A Tale of Two Seasons
If I told you the Padres season was halfway over, you’d probably think I’m terrible at math. I can assure you that isn’t the case, but I will say that the first part of the Padres season is at the halfway point. Let me explain… Baseball’s trade deadline is July 31st, the ultimate “are you in or are you out of the race” statement. Simple concept… If you are in the race at the midway point in July, then August and September baseball will have relevance to your fandom. If you are out of the race, then most owners will try and cut losses (fire sale), trading established players for prospects and making the marketing people really earn their money the next two months.
A baseball season is really set up in stages, and as the season moves along, teams are eliminated, white flags are raised until we have a champion. The major difference is that the first stage isn’t decorated. The first 100 games determine if you’re still in the hunt or you’re trying to “finish strong” to build momentum for the next season. I realize we can throw out a bunch of cliches about how it’s not over until it’s over, but sometimes it really is over.
After game 51, the Padres are 24-27. They have clinched a losing month for the seventh time over the last eight. In spite of that the Padres are in the race, although if they don’t start making up ground quickly that won’t be the case. First the good news: Last season two play-in (wild card) teams were under .500 on June 1st (KC, PIT) with a record of 26-30. Hopefully that makes you all warm and fuzzy. Some not so good news…
- Over the last three years only two of the WC teams have been sub .500. You guessed it, KC and PIT
- Since 2012, 51% of the teams with a record above .500 on June 1st have made the playoffs
- Since 2012, 15% of the team with a record below .500 on Just 1st have made the playoffs.
- Since 2012, 5% of the teams with a record below .500 on June 1st have made the playoffs as a Wild Card
- Over the last three years it’s taken a minimum of 88,90, and 88 wins to make the playoffs.
- The Padres need to go 64-47 (.577) the rest of the way to hit that 88 win number.
- Padres are currently 14-21 against teams with a winning record.
- Over the last 36 games the Padres are 14-22, a .389 winning percentage.
In spite of those facts, the Padres are at the tail end of a nasty stretch against the best teams in baseball and have a much more reasonable schedule in June. A few good teams (NYM, LAD, SF), average teams (ATL, AZ (2x), SEA) and a few bad teams (CIN, OAK (2x)). Mix in the return of Upton, Morrow, Myers, and Alonso within the next two weeks, and you should be able to stabilize the defense and the lineup (okay, maybe not stabilize the lineup, but you know what I’m saying here).
(Edit)Currently the Padres sit in 4th place in the NL West, only one game ahead of the last place Rockies. It is worth noting that the Friars are “only” 3.5 games behind the Mets for the second Wild Card spot, but that is very, very misleading. The Padres are… 1/2 game back of the DBacks, 1 GB of the Braves, 3GB of the Pirates, and the Cubs… And once they pass all those teams, they still have to catch the Mets.
The “it’s still early” excuse is now gone. The Padres season essentially comes down to the next 30-45 days. The ownership has given thumbs up for a club record $108MM payroll and this extremely talented team is only one game better than last years club. I’m sure all of us were expecting to be over .500 heading into June, including the front office. All the concerns we had going into the season are real… SS is a huge issue, OF defense is a mess, the inconsistency with the lineup still haunts us daily as the team has been shutout eight times this season, and eventually Derek Norris is going break into pieces right before our eyes. I can keep going, but I won’t. I will say this…
I’m calling on the Padres Brass to have more urgency. All offseason fans were told a fast start was paramount, it hasn’t happened. Something needs to happen quickly because the status quo isn’t cutting it. I don’t think some accountability is too much to ask.