The San Diego Padres had a decent first half of the 2017 MLB regular season.
They finished with a record of 38-50, and are in fourth place in the National League West behind the Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Colorado Rockies, respectively. The Padres are 22 games back with a record of 16-28 on the road and 22-22 at home.
In the second half of the season, the Padres will have twelve away series and eleven home series. They will have two interleague series, in which one will be at Petco Park against the Minnesota Twins and one series will be on the road at Target Field.
The Padres play divisional opponents in 12 total series, five at home and seven on the road. San Diego plays the Dodgers in three series, the Diamondbacks in three, the Rockies in three, and the Giants in four series. So there is still hope to beat up some more on the Giants, who are having a bad year.
San Diego has four series with divisional leading opponents, including three with the Dodgers and one with the Washington Nationals. We all know that the Dodgers are always tough to play in any series whether it is home or away. Now the Washington Nationals don’t just have a typical three-game series with the Friars. Washington will come to San Diego to play a four-game series from August 17 to August 20.
The Padres will most likely face at least two out of the three of the dominant starters in the nation’s capital, which are Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Gio Gonzalez. On top of that, the Nationals will not be a good matchup for the struggling Padres’ rotation, because the Nats have one of the best lineups in baseball including Trea Turner, Daniel Murphy, Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon, and of course, the former MVP and face of baseball, Bryce Harper.
The Padres have yet to play the St. Louis Cardinals this season, who are in third place right now in the National League Central. San Diego will play St. Louis on the road on August 24 to August 26th and at home on September 4th to September 7th. That is your chance to see Jedd Gyorko return to Petco to torment the Friars. The Cardinals are believed to be capable of making it a close race in the second half for the division title, but their chance at getting one of the two wild card spots is smaller because of the stacked N.L. Western Division (with the Diamondbacks and Rockies).
The Los Angeles Dodgers, who lead the division currently, are playing very well recently. The team was hot before the MLB All-Star break hit, sweeping both the Diamondbacks and the Royals. Every Padres fan knows that Los Angeles has multiple stars, including Clayton Kershaw, Corey Seager, Justin Turner, Alex Wood, and of course there is rookie sensation Cody Bellinger.
Andy Green stated, “We still have a long way to go to be the type of team that we want to be.”
He is definitely correct with that statement, but I don’t believe it is quite as obvious as most people may think about the Padres. Most expected San Diego to be the worst team in the league at the end of the season, but they are not. Currently in MLB, there are teams like the Giants, White Sox, and the Phillies who have 34 wins, 38 wins, and 29 wins respectively. I don’t believe the Padres will be the worst team in the second half of the season either.
The Jered Weaver free agent signing did not work out, obviously, as he was booed off the mound in his last start in Petco. Alex Dickerson and Travis Jankowski are hurt right now, which the Padres surely did not want to happen.
Even though he was supposed to be the left fielder this season, Jankowski struggled during his time at the start of the season. The speedy left-handed batter had a batting average of .160, getting only eight hits in fifty at-bats for the Friars.
Not even a month into the season on April 24, Travis Jankowski was placed on the 10-day DL, and then on June 6 he was transferred to the 60-day DL, putting his season in jeopardy.
After Jankowski’s injury, Andy Green inserted a combination of players in left field. Allen Cordoba, Matt Szczur, and Jose Pirela have been started at the position in an attempt to find a left fielder this season. It now seems like he has found his guy in Jose Pirela. The right-handed hitter is hitting .286 with four home runs, and 14 RBI. Right now he is hitting third behind Wil Myers and Manuel Margot.
In another injury case, second basemen Yangervis Solarte was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left oblique. Carlos Asuaje was called up, and has taken over that position very well, hitting .302 with four RBI. It will be very interesting to see what will happen to Asuaje when Solarte comes back in the second half of the season. Make sure to keep an eye on that.
Finally, Ryan Schimpf was the starting third basemen on opening day, while Cory Spangenberg was in Triple-A El Paso. Ryan Schimpf struggled, hitting-wise, and was striking out way too much at the beginning of the season. He was sent down to El Paso. Spangenberg has been at third base ever since, hitting .252 with 20 RBI and five home runs. I believe Spangenberg will stay at third for the rest of the season, but Asuaje may take his spot next season. Spangenberg will have to hit better in the second half.
Austin Hedges, Hunter Renfroe, and Manuel Margot have shown they can be major leaguers. Hedges has been a leader on this team, even though he isn’t hitting particularly well. He has done a great job controlling the Padres’ pitching staff and being a quality backstop behind the plate. Manuel Margot has been a solid center fielder, and is the spark in the Padres’ lineup. He is always seeking to get on base and his impact can be seen easily in the game.
Renfroe has struggled on the defensive side with his arm control a little bit, but he has hit 16 home runs with 39 RBI in the first half of the season. Expect Renfroe and Margot to keep hitting well in the top half of the lineup, and expect for Hedges to be the leader on the field with his defense.
Brad Hand seems to be one of the bright spots in the pitching staff this season. He has amassed a 2.30 ERA as the setup guy in the bullpen for the Friars. I know you won’t want to hear this, but expect Brad Hand to get traded before the trade deadline.
The Padres are still in rebuild mode, but with the young stars in San Diego it will be a fun second half to watch. But most importantly, let’s all prepare for the future.