MLB

Padres proving doubters wrong

Jerry Hairston Jr. and the Padres keep coming up with just enough big hits.
Share This Story

Jon Paul Morosi

Jon Paul Morosi is a National MLB Writer for FOXSports.com. He previously covered baseball for the Detroit Free Press and Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He began his journalism career at the Bay City Times in his native Michigan. Follow him on Twitter.

MORE>>
 
   
 

I admire Jonathan Sanchez. I really do.

In addition to throwing a no-hitter last year, he isn’t afraid to declare how confident he is in the San Francisco Giants.

POWER RANKINGS

See if your favorite team is pointed in the right direction this week.

“We’re going to play San Diego, and we’re going to beat them three times,” Sanchez told reporters this week. “If we get to first place, we’re not going to look back.”

Strong words, considering the Giants are 1-7 against the Padres this year.

But this was healthy hubris — in contrast to the Brandon Phillips nonsense earlier this week. Players are supposed to believe that their team will win.

And I, for one, happen to be in partial agreement with Sanchez’s view of the National League West race.

I do not believe we will see a sweep either way in this weekend’s showdown at AT&T Park (MLB on FOX, Saturday, 4 p.m. ET). But I have touted the Giants as a possible pennant winner since spring training. I’m too stubborn to switch bandwagons now, particularly with second-place San Francisco trailing San Diego by only 2-1/2 games.

But I wonder if Sanchez, who starts Friday, is aware that the Padres specialize in making their critics look foolish.

I should know. I’m one of them.

On July 20, I wrote that the Padres were “about to collapse.” That hasn’t happened. Not yet, at least. They are 13-9 since.

I was wrong.

Chatwood

ONE OF A KIND

Look back at the amazing, vivid life of pitching great Satchel Paige.

In the same column, I stated that the Braves were on their way to October. At the time, Atlanta had the biggest division lead in the majors. No longer. In fact, the Phillies have closed to within two games. Nate McLouth is in the minors, Chipper Jones is done for the year, and Roy Halladay can smell his first playoff start.

I don’t feel like a complete buffoon, because the Padres’ division lead has shrunk since the column ran. (It was four games at the time.) Still, the fact remains that San Diego entered Friday with the best winning percentage in the majors outside of the Yankees and Rays.

It’s impossible to hold that distinction while in the midst of a nosedive.

So, a tip of my cap to Bud Black, Adrian Gonzalez, Heath Bell … and all the other guys I can’t think of right now (I kid, I kid).

In all seriousness, this is a good time to again pose The Question.

How, exactly, are the Padres doing this?

Simple. They still have the best team ERA in the major leagues, and Gonzalez is driving in runs.

The crux of my Flopping Friars Theorem was that their pitching couldn’t possibly be as good in the second half as it was in the first. I based my conclusion on the belief that the starters who are in their first full major-league seasons — Mat Latos, Clayton Richard, Wade LeBlanc — were about to fade.

POLL

  • Who will win the NL West?
    • Padres
    • Giants

So, let’s look at their numbers since the break:

  • Latos: 2-1, 1.96 ERA, four starts.
  • Richard: 3-1, 5.93 ERA, five starts.
  • LeBlanc: 2-3, 4.15 ERA, five starts.

As a group, they still are providing this team with opportunities to win. And the two veteran starters, Jon Garland and Kevin Correia, have combined to win four games this month.

Meanwhile, Bell’s bullpen has been as reliable as ever. The Padres’ bullpen has lost the fewest games of any bullpen in the NL. Luke Gregerson’s stuff is staying sharper than I thought it would (His ERA since the All-Star break is 0.71). Another key development: Mike Adams is back from the disabled list.

First-year general manager Jed Hoyer did his part by finding veteran help for the outfield (Ryan Ludwick) and infield (Miguel Tejada) in July. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hoyer add one veteran arm this month — although it’s possible that Chris Young could come off the disabled list and fill that void.

Of course, I don’t believe the Padres are a perfect team. They certainly miss David Eckstein, who is still on the DL. They rank among the bottom third of major-league teams in home runs. Some of that is because of Petco Park. But I wonder if the power shortage will result in a lot of tense 3-2 and 2-1 losses in September.

Still, the Padres have built credibility by coming this far. They certainly deserve more respect than I gave them last month. I’m beginning to wonder if I will need to write a full mea culpa when the Padres and Giants next meet in the Bay Area — for the final series of the regular season.

For now, it is Sanchez’s turn to be proven right or wrong. His chance for direct influence comes tonight. And he should exercise caution. The Padres are more than what they seem.

Tagged: Braves, Padres, Giants, Jon Garland, Jonathan Sanchez

More Stories From Jon Paul Morosi

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



MLB Videos

Bautista talks Derek Jeter's final All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Jose Bautista discusses Derek Jeter's career and his final appearance in the MLB...

Jeter honored to play in last All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Derek Jeter compares his first All-Star Game experience with his last, Mike Trou...

Matheny defends Wainwright: He's out there to compete Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Mike Matheny comments on the media's reaction to Adam Wainwright's joke about le...

SimLeague Baseball - Simulation Baseball Game

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Yankees/browse/featuredproduct/606363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_606000/ff_606363_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash
    Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/1064043/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1064000/ff_1064043_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Gray http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067359/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067359_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room Pullover Hoodie - Steel http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067382/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067382_xl.jpg&w=100 54.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room 39THIRTY Flex Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067785/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067785_xl.jpg&w=100 31.95 New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Ro..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068294/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068294_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Bl..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice Performance Jersey - Black/Orange http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068787/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068787_xl.jpg&w=100 94.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice P..