Statistically speaking: Pirates should win ground game vs. Padres
With Andrew McCutchen ailing and Pedro Alvarez's power bat out of the lineup, the Pirates need their pitchers to post zeroes to stay in playoff contention.
Luckily, the Padres are enduring one of the worst offensive seasons in the franchise's 46-year history — and they're especially piling up outs against ground ball-centric teams like the Pirates.
While San Diego calls the pitching oasis that is Petco Park home, that doesn't absolve the club's lineup from criticism.
The Padres' offense has been 20 percent worse than the MLB average after adjusting for park factors, according to Fangraphs. That's worst in the majors and the third-lowest mark since the team was founded in 1969. Richard Nixon was president the last time the Padres hit so poorly.
Why is San Diego experiencing such a power outage? They're rarely lofting pitches, for starters. The Padres are hitting ground balls an MLB-high 48.8 percent of the time that they put the ball in play this year.
Dating back to 2002, only the 2005 and 2007 Twins have posted a higher single-season ground-ball rate.
When the Padres match up with an earth-scorching pitching staff, things get ugly. San Diego has a .644 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) against ground-ball pitchers, defined by Baseball-Reference as those ranked in the bottom third in the ratio of fly ball outs to ground outs. The Cardinals and Reds are the only NL teams to fare worse versus ground ball-slanted staffs.
Ground and pound
Team OPS vs. ground-ball Ps
MLB avg. .682
Rene Rivera (.499 OPS versus ground-ball pitchers), Alexi Amarista (.636) and Everth Cabrera (.642) are struggling the most against ground-ball pitchers.
The Bucs, generating grounders at an MLB-high 49.9 percent clip, are poised to keep the Padres off the board. Jared Hughes (63.3 percent), Charlie Morton (54.9), Mark Melancon (54.8) and Francisco Liriano (53.0) could wage an effective ground war.
David Golebiewski is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.