San Diego Cruisin’

San Diego cruisin
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The baseball world knew the NL West was going to be a chaotic frenzy in 2022. Especially after the epic seasons both the San Francisco Giants and Los Angles Dodgers had last year, and an expectation that the Padres would be better this year. Those expectations have been exceeded through the first couple months of the year. The Padres, Dodgers, and Giants are within less than five games of each other, with the Padres being tied for first place. But even the most ambitious Vegas bettors would never have guessed that the San Diego Padres would be cruisin’ without their $341 million dollar superstar player: Fernando Tatis Jr.

It’s astounding that the Padres are in first place and Fernando Tatis Jr. has not had a single at-bat in the 2022 season. Of course, the offense has had to come from somewhere else. That production is being provided from superstar third-baseman Manny Machado day in and day out.

 

Manny’s All-Star Case

Through the first two months of the season, Manny was simply on fire. Sporting a .347/.426/.563 slash line to go with a .988 OPS, he’s been the heart of the team, and you could make an argument that without Manny’s production, the Padres would be no where near first place. In the past couple of seasons Machado has shown leadership qualities. He’s the glue that has kept this Padres offense together amidst a Tatis injury. He is now the leader of this Padres team.

A .988 OPS is nothing to skim over. An .800 OPS means you’re a great player that can produce. Anything above .900, and you’re a more than incredible player that is borderline unstoppable at the plate. Manny hasn’t stopped producing either. In June, he’s got eight XBH (extra-base hits) and 16 RBI. Facts speak volumes, and the facts say that Manny Machado has been the best third-baseman in the National League so far.

 

Padres Pitching

While Manny has been the heart of the offense, it’s the Padres’ rotation that’s allowing this team to be in a great position. The Padres’ rotation ranks fourth in hits/9, fifth in ERA (3.43), and fifth in home runs/9. The focal piece of the rotation has been ace Joe Musgrove. No-no Joe has been sporting a ridiculous 1.59 ERA which leads the major leagues. Musgrove has yet to lose this season. He’s 8–0 in 12 starts (four of those starts have been no-decisions).

Not only has Joe contributed to the cruisin’ San Diego Padres, but so has Yu Darvish, Sean Manaea, and Mackenzie Gore. Each one has an ERA below 3.60. Taylor Rogers has also been doing his part as San Diego’s closer. Rogers leads all major leagues in saves (20).

 

Name of the Game

Pitching has always been the most important part of baseball. As a pitcher, you can control the direction of the game more than the hitters that can only make an impact three or so times a game. Besides Machado, there is not a Padres regular with an OPS above .789. The pitching staff has done a phenomenal job to keep San Diego in a playoff position, and in contention for an NL West title.

 

Tatis’ Return

Fernando Tatis Jr. is expected to be back sometime later in July. However San Diego GM, AJ Preller, says that the Padres are taking it “week-to-week” concerning Tatis’s wrist injury. Preller has explained that scans have indicated that Tatis is still not ready to swing the bat.

When Tatis is ready, you could imagine how huge that would be for the Padres’ offense. While the Padres do rank fifth in walks/game and sixth in doubles/game. Tatis would be a much needed boost to a lineup that also ranks 19th in slugging % and 17th in OPS.

Last year, Tatis finished third in NL MVP voting. The electrifying superstar finished with a slash line of .282/.364/.611. Tatis led the NL with 42 homers. He also hit 31 doubles.

 

Watch Out

Bob Melvin has brilliantly managed the Padres into 1st place in the highly competitive NL West, all without Fernando Tatis Jr. The pitching has been well above quality, and Manny Machado looks like a starter for the all-star game in Los Angeles. As long as the pitching staff continues to do the job they’re doing, the Padres are a team to watch out for heading into the dog days of the 2022 season.

 

 

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Players/Managers Mentioned:

Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, Joe Musgrove, Yu Darvish, Sean Manaea, Mackenzie Gore, Taylor Rogers, Bob Melvin