The big news of the offseason came very early on and unfortunately it was bad news. The promising looking 2012 season by young catcher Yasmani Grandal was tarnished by a 50 game suspension due to the use of performance enhancing drugs. Later he was linked to a list of client names that turned up in a criminal investigation of a clinic that sold PEDs to athletes. On top of that, pitcher Andrew Cashner lacerated a tendon in his thumb while dressing meat during a hunting trip. However, in happier news none of the shine was taken off of Chase Headley's 2012 season and the offseason just reaffirmed how shiny it was with multiple awards and recognition. The Padres third baseman was an NL MVP finalist, a Gold Glove Award winner and a Silver Slugger. Another big news item was that manager Bud Black had the two option years in his contract for 2014 and 2015 picked up. The rest of the news can be summarized in these transactions:
Padres sent 6 players to the World Baseball Classic. Chris Denorfia played for Italy. Luke Gregerson played for the USA. Jesus Merchan played for Spain. Mark Hardy played for Canada. Corey Adamson played for Australia. And Edinson Volquez pitched 3 games for the Champion Dominican Replublic.
The Padres began the season on April 1, 2013 against the New York Mets. Cody Ransom was the opening day 3B since Chase Headley, Logan Forsythe and James Darnell were all on the disabled list. The starting rotation was announced as Edinson Volquez, Clayton Richard, Eric Stults, Jason Marquis and newcomer Tyson Ross. Anthony Bass and Andrew Cashner would be the team's long relievers, Huston Street the closer, Luke Gregerson and Dale Thayer the set up men and Brad Brach and Joe Thatcher rounded out the bullpen. Chris Denorfia, Cameron Maybin, Carlos Quentin, Yonder Alonso, Jedd Gyorko, Everth Cabrera, Nick Hundley and the aforementioned Cody Ransom and Edinson Volquez got the starting nods for the opener. Mark Kotsay, Will Venable, Alexi Amarista, Jesus Guzman and John Baker would be the reserve bats on the bench. Jedd Gyorko's start was notable as it would be his major league debut. The first home grown Padres prospect to make an Opening Day debut since Josh Barfield in 2006.
Volquez struggled mightily at Citi Field and the Padres lost a game dubbed as the Worst Opener Ever. Jedd Gyorko did manage to get his first major league hit. The Padres would go on to lose the second game when Clayton Richard served up a couple of long balls and young Mets hurler Matt Harvey dominated the Friars. The Padres salvaged the series by winning the final game behind a great pitching performance by Eric Stults and some good at bats by Jedd Gyorko including his first RBI. However, the opening road trip continued to Colorado where the Padres were pretty easily swept.
The Padres finally returned home to San Diego where most of the players and coaches hadn't been since Spring Training started. They would face the rival Los Angeles Dodgers in a series that would be memorable for more than just the Home Opener. That opener went off without a hitch. It was a gorgeous day in San Diego, Clayton Richard made the start and pitched well and the bats came alive as both Will Venable and Nick Hundley homered to spark the team to a 9-3 victory. The second game was a mostly uneventful contest, but the Padres made it close at the end but ultimately lost. Due to some fancy maneuverings by Bud Black the team was a little short on players towards the end and had to make Yonder Alonso start the 9th at second base. He was then shifted to third base for strategic reasons later that inning before returning to second base before the inning was over. So, the series was all tied up when the most interesting game of the three (and perhaps all season) was about to occur.
In the third game of the home opening series, the Dodgers would send their new pitcher, former Cy Young Award winner and owner of a 6 year, $147 million contract, Zack Greinke to the hill. The Padres countered with Jason Marquis, but no one will remember that. Another side storyline to the game is that Adrian Gonzalez hit his first ever home run against the Padres. That opened the scoring and put the Padres behind 2-0 early. The Padres would scrape together a run in the 4th to make it 2-1 by the time the main action started in the bottom of the 6th. It was that inning where Carlos Quentin would be the leadoff batter, facing an old nemesis from their A.L. Central days in Zack Greinke. Quentin had homered a few times off of Greinke and Greinke had plunked Quentin a couple of times. The two were not on friendly terms, but most watching the game did not know that at the time. With the count full, Greinke came inside perhaps hoping to jam Quentin or perhaps trying to send a message. Carlos Quentin got hit with that pitch to which he took exception. Greinke was then seen saying some angry words in response to Quentin's initial reaction, which prompted the Padres slugger to charge the mound. The pitcher was bull rushed, both went down and benches cleared. When the dust initially settled, Quentin was obviously ejected and Greinke was hurt and left the game. A couple of the Dodgers players were still furious, especially about their high profile pitcher's injury, and started another dust up. Jerry Hairston, Jr. was ejected for inciting this second bench clearing and Matt Kemp was visibly upset and had to be restrained on the field. He would later have to be restrained in the hallway that leads to the Padres locker room as he tried to continue the kerfuffle after the game had ended and his team had won 3-2. Zack Greinke suffered a broken collarbone and would be out for close to 2 months. Carlos Quentin was suspended for 8 games. Jerry Hairston, Jr. served a one game suspension. Surprisingly, Matt Kemp went unpunished for his behavior despite it being possibly the most troublesome of the night.
