Halfway through the Major League Baseball season, how are the San Diego Padres doing?

A whole lot better than they were at this time in 2023, that's for sure

Saturday's 6-4 win over the Brewers at Petco Park was the Padres' 81st game of the season, the mathematical halfway point of the season. At 41-40 they're sitting on the right side of .500, if only by the slimmest of margins. When you take into account all the things that have been thrown at this club it's probably safe to say San Diego has to be happy with where they sit at the midway point.

At this same time in 2023 they were 37-44 so the record alone is a whole lot more palatable. After Game 81 I asked manager Mike Shildt to provide his "State of the Padres Address," a fairly sweeping topic he said he'd like to take a little more time to consider ... but the bottom line is things are going pretty darn well.

"I'm very pleased overall. I'm extremely pleased," says Shildt. "You know, we'd always like it to be better. If you think about this being a fairly new group, me being new to the manager's role, a newer staff, turnover on the roster, a lot of guys looking to break into the big leagues or establish themselves as an everyday big leaguer, coupled with a bunch of guys that clearly are established big leaguers. And then to be able to get that group together and get a group that is going to prepare and compete consistently, that's not a small thing to have happen. And this has happened quickly and we're seeing we've seen the rewards from it really from early in the season."

That is one of the big points at play here. While every team looks different every year the Padres revamped 60% of their starting pitching rotation and most of their bullpen. Then they added rookie Jackson Merrill to the Opening Day roster as a centerfielder even though he'd been a shortstop since birth, traded for new leadoff hitter Luis Arraez about six weeks into the season, moved Silver Slugger-winning shortstop Xander Bogaerts to 2nd base, and gave journeyman Jurickson Profar the starting left field job.

Most of those moves have worked out better than anyone could have imagined.

Merrill is a revelation, not only at the plate where he leads all Major League rookies with 10 home runs, but in the outfield, which he was adjusted to with seemingly zero learning curve. Arraez has kept hitting like the 2-time batting champion he is. And Profar has turned in the season of his life, so good that he leads all National League outfielders in All-Star votes even though he's never played in the Midsummer Classic.

New starters Michael King and Dylan Cease have been up and down but shown flashes of complete dominance while Robert Suarez has become one of the best closers in baseball. Yes, there have been plenty of bumps in the road. But in the grand scheme of things it could be A LOT worse and the skipper thinks it's only going to get better.

"There's one thing that I talk about fairly frequently is, you know, being better as the game series in the season goes. And we do that and we can appreciate where we're at," says Shildt.

The other thing that suggests the Padres are going to keep trending up is the health of the roster. San Diego has been hit hard by that pesky injury bug.

"We've also had to navigate (injuries), like most people in the league. So, I'm not making an excuse, but the reality is we've had some real key players not be available for us," says Shildt.

Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove have been on the Injured List twice. Bogaerts is there now. Manny Machado has been hampered all season by elbow and hip issues. Profar is dealing with a sore knee. Right when it looks like Fernando Tatis Jr. is about to take off on a hot streak he suffers a quad injury or a triceps contusion. All of those guys are All-Stars. The hope is they all come back healthy and this club hits yet another gear.

But, even if they don't the guys on the roster have shown an ability to find ways to stay in the playoff hunt. It doesn't show up in any box scores but the San Diego Padres are very likely among the league leaders in resilience.

"We've scratched and clawed and figured out a way to compete. And I just like the way we continue to get together and improve what we're doing in all areas. It's been really positive overall."

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