Coors curse? Padres refusing to make excuses

After dubious pitching mark is set, Green says ballpark not to blame

September 16th, 2019

DENVER -- The Padres packed their bags and left Colorado on Sunday evening, on the wrong end of a three-game sweep and a demoralizing 10-5 loss. Mercifully for them, they won't return to Coors Field until the Rockies' 2020 home opener.

Between now and then, something needs to change. The Padres -- who assured themselves of a ninth straight season without a winning record on Sunday -- expect a postseason push next year and to achieve that goal, something needs to change for them when it comes to Coors Field. They will play nine games here, and they simply can’t afford to pitch like they did in 2019.

It’d be easy to write off San Diego’s pitching woes as a product of the hitter-friendly ballpark. But even by Coors Field standards, the Friars’ pitching staff was historically poor this year.

Over 10 games, they posted a 10.67 ERA. That’s the highest mark for any team that’s played three series in a season at Coors Field -- by nearly three full runs.

“We have confidence in a number of our guys to throw the ball well here,” said Padres manager Andy Green. “This was just a bad run for us.”

On Sunday afternoon, worked three innings and allowed four runs on six hits. He surrendered a two-run homer to and a two-run single to , the Rockies’ starting pitcher.

Quantrill was otherwise OK. He certainly wasn’t as ineffective as some other Padres starters have been this season. But his problems were the same. He couldn’t finish hitters, and his outing was too short.

“I did a couple things better,” Quantrill said. “But honestly, I’m just not throwing enough good pitches. I don’t have any other way to say it. I’ve got one job as a starter -- give your team a chance to win. I’m just not doing it.”

Quantrill, like the rest of the Padres’ rotation, refused to use the ballpark as an excuse for his struggles.

“Nothing to do with the field or the conditions,” Quantrill said. “Right now, I'm just not consistent enough.”

Still, the numbers are stark. Padres’ starters combined for a 15.85 ERA, their worst ever mark at Coors Field.

Green was adamant that those numbers aren’t the result of some Coors Field curse. He expressed confidence in , who had posted a 1.56 ERA before his rough start on Friday. He also noted that his bullpen has been effective, giving the Padres an opportunity for a couple of miracle comebacks in June.

“There's one or two guys with hurdles to get past,” Green said. “But we've got some guys who are going to pitch well here.”

Myers mashing: what it means
With the Padres trailing by three in the fifth, destroyed a fastball to the top of the bleacher seats in left field. The 435-foot blast cut the Padres’ deficit to one, and it continued a torrid stretch for Myers who has turned around his early struggles in a big way.

Myers finished Sunday 2-for-3 with a pair of walks. In 14 games this month, he’s hitting .417/.463/.708.

“He’s had an unbelievable run these last couple of weeks,” Green said. “It’s been fun watching him play like this.”

Perhaps most importantly -- Myers is doing serious damage against right-handed pitching. Since the beginning of August, he’s hitting .316/.347/.453 against righties. That’s precisely what the Padres have needed.

Entering the offseason, the Padres’ primary offensive focus will be balancing the offense -- most likely with a left-handed outfield bat. But even then, they aren’t likely to carry six outfielders. When they start two lefty-hitting outfielders next season, they’ll need one of their right-handed bats -- Myers, or -- to produce against right-handed pitching.

“I feel like I’m a guy that should -- and will -- be able to play against right and left,” Myers said earlier this week.

He’s making a strong case.

Urias extends hitting streak
isn’t much of a power threat, but he extended his career-high hitting streak to nine games with some authority. He crushed a 441-foot solo shot to center field in the top of the second inning, giving the Padres an early lead.

Urias, who also doubled, is hitting .400 during that streak. But until Sunday, he’d used patience over power to get there.

“He’s competing every at-bat,” Green said. “He’s going up there, refusing to give in, fouling pitches off, working counts, and he’s eventually getting something he can handle.”

Fellow rookie added a two-run homer in the ninth. But the way the Padres have pitched in Denver this season, that wasn’t enough.