The Padres wanted the World Series. Will they make the playoffs?

The Padres of San Diego, once one of the most exciting teams in baseball but now that he was crackling badly, he produced the kind of v...


The Padres of San Diego, once one of the most exciting teams in baseball but now that he was crackling badly, he produced the kind of victory his players dreamed of on Saturday, a victory they hoped to signal that the tide was finally turning.

After being held without a hit by Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola for six innings, the Padres tied the score on a Manny Machado single in the seventh. They then got over their box blunder when all-star infielder Jake Cronenworth smashed a two-run homerun against Nola with two strikeouts in the bottom of the ninth. Two innings later, the Padres won, 4-3, when Adam Frazier came in from third on wild ground.

“The only thing I have noticed throughout the year when we have been on these hot stretches is that they have always followed games in which we have had great success,” said the outfielder. Wil Myers, the oldest Padre, a few days before. “I really believe we’re at a big point, at a time to capture that momentum.”

The Cronenworth explosion, however, wasn’t it. Sunday the Padres fell, 7-4, at the Phillies, lost their third straight series and fell out of the playoff photo for the first time since June 17. Then on Monday, with six weeks remaining in the regular season, the Padres fired pitching coach Larry Rothschild.

“We’re looking for a new voice, a little more recent perspective and we’re looking for a more cohesive production from a great group of guys who we believe a lot,” said Jayce Tingler, director of the Padres. a video conference with journalists on Monday.

He later added, “I think it’s not too late to play some really good baseball and stay in the fight and have the opportunity to make the playoffs.”

If the Padres (68-58) are going to do just that, it’s going to take a dramatic turnaround. At the start of a season, contending teams usually don’t let go of the personalities that helped them reach the playoffs the year before. And teams can’t fire all of their players, especially so long after the July 30 trade deadline. Rothschild, a former Yankees pitching coach, has therefore been sent home and his position will be filled for the remainder of the season by Ben Fritz, the team’s relieving coach.

Tingler insisted that the decision to send Rothschild was “100 per centhis own, and that his late trainer was “certainly not a scapegoat.” But it was hard not to see the move as a desperate attempt by the Padres to right their sinking ship.

On May 30, the Padres were in first place in National League West and their odds of making the playoffs were 98%, according to FanGraphs. Since then they have gone 34-38 and their playoff odds have dropped to 27%. Coming in on Tuesday, the Padres stood at a booming Cincinnati Reds game for the NL wildcard second place finish, with cracks appearing up and down their roster.

“We’re fighting,” said Padres starter Joe Musgrove after Saturday’s win. “It’s certainly not a lack of effort. It’s just a bit of bad timing. I’m sure at this point in the year everyone is in pain, everyone is tired. And guys are hitting those little hollows that everyone gets into. It’s just a shame that everyone seems to be touching this at the same time.

The most obvious starting point for explaining the Padres’ problems is their injuries. Since the most recent update earlier this month on the injury tracking website ManGamesLost.com, the Padres led the major leagues with 1,669 games missed overall due to injury. (Those numbers also included players who, for reasons related to the coronavirus, landed on the injured list.)

The most affected unit on the Padres roster: the starting rotation.

On the IL for the second time this season, Padres ace Yu Darvish was expected to return soon of a short stint due to tightness in the lower back. Jake Arrieta, who spat five points last week on his debut with the Padres after being cut off by the Cubs, also landed on the IL, with what has been called slight hamstring strain. Chris Paddack (absent since late July with an oblique strain) and Dinelson Lamet (on his third trip to IL with elbow or forearm discomfort) could return in September.

But even in good health, several of the Padres’ starters were struggling. Acquired during the Padres frenzied and energizing out of seasonFormer American League Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell (4.82 earned-run average) leads the major leagues with 65 steps. One of baseball’s youngest pitchers, 21-year-old Ryan Weathers, started his rookie season on a high, but hit an E.RA of 5.27. Paddack broke the promise he made in his rookie year in 2019 and has a 5.13 ERA

Only Musgrove (3.04 ERA) and Darvish (3.70 ERA) delivered for the Padres.

Due to so many injuries and inconsistencies, the Padres put a strain on their enclosure. Pierce Johnson, normally a reliever, started for the Padres against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday, the team’s game six in the reliever pen this month already.

While the Padres’ relief corps entered on Tuesday with the lowest ERA (3.12) in the National League, their use (nearly 531 innings) was the highest in the league. The Padres’ starters trailed only the Baltimore Orioles, who own the worst baseball record, for the fewest innings pitched (586 ⅓ innings) in the major leagues.

Quoting exorbitant prices for the best starting pitchers, the normally aggressive Padres general manager AJ Preller instead traded for a key reliever (Daniel Hudson of the Washington Nationals) and a field assist (Frazier, an All-Star with the Pittsburgh Pirates ).

“With the guys we’ve injured that’s how it should be and we just have to figure it out and put it back together and see how it goes,” Craig Stammen, a reliever who has also been forced to start games with need for the first time since 2010, said Sunday.

He later added, “It’s that time of the season when it doesn’t matter how your arm feels or how your brain feels. You have to understand it.

Stammen, a 12-season major-league veteran, said the Padres are trying everything to turn things around. He made a list: Machado recently went home without batting gloves, his teammates wore different T-shirts, the team was looking more and working harder.

Not mentioned on Stammen’s list: Moving superstar Fernando Tatis Jr., who has missed 22 games this season with two partial shoulder dislocations, from shortstop to outfield on his return on August 15 as a way to help keep one of baseball’s best hitters in the lineup.

While more help is coming in the form of returning healthy players, the Padres have their work cut out for them. Nineteen of their remaining 36 games are against the teams ahead of them in the NL West: the Dodgers, defending World Series champions, and the San Francisco Giants, who hold the best baseball record.

“I know that over many seasons in the major leagues, things are going well and things are going badly,” said Stammen. “You collapse and you are hot. And man, we’re in a crisis at what seems like the worst time imaginable. But you never know: it could turn out to be one of the biggest San Diego comebacks in history. “



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Newsrust - US Top News: The Padres wanted the World Series. Will they make the playoffs?
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