Breaking down what led to Padres' 0-2 start

April 1st, 2023

SAN DIEGO -- It’s not that the Padres lost two games to the Rockies to begin a season with unprecedented expectations. It’s baseball. It’s a long season. At any other point in the calendar, two straight losses would hardly qualify as a blip.

But the manner of those losses brings about at least a modicum of concern. San Diego fell to 0-2 on Friday night with a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Colorado at Petco Park. The Padres are still awaiting their first run-scoring hit and their pitching staff isn’t fully formed yet.

Some thoughts on the 0-2 start:

What’s up with the offense?

The middle infield came to hit. The rest of the group hasn’t yet.

had a hit and drove in the lone run with a sacrifice fly, a day after his three-hit opener, making him the first Padre to tally four hits in his first two games with the club since Freddy Galvis in 2018. Meanwhile, second baseman went 3-for-3 on Friday night with a pair of doubles.

The rest of the offense was conspicuously absent for a second consecutive game. and are both 0-for-7. The / DH tandem has yet to produce a hit. Then again, given the track records of those four hitters, the Padres anticipate that changing -- and quickly.

“It’s a small sample,” manager Bob Melvin said. “Look, everybody’s trying to get their share of hits, drive in some runs, and when you’re down, even more so. We get a couple runs early, we’re probably going to relax a little bit more.”

A curious bunt

The Padres mounted their biggest threat in the bottom of the eighth inning, putting the first two batters aboard for No. 9 hitter . Azocar squared to bunt -- he fouled it off. He squared again -- executing successfully the second time and pushing runners into scoring position.

But in doing so, the Padres sacrificed one of only six precious outs remaining -- down four runs. They pushed one runner across in the frame, but left another stranded.

After the game, it was revealed Azocar had bunted on his own. When the Padres noticed his first attempt, they attempted to call it off, but Azocar missed those signals. Melvin chalked it up to “a young player that’s trying to get something going.”

Azocar later acknowledged his mistake.

“Probably, I didn’t [make] the right decision over there,” Azocar said. “... I was just trying to do something to help the team win.”

Defensive miscues

On paper, at least, this Padres’ defense has a sky-high ceiling, filled with Gold Glovers and Gold Glove finalists. It also has a handful of moving parts, players in positions they’re somewhat unfamiliar with. That reared its ugly head on Opening Night. The first inning on Friday brought more of the same.

The Padres could’ve escaped an early jam when Ryan McMahon bounced what should’ve been an inning-ending double play to at third. But the Padres were done in by a confluence of factors.

  1. Kim was shifted too far toward first to cover second. That left Bogaerts to cover -- but at an awkward angle coming from shortstop, as a result of the shift ban.
  2. Bogaerts’ natural first step was toward the ball, leaving him scrambling to cover the base.
  3. Machado’s throw wasn’t the cleanest, carrying Bogaerts back toward shortstop.

It led to an awkward turn, in which Bogaerts and Kim converged on the bag, before Bogaerts went tumbling while attempting to make that transfer. A run scored. Another run scored one batter later. The Rockies led 2-0 after one inning.

Martinez sharp; but rotation not yet complete

was better than his line would indicate. He was done in by shaky defense in the first. In the fifth, he made a mistake that Charlie Blackmon punished, launching a two-run homer into the right-field seats.

But Martinez worked a career-high-tying seven innings. He did so efficiently, while getting a whopping 11 whiffs on his changeup.

It’s worth remembering, of course, that the starting rotation isn’t quite complete yet. To that end, Yu Darvish joined the club Friday, after he threw five innings in a back-field game at the Padres’ spring complex on Thursday. Darvish will make his season debut on Tuesday against the D-backs.

Joe Musgrove, meanwhile, boarded a flight to Peoria, Ariz., on Friday. He’s scheduled to pitch in a game setting on Saturday before he begins a rehab stint.