Oct 30, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks (right) celebrates with teammates after winning game six of the MLB baseball World Series at Fenway Park. Red Sox won 6-1. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Any team wanting to make a playoff run needs guys who have been there before. Teams need guys who know how to compose themselves when the lights get a little brighter, the crowd a little louder and the stakes a little higher.
Last year, the Padres roster had next to no playoff experience. Only Joaquin Benoit, Ian Kennedy, Alex Torres and the departed Huston Street had ever appeared in a postseason game. The total number of playoff games that Padre players have appeared in on last year’s roster was 33 games. This year? A whopping 103.
Every single player that A.J. Preller brought in has some sort of playoff experience. Will Middlebrooks was part of the 2013 World Series run for the Red Sox. He had two doubles and an RBI in 10 games in that postseason. He is the only current Padre player with a World Series ring.
Benoit and Matt Kemp are tied for the most playoff game appearances with 20. In 79 at-bats, Kemp is hitting .253 with 3 home runs.
Of course, we have “Big Game” James Shields who is fresh off a mostly successful playoff run with the Royals. Unfortunately, he was not able to capitalize when it counted the most. He has pitched in 11 games and two World Series. He has 45 strikeouts in 59 innings but with a 5.46 ERA.
Derek Norris has had some recent playoff experience with the Athletics, playing in seven games.
Justin Upton has been part of some good Diamondback and Braves teams in the past as well. Appearing in 15 games with two postseason home runs.
One underrated acquisition being overlooked, is Clint Barmes. He was a part of that pretty good Pirates team in 2013, when they made it to the Divisional Series. He has appeared in 10 playoff games in his career.
We can go on and on about the experiences all the newcomers have had, but my point is that the Padres roster is filled with guys who have been there in October. They know what a winning team needs and they know what it takes to get there.
Here in San Diego we are starving for some October baseball. This roster has the experience and ability to make that happen, if they all can just stay healthy.
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