Last night was the 2021 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, so it’s the perfect time to indulge in some sports frivolity and check in with the San Diego Padres at the half-way point of the baseball season.
Well, the Friars are off to a “decent” start. Their 53-40 (.570) record puts them ahead of 22 of the other 29 teams in MLB, BUT with the surprising 57-32 San Francisco Giants and 56-35 World Champion L.A. Dodgers sharing the NL West, the Padres’ playoff hopes are definitely not secure.
The Padres’ infield of Eric Hosmer (1B), Jake Cronenworth (2B), Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS) and Manny Machado (3B) continues as arguably one of the overall best in the entire MLB. Victor Caratini (C) does a decent job behind the plate. The outfield of Tommy Pham (LF), Trent Grisham (CF), and Wil Meyers (RF) is better than average, but there’s not much depth. Subs Jurickson Profar’s and Ha-Seong Kim’s bats have been anemic. The Padres rank in the top 6 in the NL in AVG, OBP, SLG, and OPS. Padres’ pitching is #3 in the NL with a team ERA of 3.41, trailing only behind, you guessed it, the Dodgers (3.14) and Giants (3.26). But the three-month team ERA stat is deceptive. Padres pitching has definitely gone soft the last 30 days (4.58 team ERA). Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove have anchored the starting rotation. Free agent pickup ace, Blake Snell, has been disappointing (4.99 ERA) and former team ace, Dinelson Lamet, continues to battle injuries. Once-promising Chris Paddack (5.38 ERA) can’t find his way out of his two-year funk. When the season started, there was a question on who the Padres’ closer would be, but Mark Melancon has answered the call and then some with an MLB-leading 27 saves at the break.
The Padres led all of MLB with a very impressive 34-19 (.642) record at the May 29th mark, but have been playing mediocre, 19-21 (.475) baseball since then. The Friars’ pitching staff will need to right the ship for the team to have any chance of overtaking the Giants and Dodgers.
- The Padres were the only MLB franchise without a no-hitter in team history, until Joe Musgrove no-noed the Texas Rangers on April 9th.
- The Padres are a big draw at Petco Park and on the road with baseball’s most exciting young star in Fernando Tatis Jr. At the break, “El Niño” is #1 in the NL home run derby with 28 dingers and #1 in stolen bases with 20.
- The rapid development of 2nd baseman, Jake Cronenworth, is noteworthy.
- Tatis, Cronenworth, and Machado (late addition) were selected as 2021 All-Stars along with pitching staff ace, Yu Darvish, and closer Mark Melancon. The last year the Padres had five All-Stars was 1992.