In 2021 the Padres bumbled along with a 79 – 83 record, finishing third in the National League West.
A whopping 28 games behind 1st place, the most games out for a 3rd place team in the majors.
But so far in 2022 they’re sitting on top in the National League West. What are the biggest reasons why they went from a team that you probably marked as a win against, when you saw them on the calendar, to a top quality baseball team.
3. We cannot look at the turnaround this year and not start off with improvements when playing on the road. In 2021 the Padres were just 34-47 when playing away from their home field, Petco Park. Now granted, home field advantage might not always be the biggest advantage in baseball, based on the crowd, but the ability to take your team elsewhere and still win… is. Last year, the Padres lost 13 games by 5 or more runs on the road. Which means they were vastly in games that weren’t even close. This year, they have already won 7 games by 5 or more runs when playing on the road, that’s a huge number.
2. For being completely honest 2021 Manny Machado had numerous inconsistencies. This year, Machado has brought his game back. The 29 year old 3rd baseman has always shown great vision and power over 10 seasons. Last year and knocked out 28 home runs, this year he’s on pace for around 30, again. He also batted .278 in 2021 – so far this year sitting at .327, which if he ends the season the way he’s been so far, will be a career-high.
That’s a big difference.
1. The biggest and best reason for their improvement this year is their pitching. In 2021 they had a team ERA of 4.10 which sat at 14th – and in 2022 they improved to 5th in the majors with a team 3.43 ERA. Joe Musgrove has been absolutely spectacular in 2022 with a minuscule 1.59 ERA and an 8-0 record as of this article, he has absolutely been a huge reason for this turnaround. Last year he was still their best pitcher with consistent starts, with a 3.18 ERA with a 11-9 record in the win-loss column – but he has been so much better this year. Yu Darvish is also seeming to be getting himself back on track after an 8-11 season in 2021. His ERA has improved and so has his ability to not get rocked at the plate. Last year he had a tendency of giving up home runs, where he gave up 28 in the season. This year he has greatly diminished that.
The Padres have shown a lot of improvements this year between the team’s ability to travel & their pitching in particular. For San Diego fans they can enjoy it, because you deserve it. After a miserable year last year and having them fight and be tops in their division now is certainly a huge welcome. Playing in the National League with other teams like the Mets and the Dodgers, it’s going to be tough to see who comes out. And the fact that they have been doing so well without their Superstar Fernando Tatis is even more exceptional, how much better can this team get? At this point, they have to feel just as good about their chances as anyone.