In just a few short weeks, it has become harder to be optimistic about the San Diego Padres, who immediately became a baseball player after acquiring Juan Soto along with Josh Bell, Josh Hader and Brandon Drury coolest team. trade deadline. Since those moves, there has been bad news on and off the field. The immediate downside to the team was Hader’s performance, as the former lights-out relief pitcher had a 19.06 ERA in eight appearances so far with the Padres. But more frustrating and more impactful in the long run was Fernando Tatis Jr.’s 80-game suspension on Aug. 12. Tatis has been sidelined all year with a wrist injury, but his hopes of returning at the end of the season have added fuel to the Padres’ fire, convincing them that no matter how good they are, they’ll be better in the playoffs.
If the current Padres get the job done, these serious setbacks can go unnoticed at least in the short term, but at best they’ll be halfhearted to pass. The Padres are just 13-13 since their first game on the lineup with Soto on Aug. 3. The cool non-Soto bats added by the Padres also dropped significantly compared to what they did against the old team, despite Hader’s bigger drop, as Drury’s OPS dropped from Cincy’s 0.855 to San Diego’s 0.628 while Bell was in Washington. ‘s score is 0.877, compared to just 0.612 so far on his new team. (Soto’s strength also dipped in the pitcher-friendly home park, but not to the same extent.) While the Brewers were worse than that, keeping San Diego’s now 2.5-game lead in the finals Advantage wild card slot, .500 baseball, no real chance to improve the roster, which is not what anyone imagined after the inaugural victory of the new-look Padres.
But over the past few days, San Diego’s break has come and gone, which brought a three-game winning streak against the Giants. In a Monday night game that included a lengthy blackout delay, Bell and Drury stepped up to help build a lead, but narrowly survived an eighth-inning struggle from relief pitcher Robert Suarez. Blake Snell set the tone with six innings on Tuesday, the Padres capitalized on some of the Giants’ turnovers, and the bullpen again narrowly won 4-3. Wednesday saw the Padres go 5-0 thanks in large part to some big blows from Manny Machado, even though the Giants were in Joe Musgrove and subsequent backup Adrian Morejon was all out, but Harder pitched for the first time since the Kansas crash and City ended the game Sunday tied for second.
This is progress! But there’s still plenty of room for improvement, and there’s not a lot of time to fix the Padres’ many problems. Machado’s bat has been doing wonders, like all year, with the likes of Trent Grisham and Jake Cronenworth below him, and you can imagine they’re going to be hot for a series, but even with add-ons ( Or maybe it’s because of them, in the non-Sotto case) that this offense doesn’t measure how well the Cardinals, Dodgers and Warriors end the season. The pitchers are better, but it’s worrying that they don’t seem to be able to duel the Mets or even the all-around Phillies in a playoff series despite the plethora of mature talent on the payroll. The biggest red flag, if you don’t believe in luck, is that the Padres are MLB’s best 26-13 game decided in one game, which is a huge improvement in the rankings that doesn’t come from any clear Baseball – Play to your advantage.
It really sucks that San Diego put in more effort than anyone to show a good team to stretch, and rightfully ended up being the last team in the National League. But still 30 games can, at best — give the Padres some confidence heading into October, or at worst, let their year fall apart completely. Specifically, starting Friday, the Padres will travel to Los Angeles for the first of three series against the Dodgers this year. Baseball’s most championship-winning team has been sizing up other World Series hopefuls all season, and these conferences are no exception. The Padres have won just two of their 10 games against the Dodgers so far this season, including a three-game sweep in early August, which they were defeated 20-4 on aggregate. I’m guessing they could still make the playoffs if they were good all September, but they couldn’t possibly take the real threat of their best players seriously. The Padres had the highest stakes and more losses in the final month of the season. For the future of MLB roster building and adventure, I hope they find their way.