The days of possessing a perennially low-scoring offense were supposed to be gone after the San Diego Padres made a number of offseason moves to improve the lineup.
San Diego’s inability to find consistency at the plate has contributed to its current slump, one they’ll look to break out of Tuesday night against the host Los Angeles Angels.
The Padres (21-25) haven’t finished in the top 20 in the majors in runs since tying for 19th in 2007, including finishing last in 2014. The additions of Justin and Melvin Upton, Matt Kemp, Will Middlebrooks and Wil Myers were expected to provide a cure for the offensive woes, but San Diego has been outscored 44-27 while batting .216 during a 2-8 stretch.
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Eleven of those runs came in Sunday’s win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Padres scored all of their runs Monday in the seventh inning before falling 4-3 to the Angels (23-22).
San Diego has scored three runs or fewer seven times over its last 10. Justin Upton had two hits Monday after homering and driving in six the day before, but Kemp went hitless and is 3 for 25 with nine strikeouts over his last seven.
Middlebrooks was hitting .211 on the season before having two hits in each of the last two. Melvin Upton has yet to play due to a left toe injury, and Myers has been out since May 11 with left wrist tendinitis.
Myers, hitting .291, is eligible to come off the disabled list Tuesday and is scheduled to have another scan prior to the game.
”He’s doing a lot of strengthening exercises and he’s encouraged by how he feels. But right now, there’s no timetable,” manager Bud Black said.
The Padres have been outscored 24-0 over Odrisamer Despaigne’s last three starts. Despaigne (2-3, 6.11 ERA) moved back into the rotation after Brandon Morrow went on the disabled list May 3, then allowed 15 runs and 20 hits – four homers – over eight innings while dropping his first two starts.
The right-hander was solid Thursday, though, allowing two runs in six innings of a 3-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs. Manager Bud Black plans to keep Despaigne in the rotation for the time being.
"The last couple results didn’t necessarily go my way, but I worked hard," Despaigne said.
Despaigne has never faced the Angels, who had lost three of four until Albert Pujols’ broken-bat, walk-off single with the bases loaded Monday to kick off a 10-game homestand.
Matt Joyce and Carlos Perez each had two hits and an RBI for Los Angeles, which has won four straight at home.
The Angels’ last home loss came with Matt Shoemaker on the mound May 9. He’s lost all three of his home starts with a 9.45 ERA.
Shoemaker (3-4, 6.29) bounced back to give up one run in seven innings of a 6-1 win at Baltimore on May 16, but he gave up a career worst-tying eight runs – seven earned – in six innings of Thursday’s 8-4 loss at Toronto.
”Everything is kind of going bad right now,” said Shoemaker, whose 13 homers allowed are the second most in the majors to San Diego’s James Shields’ 15. ”I’ve just got to find a way to get out of it.”
This will be the right-hander’s first start against the Padres, but Kemp is 1 for 3 with a home run in their matchups.