MLB Second Half Preview 2013: The National League West

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San Diego Padres (42-54)

Jul 13, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera (2) steals third base ahead during the sixth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

It’s time to slap the “sellers” label on the Padres. They finished with an above .500 record in June (15-13). In fact, their overall record was 36-34 on June 17, third place in the NL West.

Since, reality has set in, and they have a 6-20 record, worst in baseball. It doesn’t help that Chase Headley is underachieving after a top five MVP finish in 2012. That’s biting the Padres in the wins column and in the trade market.

San Diego’s efforts to hover around .500 always seemed a bit fluky, both because they weren’t expected to contend and because of their poor starting pitching.

Observe:

April: 5.48 (second-worst in baseball)

May: 4.50 (11th-worst)

June: 3.99 (14th-worst)

July: 5.54 (fifth-worst)

Total: 4.75 (sixth-worst)

The question that should come to mind: how did they finish June with a winning record?

It’s not entirely mind-boggling. Neither their bullpen or starting pitching was above average, but their offense was decent (MLB’s 10th-highest OPS in June), and they were winning the lion’s share of close games.

However, there was no evidence to suggest that the Padres would sustain their success because their pitching was iffy and their offense was overachieving. And they haven’t.

Amid their downfall to the cellar, Everth Cabrera was selected to the NL All-Star team, and he’s 15th in the NL in WAR. Eric Stults and Jason Marquis both sport ERAs south of four, although Marquis’ FIP (Fielding Independent Percentage) of 5.70–FIP measures what a pitcher can control, such as strikeouts, walks and home runs.

When July 31 rolls around, though, Headley, Carlos Quentin, Marquis and Edinson Volquez could all be shipped off to contenders. That would officially cue their demise.