Padres mostly pleased after first week
Starting pitching a strength, but walks by relievers an issue
SAN FRANCISCO -- The first week of the season held few surprises for Padres manager Bud Black and general manager Kevin Towers.The Padres went 4-3 in the first week of the season, taking two of three games from the Houston Astros and dropping two of three games against the Los Angeles Dodgers. "Overall, I thought we've played well in all facets," Black said prior to Monday's game against the Giants at AT&T Park. But there was one surprise to the first week, and it wasn't a good one. "I think the one thing you can look at is -- I think this is no secret -- the pitching side; walks late in the game can come back to haunt you. It did with [relievers] [Joe] Thatcher and Hoffy [Trevor Hoffman]." Walks have hurt Thatcher and Hoffman in the early going, as Thatcher (0-1) has walked four over two innings while Hoffman (0-2) has walked two in 3 2/3 innings. On Sunday, Hoffman walked leadoff hitter Russell Martin in the ninth inning. Martin came around to score in a 3-2 victory. Overall, Padres relievers have walked 10 batters in 16 2/3 innings this season. "That's probably the only negative, the walks," Towers said. "We knew going in that we wanted to try to build our bullpen around strike throwers. The two losses we had, actually all three, started out with walks." That's not to suggest that Towers is unhappy with the composition of his bullpen. That's not the case in the least. "We've had a couple of lapses, but better to get them out of the way now," Towers said. "I like our bullpen. Our bullpen is going to win a lot more games than it's going to lose for us." Black and Towers cited the team's starting pitching as highlights from the first week of the season, especially from the back end of the rotation where Nos. 4 and 5 starters Randy Wolf and Justin Germano pitched well in their 2008 debuts. The offense has shown spark at times, and the team believes it will only be stronger now that Jim Edmonds has returned from his calf injury. The Padres, for what it's worth after seven games, rank fourth in the National League in batting average (.284). "We're happy with the offense," Black said. "We've had some good at-bats throughout the seven games. Most guys are swinging the bat well."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.