We made it. The calendar turned to September. It’s playoff drive time. The Padres are in a fight for the final wildcard spot. They have 25 games remaining. And after a week in which they went 4-2, they are half a game up on the Reds for the play-in game. As a Padres fan, this is all we can dream, meaningful games in September.
The Padres have a difficult schedule to overcome, and the Reds would seem to have an easy one. But the Tigers just took two of three from them this weekend, while the Padres won two of three themselves from the Astros. I don’t view the schedule as a hindrance to the Padres playoffs. In fact, I view it as the tool sharpening schedule going into the playoffs. The Padres need to be playing their best baseball come October. Playing winning ball against the Astros, Braves, Giants and dodgers is a great way to prepare for the playoffs.
The starting pitching is now fully staffed, though it is possible Yu Darvish is still hurting. At least Blake Snell and Joe Musgrove are themselves. And Chris Paddack is back and a perfectly cromulent 4th starter. Jake Arrieta’s spot could go to Mackenzie Gore. Gore has made four starts since being shelved earlier this summer. He has thrown 21-1/3 innings and given up six runs, no homers and struck out 27. The spot will most likely remain Arrieta’s, but one can dream.
The offense seems to have found new life as well. Eric Hosmer is now worth 0.0 fWAR! It’s been a long haul, but he finally made it to replacement level. Let’s hope they limit his opportunity for failure so he can finish the season at zero or a little better. Manny and Fernando came out of their mini-slumps this week. Wil Myers stayed hot. Jake Cronenworth has been ice-cold, but the Sunday walk-off dong means all is forgotten.
With pitchers back and the hitters coming around, can this team actually put themselves in the playoffs? They’ll need Tatis and Machado to stay hot. They’ll need Trent Grisham to set the table. They’ll need Wil Myers to continue his MVP of August campaign well into this month. Blake Snell needs to keep shoving. The shark needs to keep closing it out.
All of this means the Padres are playing fairly well over the last week, and it is crunch time for the final playoff spot. Meaningful games in September has been an elusive reality for Padres teams for so long that we should appreciate this race. Flawed as they might be, they are still in the thick of this and I plan to enjoy every bit of it. This is my ride or die team. And we ain’t dead yet.