The Padres Are Making a Final Stand


San Diego Padres
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports activities

To say 2023 has not precisely been the Yr of the Padres ought to win some form of strong gold trophy awarded for understatement. After 2021’s epic collapse, they returned to the playoffs final 12 months, and although the NLCS resulted in disappointment, they no less than obtained the satisfaction of ending Los Angeles’ season early. With a full 12 months of Juan Soto and the return of Fernando Tatis Jr., absolutely issues could be trying up for the mustard-and-brown! Not a lot. Although the Padres haven’t eclipsed 2021 by way of dramatic failure, they’ve been mired in mediocrity the entire 12 months; the final time they awakened within the morning with no less than a .500 report was again in Might. A ten–18 report in August recommended they’d exit as soon as once more with a whimper. As an alternative, they’ve gone 13–5 in September, simply their finest month, and with a seven-game win streak, they’ve saved the ember of their playoff hopes simply scorching sufficient to make a fireplace probably. And I imply that actually, since I’m at present considering of a related scene on the finish of The Fifth Component as I write this.

Most of the components to make an unbelievable run are there. For one, there are good causes to suppose the Padres are a greater crew than their report. With a run differential that means an 85–68 report — and run differential remains to be extra predictive than precise report — they’d be on the verge of clinching a playoff berth. That form of factor might not save jobs, however it does give them a greater likelihood at reeling off a powerful run of wins over the ultimate week. Additionally serving to out is that two of the competitors have spent the final week in a state of collapse. The Cubs have misplaced 10 of their final 13 video games, together with six to direct competitor Arizona and collection losses to the last-place Rockies and the last-place Pirates. The Giants, at 6–12 for the month, haven’t been a lot better and simply misplaced Alex Cobb for no less than the remainder of the common season. San Diego, in the meantime, will get six video games in opposition to the White Sox and Cardinals, two groups that haven’t proven a pulse all season, and three video games in opposition to these stumbling Giants.

Over at, our good friend Mike Petriello wrote about San Diego’s lackluster marketing campaign and ran down among the situations that must occur for postseason baseball in San Diego. However let’s go one step farther and crunch some numbers for the Padres.

With Thursday evening’s video games within the books, I ran the standard ZiPS simulation of 1,000,000 seasons as a way to get the chances for the Padres pulling off the large comeback. However for this train, as a substitute of simply getting what their chances are actually — about 1.3% — I ran the simulation 10 occasions, for every attainable ultimate report for San Diego. I feel it is a higher visible illustration of their problem than simply the straight-up projections.

Padres ZiPS Playoff Possibilities

Padres Go End At Playoff %
9-0 84-78 38.6%
8-1 83-79 15.8%
7-2 82-80 3.9%
6-3 81-81 0.5%
5-4 80-82 0.0%
4-5 79-83 0.0%
3-6 78-84 0.0%
2-7 77-85 0.0%
1-8 76-86 0.0%
0-9 75-87 0.0%

With a number of opponents forward of them by a number of video games, the Padres can’t depend on a collapsing crew doing most of their heavy lifting. Even taking pictures the moon of their ultimate 9 video games leaves them extra more likely to miss the playoffs than make the postseason. I’m undecided if that’s an much more tragic end result; think about ending the season on a 16-game successful streak after which nonetheless barely lacking October baseball! Seems the primary 5 months of the season are fairly vital.

To make the previous few days of the season actually attention-grabbing in San Diego, the crew has perhaps one loss to work with. Merely going 7–2 leaves the crew gigantic underdogs, and ZiPS sees the Padres averaging a .568 successful share over the past 9 video games, in any other case often called 5–4.

However are the generalized ZiPS projections correct? At this level of the season, you possibly can fairly assemble the pitching matchups, so utilizing the methodology of the ZiPS playoff projections, I projected every recreation individually:

ZiPS Recreation-by-Recreation Padres Possibilities

Utilizing the Probables Grid will get a sunnier end result for the Padres than the generalized mannequin, with it seeing the Padres as a .599 crew over the ultimate 9 video games. That distinction is sufficient to give the crew a couple of 2% likelihood to make the playoffs moderately than 1.3% — a small change, however given the overwhelming problem of the duty, they must be completely satisfied for any slim benefit they’ll discover.

The chaos of a monumental ultimate run by the Padres could also be simply what my colleague Jay Jaffe has been lacking since baseball ended Video games 163. In the event that they pulled off the miraculous comeback — as giant as any you’ll discover with out pulling off the Triple Lindy — will anybody actually bear in mind the primary two acts?

For 5 months this season, the Padres have been one of many bleakest tales in baseball. However the denouement is trying simply attention-grabbing sufficient to take a seat again with the underside of your popcorn bucket and watch for the credit to roll earlier than heading again to the automotive.

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