How ‘bout them Padres?
A few days removed from fans grumbling about the team’s recently disappointing performances — dropping seven of eight games and being swept by the red-hot Houston Astros — the hometown boys returned the favor by sweeping the Colorado Rockies in a three-game series over the weekend.
Suddenly the postseason seems certain and this team and the word ‘destiny’ are being used in the same sentence, again.
Despite the uncharacteristic defensive lapses from the infield and poor outings from the bullpen, two staples the organization depended on in the past, the Padres have shown an ability to score runs.
The Padres lead the NL in runs scored (131), hits (235), RBIs (127), and are fifth in team batting average (.261). Stunning numbers, when compared to June’s historically epic failure when the Friars posted the lowest batting average in Major League baseball and the lowest in nearly a century.
The Padres didn’t magically learned how to hit in the offseason. It began with general manager A.J. Preller’s flurry of moves that brought in bona fide star power and talent in outfielders Wil Myers, Justin Upton, and Matt Kemp.
Everybody agreed the Padres would be better; not many predicted the extent of the success San Diego revealed a month into the season. Nor did they think that it would be highlighted by a former Oakland backstop – Derek Norris.
Norris has arguably been the Padres’ best player. Hitting .337 with two home runs and 16 RBIs, Norris ranks in the top five of every offensive category – he’s providing clutch hitting and emerging as a clubhouse leader.
Just as impressive behind the plate, Norris has handled the pitching staff and provided solid defense – productivity and reliability San Diego was lacking from its catching position.
Unfortunately all of the offensive prowess hasn’t translate into more wins, as San Diego is three games behind the NL West-leading Dodgers.
One thing no one can deny – the Padres are headed in the right direction.
The Friars hit the road looking to continue their momentum in San Francisco, Arizona, and Seattle. Showing resiliency by rebounding at the end of their homestand, the Padres are in position to close their gap with the Dodgers.
But the Padres’ pitching and defense must improve and the bats can ill-afford to endure a cold spell.
It’s one thing to write about it. It’s another to make sure it gets done.
For this club, despite its big names, it all begins with Derek Norris.
+ Written by Mighty 1090 intern Dennis Gulyas, under the direction of Jay Paris.