The Padres were incredibly close to being bounced from the playoffs early in their first postseason appearance in over 10 years. Thankfully, the players who helped get the team here in the first place rose to the occasion and elevated this team over the Cardinals to force a game three, which they won Friday night in a blank job of St. Louis 4-0.
Now, with the National Leadue Divisional Series in front of us, ESPN’s David Schoenfield went ahead and published a new set of power rankings for the remaining eight MLB teams. Your Padres came in at #3, only behind their next opponent, Los Angeles Dodgers (#1), and the Tampa Bay Rays.
Here’s what Schoenfield had to say about his ranking of the Padres, based on what they learned during their victories in the wild card round.
What’s changed: “The bullpen might be a lot better than we realized. Padres starters lasted just 4⅓ innings over the first two games, and they went with a bullpen game in Game 3 — they used seven relievers in Game 1, eight in Game 2, and the nine relievers in Game 3 combined for a shutout. Even the seventh, eighth and ninth pitchers can present problems; Tim Hill is a tricky left-handed sidearmer, and rookies Adrian Morejon and Luis Patino have big-time arms.”
What we didn’t learn: “Whether they can win a longer series without Dinelson Lamet and Mike Clevinger — let alone a series against the Dodgers. Lamet seems more likely to be activated, but the Padres also are holding out hope for Clevinger, who has pitched just one inning since Sept. 13. They’ll obviously need better outings from Chris Paddack and Zach Davies, and Garrett Richards will probably draw a start, especially if Lamet can’t go. But expect Jayce Tingler to go to his bullpen early and often and take advantage of these expanded 28-man playoff rosters.”
We have yet to learn if either Lamet or Clevinger will be active for the divisional series, but he’s correct that the former is more likely to be available than the latter.
Here’s to hoping a miracle takes place and both of them find their way onto the active roster for the NLDS.