Break up … the San Diego Padres? Huh? What? They still have a team? Indeed San Diego does, and the Padres have won seven straight, including Monday night over the defending World Series champion Giants, thanks in large part to this unreal catch in centerfield by Will Venable in the 12th inning. This highlight-reel grab kept the game deadlocked at 3-3, and San Diego won 5-3 in 13 innings. The Padres are now ahead of the Giants into the National League West – one game behind first-place Arizona.
There’s also this to consider:
The Padres are over .500 for the first time since April 7, 2011.
— YCPB (@cantpredictball) June 17, 2013
Two weeks ago it seemed like the highlight of San Diego’s season was going to be either announcer Dick Enberg’s joke about female Dodgers’ fans wearing hot dog hats or Carlos Quentin’s ‘Bald Bull’ charge on Zack Greinke, which broke the pitcher’s collarbone. Instead, the Padres have caught fire. Their current winning streak is impressive since it has come at the hands of the NL East-leading Braves and the Diamondbacks. Overall San Diego is 10-5 in games decided by one run.
PETCO Park has always been known as a pitcher’s park since it opened in 2004, but the Padres pitching stats are middling, aside from strikeouts where they are third in baseball. What’s odd about that is San Diego doesn’t exactly have a dominant strikeout-per-inning guy either, with its Ks spread out among guys like Edinson Volquez and Eric Stults. Journeyman Jason Marquis is 9-2, but he’s also issued a baseball-high 47 walks and given up 14 home runs.
Offensively, the Padres are the definition of average, checking in 16th in runs, RBIs and batting average. San Diego does lead baseball in one category – steals – thanks to 31 from Everth Cabrera. Will an offense led by the likes of Chase Headley, Venable and Quentin be enough to keep the pace in the NL West over July and August?
The Padres could – if they sustain their current knack for winning close games – perhaps develop into this year’s version of the 2012 Orioles, who shook off a decade-plus malaise thanks in part to a 21-9 record in one-run games. This looks like a team on a hot streak and probably won’t be sustained, but credit goes to manager Bud Black for getting the Padres at least back into the baseball conversation for the first time in nearly two years.
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