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Padres licking their wounds going into the All Star Break 

AG_all_starPadres licking their wounds going into the All Star Break

As the Padres finish up a 2-4 road trip to put a cap on the unofficial first half of the season, this team is deserving of some well needed rest.  Finishing the first half with an impressive 51-37 record is good enough for first place in the National League West and the second best record in the NL.

The Padres are on pace to win 94 games this season, while if they simply play .500 baseball the rest of the way, the team will finish at 88-74.  As a surprise to most people around the country, even the Vegas odds makers has this team at 72 wins.  I felt this team was better than that, so much so that I had predicted this team would win 85 games.

I think the questions that fans have are legitimate

  1. Can this team play .500 ball the rest of the way?
  • As Ben Higgins pointed out on AM 1360 today, the Padres have the weakest strength of schedule in the NL West.  With 35 games at home and 39 on the road, plus weak opponents, I believe the Padres can definitely play .500 ball the rest of the way.
  1. Is the bullpen burnt out?
  • Possibly, with the exception of Mujica and Bell none of the other guys in the bullpen have had to put in this type of work load.  Adams has been injured each of the last two seasons,  Luke Gregerson and Greg Burke were both burnt out last season and had to spend time on the DL.  As I wrote about last month, the Padres need a bat.  A big reason for that was to protect the bullpen from being overused.  Too late!  I do not expect the pen to implode, but it is unrealistic to expect the same numbers in the second half.
  1. What will happen with Mat Latos?
  • Options:
    • Send him to Portland to have him short start games, but this allows him to stay sharp?
    • Continue to allow him to start and move him into the pen in September?
    • Have Latos skip starts in hopes of spreading his innings out?

All of these options could happen.  By placing Latos on the DL, the Padres are buying time and allowing themselves the option of bringing up another arm in the pen.  Moving him to the pen the way the Rays used David Price could also be an option.  It