A seven-game winning streak is what most around the country expected for the San Diego Padres in 2023. However, most would not have expected it would have taken until mid-September for the Friars to put that together, and have the run come after the team's postseason hopes had been reduced to almost nothing.
With a sweep of the Colorado Rockies culminated by Wednesday's 3-2 win at Petco Park, the Padres once again showed what an All-Star roster could (and should) be capable of doing. Unfortunately, at 75-78, it's truly a case of too little, too late in San Diego.
However, there is a question about this winning streak and San Diego showing what it is capable of doing. Will these be the moments that are pointed at during the offseason when talk about blowing up the roster or even a teardown of a franchise that has undergone some scathing coverage in recent days comes up? Will these be the games that people in power point to and say the 2023 Padres just ran into some bad luck and everything will be fine in 2024 without major changes?
Will the end of the season for the San Diego Padres dictate how the franchise approaches 2024?
Let's be honest, it's a very real possibility. A team that talks about coming together and finally finding an answer gives the impression that the current success can be duplicated in 2024, and that could impact everything from roster construction to the safety of jobs for Bob Melvin and A.J. Preller.
“It was there,” Fernando Tatis Jr. told reporters after Wednesday's win. "It just was not happening. It was underperforming, and it was not playing as a group together. Now it looks like all of the pieces are just adding up. … We found an answer that we were looking for the entire year. Sadly, it took this long.”
For those Padres fans who were hoping for big changes in the offseason, a winning streak and solid play in September can potentially erase some of the memories of a painful early season in the minds of decision-makers. "If only" comments can give a sense of security that the lessons of late 2023 can be instituted again in 2024 and the Padres can be fine.
In a year of "Bring the gold" as a slogan, is this fool's gold? That's the tough question with no sure answer. Maybe this team can indeed figure out its issues and come together reborn for 2024. Perhaps a core that approaches how it plays together can be enough to allow Preller to get depth pieces to supplement it that will be more effective than Matt Carpenter and Nelson Cruz. Perhaps the Padres can figure out a way to keep its big free agents in Blake Snell and Josh Hader as well.
This current winning streak isn't just about saving face in 2023. It's also about how the team will look to 2024 as well. Hey, if the Padres could win in September, that means they can do it in April as well, right? If things keep going the way they are, we could well find out that the Padres will pursue that answer rather than any type of big changes.