They will play meaningful games in October, the Padres, something they have not done since 2006.
They hope to do something they haven’t done since 1998-win a playoff series.
They have a legitimate chance to win and play deeper into October, not just show up for the Wildcard round, but move to the Divisional playoffs, and who knows, maybe to the NLCS.
PITCHING…..You need starters,you need relievers, you need strength in numbers. And the Padres have developed that. You can pick your lead starter from Mike Clevinger, a former World Series starter with the Indians, or Dinelson Lamet, the strikeout artist, who has dominated in the short season. Unsung hero is Zach Davies, a steady, former 16-game winner in Milwaukee. Waiting in the wings is Chris Paddack, the ex-Angels ace Garrett Richards, and even third year starter Joey Luchessi if need be. The key is that the Padres have starters who can be turned into long relievers in post season, guaranteeing you innings if starters have a shaky start.
RELIEVERS…A select group to choose from when the phone rings in the bullpen. Trevor Rosenthal is hot as the closer right now. Drew Pomeranz now has closer qualities in his portfolio. Lefthander Matt Strahm is trustworthy in a setup role. Craig Stammen has provided similar results from the right side. There is no Kirby Yates because of elbow surgery, but look at the depth. Look around the other teams, you don’t see this kind of strength in numbers.
BATTING ORDER….They are dangerous, because they can all get hot and hit. They get on base, they work at bats deep into the count, they drive in runs, and they hit homers, lots of homers with the bases loaded. A strong bounceback season for Manny Machado, positioning himself as a true MVP candidate. Wil Myers has ended three years of misery with a strong season. Trent Grisham has proven dangerous at the top of the order. Fernando Tatis, despite a late season slump, continues to be dangerous and dynamic. Jake Cronenworth has pushed himself into the ‘Rookie of the Year’ conversation. Eric Hosmer is back healthy. Catcher-Austin Nola has given the team quality work with the glove and is hitting. Add in off the bench bat Greg Garcia’s productivity, and the experience of Mitch Moreland, and this is a good team.
GLOVES….They play the shift exceptionally well. The left side of the infield is spectacular. They chase down balls in the alleys, thanks to the tenacity of Grisham and the speed of Jurickson Profar. This is an under-rated chunk of this success story.
THE OPPOSITION…With the final week upon us, who knows whom the Padres will get to play in the best of three opening round at Petco Park. It might be the Cardinals, plagued by the Covid outbreak and nagging injuries. The Phillies have bats, but an ailing Bryce Harper and JT Realmuto,plus a really thin pitching staff. Somehow Miami, and all those kids, are still in the race, despite being the epicenter of the baseball outbreak at the start of the season. Cincinnati has had injury after injury to its lineup. If healthy, they could get hot and starting hitting. The Giants are still in the chase with a patchwork batting order and a strange starting rotation.
THE SCOUTING REPORT….Regardless of who qualifies for the final 4-playoff spots in the NL race, none of those teams shapes up equal to what the Padres can put on the field, in the batters box, or on the mound. The Padres are positioned to go deep into October. How does a showdown series vs the Dodgers feel? Looks good to me. And you?