, but I think so far we've made too many little mistakes that have compounded and hurt us during the course of the game. Offensively, on the mound, defensively, all the things add up. There isn't one phase of our game that's truly hurting us. When the total game is in sync, we win. When it's not, we lose."
San Diego has done that far too often in their own ballpark. Their 8-18 home record is the worst in the National League.
On Monday the Padres start a 3-game series in the East Village against St. Louis. I have to think the dam is pretty close to bursting, and when it does we'll all look back at this frustrating little stretch and laugh. I hope.