With the downward spiral the Los Angeles Dodgers are currently in, they have left the door wide open for the San Diego Padres to win the National League Western Division. The Padres currently sit 6.5 games out of first place and have won seven out of their last 10 games. The Padres team is playing well right now there is no doubt about that, but is it too late for them to make a run?
The answer is…. No it’s not too late, but there are some key factors that definitely stand in their way. The 6.5 game advantage the Dodgers have on the Padres is not that bad, but the problem is the San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks are both presently in between the Dodgers and Padres in the standings. It is no easy task to make up six and a half games, but to do it while leapfrogging two other teams is challenging to say the least.
Padres management has been in limbo all season long as the team has played just below .500 baseball for about three and a half months. Right when the Padres season looks to be over, the team goes on a run and gets back into the race. A maddening theme that has plagued the team all season long. Frequently a four to six game winning streak is followed by a four to six game losing streak. If they plan on getting back into it, there cannot be any more losing streaks. The team cannot afford to lose multiple games in a season that has them with their back against the wall. With Matt Kemp swinging the bat much better now, that doesn’t seem likely.
Diehard fans still believe in this team now. The fight has been there all season long. The problem is the Padres have lacked consistency. 16 times the team has been shut out by an opposing pitcher. That is just ridiculous. The offense need to take some accountability for that and make adjustments. If it means hitting and running or bunting more, then so be it. The team cannot continue to be dominated by opponents starting pitchers. Even Justin Upton, the teams lone All-Star has struggled to be consistent the whole season long.
So can this team get back into it? Yes, they can most certainly. With seven games left against the Dodgers and six games left against the Giants, the team has the opportunity to control its own destiny. It is going to take a lot of good luck to get the job done. However this Padres team has been snake bitten all season long. The Padres have continued to have bad breaks and horrible luck, so there are certainly due for a change of fortune. With a pitching staff that includes James Shields, Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner, a winning streak seems completely feasible.
The return on Wil Myers from the disabled list might provide the team with a little offensive boost. He is reportedly going through baseball activities and is very close to returning. A September first call up when the rosters expand seems likely for Myers. With Yonder Alonso anchored at first base and Travis Jankowski and Melvin Upton Jr. splitting time in center, where will he play? Manager Pat Murphy has his work cut out for him, but still a very good problem to have. Definitely better than having no talent on the roster.
This Padres team has nothing typical all season long. They have beat up on teams like the St. Louis Cardinals, only to be swept by the Philadelphia Phillies. The inconsistencies have diminished of recent, but the team needs to step it up if they want to make a run. Something tells me that the last three games in Los Angeles against the Dodgers will be a huge series. The Padres are currently playing the game on house money. Nobody thought they could get back into it. You have to take that type of attitude into every game and give it your all. After doing that, who knows what can happen. It is going to be an exciting last month of the season.