The 2022 San Diego Padres show a lot of similarities to the 2021 Atlanta Braves.
Ahead of the 2021 MLB season, not many predicted that the Braves would go on to win the World Series. When Opening Day came around last year, Atlanta contained an elite roster that was capable of competing for the title. However, because of teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, Houston Astros, and the Tampa Bay Rays, the Braves started the season in the shadows.
As the season went on, things started to get pretty bad for the Braves. They started the year going (0-4) and after 12 games were (4-8). Freddie Freeman was in a contract year, and fans knew his status for his future in Atlanta was up in the air. A few months later, they go on another four-game losing streak and would lose six of seven games in that stretch. There was no question that the fans were upset at what could potentially go down that season.
On July 10, right before the Midseason Classic, Ronald Acuna Jr. tore his ACL in the game against the Miami Marlins. After that tragic injury, many wrote the Braves off. They finished the first half of 2021 with a (44-45) record. It’s very rare to see a team make the playoffs with a losing record before the All-Star break.
Everybody thought that the season was over except for the Braves and the front office. Atlanta would pull off a plethora of moves to acquire major league talent to try and compete for a title. They acquired outfielders Joe Pederson, Jorge Solar, Eddie Rosario, and Adam Duvall. They would also get right-handed closer Richard Rodriguez from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Braves transformed their entire roster, and it looked completely different from the roster on Opening Day. Remember, on Sept. 7, they lost Marcell Ozuna to a suspension after his domestic violence dispute.
Those trade deadline moves lit a fuse that would spark all the way until October. Atlanta started winning and won nine straight during the middle of August. They would go on to win the World Series after taking down the Milwaukee Brewers, Dodgers, and then the Astros to take home the crown.
The reason I mention all that above is because the 2022 Padres show some similarities as the postseason approaches.
It happened before this season, but the team lost Fernando Tatis Jr. to the first half of the season because of a broken wrist that happened during the offseason. Months later, the star shortstop tested positive for PEDs and his 2022 season was over before it even started. Similar to the Braves, the Padres knew that they would have to compete without one of the best players on the planet.
This years Padres team started off the season playing very well, despite not having Tatis Jr. in the lineup. By the end of the first half, the Padres started two decline, however, and would see a handful of 3-game losing streaks. The Friars ended the first half (52-42).
The next few weeks changed the franchise completely. A.J. Preller pulled the trigger on the biggest blockbuster trade in MLB history by acquiring Juan Soto and Josh Bell from the Washington Nationals. This happened after he already traded for Josh Hader and Brandon Drury. Similar to the Braves, the Padres had a completely different roster compared to Opening Day.
One thing the Friars have yet to do is go on a winning streak like the Braves did at the end last season. The Padres are (24-22) in their last 48 games compared to the Braves, who went (44-28) in the second half. That doesn’t mean the end, though.
With just three series remaining in the regular season, the Padres currently are three games ahead of the Brewers and 1.5 games ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies. They have a great chance to make the postseason in this year’s new format. If so, the Padres will be playing either the Braves, New York Mets, or the St. Louis Cardinals (who the Padres just took 2/3 from at Petco Park last week).
It would be very interesting to see this Padres team face the defending World Series champions in the Wild Card round. Both teams contain a ton of talent, and there is not many better feelings than eliminating the team that won it all the year before.
It’s been a rollercoaster of a season for the Padres this year, but the ride isn’t coming to an end just yet. Stay positive and watch this team make a run like the Braves did last year, just months after all lost hope.