Southpaws have been no match for Padres
Team has put up scorching numbers vs. opposing left-handed pitchers
Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.
The Padres have already faced some of the best left-handed pitchers in the Major Leagues in the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw, the Giants' Madison Bumgarner and, on Monday, the Rockies' Jorge De La Rosa. But the team's right-handed-heavy batting order is producing the best marks in the Major Leagues against lefties.
The Padres are hitting .361 (44-for-122) against left-handed pitchers with a .392 on-base percentage and a .500 slugging percentage. All three marks lead the Major Leagues.
Catcher Derek Norris is hitting .692 against left-handers -- 9-for-13 with two doubles and two RBIs. Right fielder Matt Kemp is hitting .593 -- 7-for-12 with three doubles and six RBIs.
Other notable marks against left-handers early in this season:
Third baseman Will Middlebrooks: 4-for-15 with a triple, a homer and six RBIs.
Second baseman Jedd Gyorko: 5-for-10 with two doubles and two RBIs.
Left fielder Justin Upton: 4-for-9 with a double and an RBI.
Shortstop Clint Barmes: 4-for-15 with two doubles.
Center fielder Wil Myers: 3-for-12 with a double and two RBIs.
Even left-handed-hitting first baseman Yonder Alonso is off to a fast start against left-handed pitching, going 6-for-10 with four RBIs.
The Padres had three runs on six hits in six innings against Kershaw on Opening Day. They had five runs on 10 hits against Bumgarner. And on Monday, they had nine runs (seven earned) on nine hits in two innings against De La Rosa, who had come off the disabled list to make his first start of the season after going 20-3 over the past two seasons at Coors Field.
NOTES FROM THE SCOREBOOK:
-- Right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne is 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA over 18 1/3 innings while subbing for the injured Ian Kennedy. His good fortunes started with a 4 2/3-inning run of perfection on April 9, when Despaigne came on in relief after Kennedy suffered his "mild" hamstring strain. Despaigne has allowed three runs on eight hits and four walks with eight strikeouts over 13 2/3 innings in his two starts. He allowed just two runs on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings Monday night at Coors Field. Kennedy could return to the rotation Saturday against the Dodgers at Petco Park with Despaigne returning to the bullpen.
-- Despaigne got his first Major League hit on the 31st at-bat of his career Monday night. The line-drive single to right ended the second-longest run of hitless at-bats to start a career in team history. The longest was Joey Hamilton's 0-for-57 drought. Hamilton, who was a .127 career hitter, went more than a full year before getting his first hit.
-- Kemp is a career .329 hitter at Coors Field in Denver, going 79-for-240 with 18 doubles, four triples and 14 homers for 56 RBIs in 63 games. He was 3-for-4 Monday with his fourth double of the season, four RBIs and three runs scored.
-- Middlebrooks stretched his hitting streak to six games, all with just one hit. He is 6-for-24 during the streak, but he has done considerable damage with two doubles, a triple and two home runs for seven RBIs and four runs scored. His batting average during the streak is .250, but his slugging percentage is .667.