Amongst baseball's many cliches is this one: You can't win the division in April.
This comes as welcome news to the San Diego Padres. Including the one game played in March, the Padres ended the first month of the regular season 10-17. It was the lowest win total for an opening month for the Padres since 2006. Although, on a slightly good omen, the Padres went on to win the NL West in 2006 with an 88-64 record. How, you may be asking, did the Padres start off so slow and go on to win 88 games?
The month of May.
Arcade Fire, help me out here?
The Padres won 19 games in May of 2006 moving from last place to 3rd place in the NL West in the process. The Padres increased their BA from April to May by 42 pts (from .226 to .268).
And all that was jump started by an April 30th win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Can the 2011 San Diego Padres pull off a similar feat as the 2006 Padres? This optimistic fan says yes. And here's why:
What is overlooked by many regarding the Padres struggles to start the season has been their schedule. It's been brutal. They had 3 days off between their first 6 games and then played 11 straight games before being rained out in Chicago followed by 8 straight games after that. They've had to play sereis against St. Louis, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati.
Contrast that with their schedule in May that includes Pittsburgh, their first series against Arizona, Washington, Milwaukee, and of course, our hated rivals the Mariners.
Through Saturday's game the Padres had a team ERA of 3.03, 3rd best in MLB. Which means one thing. The Padres are rarely blown out. Only 3 times this season have the Padres lost by 5 runs or more. One would think (hope) that eventually these close games will swing the Padres way. Keep in mind they were a diving catch by Anthony Gwynn Jr. from sweeping Los Angeles this weekend.
It can't get worst. But it can get better. And it doesn't need to be that much better for the Padres to start winning some of these 2-1 games instead of losing them.
The Say May Kids started off May as they have so many times. With a win. Made all the more sweeter that it completed a series win over Los Angeles, their first series win since the opening series vs St. Louis. Pittsburgh and Arizona come to town, the offense is showing signs of life and it's May. Despite everything, perhaps there is some reason for optimism.