San Diego sports fans don’t have much to be excited about these days. When the Executive Chairman of the Padres Ron Fowler comes out and calls the teams recent play “pathetic and embarrassing” and overall “miserable failures” it’s hard to hold out hope. Fowler doing his best Ray Kroc impression expressed the sentiment of all Padres fans. It was a breath of fresh air to hear such candor from men at the top. Which led to the Padres are making the wrong kinds of national headlines.
The Padres sitting at 26-38, 12 games out of the National League West and firmly entrenched at the bottom of the NL along the likes of the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds. Like many last place teams, the Padres have been frustrating to watch. One day they’ll deliver spectacular pitching with no offense and the next an offensive explosion with terrible pitching. Not being able to string it all together has cost them dearly this season. The high note of the season was taking 2 out of 3 from the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley. This was during the Cubs hot start where they went 25-6, with the Padres handing the Cubs their first back to back losses all season. The Padres returned to the real world in the coming weeks while the Cubs bounced back to their winning ways. The Padres have also shown an inability to close teams out on the series finale falling to 1-20 after their most current loss to the Rockies. In the year they’re hosting the All Star Game for the first time in decades it would have been a sweet treat for the fans to have fielded a good team. At this point expect only the mandatory one player to represent the team come the All Star game.
Though it is not all doom and gloom there have been some bright spots for the Padres this year as long as some pleasant surprises. A couple which deserve All Star considerations. Wil Myers and Jon Jay are paying dividends both currently hitting .287 with Myers hammering 13 home runs thus far. Look for Jay to be involved in trade talks with Myers a possibility. Though don’t hold your breath on the latter as he’s under team control for a couple more years. Yangervis Solarte has also been a pleasant surprise despite his recent struggles this past week hitting .284 on the season. Melivn Upton Jr’s bloated contract makes him hard to trade though up until his recent struggles last month was hitting around .270 and supplying superior defense patrolling the expansive outfield that is Petco Park. On the pitching side of things Fernando Rodney and Ryan Buchter have been nice surprises though Buchter has struggled as of late. The brightest spot in the rotation has been Drew Pomeranz (5-6 2.44 era) showing signs of brilliance after some rough years in Colorado with the Rockies. No one could have guessed at the start of the season Pomeranz would be leading the pitching staff. While on the subject of the pitching staff, it’s disappointing to see once again this year so many padres pitchers on the disabled list. Tyson Ross, Robbie Erlin, Cesar Vargas and Andrew Cashner joining them this past week. The Padres are enduring one of the worst streaks in recent years of pitchers going on the DL. They must find an answer if they wish to compete in the coming years.
The future is all fans can look forward to this year. This team has some pieces to build upon with the likes of Myers and Pomeranz. If the Kansas City Royals can win a World Series as a small market team it lends hope to teams like the Padres. Build from the ground up and make smart transactions in the free agent market. The risky experiment General Manager A.J. Preller attempted last year failed miserably. Trading James Shields even though it meant eating half of his contract was a good move. More high priced contracts like Matt Kemps and Upton Jr’s are needed as are getting returns from prospects. Which might mean brighter days ahead for America’s finest city. In the meantime enjoy the All Star Game.