Padres unconcerned about offense
Team says early trend is nothing to force panic mode
PHOENIX -- Manager Bud Black on Saturday wouldn't go as far as to say that he's troubled by the Padres' lack of offensive firepower over their first 17 games, though that could change if the runs don't start coming soon.
"If we're doing what we're doing right now in a couple of weeks ... I will be concerned," Black said before the start of Saturday's game against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
The Padres were shut out on Friday, losing the first game of the three-game series by a score of 9-0. That loss came less than a day after the team scored one run in 22 innings against the Rockies.
Entering Saturday, the Padres had scored three runs over their last three games covering 40 innings. The Padres were tied for last in the Major Leagues with 50 runs, and their six home runs -- none in the last 103 innings -- were last in baseball.
The only starter in Saturday's lineup with a batting average at or better than .300 was Brian Giles, and his average was precisely .300, though Black and general manager Kevin Towers didn't seem overly concerned over the offensive woes thus far.
"We're going through a rough period right now. We're in a rut right now. I have enough confidence that we'll turn it around," Towers said. "For us, we need the middle of the order to produce more. We need to homer more often."
The Padres' last home run before Saturday came April 7, when Adrian Gonzalez connected for a two-run home run against the Giants at AT&T Park. The club record for consecutive innings without a home run -- 115 -- came in 1981.
"It's a production league. We've got to score more runs," Padres catcher Josh Bard said. "But it will turn. We just try to keep going. We're 14-15 games into the season. We've got a long ways to go. Once we get hitting, we'll be rolling.
"We haven't been slugging the ball the way we've wanted to. [Opposing teams] have been throwing us away a lot. If we try to hit home runs, we're going to ground out a lot. We haven't done a good job of stringing hits together."
The primary reason that Black thinks it's too early to make a big deal out of the early struggles is that players have yet to reach the level of comfort at the plate that, Black said, typically comes around 100 at-bats.
"I think in general, in baseball terms, a lot of people say 100 at-bats is a good indicator," Black said. "I think that until up to 100 at-bats, it's early."
That doesn't mean the team isn't keeping a close eye on the progress of three position players at Triple-A Portland -- left fielder Chase Headley, catcher Nick Hundley and second baseman Matt Antonelli.
"My hope is the guys in Portland start to push these guys," said Towers, who will go to Portland in early May to watch those players, along with starting pitcher Wade LeBlanc.
Towers didn't anticipate the arrival of any of those players before May 1, though he's anxious to see how Headley, the converted infielder, is adjusting to left field. The early reports have been good. Headley got off to a slow start at the plate but is hitting .259.
Hundley is hitting .316 with four home runs and Antonelli is hitting .227.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.