Padres Turnaround Fortunes at Home
The Padres recently finished up their home slate of the season, as they completed a very impressive 8-2 homestand to give themselves a 48-33 record at Petco Park. That mark is the best home mark for the franchise since they opened their ballpark in downtown San Diego in 2004.
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Now some might say what is the big deal, teams in the major leagues are suppose to win a majority of their home games on the schedule. The theory is correct on teams who desire to be teams in the playoff mix, have to take care of business at home, but the Padres’ players have had to deal with all sorts of readjusting in their swings to meet the challenges of playing 81 games in that ball park.
Hitters must deal with the fact that this is a pitcher’s ballpark, one that is not a fit when it comes to wanting to crack home runs on a routine basis. Sure, there are your home runs you get to see there at Petco, but it takes an almost perfect swing on the ball to have it carry all the way out to the vast fields of the ballpark. This is something that has plagued some players of the past who have come to San Diego and donned the Padres’ uniform.
They could not get out of their mind the fact of thinking their fly balls at Petco would be home runs say in Philadelphia or at the new Yankee Stadium, where the configurations would remind anyone of a bandbox. The Padres tried to help these players by moving the fences in a little bit, to help generate some more power numbers and offense.
Still, that type of mentality has been reported to have spread to others on past teams, and that took away mightily the chance of the team playing and staying on the same page when hitting. Now, that is not the only reason Padres teams in the recent past have struggled to find their rhythm at home on a consistent basis, but it certainly did play a part in some form or fashion.
This year’s version of the Padres have said to be full of players who do not care and wonder where their fly ball outs might be doubles or home runs somewhere else. All they concentrate on, is what they can do to help the time in any given game and situation. It goes back to that old cliche of not thinking while you’re out in the heat of playing a game, just letting your natural instincts and play take over.
The cohesion with this club this season, provided to be crucial as they got themselves involved in a fair amount of one-run games. They went on to be 25-9 in one-run games, an astonishing mark that usually does not occur too many times, if at all to teams to be that efficient and successful in those tight affairs.
Nothing is guaranteed in life, and certainly that is true in baseball from season to season, but the Padres can rest assured that when they get to the ballpark next season, they have a core group that knows the dimensions of Petco Park, how to play within the ballpark configuration, and how to maximize the opportunity to put themselves and their teammates in position to win regularly in the comfy confines of home.