SAN DIEGO — Successful homestand for the Padres, all things considered, even if the ending left a particularly bitter taste.
1. The defense is good; the Padres need it to be
It took 17 games for the Padres to commit their first error of the season — a modern-era record (since 1901). It’s probably not a coincidence that when they finally faltered defensively, they endured their worst defeat of the homestand.
“We haven’t played a sloppy game like that across the board this year,” manager Bob Melvin said. “It doesn’t feel good. But you move on.”
Again, those mistakes have been exceedingly rare this season. For the most part, the Padres have won games because of their steady defense, helping take the burden off their pitching staff in the process.
“I try to look at it from a positive angle that we’re still winning some games without the offense,” Melvin said. “I really believe it’s going to come.”
3. Gore’s emergence creates a rotation puzzle
Late last season, the Padres often didn’t know who would be starting for them, because, frankly, they didn’t have enough pitchers.
Now, the Padres are again unsure who will be starting for them in the near future. But this time, they have too many.
“I look at it as a good problem to have,” Melvin said. “And typically, things work their way out along the way.”
So where does that leave Gore, if the Padres have all of their rotation weapons healthy and at their disposal? That’s a question for another day — one they’d love to have to answer.
The Padres have every reason to believe in Abrams, long term. His upside remains sky high, and he has carried himself like he belongs in the big leagues. His defense has been steady, and his speed elite. But Abrams has often looked overmatched at the plate.
“He’s working hard,” Melvin said. “It’s [up and down]. That’s what you expect from a younger player. At some point in time, he’ll get on a hot streak, and you’ll really see what he’s all about.”
Really, what other choice does Melvin have than to throw his full support behind Abrams? Kim is struggling too, hitting just .182, and there are no obvious replacements in the Minors.
Still, Abrams played only 76 professional games prior to this year. He sat twice against the Dodgers this weekend, and it’s reasonable to wonder whether his development is being altered without regular Minor League at-bats.