The San Diego Padres will take the field for Opening Day in 90 days.
We’re so close, yet so far from Major League Baseball’s Opening Day for the 2019 season, 90 days to be exact. In 90 days, every major league club will take the field for Opening Day 2019, including your San Diego Padres taking on the San Francisco Giants from Petco Park.
Will Madison Bumgarner be the Opening Day starter for San Francisco? Earlier this offseason, that didn’t appear likely, however, it now looks as if the Giants’ ace will be staying in the Bay Area, at least for a few more months.
The bigger question is, who will be the Opening Day starting pitcher for the San Diego Padres? Last year’s Opening Day man, Clayton Richard, was recently designated for assignment to make room for infielder Ian Kinsler, meaning for the seventh-straight season, a new pitcher will take the ball on Opening Day.
Not since Edinson Volquez took the mound for the first start of the season in 2012 and 2013 have the Padres had a starting pitcher make back-to-back Opening Day starts. Jake Peavy, Randy Jones, and Eric Show are all tied for the franchise lead with four career Opening Day starts.
The number 90 is a fairly significant number in MLB history. Only one player has ever worn the number 90 in a Major League Baseball regular season game. That man was former San Diego Padres rookie reliever Adam Cimber.
Cimber was originally a 13th-round draft selection of the Padres back in 2013, finally reaching the major leagues on March 29th, Opening Day 2018. Cimber took the loss in his pro debut, giving up one earned run on three hits in the 12th inning against the Milwaukee Brewers. The San Diego Padres dropped their opening game, 2-1.
During his brief tenure with the Padres, Cimber appeared in 42 games, going 3-5 with a 3.17 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. Armed with a unique delivery and one of the lowest release points ever seen in baseball, Cimber struck out more than 26% of hitters he faced and pitched better than what his 3.17 ERA told, pitching to a 2.33 FIP. He walked just 5% of hitters and gave up two home runs in 48 innings.
All of that changed after he was packaged with Brand Hand in a deal with the Cleveland Indians. The relief duo was combined to bring in top catching prospect Francisco Mejia from Cleveland, in what may turn out to be a fantastic deal for AJ Preller and the Padres.
Over the course of the rest of his rookie season with the Indians, Cimber appeared in 28 games, going 0-3 with a 4.05 ERA (6.08 FIP) and a 1.65 WHIP in 20 innings. His strikeout rate plummeted from 26% to just 7.6% while his walk rate jumped from 5.6% to 7.6%, an equal mark to his strikeout rate. He gave up three home runs over his final 20 innings and opponents hit .321 against him. Cimber was clearly not the same pitcher he was in San Diego.
The number 90 also holds other significance to the San Diego Padres.
While many of you may read that Opening Day 2019 is only 90 days away and become excited, I’m sorry to bring you back to reality with this next note.
The last time the San Diego Padres recorded a winning record, they won 90 games under former manager Bud Black. That was back in 2010. San Diego was led by three 14-game winners that season, Clayton Richard, Matt Latos, and Jon Garland. The lineup was led by Adrian Gonzalez and his 31 home runs while 35-year-old David Eckstein and 36-year-old Miguel Tejada formed the double play combo up the middle of the infield.
Somehow, the 2010 Padres finished second place in the NL West , finishing two games behind the San Francisco Giants and one game behind the Atlanta Braves for the Wild Card.
Enjoy the weekend, San Diego Padres fans.