The San Diego Padres team, with absolutely nothing to lose, is turning into a very dangerous team in the Major Leagues. After being told by virtually all of the media that they have no shot at playoffs this year, the team has caught fire. Still a long road ahead, but this team is showing signs of a team that could get back into the race.
On Sunday, when Alexi Amarista lined a two-run home run off Miami Marlins pitcher A.J. Ramos in the top of the ninth, the Padres bench exploded. Andrew Cashner picked up Amarista in the dugout and hugged him like a father holding his child. A fun sight to see and proof that this Padres team is starting to really connect with each other.
The game of baseball is just that… a game. In order to successfully play this game you must enjoy it. Having fun has been and always will be a deciding factor in determining a good team from a great team. No baseball analytical expert can determine that, no expert can determine chemistry and when it will blossom. This Padres team has grown and the way they are presently playing the game is very refreshing to see.
The Padres are playing on house money. Nobody in their right mind expects them to compete this year, so without any pressure this team is playing the game loose. Andrew Cashner and his bench mates are enjoying every game and making each inning fun for the team. Whether its calling Yangervis Solarte, Slow-arte or Derek Norris being known as NorrisaurusRex, the team is enjoying their time together. After Solarte’s home runs on Monday, the bench erupted in smiles and high fives. These guys are truly loving their time together.
Manager Pat Murphy remarked that a security guard told him in Miami that if they were casting the for the movie Major League 4, the Padres team would be a perfect fit. That remark says it all about the chemistry on this team. From playing freestyle frisbee in the outfield before games to taking Odrisamer Despaigne on a shopping trip, this team has a Hollywood feel to it. Why not a Hollywood ending to the season too?
Is it really too late for them to make a run? The answer is no, but they do have a long ride ahead of them. With the next 15 games against lesser tiered opponents the Padres have positioned themselves into getting back into the race. In these next 15 games the team must win at least 10 of them. They will do nothing for themselves by playing .500 baseball the rest of the year. Winning 10 out of 15 from these weaker teams will be a test. It can be accomplished but the team must be consistent.
The Padres pitching staff with James Shields, Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner and Ian Kennedy have been pitching much better of late. With those type of arms, the team is very capable of a major winning streak. It will take a streak of some sorts in order for this team to leapfrog the four teams needed for a wild card birth. With their recent attitude and free spirited look, the Padres will surely be an enjoyable team to watch the rest of the year.