Padres fire pitching coach Larry Rothschild as second-half slide continues

The struggling San Diego Padres on Monday announced that veteran pitching coach Larry Rothschild has been dismissed. Ben Fritz will serve as interim pitching coach for the remainder of the 2021 season. 

"Larry has been a tremendous asset for our organization over the last two seasons, and we appreciate the experience, hard work and dedication that he brought to the position," manager Jayce Tingler said of Rothschild in a statement released by the club. "We wish him nothing but the best in the future."

Tingler added that Rothschild's firing was "100 percent" his decision when the manager met with reporters Monday.

Rothschild, 67, was originally named Padres pitching coach in November of 2019. Prior to that, Rothschild served as pitching coach for the Yankees from 2001 to 2019. He was also pitching coach for the Cubs and managed the Rays (then the Devil Rays) for three full seasons and part of a fourth. 

Presently, the Padres this season rank a disappointing 10th in the NL in rotation ERA with a mark of 4.34, and that's despite the pronounced run-suppressing nature of Petco Park. As well, the Padres rank next-to-last in the NL in quality start percentage and last in innings per start. In Rothschild's defense, that rotation has also been hit hard by injuries this season. 

Trade acquisition Blake Snell has struggled in his first season in San Diego, posting a 4.82 ERA (79 ERA+) in 23 starts. Yu Darvish has not been able to pitch to his 2020 levels, either, in his first season with the team. Darvish has a 3.70 ERA (102 ERA+) in 23 outings. Right-hander Chris Paddack has been ineffective when healthy and Dinelson Lamet has appeared in just 11 games.

The move comes as the Padres have lost four or their last five and nine of their last 11 in what should've been a soft stretch of schedule (eight of those 11 games came against the Marlins, Diamondbacks, and Rockies). More broadly, the Padres are 15-18 in the second half and recently fell out of playoff position for the first time since June. 

As for Fritz, he's served as the Padres' bullpen coach since prior to the 2020 season.