Baseball Reflections

How the Padres Found their Winning Formula Against the Mets

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Wow… who would’a thought it. The Padres win a playoff series. Better yet – the Padres win a playoff series against a 100-win team with 3 absolute aces on the mound. To cap it off, who would’ve thought Trent Grisham out of all people would be the MVP. It was one hell of a series for the Friars. One which surprised many – many of which I’m sure are Padres fans themselves. 

I can certainly attest this, myself. As a Padres fan, I had hope – for sure. It was doable, and you never want to give up hope – but, given the Padres history, furthermore San Diego sports history; a worrisome feeling of disappointment was gurgling in the gut. And yet, they did it. That’s a win, itself. And it’s not just the mere fact that the Padres won the series, it’s the way in which they did it that was the most inspiring. It was the role players. It was dominance on the mound (for the most part). It was strength, passion, and heart all rolled up into 27 innings. 

Which, is what gives hope – and also apprehension – into the ALDS against the damn untouchable rivals of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Whether you’re a fan or not, one look into the baseline stats will show you the dominance of the Dodgers fatherhood over the (ironically named) Padres. The Friars didn’t win a single series. And not just that, many of the games were blowouts by the Blue.

The Parallels Between the Two

Tying the crossroads together – what undoubtedly carries the Padres to victory was the long ball, especially from those who normally don’t produce – at least to that degree. Based on imperial data alone, it’s hard to believe that Trent Grisham, Josh Bell, and Austin Nola will keep it rolling. And that’s what scares me as a fan. The pitching – sure, we can expect Musgrove, Darvish, and Snell to continue to duel. But against the Dodgers lineup? That’s a whole other beast. We’re not talking Lindor, Alonso, and Nimmo – we’re talking Freeman. Betts. Trea Turner. Will Smith. Plus “role players” like Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger, and Chris Taylor – AKA, guys who could be studs on any other team. 

And yet, ironically enough, the Padres performance is also what inspires for the series – as, a reminder, Nimmo was actually the batting champ. Lindor is as close a head-to-head with Trea Turner as any other shortstop. What it all comes down to really, is heart.

How the Padres Can Win

Which brings up a shimmering glimmer of hope. Sure, it’s going to take a lot of runs to win the series. A LOT. But that’s a given, you could say that, along with good pitching, for any series. But what won the Wild Card round was passion – which was assumedly sparked by Buck Showalter’s decision to “rest” DeGrom. It fueled the fire, and it showed. The Padres heard that they weren’t a challenge, and they shoved that you know where. Now, although not AS explicit, it’s clear that the Dodgers have been the “big brother” in the NL West – will that be enough motivation? Because if it was, you might’ve seen a little more fight in the Friars throughout the season, when they were constantly getting beaten.

Soto and Machado need to step up. Luckily, the Padres got by with an average performance from the two stars. Even more luckily, Darvish and Musgrove – and even Hader – pitched like the stars they are. But, you can’t rely on the aforementioned Grisham, Nola, and company to carry the gang to victory. That’s not to say it can’t, but that’s just being realistic. Who knows? I sure as hell didn’t see it coming in round one. But, when you’re going up against the MLB’s best team, you need the role players AND the stars to show out. 

It’s time for the test of all tests. It’s rare that an NLDS victory is almost as sweet as a World Series championship – but in this case, I think this is the exception. It’s been “World Series or bust” for the Padres ever since the trade deadline – but even, let’s say, if the Padres beat the Dodgers, and then lost in the NLCS – it would still be as close of a “consolation championship” as possible in San Diego. Will the Padres do it? Even as a fan, I’m a little skeptical. 

This series could very well be a clean sweep for LA. It’s true! But, if everything goes right in terms of effect, attention to detail, and October heroics, then it’s certainly more than possible. It’s a clean slate – the only thing is, you can’t forget about all of those beatings San Diego took in the regular season. And for some reason, I’m not sure the Padres SHOULD forget them. If that doesn’t fire you up as a player, I don’t know what will. It’s playoff time, where curses are broken, and legends are made. The Padres already proved a whole lot in round one – and a round two win would mean much, much more than a series closer to the World Series. 

One Comment

  1. Pingback: How the Padres Found their Winning Formula Against the Mets – Baseball Reflections - Sports News Center 247

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