Padres Editorial: How the Padres Can Still Make the Playoffs in 2015


With all the hype that the San Diego Padres generated in the off-season and high expectations for the 2015 season under their new General Manager A.J. Preller, it made writing their failure just as easy to write for a team that hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2006.

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With nearly every “the Padres will contend in 2015” article came a caveat of “or they could incredibly fail.”

BusinessInsider wrote that the Padres were now serious World Series contenders in February and that even though Matt Kemp‘s contract was back-loaded, “…the other years will take care of themselves” if the Padres won the Series in 2015.

Rana Jazayerli of recently wrote that A.J. Preller ruined the Padres not just for 2015 – but far beyond by depleting their farm system far into the future.

So what do we do with the fact that we still have an entire second half of baseball to play?

Do we roll over and let the remaining games go on and try Alexi Amarista at cleanup for fun? Do we see what Craig Kimbrel could do as a starting pitcher. Of course not!

This season is in fact NOT over and in fact the Padres are the midst of their biggest winning streak all year. After Monday’s win it is up to 5 games. The last time they won more than 3 games in a row was early June.

Here is what the Padres have in their favor for their final 69 games.

–  First of all, they currently stand 8.5 GB in the West and 6 GB of the second wild card spot. The first wild card is held by the Pirates who are 4.5 up over the second wild card spot. Currently that spot is owned by the Cubs with the Giants 1 GB, the Mets 2 GB, and tied with Arizona and Atlanta 6 GB.

–  The Pirates and Cubs of course are both in the NL Central where the St. Louis Cardinals are once again in first place with a 4 game lead over the Bucs. This inherently helps the Padres because these three teams will beat each other up in the standings down the stretch allowing the Padres to gain ground simply by winning games.

–  Did people forget about Matt Kemp altogether? Sure, he had a disappointing first half, but has heated up of late and all of a sudden has 10 home runs Six of those home runs have come in the last 30 days while he has hit .288. Now with just over two months left on the schedule if Matt Kemp is able to over-produce for that time period the months of May and June can be completely forgotten.

–  Yangervis Solarte has continued his up and down season by jumping back up to .275 and 3 HR in the last 30 days as well. Even Jedd Gyorko is hitting .264 with 2 HR in the last 30 days. IF Solarte can hold down the 3B spot consistently and Gyorko has a second consecutive strong second half that is a huge help.

–  Wil Myers is coming back. He brings a competitive mentality to the top of the order the team has sorely missed.

–  Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross. Remember how the longball was a major plague for these two early on? That has gone away of late, with Ross allowing 0 homers in his last 5 starts and Cashner his last 4. James Shields – if he isn’t traded – is built for pennant races and I could see interim manager Dick Murphy even going to a 4 man rotation of Shields/Cashner/Ross/Ian Kennedy down the stretch if necessary. If Josh Johnson or Brandon Morrow happen to make a return in September to give those pitchers a breather all the better.

–  If James Shields can win 15 games this year – just 7 more from a guy who can bear down in the second half with the best of them, he will be the first Padre since Jake Peavy in 2007 to win more than 14 games in a season.

–  Back to Tyson Ross. I still believe he has some of the best pure stuff in this rotation. If James Shields is traded – it will be of course VITAL for Ross to show by example what he can do.


Of course the reality is also there that the Padres trade Shields / Kimbrel / Justin Upton or Kennedy to build for the future. There was a rumor linking the Padres to the Diamondbacks Ender Inciarte. If they trade Upton I think that trade makes sense especially with Wil Myers returning soon.

Trading Kimbrel for the right group of players would be a loss from watching his brilliance when he pitches, but the Padres have shown they have several players who can close in his stead, including Joaquin Benoit and/or Kevin Quackenbush.

It is ludicrous to assert that in the era of two wild cards, inter-division play and the roster that Preller has assembled to throw in the towel in July. This team has learned to fight together and has more than enough talent to at least overtake the Giants and contend with the Dodgers in the NL West. I was in complete favor of firing Bud Black and it was for moments like the team has before them. Murphy can fire this team up and build on the positive momentum they are building to keep climbing up the standings and get into the playoffs for the first time since 2006.

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