The Los Angeles Dodgers are in free fall, losers of five consecutive series – something that hasn’t happened since 2017. If the San Diego Padres think they’re made of NL West championship-caliber stuff, now is the time to pounce – because a team with as much talent as the Dodgers won’t keep stumbling for long.
"“I’m pissed,” Bauer said over the weekend, “I freaking hate losing. That’s why I came here. We’re not playing up to our capability. I’m mad. I’m not going to speak for anybody else.”"
Padres are in a solid spot to make some noise in the division right now
On the year, Bauer is leading the league with eight starts, 50 1/3 innings pitched and 67 strikeouts – all while sporting an impressive 2.50 ERA and 0.815 WHIP. But it hasn’t been enough for LA, which entered Monday in third in the division, 2 1/2 games out of first and a game back of the Padres for second.
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Look. It’s not like San Diego has been world beaters, either. The offense – which anchored the team’s run to October in 2020 – looks like a shell of its former self. The Padres rank 11th in the NL with a .679 OPS and their .364 slugging percentage is worse than all but two Senior Circuit clubs.
Even after a home run on Sunday, Fernando Tatis Jr. is still batting just .240/.315/.552. Fellow infielder and slugger Manny Machado hasn’t fared any better, evidenced by a .228/.322/.362 line that tells you just how devoid of power his game has been to this point.
"“Hitting is contagious,” San Diego manger Jayce Tingler said after Sunday’s win over the Giants. “One or two guys go, then you’ve got three or four guys going, and you’ve got the line moving. I thought today was a good start to potentially get on a little bit of a roll.”"
Given how poorly the offense has performed and the injuries the team has faced, the Padres are remarkably fortunate to be in this position. But the time is now to make a move – waiting any longer is a risk this club can’t afford to take because, sooner or later, the Dodgers are going to come roaring to life. If you hang around them in the standings when you could have put them in a hole, odds are, you’ll come to sorely regret it late in the year.