The Colorado Rockies would come to town next and once again sweep the Padres. The Friars would then head to Los Angeles for a rematch with the Dodgers. The rematch would prove to be the first sign of life in this team after it stumbled out of the game to a 2-10 start. The Padres would sweep the Dodgers sparked by a 3 run home run by pitcher Eric Stults to start the scoring in game 1. Jason Marquis pitching performance was the highlight of game 2. Chase Headley made his return from the disable list and to celebrate that the team put up 7 runs to complete the sweep. The Padres did suffer a casualty in that game when Tyson Ross hurt his non throwing shoulder and needed to go the DL.
The sweep in L.A. didn't generate any momentum as the Padres were swept by the Giants in San Francisco and dropped a home series to the Brewers. Clayton Richard had to be scratched from the opening game against the Giants with an illness that would plague him over future starts and eventually land him on the DL in early May. Andrew Cashner would fill in for the scratched start in San Francisco and stay in the rotation for injured Tyson Ross. However, better times were on the way after that. The Giants came to town for a rematch and the Padres pulled off their own sweep. A 4 game road trip to Chicago to play the Cubs that straddled the end of April and the start of May gave the Padres two more wins.
April ended on the high note where the Padres won 5 of the months final 6 games. The high times would continue through the first week. After Chicago, which by the way is where rookie Jedd Gyorko hit his first home run, the Padres returned home wherehey took a weekend series with the Diamondbacks. They then rolled that into a 3 game sweep of the Marlins where they outscored the fish 15-2.
On May 10, the Padres would start their first interleague games of the season. This almost marked a stretch where the Padres would play 5 straight series against teams with winning records. Interleague play would take the Friars to Tampa to play the Rays. Despite previous success on road trips there, the Padres dropped all 3 games including heartbreaker where Huston Street blew his first save of the season by giving up a 2 run walkoff home run to Evan Longoria. That game also featured the debut of rookie Burch Smith filling in for DLed Clayton Richard where a horrific 2nd inning put the Padres behind early and forced him from the game. A two game trip to Baltimore would prove more fruitful as the Padres beat the Orioles with a comeback victory in the first game or rode some hot bats to victory in the second game.
The team would return home to face San Diego's wayward son Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals. Stephen Strasburg easily handled the Padres in game 1 and despite a 9th inning comeback the Padres were defeated in the second game when Huston Street gave up a home run to former NL West foe Chad Tracy. However, the Padres would rally in the final two games and split the 4 game series.
The following series' with St. Louis and at Arizona would result in a 2-4 skid. That was quickly followed the Vedder Cup series with the Mariners. A two game series in Seattle, followed by two games in San Diego. The first game was a loss suffered at the hands of Aaron Harang who allowed 0 runs against the Padres for the third time since leaving the team after 2011. This however was his first complete game shutout. This was also Clayton Richard's first game after going on the DL and it was not a good one for him. The second game in Seattle went the Padres way when Edinson Volquez pitched one of his random gems and Alexi Amarista and Jedd Gyorko supplied some power to help the team to a 6-1 victory. When the series returned to San Diego another two game split was in order. The Padres took the first in a 10 inning affair relying on Eric Stults' 8 inning, 1 ER, 12 strikeout effort. The Mariners triumphed in the finale winning 7-1. Yasmani Grandal returned from suspension in the 2nd game in Seattle. The walkoff win in San Diego also featured the first collateral damage Powerade bath for Fox Sports San Diego on field reporter Kelly Crull.
