The Padres have gotten off to a rough start this season, stumbling out of the gate to a 1-6 record. A lot of that is because the Padres just really aren’t a great team and the other part is they are smack in the middle of the toughest stretch of their 2018 slate. The first seven games have been against the Milwaukee Brewers and Colorado Rockies, two teams projected to be right in the middle of the playoff picture.
The schedule certainly doesn’t get any easier. Per TeamRankings.com, the Padres actually have the number one overall strength of schedule in the entire league. The Friars are now in Houston, home of the defending World Series champion Astros. They are projected to win 101 games with perhaps the best rotation in baseball, coupled with the defending A.L. MVP, Jose Altuve.
April is a rough month for the Padres. Of the six different opponents they face on the schedule, only the Giants are projected to be below .500, and they are still projected to be 80-82. They play the Rockies in two more series this month, visiting Coors twice in two weeks. Their first series with the Dodgers and Diamondbacks are in two weeks as well. Both of them were playoff teams in 2017.
The Padres play 15 of their next 18 games against teams who made the playoffs in 2017.
The Padres play six games against the World Series participants this month alone, three in Houston and then hosting the Dodgers in mid-April. The combined 2017 record of their April opponents, including the opening series in March against the Brewers, was 535-437 (.550). Take out the last place Giants and that’s 471-339 (.581), but San Francisco is supposed to be much better this season.
This is not to excuse the fact that the Padres have played poorly, as they are in the bottom half of just about every offensive category, fifth in walks by their pitchers, and 27th in starter ERA. This is just to portray the fact that we may be seeing the Padres at their worst right out of the gate and it may get better from here. Here is a look at their opponents’ projected records and winning percentage by month.
(If they play the same team twice in one month, their projected record is only added once)
March/April: 517-455 (.532)
May: 571-563 (.504)
June: 612-684 (.472)
July: 585-549 (.516)
August: 668-628 (.515)
September: 565-569 (.498)
As you can see, this initial month of baseball looks to be the roughest of the season, at least on paper. Granted, these are based on FanGraphs’ projections of each team, and teams rise and fall unexpectedly every year. Still, the Padres have some rough waters to sail through over the next few weeks. There is some light on the horizon–in late May through June they play multiple last-place teams from last season. June is projected to be the weakest schedule of the season, perhaps meaning a bounce-back month after what looks to be a very rough start.
The fun part is the Padres could still steal a game or two from the likes of the Astros, Dodgers, or Diamondbacks in a series. Last season, the Padres inexplicably swept the then-defending World Series champion Cubs in a series. Baseball is a funny sport.
Are the Padres going to be 1-161? I guarantee you they will not. An array of projections have the Padres anywhere from 63-99 to 70-92. Just sit tight, look for development of young players, and enjoy baseball being back. April might be rough, but that is just one-sixth of the season.