San Diego Padres Hitters: Help Dustin Moseley Out

Andrew LongworthCorrespondent IApril 15, 2011

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 3: Starter Dustin Moseley #26 of the San Diego Padres pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on April 3, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Dustin Moseley has had an illustrious career, to say the least.

Following five mediocre years in the bigs that included 32 starts and 12 wins, along with numerous commutes to the minors and the bullpen, this journeyman can finally apply his trade in a smaller and less demanding market—albeit in a bigger ballpark.

The elite teams from Anaheim and the Bronx having all but given up on him, Moseley needed a fresh start in the worst way.

Moseley turned 29 following the 2010 season, a do-or-die age in most major sports, but none more so than in Major League Baseball as a pitcher.

Three starts into the season, Moseley is sporting a 1.83 ERA, three quality starts and even a .250 batting average—unheard of on a team also known as the Rubberband Militia. His ERA ranks ahead of heavyweights Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cy Young winners like Tim Lincecum and Felix Hernandez.

Signed as an afterthought, or as a possible No. 4 or 5 starter, Moseley so far has been a perfect three-for-three.

Three losses, that is.

The difference, of course, is clear: whereas Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt are backed by the Philly Howitzers, Moseley is supported by the San Diego Popguns, a unit that has scored a whopping 23 runs in their last 10 games. This is a batting order that would find it difficult to hit a pinata even without a blindfold.

Dustin Moseley's total run support during his three starts: zero. Nada.

The offense never showed up. Probably went to the beach. Maybe it thought the government, including MLB, had shut down. Perhaps the prospect of facing intimidating HOF candidates like Bud Norris, Jaime Garcia and Hiroki Kuroda hoisted the white flags more quickly than the Iraq Republican Guard.

Not surprisingly, Moseley is diplomatic about it.

Moseley hinted that the season is still long, that eventually the guys could start scoring 10 a game for him.

We will never know how many patrons at sports bars throughout the county coughed up their sandwiches upon hearing this, but you will at least have to give Moseley credit for having a sense of humor.

Moseley's confidence in his teammates aside, before the Padres score 10 runs a game for their newest addition to the rotation, you will probably find 10 Russian nuclear submarines in Mission Bay.

It is also not so much that the Padres hitters have failed so miserably, but how. 

The runner on third base with less than two outs is already pitching his tent and calling for razors from the dugout. In many instances, when merely a flyball or a groundball will suffice to drive in a run, Padres hitters strike out. Can you spell contact?

To put it more bluntly, this is like a paratrooper looking out of the plane, finding nothing but wide open desert but still managing somehow to hit the only tree within thousands of square miles. Like a magnet, splat. And again splat. Worse yet, the tree appears to be spearing the paratrooper with its lone remaining brittle branch.

Left fielder Ryan Ludwick, for instance, is sitting somewhere in an abandoned warehouse, tied up and gagged, grunting and sweating under his blindfold while his doppelganger, probably a clerk or a banker from B Street, is setting new records for offensive futility. And that's just the cherry on the sundae. With a .209 team batting average, there seem to be plenty of scrubs that have (not) pitched in.

The Padres offense resembles the runaway bus in "Speed" in its present form. It's hard to ignore the timidity that is so palpable in the air. It's like the hitters are afraid that the moment the run column's customary zero on the scoreboard changes to any other digit, several circuits are activated until joined together, a culmination that will eventually see the San Diego dugout blown to confetti.

It's not hard rooting for a guy like Moseley, a guy who worked his way back from hip surgery as a non-roster invitee to the New York Yankees spring training in 2010.

Non-tendered after the season, Moseley signed a free-agent contract with the Padres, well aware that they possibly represented his last shot at making it in the bigs.

For his stellar performances, Moseley now deserves nothing less than the Padres' best shot at making this work.

It never hurts to hope.