The Padres would finish off the month with a 17 inning marathon victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. Jesus Guzman hit the walkoff single and the bullpen went 11 2/3 innings without a single run. Clayton Richard actually came out of the bullpen to pitch the final two. The Kelly Crull drenchings continued.
The final score for the first game of June would be the same as the last game of May. 4-3, but it did not take 17 innings. Youngin' Robbie Erlin would get his first win in that one. The final game against the Blue Jays unfortunately would be a 4-7 loss in 11 innings, but it did have a weird moment as Edinson Volquez went yard off of starter Ramon Ortiz. Ortiz would later suffer an arm injury that had him in tears as it likely means the end of his journeyman career.
Next up the Padres would rekindle their fiery season series against the Dodgers in L.A. The Dodgers still had Carlos Quentin on the brain going into the 3 game tilt. However, no batters were plunked by either side in the series, and game 2 Carlos Quentin was allowed to go 3 for 5 with a home run. The Padres would lose games one and two and salvage game three.
After the series in Los Angeles the Padres would need to fly to Denver to play the Rockies. They also planned to activate Cameron Maybin from the DL, so they announced that Kyle Blanks would be demoted to AAA. Blanks didn't even get on the plane to Denver. However, it later became clear that Yonder Alonso would require a DL stint due to a broken hand, Blanks' demotion to AAA was rescinded. An odd series of events.
The first game of the series in Colorado was also the first day of the 2014 MLB draft. The Padres selected OF Hunter Renfroe with their 1st round pick, #13 overall. They would go on to select SS Dustin Peterson and OF Jordan Paroubeck with their next two picks. The Padres would beat the Rockies in 12 innings. The Friars would also prevail in the 3rd game of the series, but the second<refPadres Comeback Couldn't Prevent A Walk-Off Loss></ref> and fourth were both lost in disappointing walkoff fashion. In that final game, Cameron Maybin would collide with the outfield wall. As a result he would again return to the DL after only being activated a few days prior. This time it would be a knee injury that require surgery and cause him to miss the remainder of the season.
The Padres would then return home and have their best homestand of the season. It would start by sweeping the Braves and hearing duck calls for Andrew Cashner in the series opener. They would then go on to sweep the division rival Arizona Diamondbacks in three games as well. This 6 game winning streak also pushed the Padres over .500 for the first time in the season at 35-34. The first of the victories against Diamondbacks on route to the sweep was seen by a collection of Padres from the 1998 NL Championship team and with the home club wearing some sweet throwback duds from that season.
An unfortunate casualty at the end of the homestand was Everth Cabrera who would spend the next couple of weeks on the DL with a hamstring injury. His replacement would be timely acquisition Pedro Ciriaco who the Red Sox had traded to the Padres just prior to the series with the Diamondbacks.
The next game was arguably the high point of the season and would take place in San Francisco. The Padres took an early 1-0 lead only to see the Giants go up 3-1 in the 4th. Runs in the 6th and 7th by the Padres would knot up the game and it would go to extra innings. The Padres put on baserunners in the 10th, 11th and 12th, but failed to score. The Giants would get an extra inning baserunner in the bottom of the 12th when Brandon Belt singled to start the inning. Reliever Nick Vincent would retire the next two batters before giving up a deep fly ball to Juan Perez. The ball was over Will Venable's head, but he didn't give up. Sprinting he dove fully outstretched with numbers facing the infield. The inning came to an end with the Padres still alive as the Padres' rangy centerfielder squeezed his glove around the ball with the warning track dirt kicking up around him. The Padres were still alive. Inspired by the effort they would score 2 runs the next inning and Huston Street shut the door on the 2012 Champs. The win streak was up to 7 and the Padres were in 3rd place in the NL West.
Unfortunately, the problem with a high point is that you have to go down from there. The Padres would lose the next two in San Francisco. The Giants got their feathers ruffled in the second game when Jesus Guzman hit a go ahead home run and celebrated his success against his former team a little too much. Madison Bumgarner would buzz the tower on Jesus Guzman in the finale and cause the benches to clear. Jesus Guzman would take it in stride by hitting another go ahead home run later in the game. But as mentioned, those games both ended up being losses.
