San Diego Padres’ Season in Disarray, But it is Salvageable

Jul 27, 2021; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer (30) flips his bat after drawing a walk against the Oakland Athletics during the seventh inning at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 27, 2021; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer (30) flips his bat after drawing a walk against the Oakland Athletics during the seventh inning at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports /

The San Diego Padres looked to be on top of the baseball world coming out of the All-Star break. The team’s offense was on fire by scoring 34 runs in the first two games of the second-half opening series against the Washington Nationals in our Nation’s Capital.

Hopefully, it was a telltale sign that the Padres were poised for a breakout and take control of their own postseason destiny for once and all.

San Diego Padres can still turn season around

Then, the season went into disarray. But as crazy as it might sound, it is salvageable.

The Friars’ struggles have been a combination of a starting rotation failing to provide length on most nights, an inconsistent offense, and failure to dominate struggling teams. All have killed any attempt to gain momentum in the season.

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Still, the Padres have a little over a month to get back on track. However, the NL West title is all but a distant memory. But the second wild-card berth is very much in play. Changes have to be made if the Friars are going to compete with the Cincinnati Reds in a race to October baseball.

Let’s take a closer look at these deficiencies:

Starting Pitching Woes

If the Padres were going to become a legitimate contender, then starting pitching was going to be the main ingredient to their success. Outside of Joe Musgrove, the rotation has failed to shut down opposing batting orders consistently. Granted, Yu Darvish has battled through a variety of injuries (hip inflammation and back tightness) since early July. Give him credit, Darvish never came off the IL with workload limitations. Instead, he grinds through a six or seven-inning performance with no excuses every five days.

The biggest area of concern has been the other three rotation positions all season long. Blake Snell, Chris Paddack and Ryan Weathers all have an ERA over four with Weathers holding the worst at 5.27. Snell has pitched better of late, but the upgrade has not helped the team’s current situation. The Friar Faithful hopes Snell’s dominance is not a brief aberration of an otherwise disappointing season.

And to compound the issue, the Padres have no clue if Dinelson Lamet will return to the roster this season. It has been frustrating waiting for his return as Lamet owns a 3.67 ERA before he went on the IL. Plus, the loss of Adrian Morejon to Tommy John surgery and the disappearance of MacKenzie Gore has contributed to the lack of starting pitching depth within the organization.

Blame has to be placed at the feet of Padres general manager AJ Preller, who failed to acquire another starter before the trade deadline. All the speculation was centered on the Friars trading for Max Scherzer, but the deal fell through in the final hours before the deadline. Still, Preller needed to work the phones to obtain someone to pick up the slack. Preferably, an innings eater who could eliminate the constant flux seen from the back end of the rotation.

Collectively, the starting rotation needs to pick up their play.

Lack of Offensive Production

On the hitting side of the ball, nothing has changed for the Padres. The offense is built around the hitting prowess of three players: Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado and Jake Cronenworth. Each has shown the power and run production that earned them All-Star honors this season.

But after those three players, the remainder of the lineup has lacked consistency at the plate all summer long. Currently, the Padres ranked 10th in runs scored, 13th in hits, 15th in doubles, 12th in triples, 17th in home runs and 14th in team batting average in the majors. It is a run-of-the-mill offensive attack. Unless Tatis Jr., Machado or Cronenworth are hitting at the top of their game, the Friars have trouble driving home runners in scoring position.

When the offense is peaking, the lineup has no problem with putting up crooked numbers on the scoreboard. But the valley with this group of hitters is deep and non-productive. Too many names to single out as it has been frustrating to watch. If the Pads are not blowing out opponents, then they find themselves in tight, low-scoring affairs.

The bats need to get back on track for the stretch run of the season.

Trouble With D-Backs and Rockies

The biggest disappointment has been the failure of the Padres to dominate the poorer teams in the NL West. San Diego is 17-18 combined against the Arizona Diamondbacks (9-7) and the Colorado Rockies (8-11) in 2020. It was the perfect situation to better themselves in the standings. Instead, their poor play fumbled away their hold of the second wild-card position. Frankly, these are two of the worst teams in the majors and the Friars failed to get the job done.

The Padres failed to seize the opportunity at hand. They lacked good pitching and timely hitting in the losses to the D-Backs and Rockies. This occurrence happened all too often in the 35 games played. And it left the Friars with little room for error in the remainder of their season.

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No arguing the 2021 San Diego Padres are a dysfunctional team. Their limitations are quite noticeable to the average baseball fan. But none of that matters when you’re in a chase for a postseason berth.

The Friars need to turn their season around before it is too late.