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Rays will test if Padres have actually turned a corner

San Diego has won back-to-back series but they weren’t against teams as good as Tampa Bay

Cleveland Guardians v San Diego Padres Photo by Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images

Did the San Diego Padres need to win these last two series against the Colorado Rockies and Cleveland Guardians? Probably, considering that they entered Colorado four games under .500. But they shouldn’t be seen as convincing series wins partly because those games weren’t against their next opponent: the Tampa Bay Rays.

Tampa enters San Diego with easily the best record in Major League Baseball. They started off the season with 13 consecutive wins—something that Padres fans may have thought their team would do at some point this season.

Fast forward to today and we should be hoping this team can put together a winning streak half as good as that.

The Padres have just three players with a bWAR north of 2 so far this season (Fernando Tatis Jr., Juan Soto, Ha-Seong Kim). The Rays, on the other hand, have five (Wander Franco, Shane McClanahan, Randy Arozarena, Yandy Diaz, Josh Lowe). Casual baseball fans probably don’t know much about most of those five Rays but that’s who the Rays are.

Every year they acquire new talent who we haven’t heard of and somehow still to make the postseason essentially every year. They also draft and develop their prospects to make them valuable to their franchise at the big league level, which is something that the Padres haven’t had the best track record of doing.

Inconsistency has been the one word to describe the Padres in 2023. The Rays one word? Consistency. Tampa Bay hasn’t lost back-to-back series all season long. San Diego’s done it numerous times.

It’ll be a tough test this weekend for the Padres. If they pass it then we can start talking about this team actually having turned a corner.

Tonight: Shane McClanahan (TB) vs. Yu Darvish (SD)

First Pitch: 6:40 pm PT, MLB-San Diego Padres, 97.3 The Fan

McClanahan’s last outing (June 11): 7 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K

Darvish’s last outing (June 9): 5.1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 6 K

Saturday: Zach Eflin (TB) vs. Blake Snell (SD)

First Pitch: 4:15 pm PT, Fox, 97.3 The Fan

Eflin’s last outing (June 12): 4.2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K

Snell’s last outing (June 11): 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 12 K

Sunday: TBD (TB) vs. Joe Musgrove (SD)

First Pitch: 1:10 pm PT, MLB-San Diego Padres, 97.3 The Fan

Musgrove’s last outing (June 13): 6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K