Blog Entry

Skidding Padres could lose grip on NL West

Posted on: August 31, 2010 3:38 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2010 4:42 pm
Mat Latos With seven wins in their last eight tries, the Rockies suddenly find themselves seven games out of the division and just 3 1/2 games behind the Phillies for the wild card.

Seven games may seem like a lot of ground for the Rockies to make up, but the Padres have been skidding as of late, losing five in a row which has allowed the Giants to stay in the hunt (1 1/2 games out of the wild card, five out of the division) and the Rockies to catch up.

The Dodgers also consider themselves in the wild card race (5 1/2 games out, 9 out in the division), which should make September a very interesting month.

A late-season surge by Colorado is nothing new, but compound that with San Diego's slide and it's entirely possible the Padres could end up on the outside looking in during the postseason.

A big stretch to say for a team with a seven-game cushion? OK, perhaps the Mets have spoiled us all with late-season collapses, but the Padres certainly appear a team with a tenuous grasp on first place.

For starters, despite the team's success, this is still a team who was projected by many to finish dead last in the standings. There were reasons for that, ranging from an anemic offense to an unimpressive crew of starters behind phenom Mat Latos.

And all those still exist, obscured by a lockdown bullpen and the acquisitions of Miguel Tejada and Ryan Ludwick. Those two acquisitions have gone a long way to upgrade San Diego's offense from mediocre to passable, but the bread and butter of October success -- starting pitching -- is still questionable as to how effective it can be, not just in October but down the stretch.

While the Padres lead baseball in xFIP with a 3.86 mark, they also have one of the largest splits between xFIP and ERA, with ERA checking in at 3.33 which also paces baseball. That ERA has slowly risen as the year has gone on, regressing to the mean. The pitching is no longer hiding any warts.

Ace Mat Latos (pictured) is already comfortably past the amount of increased inning restrictions teams tend to put on young pitchers. Latos could run out of gas at some point or get injured, whether in September or October as it's a dangerous bit of ground the Padres are currently navigating with the righty. Clayton Richard is another young pitcher who is extending his innings pitched beyond normal thresholds, on top of being a pitcher with disparity between his ERA and xFIP.

Then you have Jon Garland, a veteran pitching way over his head and two additional young pitchers with innings-pitched and effectiveness complications. It's easy to see how things could completely blow up in the Padres' face, having to shut down young pitchers and seeing massive regression from all overperformers to date.

It's quite unlikely for a perfect storm of regression to suddenly rear its head, but even a small amount of regression, as we're seeing currently, could be enough to drop the Padres into a NL West/wild card battle.

-- Evan Brunell

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 11, 2011 6:09 pm

Skidding Padres could lose grip on NL West

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Since: Dec 21, 2008
Posted on: August 31, 2010 10:24 pm

Skidding Padres could lose [overstated!]

I'm sorry, but how is Jon Garland pitching way over his head?  Perhaps you forget that he pitched with Arizona and the Dodgers last year and did fairly well, considering he started 27 games with Arizona had an 8-11 4.29 ERA 83 KOs/52 Walks.  Now perhaps that doesn't strike you as particularly good, until you realize its Arizona, and unless you are named Randy Johnson or Curt Shilling, you are probably going to get hit fairly hard.

With the Padres and with several starts coming in perhaps the best pitching park in MLB, he's gone 13-8, 3.29 ERA 106 KOs/76 walks.   Does pitching at Petco vs Chase allow for a full run less in ERA?  Probably so.  More strike outs?  That's debateable, but he's also walked more batters this year too.  He's given up slightly less home runs, 15 to 19 with the Dbacks but I think with these numbers, it shows that what Garland has done is benefit from pitching in San Diego and is by no means "pitching over his head".   If you still aren't convinced, look at the small sample size he had with the Dodgers last year:  6 games started, 3-2 record, 2.73 ERA 26 KOs/9 walks.

I know that the point of the story was trying to show how fragile a grip the Padres would seem to have on the division lead, but let's not exaggerate and treat Garland as if he's due to blow up any day now and come back down to earth. He is this good.

Since: Aug 23, 2006
Posted on: August 31, 2010 8:01 pm

Skidding Padres could lose grip on NL West

It figures!
First losing streak of more than three games ALL YEAR and the "experts" have now have what they've been waiting for.....a reason to write off the Padres.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: August 31, 2010 7:04 pm

Skidding Padres could lose grip on NL West

This team has been riding the backs of their pitchers all season with one or two hitters just hitting enough home runs or key hits to win a lot of 2-1 or 3-1 games at Petco Park. They travel away from Petco and their pitchers still throw great games but how many hits do they give up ? really not that many but the Padres offense is pitty-full. Adrain Gonzales is the only bonnafied home run hitter that they have Muigel Tejada is out of his prime Ryan Ludwig was servicable in ST Louis. But not at cavernous petco Park. You expect this from the Metropolitains but as of late the Dodgers of last year what happened their hitting went north . The Giants pitching is going south. Now you are left with the Colorado Rockies they have been in the mix all year just out of reach but here Comes September Jimmenez is the only starter that throws strikes but their bats are the key. When they made up 9 runs in the ninth last week all you coulp possibly think can these kids do this again. the Padres have over used their young pitching staff most of these guys are KIDS the management of the Padres is to blame here  they have over extended the pitching staff if they would have brought in pitchers instead of hitters they might of had a fighting chance.

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