The news spread quickly through Petco Park Sunday afternoon during a game between the Chicago White Sox and San Diego Padres.
For this first full season since 2006, the Padres have made the playoffs. The Milwaukee Brewer’s loss to the Miami Marlins, 4-3 in 12 innings, ensured a playoff berth.
In the packed ballpark, former closer Trevor Hoffman acknowledged the fans. A member of the 2006 squad and of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Hoffman knows first-hand how challenging the postseason can be. That year the Padres had a record of 88-74 and faced the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League division series.
The Padres won only one game, and the Cardinals took the series 3-1. The year before, the team had also faced St. Louis and lost 3-0. The roster included Mike Piazza at catcher, Adrian Gonzalez at first, Khalil Greene at short, and Dave Roberts (now the manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers) in left. Hoffman saved 46 games that year with an ERA of 2.14.
In the National League West, the Los Angeles Dodgers (110-49) and the (likely) Atlanta Braves (99-59 each have a bye in the first round.
The number three seed St. Louis Cardinals (92-67) will face the sixth seed (likely) Philadelphia Phillies (86-73), while the fourth seed (likely) New York Mets (98-60) will face the Padres (87-72). Despite a disappointing loss to the Chicago White Sox 2-1, the Padres can relax just a bit.
Starter Blake Snell’s scoreless streak reached 20 innings and lasted into the sixth inning before Elvis Andrus hit a bomb that ended up in the fourth deck of the Western Metal Supply Company. But, the Padres had already been assured a winning season, the first (not counting the Covid-shortened season in 2020) since 2010. Last year, the team got off to a hot start but ended up in third place with a record of 79-83. In 2020 the Padres won the National League Wild Cards Series 2-1 against the Cardinals but were swept by the Dodgers 3-0.
With a playoff berth assured, manager Bob Melvin can rest players and begin to sort out the pitching during the final regular season games.