The Padres somehow extended their National League West lead by 3 1/2 games in the nine days I was out on the road. Like everything else this season, it’s kind of stunning. Not that I’m complaining, but shouldn’t the pitching falter at some point? The list of top ERA+ so far this year blows my mind:
Here’s how those same teams did in 2009:
Giants: 123 (#1)
Cardinals: 113 (#5)
Rays: 104 (#12)
Padres: 85 (#27)
Rockies: 109 (#8)
The Padres have turned a glaring weakness into a strength. That’s a nice little trick, if you can swing it.
Sure, Jon Garland pads the ERA by inducing his defense into an error-producing coma, but even still, he’s pitching better than expected. The same holds true for the rest of the rotation except Kevin Correia. As for the bullpen, the Padres have the best OPS against in baseball (opponents are hitting .209/.268/.326 off of San Diego’s relievers).
On offense, it’s nice to see Will Venable rejoin the party. Maybe Scott Hairston can follow suit. Meanwhile, Randy Ready’s next project should be to get Chase Headley to stop hitting like David Eckstein.
What else happened while I was gone? Or didn’t happen? Adrian Gonzalez didn’t get traded. Neither did Heath Bell.
The Padres must be bugging the heck out of those “payroll is everything” folks who believe that something must be done to fix whatever they think is broken. Imagine how much better they would be doing if they had invested an extra $50 million in players this year. Why, they might be as good as the Astros:
Padres: $37.8M, .600 WPct
Astros: $92.4M, .382 WPct
Yes, I’m cherry picking, but isn’t this fun?