The 2023 season continues to be a disappointing one for the San Diego Padres. At 37-43, San Diego sits 10.5 games behind the first place Diamondbacks, and 7.5 games back of the third Wild Card spot.
It's way too soon to call this season over considering the month of June isn't over, but losing faith in a team that just lost two of three at home against the lowly Nationals and the first two in Pittsburgh isn't something I'd criticize anyone for.
The Padres have life, but barely. It's time for them to heat up and make the playoff push we all expected them to make. The month of July might be their last chance to do that before the trade deadline. Here're some bold predictions for what could be their most important month of the season.
1) Padres third baseman Manny Machado finally puts up a Manny Machado type of month
We've been waiting and waiting for the inevitable Manny Machado breakout. I say it's inevitable because of the player Machado is. He's simply too good to have as poor of a season as he's been having.
Through the first month and a half of the season, Machado was slashing .231/.282/.372 with five home runs and 19 RBI. He had a paltry OPS of .654, and looked like a shell of the player he was. It certainly felt too soon to give him that mega-extension that San Diego dished out in the offseason.
Since landing on the injured list after getting hit by a pitch, Machado has been a whole lot better. But it did take a little while.
Machado returned from the IL on June 2 against the Cubs and went hitless in four at-bats. He actually had one hit in his first 11 at-bats after being activated. Machado then had a three-hit game and from that moment on, he has been great.
The Padres third baseman has slashed .289/.320/.464 in 24 June games with four home runs and 14 RBI. His .784 OPS in that span is a whole lot more of what we're used to.
I expect Machado to remain hot and continue to put up those solid numbers in the month of July. We'll finally see him play at an All-Star level for a sustained period of time in 2023. Will it lead to wins? It's hard to say. San Diego has gone just 10-10 with Machado playing well right now. it certainly can't hurt, can it?