The Padres have 53 wins at the All Star break. That’s a good number. A good team posts 53 wins at the break. The Padres are playing like a good team. Their pythag is at 54 so they are more real than smoke and mirrors. Can this team win at an even greater clip? The second half schedule appears less daunting than even San Francisco faced in their first half. A good team takes advantage of it’s situation and this team is situated to do some damage in the NL West.
Or, they could collapse in an epic fashion where the boos rain down like a Chris Paddack Wednesday night home start. You almost can’t tell with this team anymore. They are very good, but they are the Padres. I’m not betting against AJ Preller standing pat with the hand he’s assembled. He could quite possibly improve the roster and not break the bank. He might damage the farm, though it’s pretty picked over at the lower levels of the top 30. Actually anyone top four or below are probably all being shopped as we speak.
But have no doubt this is a really good and really fun team. It’s not every team that can slam it’s way back into a Max Scherzer game. The Padres can do it because they are getting on the bases at a good pace. They are a top three NL offense and seventh over all of MLB. They have the likely NL MVP playing at a never before seen level of production at shortstop. Fernando Tatis Junior is playing like a god. A minor god, like Loki, god of mischievous. He’s Tatis, god of lagniappe and he’s hungry. He has whimsical powers of which he’s only shared a few. Like the ability to jump plus a little more. This occurs when he jumps and at some point mid-jump, jumps again higher and for longer than any mere mortal can. It comes in handy in ballet and baseball and fortunately for San Diego he chose our beloved sport.
The pitching has held up fairly well. The grind of the first half taxed the starters but more so the ‘pen. The break comes at a good time for Yu Darvish to rest and relax that hip and lower back. Hopefully Blake Snell can recover fully from his illness too. The staff could use a boost from him rounding back into himself. The bullpen will welcome the break and the number of off days in the second half. They come into the break with the best ERA in MLB. They are getting back Matt Strahm soon, which is nice. But I’m pretty sure Drew Pomeranz’s elbow died. Probably Dinelson Lamet’s too. Maybe they can get a discount or BOGO with Dr. Andrews. Isn’t it weird how when your elbow dies they put a dead guy’s elbow in you to replace it? Hopefully the guys’ donors were into hiking. Maybe some light snow boarding. Jogging. Those elbows are pristine.
The Padres have five at this year’s ASG. I hate how it happened, but I’m glad Manny Machado is there. Five all-stars means MLB sees how good this team is. Sure there are worries, like how it seems they’ll play down to the level of the competition, but typically this team plays better than that. You don’t get to a .580 winning percentage by “always sucking against terrible teams.” I actually think the team is going to be better in the second half. I think they are just getting warmed up.
They are coming out of the break in good standing. I remind myself not to let the doubt creep in. I’m more telling myself all this because I must admit I am a tiny bit concerned with this team. They need to keep hitting and then some, and find some pitching, internally or externally. They are good, I say again. I think I’ve shown that they are and yet I know they need to be great. They just need that little bit more.