Baseball

Padres Division Hopes Fading

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The formula for success seems to be alluding the San Diego Padres as their streaky playing style continues to drop them further down the pecking order. With two full months of seasonal play left before playoffs, it’s time for them to kick it into high gear and sprint towards the finish line.

The Slippery Slope Gets Steeper

After the All-Star break, Head Coach Jayce Tingler and Co. were able to grab two wins right off the bat (see what I did there?) that gave hope towards their divisional push. Unfortunately, their little spark was soon doused by their inability to compile ample hits along with the bullpen’s failure to secure wins in close games. They are now 7-8 since those two wins and sit 7 1/2 games out of first place in the NL West, their worst standing in the division this year.

The Padres also lost Fernando Tatis Jr. to the 10-day IL with subluxation to the shoulder after he slid into third base in a game against the Colorado Rockies on July 30. This same injury gave him a delayed start to the 2021 season but upon his return, Tatis began putting up MVP numbers to the surprise of many. His absence will mark the third instance this season where he will be missing time due to subluxation of the shoulder.

The good news? The Padres are currently projected to make the playoffs in the Wild Card spot but will have to face the Dodgers or the Giants to move any further. Being 13 games over .500 bodes well for them but with their lack of success lately, their lead over the Cincinnati Reds in the Wild Card standings shrunk to 2 1/2 games. In the covid-ridden 2020 season, the Reds lost to the Atlanta Braves and failed to advance but have faced better times late in the 2021 campaign.

Shortstop duties will likely be given to Ha-Seong Kim who started there on Friday night and might be there for a few more weeks. Talks have surfaced of bringing Jake Cornenworth over to shortstop while newly acquired Adam Frazier would most likely assume the role of second base. Either choice would still allow San Diego to sport a strong infield which isn’t always the case for teams who lose their star players.

Time Is On Their Side

Looking at past injuries this season, the Padres have still been able to manage and churn out winning records which show the fight left in them. Tingler seems optimistic that Tatis’ injury is nothing substantial to worry about and that surgery is off the table for now. Odds are that he will have offseason surgery or some type of rehab to repair the muscle and keep him healthy for the longevity of the 2022 season.

Similar to golf, baseball seasons can see some teams playing horribly in the first half but the back half could witness them hitting their stride and suddenly making the playoffs. The Padres don’t have too much to be concerned with as long as they are able to keep pace with the Dodgers and fend off the Reds when possible. With a good back half push, the Friars could be surprised where they end up come season’s end.

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Main image credit Embed from Getty Images

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