Padres' bullpen 'not hitting on all cylinders'

Padres' bullpen 'not hitting on all cylinders'

SAN DIEGO -- If there has been one staple, one measure of certainty, in Bud Black's first eight seasons managing the Padres, it's that his team has had one of the best bullpens in the big leagues.

That may well end up the case again in 2015, though this group has a rut to get out of after 21 games.

Padres relievers combined to allow six runs in the final three innings of Monday night's 9-4 loss to the Astros, which featured the latest less-than-favorable performance from the bullpen.

Carter's RBI double

The bullpen has a 4.04 ERA, which ranks 20th in the Majors. Consider that in Black's first eight seasons (2007-14), the team had the second-best bullpen ERA (3.33) behind the Braves (3.29).

"We need to get on a little bit of a bullpen roll," Black said.

That didn't happen Monday night, as Brandon Maurer, Joaquin Benoit and rookie Cory Mazzoni, in his Major League debut, combined to allow six runs on four hits, including two home runs.

Benoit took the loss, allowing three runs on two hits and two walks. He didn't retire a batter.

Rasmus' two-run homer

"They're making some mistakes, leaving the ball up in the zone, out over the middle of the plate," said Padres catcher Derek Norris. "We've just got to execute some pitches better in some situations."

Black pointed to the small sample-size of games and believes the bullpen will pitch better moving forward.

"They'll come around. They're not pitching like they're going to pitch," he said. "When you see their numbers at the end of the year, they'll be there. When you see their numbers now as a group, there are two or three guys not hitting on all cylinders."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.