Two weeks ago I wrote about the Padres in the midst of 31 games in 31 days and having fourteen games left until a day off. They finally have the day to rest, recuperate and get ready for the nineteen games remaining before the all-star break. I had hoped the Pads could go 9-5 or maybe even 10-4 for these last two weeks. They ended up at 8-6. When considering they played seven of those games without Manny Machado, they really didn’t do too bad. But they sit two back of the dodgers with a huge four game series against them this week. Getting Manny Machado back on Tuesday could be perfect timing. Getting news that Fernando Tatis Jr. is cleared to do more than mimic swinging a bat would be a nice way to brighten up an off day.
At the end of this week the Padres will be at the halfway point of their season. Currently fifteen games over .500 they are on pace to win at least 90 games. Depending on which projection model you prefer, they are forecasted to win between 90 and 94 games. I follow Fangraphs, Baseball Reference and FiveThirtyEight but most others systems have them in this range. All projections have them behind the dodgers at the end of the season, but that is a post for another time. The takeaway for me is outsiders believe in this team going forward. A 94 win team contends for the title in the National League West.
What is odd to me is how little confidence there seems to be among The Padres faithful. Sure last season burned many of us. Why get your hopes up for a team cursed by Nick Canepa? Apparently all San Diego sports franchises are. Who knew Nick was such a shithead? How can one man be so evil that he can bring an entire city’s sporting landscape to be a barren wasteland? Lots of people want to contract the Supreme Court, but I say a true hero will step up and contract the Union Tribune’s sports columnist department. We might not ever have a downtown parade until a pudgy old Portuguese curmudgeon is laid to rest. Where is the hero among us?
Silly curses aside, I strongly believe this is the best team in the National League. It has the best starting pitching, a talented bullpen that will only get better with the return of a few injured players, and a solid bench. The bench will only get stronger with Tatis and Machado back. And the six man rotation will keep the starters fresh for the second half drive. The key to this competitive team has been and will be the steady hand of Bob Melvin. There is little doubt in my mind this clubhouse will not sour and the team will not tank in the second half. Having an experienced manager at the helm will only help to ensure this. It’s been a key missing component of all of AJ Preller built teams, and he finally found the right man(-ager) for the job.
Here’s to hoping the Padres enjoy this off day to its fullest. They have a big week ahead and follow it up with two more big weeks before the all-star break. They need to hang with their non-rivals form LA. They need to get healthy and in the right state of mind for the second half grind. I’m ready for the month of June to be over, maybe not as much as Eric Hosmer, (65 wRC+, lol) but I am excited to see what is in store for this club in July. I’m expecting big things for the Padres. Let’s get this off day over and get into the second half.