“Possibilities in a Pennant Race”
Just wondering, asking, thinking, rooting.
A month to go in the baseball season. Some 24-games to go in the Padres season.
And a potential upset in the making?
The Padres won the ‘Trading Deadline Day’, with those 6-transactions.
And now the final month of the season is upon us, as teams sprint to the finish line, hoping to get a playoff spot.
For the Padres, with a rebuilt roster, comes the question.
They are hot, can they keep this hitting streak going?
They are hot, will Mike Clevinger’s pitching put them over the top to grab a playoff spot?
They have rebuilt the bullpen, is it enough?
The answers to all three seem to be in the affirmative.
If they don’t win the division, it is important for the Friars to finish in 2nd place. That means they would be seeded 4th at the end of the year, with the divisional winners seeded 1-2-3 come postseason time.
Getting the 4th seed means all three games in the opening round of the playoffs, would be at Petco Park, against a lower ranked team from somewhere in the National League.
That is important.
Here’s a better question for you.
The Dodgers may have the best record in the National League right now, but they have a starting pitching rotation that is not what it used to be.
Yes Clatyon Kershaw, with 200,000-miles on that left arm, is the leader..
Walker Beuhler is number two in the rotation, though he has battled blister issues.
Do you really trust the young Juliu Urias as your number three starter?
Dustin May has forged his way into the rotation, learning on the job and is solid.
Can Tony Gonsolin, a minor leaguer, really be a trustworthy fourth starter?
Is that enough for the pressures of postseason play?
The wildcard in all things Dodgers right now is the rumor that veteran lefthander David Price, who opted out in spring training because of the virus, is discussing attempting to opt-in and rejoin the Dodgers.
If Price returns, LA is unbeatable.
On paper, compare the Padres rotation right now.
Mike Clevinger..Chris Paddack…Dinelson Lamet…Garrett Richards…Zach Davies.
Power pitching for sure. Clevinger has pitched in the post-season. Nothing scares Paddack. Lamet quietly shows quality as a lead pitcher. Richards and Davies are true veterans, who have been 16-game winners..
Add in the fact the Padres batting order looks stronger right now than the Dodgers. Yes LA has Mookie Betts, but Cody Bellinger has been stuck in a season long slump, Joc Pederson hits a few homers but does not hit for average. Max Muncy this year is not what he was last year. Justin Turner is banged up. Cory Seager, if healthy, is dangerous, but has been nicked up. There seems no real bench threats.
Compare where the Dodgers are right now in that batting order, to Tatis-Machado-Hosmer-Myers-Grisham. San Diego looks as if it can hold its own in the lineup card war.
The Friars look stronger in the starting rotation, if David Price elects to stay at home rather than get back on the mound.
Maybe over the next 24-games, the Padres can make a run, not just to the playoffs, but
to finish first.
Maybe the Dodgers should be the ones concerned about losing home field advantage, not finishing first, and facing San Diego here at Petco Park in the postseason.
Lots of possibilities in this pennant race over the next month.