Padres strive to pick up slack from unavailable players
CINCINNATI -- Entering Saturday, the Padres had played three games with the suspended Everth Cabrera and the injured Carlos Quentin both unavailable. And with two of the team's offensive catalysts missing from the lineup, it hasn't been a surprise that San Diego has struggled, combining for just six runs, 20 hits and a .091 average (2-for-22) with runners in scoring position in three straight losses.
Before Saturday's contest against the Reds at Great American Ball Park, Padres manager Bud Black acknowledged that his team needed to find a way to produce without Cabrera or Quentin, but he couldn't point to any specific players who needed to step up in their absence.
"There's a concept that I think we employ as the Padres that it's all of us. It's a collective group that has to do it," Black said. "We don't have that carrier. It's got to come from all of us."
Collectively, San Diego must replace two players who had combined for 76 RBIs and 96 runs scored through Monday, when Cabrera was suspended 50 games for violating MLB's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Quentin isn't expected to miss nearly that much time, but Black could not provide a timetable for his return on Saturday.
After Will Venable hit his career-high 14th home run of the season on Friday, Black did say the 30-year-old outfielder, who entered Saturday batting .377 with four homers and six RBIs in his last 19 games, is a player who could become even more important for the Padres. However, Black said situational hitting and solid defense are bigger keys than any one player.
"I think the players know that those two guys are a big part of our team, there's no doubt about it," Black said. "I think we can't have some guys trying to do too much, especially guys in the middle of our order."