Last night before I went to bed watching the Oscar-snubbed classic Point Break, I kept hearing an old song called “Goin’ South” by the seminal late-90’s punk band Lagwagon over and over again in my brain. Not so much the song, but the intro clip to the song that’s from some old TV show or movie. In a ridiculous country drawl some voice asks, “You ever been kicked in the head by a bull?”
I have. Not physically, but mentally. Last night.
Last night was the roughest night us Padres fans have had in awhile. Losing Lamet, after losing Sunshine, and then seeing Myers leave the game early as well.
The wheels were coming off at an alarming rate, not to mention the team had been playing some pretty bad Baseball for a week or two already.
We are quite literally limping into the playoffs (sans two complete punch outs tonight and tomorrow) and it feels like a gigantic bull has taken his gigantic hoof and kicked us in the head.
But, this kick was actually a slow moving kick we as Padres fans should’ve all seen coming a few weeks ago. Now we’re in panic mode and I think it’s important to give ourselves some perspective as harsh as it may be to read and play a little game of WORRY-O-METER:
The bull noticed us kneeling behind him when Bebo started to skid. He wasn’t right at the plate, and this definitely affected his joyfulness on the field, which clearly affected his teammates. The one bright spot from yesterday was his massive homerun. You could almost see the dust shake off his shoulders.
The bull started to raise his leg when it was clear that the Mitch Moreland pickup might be a wash. He has seemed completely lost at the plate. His averaged has dropped almost 40 points since joining the Padres, and at times it looks like he’s just given up. But, let us remember that this is Mitch Moreland and not Mike Trout or even Rhys Hoskins. He is a solid number 5 or 6 in your order, but of course the Padres have treated him like a 3 or 4, and that’s gonna give him Eric Hosmer disease. Moreland was added to be a better Josh Naylor. And, you know what? He is.
Speaking of Eric Hosmer disease, Hoz himself might have caught a whiff of it once again. Probably an anti-vaxxer. He was on absolute fire before his injury and like Wil Myers was playing with a newfound joy this year. Since he’s returned from his injury he has clearly been pressing, and reaching, and just plain lost. Will he get back to early 2020 form? Probably. The same thing goes for him as goes for Bebo, he clearly needs to be having fun. If they can get some joy back, his swing will also return.
LAMET & SUNSHINE
The bull kicked hard right about here. Lamet has been an absolute stud and the lone standout from a pre-AJ world. I would hope his decision to come out last night was one made from being cautious instead of concerned. He could know that saving himself for the playoffs is more important that what seed we get. Sunshine is a tough one. He’s a very good pitcher, is a lot of fun to watch, and clearly has enjoyed his time here so far. However, with the exception of one start he hasn’t been “lights out”. This isn’t to besmirch him, it’s to put his short Padres career into some perspective. We got this far without him, and he hasn’t shown me that he’s unequivocally better than any starter we had before him – sans the Sheriff.
WORRY-O-METER (if they aren’t injured): Lamet – 0 Sunshine – 2
Speaking of Paddack, I don’t know what’s going on. I can only say I’m happy I traded him in fantasy last year for a great haul. I actually have a lot of thoughts on Paddack, and they’ll be coming at some point, but for now let’s chalk this up to a Sophomore Slump. It could very well be. He’s clearly going through some mental hiccups. And, let’s not forget he’s very young, he’s jumped multiple levels to be in the majors, has now had two pitching coaches with very different philosophies, and has pitched to a wide variety of catchers. He’s not used to all this. It has to be taxing, and it can definitely mess with you. I don’t like that he’s called out the fans to some degree for turning on him, but when your whole persona is a pound it down your throat ace, people are gonna call you out when you can’t get there anymore.
I mean, yikes, I don’t really know what to say here. He wasn’t good at the start of the year, and hasn’t been good since. Maybe he hasn’t healed, maybe he’s not happy, maybe he’s just having an off-year. Whatever it is, at this point it’s not worth leaving Profar on the bench.
He’s a 26-year old rookie.
I’ll be honest, just the fact that I don’t have to watch Hedges strikeout anymore should be enough to leave Nola off this list, but out of all the guys we acquired he has looked the least comfortable. Not just at the plate, but his facial expressions read as though he’s not very happy to be here. And, maybe he’s not. He’s definitely taken a hit at the plate, and hasn’t been nearly what everyone wanted him to be, but remember – you never heard of him before this season, he was never this good before this season, and it doesn’t matter because we don’t have to watch Hedges strikeout anymore. However, we should be batting him in the 6 or 7 spot only. Tingler clearly thinks too highly of his bat.
Overall there are definite concerns heading into the Padres first playoff series since before I was married, was a father, and had a political career. But, injuries, slumps, and players coming back to Earth happen every season. They also tend to happen around this time in the season. Remember, we’d just be getting close to the All-Star Break if this was a regular season and who players are, and what players would be healthy would start to come into focus.
This only seems like a kick in the head from a bull because it’s all happened in very short amount of time, and right before we’re headed into a playoff run with a very good team that could conceivably win it all. Or at least can if some slumps break and some players can heal up.
So, let’s set the bull to pasture and give ourselves some perspective. It’ll all be fine, or it won’t be fine and we’ll get swept in the first round by the Cardinals. But, any Padres fan who would be surprised by that were born after Lagwagon wrote that song about a bull, and that says a lot.