Testing the San Diego Padres’ resilience

Credit: Padres

Padres
Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

On June 27, the San Diego Padres had their first day off after playing 18 games in 17 days. Only five other teams in MLB have played 75 games since the season began. The team’s lone offensive star, Manny Machado, has been out of action since June 19th when he sprained his ankle in an awkward spill at first base. Fernando Tatis Jr. has yet to make an appearance thanks to his broken wrist. Short-handed and worn out, the Padres still won four of seven games on the home stand.

At the beginning of the marathon, the Padres were two games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers; at the end, the team remained two games out in the National League West –Dodgers 45-26, Padres 45-30.

It’s a bit of a miracle that the Padres remain in second place in the division despite the absence of Tatis Jr (who has a career .292 average, 81 home runs, 195 RBI) and the loss of Machado.

Manager Bob Melvin has been forced to fill out anemic lineup cards, like the following on June 23 in a 6-2 loss to the third-place Philadelphia Phillies:

Grisham CF .191
Nola C .239
Profar LF .251
Alfaro DH .288
Hosmer 1B .282
Kim SS .231
Azocar RF .258
Abrams 2B .174
Alcantara 3B .161

Finally, the Padres got a well-earned off-day before traveling to Arizona to play the Diamondbacks, where they split a two-game series. In the first game, the Padres led the D-Backs 6-0 in the fifth inning but grasped defeat from the jaws of victory in a 7-6 loss. In the second game, Mike Clevinger lasted six innings for the first time since 2020, and he and Nick Martinez shut out the Diamondbacks. The Padres offense produced nine hits, including three for Jake Cronenworth (who has been inconsistent at the plate) and two for C.J. Abrams (who has been overwhelmed by big-league pitching).

From the desert, the Padres traveled to Los Angeles for a four-game series. In the best-case scenario, Machado will be cleared to pinch-hit or act as the designated hitter. Joe Musgrove (8-1, 2.12 ERA, 82 strikeouts) will face Mitch White (1-1, 4.25 ERA, 30 strikeouts).

Speaking of Machado’s progress, manager Bob Melvin said, “I don’t know how he does it. You actually look at the discoloration. The swelling is down, but it doesn’t look like it feels too good. But I don’t think anything with him at this point surprises you.”

Credit: Padres

With the exception of Machado (.328/.400/.545/.945), the Padres’ hitters have generally scuffled. The team’s batting average ranks 15th in baseball at .242, 23rd at slugging at .380, and 18th in OPS at .698. However, in team run differential, the Padres rank fifth at +63 but way behind the first-place New York Yankees at +149 and second-place Dodgers at +125.

The Padres have also missed the presence of manager Bob Melvin earlier in the season. In the 18 years prior to landing in San Diego, he had missed a total of three games. But this season, he’s missed 20 due to prostate problems leading to surgery and COVID-19 protocols.

Dodgers have been rivals since 1969, and in 858 games, the Dodgers have dominated with a record of 464-393. This will be the first meeting of the two teams since the Dodgers took two of three games in Petco Park early in the season. The venue–Dodger Stadium–has not been a happy place for the Padres.

The Dodgers sport a record of 46-28, 20-12 at home, the Padres 46-28, 25-15 away. It’s a matchup favoring Los Angeles with a wRC+ 114 to San Diego’s 100; home runs 92-64, stollen bases 52-25, ERA 3.01 to 3.48. Aside from Machado, no Padre comes close to the Dodgers’ Trea Turner .309/.356/.849 and Freddie Freeman .308/.391/.888.


Fortunately, the baseball games don’t play out on paper, and the 2022 Padres have scraped and clawed to stay in second place in the division and fifth place in the MLB Power Rankings, while the Dodgers kept their place in third behind the New York Yankees and Mets.

So far this year, the Padres have bucked the odds and shown surprising resilience in the face of one setback after another. But now, they face their most serious challenge of the year up the freeway.

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Diane Calkins
Baseball has been a part of Diane's life since her father played professionally (mostly at the minor league level). She has written for a number of publications and concentrated on companion animal welfare. She welcomes the opportunity to write about the sport she loves. Diane shares her home with her husband and a house full of rescued animals.
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Tony C
Tony C
1 month ago

While AJ has gotten some decent results from his trades he has also overpaid considerably at times. He’s also not been a top tier evaluator of his own talent. How many ex-padres are playing elsewhere right now who could benefit us? He is responsible for this mediocre team AGAIN. How much longer are we going to put up with his inability to field a well rounded team? The immaturity of Tatis is quite evident by last years tantrums and his inability to adhere to his contract and stay off of motorcycles. While that is not AJ’s doing, I cannot believe… Read more »

Diane Calkins
Diane Calkins
1 month ago
Reply to  Tony C

Hi Tony, Aside from a few of your points, it’s hard to disagree with your overall view of the Padres. The series against the Dodgers revealed the team’s weaknesses. I think Kim is very valuable, because of his defense and ability to cover both short and third really well. Myers has been treated badly since Preller decided to sign Eric Hosmer. One of the biggest questions will be answered when Tatis Jr. returns. Can he be a team player or is everything about him? Also, can he stay healthy? I was surprised when the Padres extended Preller through 2026 and… Read more »

TannedTom
TannedTom
1 month ago
Reply to  Tony C

Wow, you’d think this team was in the cellar, but a check of the standings show otherwise. And both Kim and Voit are valuable players. Let’s see what the trading season brings.

Random Dude
Random Dude
1 month ago

Perhaps their “resilience” is being tested, but I would not say they have passed the test. In fact, they have failed. Yes, they have a good record, but that does not mean this is a good team (just look at last years’ team, and their first half record vs overall record). Their starting pitching is phenomenal, but the rest stinks. Fragile Tatis is not going to solve this problem, and he will go on the IL a few more times this year. Preller making trades will likely make things worse, both now and especially in the future (see last years… Read more »

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