Unlike their offensive counterparts, San Diego Padres pitchers thrived overall during the first half of the season. As a unit, Padres pitchers have the sixth-best ERA (3.78), are tied with Cleveland, Milwaukee and Minnesota for third most shutouts (8), have the fourth-most quality starts (42), the fifth-best OBA (.237) and are tied with the Blue Jays for fifth-best WHIP (1.24) in all the majors. Not too bad and possibly a bit surprising to the casual baseball fan who's just peeping the standings.
Through 90 games, San Diego is four games under .500 at 43-47, 8.5 games behind the Diamondbacks and Dodgers in the NL West. To make San Diego's prospects for a postseason run all the more difficult they're 6.0 games out of a Wild Card spot and would have to leapfrog division foe San Francisco, the Phillies and Brewers in order to play past October 1. San Diego did give Padres fans a few rays of hope heading into the All-Star break winning five of six, including a sweep of the Angels. As subpar as the offense has been for most of the first half, the Padres do hold a +39 run differential so if they can step it up a few notches and their pitching holds form, the Gaslamp District could be in for a fun fall.
As the second semester of baseball begins, let's hand out some grades to the pitchers who have gotten the Padres this far.
Grading the San Diego Padres pitchers
Blake Snell is having his best season since his 2018 season with the Rays, oddly enough another contract year like the one he's in now. Snell has a top ten ERA (2.85) in the league amongst starters, has the fourth-most strikeouts (132) and the second-best K/9 innings (12.1). The guy has been a stud workhorse for the Padres, having logged 98 innings thus far, the most of any Padres starter.
Amazingly Snell went all of April without a win and sported a disappointing 5.30 ERA while suffering three losses, but he quickly righted his ship in May, notching his first win on May 1 and hasn't looked back since. The big time lefty only went 2-2 in May over six starts but was a victim of a lacking Padres offense. Last month, Snell pitched to the tune of a 0.87 ERA and in two starts this month before the break he notched two wins without giving up any runs with 18 strikeouts over 11.0 innings. Over Snell's last five starts, he's 4-1 and given up only two earned runs.
To nitpick, Snell's record of 6-7 isn't exactly something to call Cooperstown over. There's surely room for improvement on his 1.22 WHIP and he's only gone over six innings once. However, if his overall trends continue and GM A.J. Preller keeps him in San Diego, then Snell could be the toast of the town come October. GRADE: B+ and a perfect score on a 10-question pop quiz away from an A-