Padres Season on the Brink

By Keith Antigiovanni

After a stormy weekend in San Diego the stormy season for the San Diego Padres continues with the club sitting at 61-67 overall, 6 games back of the final National League (NL) Wild Card spot and 17 games out of first place. The Padres start a six-game road trip today with three games at Milwaukee to take on the NL Central leader Brewers this weekend followed by three games at St Louis next week before returning home for a seven game homestand against Wild Card contenders San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies.

The Padres struggles this season can be attributed to two obviously disappointing statistics thus far in 2023, first the mediocre home record (35-33) coupled with a poor road record (26-34) and a entire starting lineup hitting below .300. Ha Seong Kim leads the team with a .280 average, the rest of the lineup is struggling. Fernando Tatis Jr. leads the club in homeruns with 20 but is hitting only .261, $25 million dollar free agent shortstop Xander Bogaerts’ average is .263, Juan Soto, the big trade acquisition from 2022, is only hitting .259, another high-priced free agent Manny Machado is hitting .250 after he signed a $350 million dollar, 11 year contract in the offseason, Jake Cronenworth (.229) and catcher Gary Sanchez (.211).

The lack of hitting has caused a lack of run support despite the Padres leading the NL in runs allowed (514), one less than the Majors record leading Atlanta Braves (82-44). 

The inconsistency is no surprise given the track record the past four seasons. After 9 consecutive years below .500 the Padres qualified for the postseason in the Covid-shortened 60 game season (37-23), won in the First Round of the playoffs before they were eliminated by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Second Round. In 2021 the expectations were high but the Padres stumbled down the stretch to miss the playoffs at (79-83). The result was the firing of Manager Jayce Tingler and the hiring of experienced Bob Melvin. Melvin helped the club bounce back last season with a 89-73 record, a First Round Series win over the New York Mets and then bounced the Dodgers in the Second Round in six games before they were eliminated by the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League Championship Series.

However the 2023 season appears to be a replay of 2021 and even though the Padres will not be officially eliminated from the playoffs on this road trip with only 34 games left in the regular season the prospects of a return to the postseason becomes less likely.

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