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Rest of lineup must step up with key players out

Hosmer leads young group as they learn on fly
Special to MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- Thanks to a combination of injuries, inexperience and ineffectiveness, the Padres are putting up lackluster numbers in several offensive categories, leaving them desperately searching for any kind of spark.

Going into Wednesday's 3-1 win against the Nationals at Nationals Park, San Diego ranked 29th in the Majors in on-base percentage (.295) and slugging percentage (.364), and 28th in batting average (.227), numbers that explain why the Padres have scored three runs or fewer 25 times this season.

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WASHINGTON -- Thanks to a combination of injuries, inexperience and ineffectiveness, the Padres are putting up lackluster numbers in several offensive categories, leaving them desperately searching for any kind of spark.

Going into Wednesday's 3-1 win against the Nationals at Nationals Park, San Diego ranked 29th in the Majors in on-base percentage (.295) and slugging percentage (.364), and 28th in batting average (.227), numbers that explain why the Padres have scored three runs or fewer 25 times this season.

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With Wil Myers and Hunter Renfroe out, manager Andy Green has had to juggle his lineup to try and get the most he can out of what he's working with.

"Without Wil in the lineup, it forces a lot of guys into spots that probably -- they're best not suited for," Green said. "We've gotten the bulk of our offense out of [Travis Jankowski] and [Eric Hosmer] at the top, and Eric could probably profile at the two, three, four or five-spot very nicely. We're trying to get him into a spot where he gets a lot of at-bats."

Hosmer, who leads the Padres with 27 walks and is third on the team in on-base percentage (.361), said that while the team needs baserunners, every at-bat brings a new challenge, which can change a hitter's approach.

"I think each at-bat brings a different situation," Hosmer said. "There are certain times where you are leading off an inning or when you have a certain pitcher on the mound, your plan really adjusts from count to count. And there are certain situations where maybe it is better to be less aggressive, but at the end of the day, you're trying to do whatever you can to get on base. Some guys like to be aggressive and some guys like to see some pitches."

The Padres' lineup also features young hitters like Franmil Reyes and Franchy Cordero, who are finding the balance between an aggressive approach and working the count to get on and create traffic on the bases. San Diego is second in the Majors with 483 strikeouts.

"When you come up to the big leagues, you're seeing pitches you didn't see in the minors," Hosmer said. "Cutters that are thrown at 97 mph, breaking balls in any counts, splitters and changeups that guys in the minors don't have. You don't adjust and learn to hit that until you see it for the first time."

Still, Green doesn't accept any excuses for the Padres' offensive struggles, feeling no matter who's in, they should be able to produce.

"When we look at Travis and Eric, they've gotten on base for us," Green said. "They've done a very nice job doing that. There's been opportunities. We've had chances."

Elliott Smith is a contributor to MLB.com based in Washington.

San Diego Padres, Eric Hosmer