Sure, there were plenty of high expectations heading into the 2023 season for the San Diego Padres. And yes, those expectations have not even come close to being met yet. However, All-Star third baseman Manny Machado believes good things lie ahead for the Padres, and has a clear message for those fans who are ready to throw in the towel after just 18 games.
Manny Machado has some choice words for any San Diego Padres fans ready to give up on season
Speaking to reporters after the Padres dropped a 2-0 home decision to the Atlanta Braves on Monday night, Machado didn't mince any words when he talked about how some Padres fans are reacting to the team's 8-10 start.
The lineup is filled with big names (and more are coming, with Fernando Tatis Jr. scheduled to join the team on Thursday in Arizona after serving the final games of his PED suspension), but star power hasn't translated into consistent offensive power in San Diego so far in 2023. Entering Tuesday's game, San Diego is averaging 4.18 runs per contest, ranking them 22nd among MLB's 30 teams. Additionally, the team's combined OPS+ is sitting right at 100, considered league average.
Machado, meanwhile, has been a poster child for the franchise's lack of early success, striking out 18 times in his 72 plate appearances (25 percent) while posting an OPS+ of 77. Compare that to the 158 OPS+ he put up during the 2022 campaign (when he finished second in National League MVP voting) and it's clear that there is plenty of room for improvement for Machado and the rest of the lineup.
Do fans have a right to voice their frustration? Absolutely. But giving up on the 162-game season just 18 games into it? Well, that's an overreaction.
Thursday could well be a tipping point for the team with the return of Tatis as well as starting pitcher Joe Musgrove (expected to pitch on Sunday for the first time this season). The team also hits the road for a two-city, seven-game road trip that includes off days bookending a midweek visit to Wrigley Field in Chicago. It's a chance for the Padres to catch their breath and galvanize themselves on the road. It could also be a chance for them to put together a string of confidence-building wins and maybe change the outlook of those fans Machado called out in his comments.