Are the San Diego Padres Toast?

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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Recently, a friend pronounced the home team toast. In the next game, the Padres got the better of the Miami Marlins 6-2. However, that didn’t start a winning streak, as they were shut out 3-0 with Blake Snell on the mound. He pitched well enough to win, but the bats let him down by producing just three hits.

In fact, this entire season, the Padres have managed to overcome a three-run deficit just three times. Overall, the run differential is positive (10th in the Majors at +56.0) but is far behind the top four—the Atlanta Braves (+207.0), Texas Rangers (+181.0), Tampa Bay Rays (+169.0), and the Los Angeles Dodgers (+138,0).  Also, the inability to move the runners in scoring position (22nd place at 3.56) continues to haunt the Padres.

On the road against the Milwaukee Brewers (1st place in their division (70-57),  the Padres won the first game 4-0 with Seth Lugo on the mound. However, Robert Suarez’s sticky-substance ejection and 10-day suspension will weaken the bullpen. No Padre pitcher has been nailed by the foreign substance ban since the league got more serious about the violation in 2021. That will limit the Padres to 12 pitchers on the roster.

From Milwaukee, the Padres will move on to face the struggling St. Louis Cardinals (56-72). But, back at home, the team will be challenged by four winning teams, two in the division—the San Francisco Giants (65-61), Philadelphia Phillies (69-57), Houston Astros (72-55), and Los Angeles Dodgers (the leader of the National League West with a record of 76-48).

Those series will help decide whether the Padres are indeed toast. According to FanGraphs, the Padres still have a 21.3 percent chance of clinching a Wild Card berth. Manny Machado emphasized the team’s position when he proclaimed, “From here on forward, every day is do or die.”

Statistically, the Padres will have to win more than 60 percent of the games left. Although a daunting task, San Diego has a formidable lineup. Leadoff batter Ha-Seong Kim is batting 280/.325/.399.816. He recently hit his first grand slam, and his defense has been otherworldly.

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Kim is followed in the lineup by a very pricey group–Fernando Tatis Jr. 4.6 WAR, Juan Soto 76 RBI, Manny Machado 24 home runs, and Xander Bogaerts 122 hits–the Padres should have the capacity to tackle most rival pitchers. But that pesky task of hitting with batters in scoring position has not been overcome this season. The Padres are ranked 20th at 3.58. Surprisingly, the Dodgers have an even worse record of 3.70.

First, though, the San Diego Padres have to climb out from a 61-67 deficit in a year when they haven’t won four games in a row. But players like designated hitter Matt Carpenter still have faith in the group.

“Until that final out is made in the last game, I’m not gonna not believe in this group. I think at any point, if there’s any club in Major League Baseball that can go on a 15-game winning streak, it’d be this one.”

Although that sounds ludicrous considering the situation, Carpenter has lived a reversal in fortune with the St. Louis Cardinals. In 2021, the Cards won 17 games in a row and finished in first place in the American League West.

“It’s daunting,” manager Bob Melvin has admitted. “But…it’s still doable. But we’re later on in the season. We know we have to win series, we have to win games, we have to put together a streak.”

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