The 2021 San Diego Padres Simply Aren’t Playoff Built Yet
The initial hype was almost deafening. The baseball world assumed the San Diego Padres would win it all, and then some. The talent was thought to be insurmountable, and the rest of the division and the league would be squandered.
The first three months of 2021 proved to be the case for this talented ballclub. Fernando Tatis Jr took the universe by storm. In the first half, he slashed .286/.364/.656 with 28 home runs. The shortstop was flashy and brilliant at the plate. A great supporting cast included second baseman Jake Cronenworth and third baseman Manny Machado. It seemed that nothing would get in their way.
Yet things always seem to do so. A dislocated shoulder is proving difficult for Tatis to overcome. He hasn’t played a game since July 31, when he reaggravated it. Many believe he should undergo shoulder surgery, and focus on next year, yet San Diego is pushing for him to play…outfield?
Another problem with the Padres is their starting pitching. What was once perhaps the best season start of Yu Darvish’s career has taken a nosedive. In the first half, he was one of the best, executing a 3.09 earned run average and a 7-3 record with a 1.000 WHIP. The second half has been a different story so far. He’s 0-4 with a 6.15 ERA.
It’s not just Darvish either. In the offseason last year, the Pads signed Blake Snell hoping to boost their pitching staff. Unfortunately, it has not worked out at all in 2021. The lefty is 6-4 with a 4.80 ERA and an abysmal 1.559 WHIP.
One big factor in their inability to perform is the fact that they are in a nasty division. The Padres are having a solid year so far, but the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers are both having considerably better seasons.
There just isn’t much San Diego can do. The Giants are handily in the first place as of August 14th with the best record in the Majors. The Dodgers have the second-best record in the NL and are surprisingly five games back. The Cincinnati Reds are even creeping up to the second wild-card spot in which San Diego currently holds.
For the next month and a half too, the Padres have the number one toughest schedule in baseball. With 44 games left as of August 14th, the Padres play the first-place Giants 10 times, the Dodgers nine times, and also the first-place Astros for three.
This is not to say they aren’t a great team. Unfortunately, a lot of factors just aren’t working in their favor. Hopefully, the season doesn’t end like this, breaking thousands of San Diegan hearts. There’s still plenty of baseball left to be played.
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