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Swinging with Swiss Cheese
Posted by Ted Rossman at 7/6/2007 6:41:00 AM
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It's been said often that defense wins championships. In baseball, defense and especially pitching win championships. I'm beginning to question that logic. The San Diego Padres have one of the best pitching staffs in the league and a solid defense, but their offense is just abysmal. The Padres have been knocked out early in the playoffs in each of the last two years because of a lack of offense and could be headed for a similar fate this season.

Here's how bad their offense is: they have been held to two or fewer runs in 24 games (almost one-third of their contests); they have recorded three or fewer hits in seven games; their .241 team batting average is the second-worst in the majors; they rank 25th among 30 big league teams with 358 runs scored. Of course, their pitching is dominant, with a 3.00 team ERA over half a run better than all other teams.

My point, though, is that the Padres usually lose when they give up four or more runs. That's a very slim margin for error, especially in the playoffs, where games are usually taut, one-run affairs. If the Padres fall behind 2-0, it seems like 7-0. A pitching-oriented team can do well in the long run, but the baseball playoffs are a sprint to the finish. The Padres don't usually bring enough punch to the party, and as a result they could make another early exit from the postseason. I'd sacrifice a little bit of pitching for some extra oomph at the plate.


"It's been said often that defense wins championships." It's a cliche, and it's not really true. Teams win championships in a bunch of ways, it's just when defense carries a team, the theme is grossly overplayed (and that credo gets repeated over and over).

Posted by spianow at 7/6/2007 9:55:00 AM
Ted-they play in Petco, so do you build a team on pitching or hitting? You play in Colorado, do you build on pitching or hitting? I like San Diego's team-Cameron, Gonzalez, Greene should give them enough hitting coupled with Peavy and Young (HOF Hoffman) to get them to the second round of the playoffs. Oh, and most team in the NL lose if they give up 4 or more runs, S.D. leads the ML in starters and relievers ERA......
Posted by kevinccp at 7/6/2007 7:16:00 PM
That can be a little counter-intuitive at times. Teams in good hitter's parks tend to overvalue their own hitters (see Bichette, Dante) and undervalue their pitchers, and vice versa. I think SD has a nice core, but they had some real weaknesses on offense that they were smart to try to address with Barrett and Bradley. I particularly like their snag of Barrett.
Posted by Erickson at 7/6/2007 9:22:00 PM
A team built primarily on pitching (at or near the top of the league statistically) has depth and quality on their staff which gives an advantage over a 162 game season. In the playoffs when rotations are shortened often to the top 3, the depth that helps so much over the long haul of the season disappears and the better hitting team (a team that is bound to have 3 quality starters if they have made the playoffs) usually wins on the strength of that offensive advantage.
Posted by Warbo at 7/7/2007 10:28:00 AM

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