Padres' first half was a mixed bag

Injuries to Dickerson, Jankowski, Solarte, Margot slowed development

July 4th, 2017

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.
The Padres never expected to make the playoffs this season. The future, however, is brighter.   
Take a look at the Minor League system. Pitching prospects Michael Kelly, Joey Lucchesi, Eric Lauer and Logan Allen were all Advanced-A grade in the past week.     
Young hitters like -- and he is 18 years old -- , , Luis Urías, Michael Gettys, Eguy Rosario and are getting warmer with the days.  
At the Major League level, the Padres completed the first half with a 33-48 mark. But they've played .500 ball over the last 36 games.   
"Is .500 baseball the ultimate goal? No," says Padres manager Andy Green. "But there are a lot of encouraging things in the way these guys have fought. They've fought through some really rough games, then have come back and won a series. This team has shown over and over that they're resilient and will battle back." 
But again, the Padres are only 34-48 one game into the second half. What grade do you give the Padres? 
A big incomplete. 
Not once have the Padres fielded the team they expected to have. That's because left fielder and project cleanup hitter Alex Dickerson never -- and won't -- have a plate appearance this season. Few teams thrive after losing their cleanup hitter for the entire season.  
Would Dickerson have made the Padres a contender? No.
But as Green says, "Dickerson was our most professional hitter."
He would have made a difference and allowed players like and to hit in spots of the order and be more conducive to success.   
Speaking of Solarte, the bat that has spent most of the season in the cleanup slot has been silenced since June 20 with a left oblique strain. Green said he hopes to have Solarte -- and his positive attitude as well as bat -- back in the lineup shortly after the All-Star break. But obliques heal on their own time schedule.   
"It's been an interesting first half," Green said Sunday. "When the season started, if you said was going to be playing left field for us consistently and playing really well … that definitely wasn't in the plans. Or that was going to be your second baseman.   
"Every team deals with injuries. Dickerson, , Solarte right now, … our depth has been challenged, and we knew coming into the season that depth wasn't going to be an organizational strength at this point in time. …        
"You want a better record. But you stop and focus on the last week in May for a team that's been crushed by injuries and depth and is playing right around .500 baseball for the last month. Individually, we're aware of what everyone can do and what everyone needs to do to move forward."      
has converted 11 straight saves since the second of his two blown saves this season. Over those 11 straight saves since May 28, Maurer has worked 10 scoreless innings, allowing one hit and two walks with six strikeouts. In eight non-save appearances since his last blown save on May 14, Maurer is 0-2 and has allowed 10 runs on 12 hits and four walks in 7 1/3 innings.  
• Renfroe went 4-for-4 with a double in the first four-hit game of his career Sunday. It was his fifth game of the season with three or more hits with two of those coming in the last four games. Renfroe is 10-for-19 with three doubles, his first Major League triple and a home run with four RBIs over his last five games to boost his batting average from .216 to .236. Renfroe leads all National League rookies with 17 doubles.   
• Margot was 2-for-4 with a double, a home run and two RBIs Sunday. He is riding a five-game hitting streak in the six games he's played since returning from the disabled list on June 27. Margot is 10-for-19 (.526) during the streak with two doubles, a homer, four RBIs, two walks and four stolen bases. His homer in the first inning gave the Padres their first lead over the Dodgers in 32 innings. Margot had missed a month on the disabled list with a right calf strain.   
• Pirela was 2-for-4 Sunday with a double and two RBIs -- both RBIs coming on two-out hits. Sunday was his ninth multihit game in just his 22nd start with the Padres. He has hit safely in all but seven games since being promoted from Triple-A El Paso on June 6.