4/8/2014 7:01 P.M. ET
Black, Padres waiting for turnaround of bats' fortunes
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Six games into the season, the Padres ranked last in the big leagues in runs (12) and 29th in average (.189) and on-base percentage (.255).
"We've got to get the bats going," Padres manager Bud Black said.
And maybe get a little luckier, too?
The Padres went into Tuesday's game against the Indians with a collective .239 batting average on balls in play (BABIP), suggesting they've been unlucky at times when bat meets ball.
Only three teams have BABIP marks lower than the Padres -- the Cardinals (.234), Mets (.217) and Astros (.214).
The Marlins, who just took two-of-three games from the Padres over the weekend, lead the big leagues with a .365 average on balls in play, making them a prime candidate for potential regression.
As for the Padres, Black has noticed several instances when hitters have squared-up a ball well only to have it hit directly as a defender.
"The hitter will tell you that you want to hit the ball on the nose … a lot of times you don't know where the fielder is going to be," Black said. "All you can control as a hitter is having good at-bats and try to hit the ball as hard as possible. If you're doing that, you're doing your job. Over the long haul, that will play out.
"There have been some balls that we've hit right on the nose that have been hit right at defenders. And there haven't been that many balls we've hit softly that have blooped in for hits."
Playing two in row next step for Grandal
CLEVELAND -- If Yasmani Grandal gets the starts in either of the Padres' two games on Wednesday in Cleveland, he will have checked off yet another box in his remarkably quick recovery from anterior cruciate ligament surgery on his right knee just eight months ago.
To this point, Grandal hasn't caught consecutive games. He got the start Tuesday against the Indians. He'll likely get another start in one of the team's two games Wednesday.
"That's what we've been looking forward to. I don't know what Buddy is thinking right now. Hopefully I can get in a game and get that knee going two days in a row," Grandal said.
Does Grandal consider this the last hurdle in his recovery from knee surgery, one that had him back in the lineup a week shy of eight months?
"There's still going to be hurdles," he said. "Once we catch two [consecutive] games, then we've got to catch three. And it just keeps going from there. We're looking at a lot of benchmarks throughout this whole season. I want to stay healthy and keep the knee healthy."
The Padres are currently carrying three catchers on the roster -- Grandal, Nick Hundley and Rene Rivera. Grandal has started three times this season, Rivera twice and Hundley once.
Grandal said he was a little anxious to see how his knee responds to the cool weather in Cleveland. The temperature at game time on Tuesday was measured at 47 degrees. The high for Wednesday's doubleheader is expected to hit 44 degrees.
"This might not be the best for my knee because it's cold," Grandal said. "But then again, if there's ever a series where we can go back-to-back and challenge my knee, then it's this one."
Padres waiting on more matchups vs. lefties
CLEVELAND -- One of the reasons the Padres kept veteran outfielder Xavier Nady on the roster was because he could offer them good at-bats off the bench -- or even a spot start -- against left-handed pitching.
The only problem is the Padres just haven't seen that much left-handed pitching early in the season.
In fact, entering Tuesday's game against the Indians, the Padres have had only 50 at-bats this season against left-handed pitchers. That ranks 21st out of 30 Major League teams.
The only left-handed starting pitcher the team has faced this season was Hyun-Jin Ryu of the Dodgers, but that came back on Opening Day at Petco Park on March 30.
Nady is hitless in five at-bats this season with two strikeouts. Only Rene Rivera has fewer at-bats this season (four) than Nady.
"We're talking about it," Padres manager Bud Black said of getting Nady in the lineup more.
The Indians will utilize two right-handed pitchers in Wednesday's doubleheader. The Tigers, who will open a three-game series at Petco Park on Friday, will go with three righties, including two former Cy Young Award winners, Justin Verlander (2011) and Max Scherzer (2013).