To say that the 2012 season has been “tumultuous” for our beloved Friars has to be one of the understatements of the year. While I will not rehash any of the terrible and unfortunate memories which have occurred so far this year, I believe that we all can agree that it will be refreshing when the season comes to a merciful close in early October. Sure, the Padres currently sit at 53-70, and have essentially been out of postseason contention since early June. But there is still one important thing which they can do over the season’s final 39 games that would make this fan grin from ear to ear: “Play Spoiler.”
What the Remaining Schedule Looks Like
If one takes a look at San Diego’s remaining schedule, their docket is littered with teams jockeying for postseason contention. Outside of series’ with the Rockies and Brewers, 33 of the Padres final 38 contests come against teams needing every win to count come the second week of October. If the Padres can find a way to start playing some consistent baseball, they could in fact dash the hopes and dreams of some unlucky N.L. teams which cross their paths.
Starting today, the Friars kick off a 3 game series at home against the resurgent Pittsburgh Pirates, a team which San Diego almost swept on the road little over a week ago. In addition to their series with the Pirates, the Padres also a three game series lined up with Atlanta and one with St. Louis over the next two weeks. Each series will come at Petco, and the Padres will have a chance to take on two of the N.L.’s top teams in their own back-yard.
Pittsburgh and St. Louis are not only both chasing Cincinnati for the lead in the N.L. Central, but also are looking to secure one of the two Wild Card spots. Atlanta is fighting Washington for the lead in the N.L. East, and will also be in the hunt with Pittsburgh and St. Louis to lock up one of the Wild Card berths as well.
In addition to Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and St. Louis, San Diego will also have plenty of chances to ruin the October plans of some of their own divisional rivals over the next six weeks. And in what should be tight N.L. West/Wild Card races, the Padres will be in a perfect position to exact some sweet revenge on some familiar foes. Overall, the Padres play 21 of their final 38 games against the three teams ahead of them in the National League West: Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Arizona.
The Diamondbacks have been hot-and-cold all season long, yet have rode a current 4 game win streak to a 62-59 record, stand only 4.5 Games out of 1st place in the division, and 5 games out of the final Wild Card. San Diego has 9 games left against the Diamondbacks, and with Arizona needing every win that they can muster at this point, the Padres can all but deliver a death-blow to Kirk Gibson & Co.’s postseason dreams if they take 4 to 5 of the games.
San Diego also plays 6 games apiece against both the Giants and the Dodgers, and all four series’ come in Septembler. Los Angeles and San Francisco have duked it out over the last month or so for supremacy in the N.L. West and will also be seeing a significant amount of each other in the forseeable future. Yet with both teams likely being preoccupied with each other, pesky San Diego could swoop in and take a game or two here and there from the Giants and Dodgers if they decide to nap on the Friars.
Of course to play “spoiler” the Padres will need to win at least some against a number of the N.L.’s best teams. Whether or not it will happen is a mystery and a tall order. But as I stated before, the Pirates series starts tonight, and 30 of the final 35 games after the Pittsburgh one will feature San Diego against a team focused on the postseason.
To me, there would be no better way for the Padres to close out such a disappointing and hard-luck year than to ruin a franchise and its fanbase’s desires to see October baseball. I know it sounds selfish, but if I am going to be sitting at home in the Fall and not watching the Padres, I want as many fans as disappointed as me not watching their own respective teams once the regular season ends. Plus, the type of positive “mojo” which a strong finish in 2012 could carry over to 2013 would be a nice boost for our favorite team, Padres fans.
So while we may be “Completely Miserable San Diego!” Let’s hope the Padres can finish strong and play “spoiler” in the process.