Insane pitching stat illustrates just how unlucky the San Diego Padres have been in 2023

The San Diego Padres should be better than they are, and this stat proves it.
Aug 22, 2023; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throws a
Aug 22, 2023; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throws a / Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Can we chalk the 2023 San Diego Padres' season up to bad luck? According to one statistic, it seems possible.

And it has nothing to do with the team's star-studded lineup.

Insane team pitching stat shows San Diego Padres have been unlucky in 2023

That's right: those underachieving Friars have arguably overachieved in one key area this season: pitching.

Heading into play on September 8, the San Diego Padres sport a 3.81 team ERA, which is in fact the lowest figure in the National League (NL). That number also ranks behind only three American League playoff contenders: the Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays in all of baseball. The Atlanta Braves are second in the NL with a 3.88 staff ERA, with the Brewers and Phillies behind them.

For what it's worth, the San Francisco Giants are fifth in the NL in ERA (13th in MLB) and the rival Los Angeles Dodgers are eighth (16th in MLB), while the Arizona Diamondbacks are just 11th in the NL (22nd in MLB). And yet all three of those clubs are ahead of the Padres in the NL West standings. That's certainly notable.

Despite being ravaged by various pitching injuries in 2023, the Padres still have a Cy Young contender in Blake Snell, who has had a career season in his walk year. Snell holds a 2.50 ERA and 201 strikeouts in 28 starts heading into his next outing against the Houston Astros. The team has also gotten solid performances from Seth Lugo, Michael Wacha and Joe Musgrove (when healthy), as well as lights-out closing work from Josh Hader at the end of games.

So the pitching has been good, but why hasn't San Diego been as successful as they'd hoped in 2023? Their lineup, which ranks just 17th in MLB with a combined .736 OPS this season, would seem to be the main culprit.

Ironic, right?