Hey there strangers. The blog posting has been sporadic to say the least around here. Hoping to change that. With any luck, the Padres will provide me with more material in the next 2 and a half months.
The 1st half of the season has not been, what's the word, "good." Currently, there are 12 players on the Padres DL. 12. Since the beginning of Spring Training, 22 different players have been injured. That's nearly an entire roster of players. Only the Boston Red Sox have more players currently on their DL than the Padres. At one point this year, half of the Padres payroll was either hurt, benched, or had been out right released.
This has contributed to a 34-53 record at the All-Star Break. Now, I don't think many harbored any delusions of division championships before the season began. But, I don't think this team is nearly as bad as that record suggest. 22 injuries will do that too you.
At 19 games under .500, you might be asking yourself "why keep watching?" Fair enough. Thus, I present to you 10 Reasons the 2nd Half of the Season Won't Suck as Much as the 1st Half:
10) Cameron Maybin's Toe Tap
I foolish predicted Maybin would be the Padres All-Star at the beginning of the year, banking on the fact that Maybin would continue improving on his mini-breakout year of 2011. About 100,000 strikeouts later, that prediction could not look more dumb. To help fix Maybin without sending him down to AAA, he is now trying a much shorter swing stride, or a "toe tap." Anecdotally it seems to be helping as only days after making that change he crushed a 485 ft HR in Phoenix. Here's to a better 2nd half, thanks to the toe tap!
9) Andrew Cashner's Return
Like most, I thought the worst when Cashner grabbed his elbow after air-mailing a warm-up pitch in Phoenix. I assumed yet another Tommy John surgery which meant not seeing Cashner until August/September of 2013. To say I was crestfallen would be an understatement. But it doesn't sound so serious now. Placed on the 15 Day DL with a strained right lat, it sounds like an injury that could have knocked Cashner out for more than a year will now only keep him out for about a month. Which means mid-August, the 100 MPH fastball returns.
8) The Trade Deadline
It's pretty clear the Padres will be active at the deadline this year. Quentin, Street, Headley, Denofia, all players who have been mentioned recently as being of interest to contending teams. The trade deadline will alter the current face of the Padres. What they get in return will be interesting.
7) The Forsythe/Amarista/Cabrera Middle Infield
Long gone are the Hudson/Bartlett days. They now reside in that part of my brain where I keep memories I don't want to think about. *shudder The quality of play up the middle has increased. And even if it doesn't translate into more runs, it's a hell of a lot more fun watching these guys then it ever was watching Hudson and Bartlett.
6) Avoiding 100 Losses
This has become my number one goal for the 2012 season. Avoid 100 losses. I'd be willing to put money down right now that they do. You know, if I were a gambling man. (Editor's Note: I'm a gambling man.) Heading into the All-Star Break the Padres were suddenly playing over .500, despite dropping 3 of 4 to the Reds. Partially due to a soft section of the schedule, its also due to the fact that the team is simply playing better.
5) Yasmani Grandal
Look, Nick, we had some fun times. Some laughs. They were great. But I'm not the same person I was back then. I've found someone else. He hits from both sides of the plate, with power, and has a mohawk. It's not you, it's Grandal.
4) New Owners
I don't pretend to have the business acumen to know whether the O'Malley Group is financially solvant enough to run a team or whether they are even the right choice for this team. I do know that having confusion at the top or worst, a lame duck, is bad for the on-field product. Having a relatively easy ownership transfer and getting the new owners in place before the season is out is a good thing, even if Moores walks with $200 million.
3) Playing Spoiler
From September 18th - September 30th, the Padres play: AZ, SF, LA, SF. Three teams that will likely be in the hunt for a playoff spot. If you can't make the playoffs, at least keep other teams from making the playoffs.
2) Minor League Prospects
If you head north on the 15 about an hour you can watch 2011 1st Round pick Cory Spangenberg. And the watch the Storm make another push for a California League Championship. The Missions are full of players on the relatively immediate radar of Padres fans (Decker, Liriano, Roach, Erlin). Max Fried (2012 1st Rd pick) is signed, sealed, delivered. The Minor Leagues are stock full of interesting stories and optimism. Get yourself out there to a minor league game before the season is up!
1) Big Eye IPA and Tacos
You could really do this during the 1st half of the season but, The Pier at Petco Park has become my favorite part at the park. Great views, great beer, delicious tacos. Who cares what the score is? I'm full.