It has been a long season for the San Diego Padres, and even a longer one since the trade deadline. Most San Diego fans have stopped watching games, especially with the NFL starting this past weekend. Fans have stopped watching not only because we are no longer in playoff contention, but because many of the players we were excited to follow at the beginning of the season are either injured or traded away.
Then comes the San Francisco Giants fans. They have everything to cheer about. Three World Series Championships in the last 6 years. Still a half-game lead in the NL Wild Card Race. Don’t they have every reason to be fired up about watching their team close out the season? Don’t they have every reason to still be watching their team play?
Well not so fast. Many fans are far from fired up about where there team stands at this moment in time. Hey, at least the San Diego fans have a reason to not watch…
But then you look at the San Francisco Giants and what has transpired in the second half of the season. The Giants actually have the WORST RECORD IN BASEBALL since the All-Star Game. They were 57-33 at the break, with a 6.5 game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. They now sit 5 games behind the Dodgers, with a 77-68 record. That means they have played 15 games under .500 since the break (20-35). The fall is quite remarkable for a team that has played pretty disciplined over the years with Bruce Bochy at Manager.
San Francisco fans probably looked at the San Diego Padres series as a great way to finally get on the winning track. Not so fast. The San Diego Padres stunned the Giants with a 3-game sweep this week, highlighted by blowing a 3 run lead in the 9th inning (giving up 5 runs in the inning) on Tuesday night.
Despite trading away Matt Kemp and Melvin Upton Jr., players still listed in the top-4 for home runs on the Padres, they have been able to find offense elsewhere. Rookie Ryan Schimpf has played pretty remarkable with 19 home runs this season, his last being the 3-run game-sealer in the 9th on Tuesday. What is even more impressive is the fact that he did not get playing time until July. His batting average (.228) is not one to write home about, but at least he is putting up pretty consistent power numbers.
The Padres have gotten contributions from young/role players such as Hector Sanchez, Luis Sardinas, and Alex Dickerson among others. There pitching, specifically Luis Perdomo, has also been improving. Perdomo gave up only 1 run on 6.1 innings pitched in yesterdays series finale.
Yangervis Solarte has also had a quietly productive season. We all know about Wil Myers, however he has been in a pretty big slump after the All Star Game. Myers has only hit 5 homer runs, after hitting 19 before the break. His batting average has also dipped about 30 points all the way down to.258. Its arguable that he is the one who is feeling the departure of Matt Kemp in the batting order the most.
This is clearly a growing year for the Padres (aren’t they all?), but at least there are some exciting pieces and young players that are getting their feet wet in the big leagues. The problem is – no one is really watching.
That seems to be the problem with the San Francisco Giants too. It seems like a lot of fans have kind of forgotten about the team. The team who recently won 3 World Series Championships. The team that won 2 of those by getting in the playoffs as a WILD CARD TEAM. But maybe we are just pouring it on at this point. Maybe San Diego just wants to put some salt on the wound that is the second half of the season for the Giants.
The Giants still control their own destiny. They have 17 games left and need to hold onto the half-game lead they have on the Wild Card race. The problem is that both the Mets and the Cardinals are right on their rears. Both of those teams have also been playing much better in the second half of the season (not that that is saying much when compared to the Giants).
Only time will tell if the Giants make the playoffs. With the coaching they have and the pitching staff they have, never count them out. Who knows, we could be talking about at World Series run when it is all said and done.