Frankly, the Los Angeles Dodgers are probably too talented to get past. The San Diego Padres are regarded as a major contender for the NL Wild Card – the place they will likely end up. For them to be one of the Wild Card teams a couple things will have to go right.
They are relying on some of the following risks:
Andrew Cashner staying healthy
Matt Kemp staying healthy
Jedd Gyorko bouncing back
Wil Myers bouncing back offensively
Wil Myers playing well defensively in center field
Getting production out of first base by someone
The most important of those are the health of Kemp and Cashner. If those two play at the level they did last year and one of those risks play off, then the Padres are serious Wild Card contenders. If Kemp and Cashner stay healthy and a couple of those risks pay off, then the Padres might have a shot at the Division.
Ultimately, it seems unlikely that that so many risks would pay off.
The team appears to be meshing well, so I believe they will start out pretty well and be in the hunt for a wild card spot going into the All-Star Break. However, at some point during the season, whether that be at the very beginning or some time during the middle, the club will hit a skid and struggle for a little bit that will seriously hinder their chances at the division.
They will then have a very good second half and make the Dodgers worry until the end of September when Los Angeles ultimately clinches the division. The Padres will head into the Wild Card Playoff with force. If they can get past the one-game playoff, they will be a scary team to face under this scenario due to pitching and momentum. However, I do not see them going to the World Series. I cannot see them beating the Washington Nationals (the most likely team the wild card winner will face), especially in D.C. where they have trouble in the past. Their final games will come in the Division Series.
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