NBC 7's Derek Togerson explains why he thinks we should still expect good things from the Padres in 2015 in this commentary
The Padres host the Mets for a 3-game series starting Monday night at Petco Park. New York comes in with a 28-23 record, putting them just a half game behind the Nationals in the NL East. If it seems like the Padres have played nothing but really good clubs in 2015 … well, that’s not too far from the truth.
Through the first two months of the Major League Baseball season the Padres are 25-27, in third place, 5.5 games behind the first-place Dodgers. Not at all where most of us were expecting the team team would be on June 1, given the complete overhaul General Manager A.J. Preller made over the off-season.
However, when you look at the teams they’ve played maybe that record is not so bad after all:
Dodgers (29-20) = 9 games (3-6)
Giants (30-22) = 7 games (4-3)
Diamondbacks (23-26) = 7 games (4-3)
Rockies (22-26) = 7 games (5-2)
Cubs (26-22) = 6 games (3-3)
Astros (31-20) = 3 games (0-3)
Mariners (24-26) = 2 games (1-1)
Nationals (28-22) = 4 games (1-3)
Angels (27-24) = 3 games (2-1)
Pirates (26-24) = 4 games (2-2)
Not a bad list. Of the 10 teams the Friars have played, only three hit June with a losing record. The Padres are 10-6 in those games. Granted, that leaves them 15-21 against the kinds of teams they’re in playoff contention against, but those teams that are in playoff contention have had a chance to beat up on the likes of the Brewers, Phillies and Marlins.
It’s not going to get a whole lot easier before the All-Star break, either. Only 15 of the Friars’ next 38 games are against teams that currently have losing records. Their final 10 heading in to the break are diabolical; four games in St. Louis against the Cardinals (best record in baseball), three in Pittsburgh and three in Texas against the Rangers.
Now, once the All-Stag game is over, things get a lot easier. To start the second half of the season the Padres play just six of their first 32 games against teams with winning records and three of those are at home against the Giants, a team the Padres tend to handle well at Petco Park (as long as Tim Lincecum is not pitching).
So, if the Padres can just avoid not falling completely apart before the break and stay in contention they could have a big second-half run in them. Traditionally under manager Bud Black the Padres have been dramatically better down the stretch than they are early in the season.
The Friars have had a losing record in the second half only twice in eight years under Buddy. His 287-282 record post-All-Star break is a shade better than his 355-425 mark pre-All-Star break. When you take in to account the dramatically easier schedule and Black’s propensity for late-season improvement, the Padres are still very much in the thick of the playoff hunt.
Plus, as Buddy himself said after Sunday night’s 7-1 win over the Pirates, odds are his offense is only going to get better (watch the video to hear the explanation).