Building off a successful post All-Star Break last season, the Padres have some high hopes of having a solid season, possibly even winning the NL West. For that to be so, the Padres must follow a simple blueprint. San Diego must beat the Giants and Dodgers, stay healthy and win on the road. Sounds easy, right?
The Padres seemed like automatic wins for division foes San Francisco and L.A. Combined the Padres compiled a whopping 13 wins against the top two teams in the NL West, 6-12 against the World Champs and 7-11 against the Dodgers. San Diego must vastly improve in major areas to beat these teams to even think about winning the NL West. The Pads need to hit the ball, period. In the 2012 season they only hit a disappointing .219 against L.A. Granted, the Dodgers had one of the better pitching staffs in the majors, however, that area needs to improve. They hit a little bit better against the Giants, with a .243 average and even hit 18 round trippers. Their biggest weakness against the defending champs wasn’t their hitting – it was their pitching. The Padres team ERA against San Fran was a horrendous 4.67, also surrendering 15 home runs against a team who was last in the ML in home runs. Against the Dodgers they pitched better, with a 4.15 ERA but allowed 16 homers. Collectively, these areas all need to improve to compete for the division title.
Chase Headley led the Padres in nearly every major batting category. Nothing’s wrong with that, except nobody else stepped up besides him. The San Diego 3rd basemen collected 115 RBIs, second on the team was 1st Basemen Yonder Alonso, with 62. I must admit, there isn’t must pop in the Padre lineup, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be successful. A healthy Carlos Quentin will definitely help that cause. As we all know, Quentin has more than enough power in his bat to put some runs on the board. The possibilty of minor leaguer Jedd Gyorko being called up can also provide some power. Gyorko hit 30 home runs in the minors last season.
Sellers. For the past few seasons, the Padres have been sellers at the trade deadline, nearly dealing Headley last season. In the 2013 season, they need to be buyers. Last season, they watched the Giants acquire Hunter Pence and Marco Scutaro, both improving the Giants lineup and ultimately help winning the World Series. Also, the Padres other divisonal foe, L.A. also made big moves. Trading for Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett. Though, the Dodgers missed the playoffs, they put themselves in good position to make the playoffs. Padres need to take notes. Padres have the farm system to attract some teams to make some deadline deals.
In essense, what I’m trying to say is, the Padres need to look within their division to see what they need to do to win. The 2013 season should be better looking than the 76 win season that the 2012 season gave us.