A home series against the Dodgers came next and started promising with two Padres victories leading into a showdown with the now healthy Zach Greinke. That second victory also came at a price as Clayton Richard had to leave the game early. He wouldn't pitch again for the Padres. In the Greinke game, the Padres would get shut down by the former Cy Young award winner and the confrontation was mild compared to previous standards. It was also the Padres' first home loss since June 2 (20 days prior) so that stung. They would go on to lose the finale as well when Huston Street took the loss after entering a 1-1 game that had featured an outstanding outing by Andrew Cashner.
The Phillies would follow up the duel with the Dodgers coming into Petco Park for 3 games. Again, the series started off on a high note. Kyle Blanks proved himself to be a beast of a batter that game going 4 for 5 and getting the walkoff run by scoring on a wild pitch. The next two games went badly as the Padres lost both and dropped below .500 for this first time since June 12.
The Friars would fly to Florida to face the Marlins next. Another promising series start was had when the Padres triumphed 9-2 in the opener. They were back at .500. But, alas it would be for the last time. Two losses in Miami would cap off the month of June with more defeats to follow.
The Padres would lose the first 8 games of July. One in Miami, 3 in Boston, 3 in Washington and 1 at home to the Rockies. Not even Everth Cabrera's return on July 5 in Washington could help the Padres avoid this serious skid. In fact, to add injury to insult the Padres lost Yasmani Grandal for the season when a collision at home plate resulted in a serious knee injury. After the 10th loss in a row, it was announced that Team President and CEO Tom Garkinfel had resigned, however the time of announcement was reportedly unrelated to the losing streak.
Even after getting their first victory of the month on July 9, they would lose 4 more as the Rockies took a series and the Giants came to town to bring more punishment. Fans would try to take some solace in the feel good story of Sean O'Sullivan getting called up to pitch for his hometown Padres and Jedd Gyorko and Yonder Alonso's returns from the DL, but joy was hard to be had for the Friar Faithful. The Padres lost 4-2 in the opening game against Giants and then got beat badly 10-1, but that was only the appetizer before the main course of humiliation. On July 13, 2013 Tim Lincecum no hit the [San Diego Padres]]. It was the 8th time in franchise history that the Padres failed to get a hit in a game. It was the second time the Giants were on the other end against the Padres with the previous being Jonathan Sanchez' 2009 performance, which was also the last time the Padres were no-hit. The Padres would go on to salvage the finale by winning 10-1.
The Padres would start their post-All Star break run by losing to the Cardinals in St. Louis. Jason Marquis would start that game against his former club, but it would be his last for the Padres. His UCL had been badly damaged and would require Tommy John surgery. In the second game, the Padres would finally get their first road win of the month. The Padres would split the next two in St. Louis, then take two of three in both Milwaukee and Arizona and then also win two of three at home against the Reds to conclude July.
With the end of July comes the trading deadline. The Padres' record stood at 50-58 with the deadline looming so many assumed they would be sellers. Chase Headley's name was on peoples' lips since his free agency was 15 months away and contract extension talks did not seem forthcoming. However, GM Josh Byrnes surprised everyone by acquiring a veteran starting pitcher. He snagged Ian Kennedy from Kevin Towers and the Arizona Diamondbacks giving up P Joe Thatcher, relief pitching prospect Matt Stites and a tradeable draft pick. This marked the second time that Byrnes had traded for Ian Kennedy in his career as a GM and the second time Kevin Towers had traded for Joe Thatcher in his. The trade was rated 100% fresh.
The month of August would kick off with the most anticipated series of the season. The Yankees came to Petco Park for the first time ever. Also Mariano Rivera, the man who passed Trevor Hoffman's all time career saves record, was on a farewell tour and the Padres had to give him a gift. Their customary gift of a surfboard was stolen by the Oakland A's, but the Padres had an ace up their sleeve since former teammate and San Diego native and resident David Wells had an idea. Beach cruiser bicycles for the whole Rivera family presented by Trevor Hoffman. With the festivities out of the way, the Padres went to work taking two of three from the Yankees with former Yankee Ian Kennedy winning his Padres debut in the rubber game against the team who gave him his major league debut.
The day after the Yankees series the news came out that Everth Cabrera had indeed been suspended for the final 50 games of the season. 11 other players were suspended due to their connections with the Miami-based Biogenesis Clinic that supplied players with banned performance enhancing drugs. Padres minor leaguer Fautino De Los Santos was one of those other 11 players. The Cabrera suspension would leave the Padres a bit shorthanded at SS. Alexi Amarista and Logan Forsythe were stretched at the position making recent signee Ronny Cedeño the only natural SS on the roster. Former fill in Pedro Ciriaco had been waived earlier in the season (and claimed by the Royals) to make room for players returning from injury. Everth Cabrera did give what seemed to be a sincere apology and explanation shortly after the suspension announcement came out.
