Black looking for uptick in Padres' hitting

Black looking for uptick in Padres' hitting

Black looking for uptick in Padres' hitting
SAN DIEGO -- Bud Black isn't one to single anything out.

But when it comes to the first half of the season, there was one thing that frustrated the Padres manager above the rest.

"I think the inconsistency of the situational hitting has been [most frustrating] if I were to break it down even farther," he said. "When we've won games, we've pitched well and the situational hitting has been there, you know, generally speaking. The situational hitting has been something we've talked about."

Black also included the Padres' strikeout total (753 strikeouts, 8.18 per game) -- which leads the Majors this season -- in that category.

But amid all the first-half struggles, the Padres seemed as though they were making a legitimate push in the National League West standings before the All-Star break.

Then, after winning nine of their last 12, they lost their last five games before the All-Star break to division rivals.

"Bats went cold, there's no doubt about it," he said. "I wish I could explain it more than that. And it's happened a couple of times this year, where collectively, [there was] a little bit of a hitting funk."

In fact, it pretty much happened throughout April, when the Padres' team batting average sat at .211, a whole 17 points below the second-worst team average.

Those are areas that Black is looking for improvement in the remainder of the season.

"To get back on track offensively and get back to the play where the total game is in sync where we were two or three weeks ago," Black said about what he wants to see.

Black said the Padres have struggled in different areas at different times, be it team defense, hitting and even pitching on rare occasions.

But from here on out, there's still one area that needs the most improvement.

"We've got to resurrect the bats, hopefully quickly," Black said. "That's what we're looking for."