The Padres last night started their fourth options at first base and catcher, their third options at third base and in left field and their backup second baseman, yet scored nine more runs in a win over the Mets.
Their batting lines by month to date:
April: .211/.293/.308, 14 HR in 27 G
May: .249/.303/.363, 19 HR in 28 G
June: .249/.325/.351, 12 HR in 27 G
July: .223/.290/.316, 11 HR in 27 G
Aug: .292/.349/.454, 7 HR in 11 G
By month, they’ve averaged the following number of runs per game:
And they’re doing it even though their best hitters from the months of April (Nick Hundley), May (Brad Hawpe) and June (Chase Headley) are all on the disabled list. They’re also absent team home run and RBI leader Ryan Ludwick, who was sent to the Pirates prior to the trade deadline.
Ludwick may even finish the season as the Padres’ leader in homers and RBI. He had 11 and 64 before being dealt. Cameron Maybin is second on the team with six homers, one more than Chris Denorfia and Jesus Guzman. Headley is second in RBI with 43, but now that he’s on the DL, he’s something of a long shot to overtake Ludwick. Next best on the team is shortstop Jason Bartlett’s 32.
The Padres, though, are breaking in newcomers with increasingly impressive results. Guzman has been a revalation at first base after taking over for struggling top prospect Anthony Rizzo. Kyle Blanks, back from Tommy John surgery, has been red-hot in the outfield. Luis Martinez, the aforementioned fourth catcher, has driven in nine runs in 11 appearances. Aaron Cunningham also seems poised to make an impact in a limited role.
None of those guys are locks to turn into quality regulars for the Padres, but Blanks and Cunningham are still young enough to do so and Guzman could at least contribute against lefties going forward. Maybin and Headley will also be back next year as the foundation of the San Diego lineup. The team won’t keep scoring runs like this, but the future is looking brighter than it did a month ago.