On the field, the Padres would go back into a slump. They would lose two at Petco Park to the Orioles, then go on the road to lose two out three to the Reds and two out of three to the Rockies in Colorado. Back at home after that they would split a four game series with the Mets and lose two out of three to the Pirates. They would get a slight reprieve by taking two of three from the lowly Cubs, but would then go back to the road and lose 5 of their next 6 to the rival Diamondbacks and Dodgers including a sweep in L.A.
During this swoon, one of the things that became obvious was that Opening Day starter and free-agent-to-be Edinson Volquez' ineffectiveness was reaching a tipping point. He needed to be removed from the rotation. The Padres would remove him from the entire team before the month was done. The Padres also had to finally give up on Carlos Quentin, who had already missed the entire month of August, returning from injury this season. In late August it was announced that he would need surgery and would not return until 2014.
Not everything was bad in the month of August. Will Venable had an amazing month. His batting average for the month was .367 and he slugged .697 including 8 HRs and 3 triples. And, of course, played great defense. Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross had also settled into the rotation alongside newcomer Ian Kennedy and workhorse Eric Stults. Cashner put up a 2.25 ERA and a 1.175 WHIP for the month in 6 starts. Ross added a 3.34 ERA and 1.113 WHIP in 5 starts. Should those superb performance continue along with the removal of Edinson Volquez a successful September was on the horizon.
The Padres would start the final month of the regular season by winning 6 of their first 8 games. 5 of those 6 wins would come against the divisional rival Giants and Rockies. They would also announce a new contract for the surging Will Venable that bought out his final arbitration years. A deal that looked like a pretty good bargain  and was rated 93% fresh. Another 2013 standout, Chris Denorfia was also honored during that time. He received a MLBPAA Heart & Hustle award.
Taking to the road, the Padres would face three non division opponents in the Phillies, Braves and Pirates. They would lose 2 of 3 in Philadelphia, but then only drop 1 game each in Atlanta and Pittsburgh over a 7 game stretch. During that time they would also called up AA slugger Tommy Medica who carried over his hot hitting to the majors. The former catcher turned first baseman (due to injury) would hit .290/.380/.449 after his call up. He got at least 1 hit in each his first 5 games, including 2 HRs in that span. In his first 10 games he had at least 1 hit or 1 walk. His debut game was memorable because he hit a HR in it off of former Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee. In his second game he got a double and a single off of another Cy Young Award winner in Roy Halladay.
The Padres would come home from the road to face the Dodgers and former teammate Edinson Volquez. Rookie Robbie Erlin would help the club to a 2-0 shutout victory. This continued a trend of some fantastic pitching performances in September. Andrew Cashner started off August with a solid outing in Philly and then followed it up with one of the best pitching performances in Padres history. A single hit in Pittsburgh by Jose Tabata separated him from a perfect game against the Pirates on September 16. Tabata would would be retired in an inning ending double play allowing Cashner to face only the minimum 27 batters that day. The day before, in Atlanta, rookie Burch Smith struck out 10 over 7 innings and held the Braves hitless for the first 5. Tyson Ross had kicked the month off with a 7 innings of shut out baseball against the Dodgers striking out 10 and had many solid performances over his final 5 starts. Because of need to limit Andrew Cashner's innings he only made one more start after the one in Pittsburgh. It was in L.A. and he pitched 7 innings allowing only a single unearned run.
After Robbie Erlin's outing against L.A., the Padres would drop the next two. However, they'd finish the final homestand by taking 3 of 4 from the Diamondbacks including a 12-2 beatdown in the penultimate game and a walkoff victory in the final home tilt. 29 year old rookie catcher Chris Robinson hit a homerun for his first major league hit in the game where the Padres routed the Diamondbacks. He was the fourth Padres catcher to do that since 2011 (Luis Martinez, Eddy Rodriguez and Yasmani Grandal were the others). Non-catchers Tommy Medica and Jaff Decker also did the same earlier in the 2013 season. In the final home game Alexi Amarista got the walkoff hit despite a 1 for 43 slump and Mark Kotsay was honored as this would be his final home game having announced earlier in the month that he would be retiring.