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The San Diego Padres (37-47) have somehow, miraculously found a way to move into third place in the NL West. Well, not so miraculously, considering the level of baseball in which the Colorado Rockies (36-48) performed at throughout the month of June. Perhaps the Friars should be showering the pitching staff of the team from the Mile High City with gifts, and thanking them for basically laying down and getting out of the way. The Arizona Diamondbacks (35-50), on the other hand, continue to play sloppy baseball, and fail to do much right. They have maintained the status-quo as the last place team for the majority of the season, so nothing has changed with them.
It is hard to believe that a team who hit .171 on the month, which gives them the not-so popular place in the record books as the lowest hitting performance by a team during a month since 1920, has managed to climb the standings. Then again, it is hard to believe how a team like the Colorado Rockies, who rank number one in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and rank second in MLB in runs can lose 20 games in a single month. It is a battle of some very bad teams in the NL West, and this far into the season, no one can any longer call it a slump; this is their identity.
The Padres hitting woes mostly continue, and though they finally unleashed with a barrage of hits in the game yesterday against the Cincinnati Reds, nobody can argue with their .213 season average. Even a broken clock is right twice per day, so it may be a little premature to jump up and down and feel like the ship is headed in the right direction.
Following today’s series finale against the Reds, the Friars will welcome the league-leading, San Francisco Giants, for a three game set. The Giants currently hold a half game lead in the division over the Los Angeles Dodgers, so they are still kicking and fighting, hoping to pick up as many wins before reaching the July 15 All-Star game at Target Field, in Minneapolis. The Padres will then move on to Colorado to face to spiraling out-of-control Rockies for three games, before facing another firestorm of a series as they move into Los Angeles for the final four games before the much-needed break.
Is it all doom and gloom for the Friars? Not completely. As rough as things are going, and with their team batting average inching near the worst season performance in the history of MLB, they must be feeling a slight bit of optimism about being in third place, and 10.5 games out of first place. The Padres pitching staff continues to carry the team on their back, but as a season moves forward, arms begin to break down, so eventually this team is going to either have to make some moves, either in trade options or bring some prospects up from their minor-league affiliates. All is not lost, and it is not time to throw in the white towel, but perhaps moulding some young talent, and giving the lineup a new look would be refreshing to everyone involved.
Commentary by Johnny Caito