Only four teams in baseball have allowed fewer runs than the Padres. The Phillies and Giants are both in first place. The Braves and Mariners are both in second place. All have winning records. So why is it the Padres are 11 games under .500?
Two reasons. Offense and defense. If one doesn't get them, the other one will. Friday night in Minnesota, the Padres scored five runs on 11 hits, a pretty good output. But, a slew of mistakes in the field allowed the Twins to score six runs and hand the Friars their sixth loss in seven games.
The first inning alone was enough to doom San Diego. The Padres had a pair of errors, a wild pitch, and a passed ball before the first three outs were recorded. Clayton Richard wasn't able to work his way out of the jam. He left a pitch up to Danny Valencia, who deposited it into the second deck in left field and cap a 5-run inning. Richard has lost a career-high 5th straight decision, falling to 2-9. Last season he went 14-9.
The Padres did try and mount a comeback. Chase Headley had four hits and drove in a pair of runs, and Ryan Ludwick launched one even farther than Valencia into those bleachers at Target Field. Luddy's 3-run shot made it a 6-5 game in the 7th inning, but that's as close as it got. Ludwick was playing DH in the American League stadium. He's been swinging a hot bat the last month and a half. Hopefully it's not an audition for potential trade suitors.
If the Padres had even half the errors they've made this season, they'd be jockeying for first place in the NL West. Instead, they're the subject of trade talks and sitting in the basement. There's still time to fix things. Just not very much.