In 2014, the Padres won 48 games at home. That was better than every team in the NL West and all but 3 teams in the National League (Washington, St. Louis, and Pittsburgh, who all won 51).

On the road, it was a different story. The Padres won 29 games, the second lowest total in all of baseball (the lowest total: Colorado with 21).

The 19 game win differential between home and road was the second largest differential in baseball, second only to those same Rockies.

First, a bit on the importance of that 19 game difference. This year, both NL Wild Card teams, one of which played in the World Series this year, won 88 games. I’m sure I don’t have to remind you that it was not too long ago the Padres won 90 games only to miss out on the playoffs (the obvious caveat being there was only 1 wild card back then). Which means a 41-40 record on the road would have equaled a playoff spot. That might seem easy on the surface, but keep in mind that would have been a better road record than Oakland, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis to name a few.

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The Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBBA) was founded in 2009 with the purpose of encouraging collaboration and communication among bloggers from across baseball.  The Alliance also votes on various awards at different times in the year, including end of season awards.  

A pitcher hasn’t won the National League MVP award since 1968 when Bob Gibson won it during the “Year of the Pitcher.” Bob Gibson’s numbers that year are so eye-popping they are almost hard to believe.

ERA: 1.12 (Live Ball Era Record)

IP: 304.2

BA Against: .184

SO: 268

HRs: 11 (11!)

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Hi there! I haven’t been around for awhile. A combination of toddler wrangling and a poor product on the field has lead to neither the time nor motivation to write much.

But those days are over! At least for today!

On September 17th, the Padres were officially eliminated from the post-season. With Tuesday’s 3-2 loss the Padres were guaranteed a below .500 finish, the 4th season in a row and the 6th in 7 seasons.

2014, while unmemorable on the field for the most part, was sadly all to memorable off the field. In January, we lost the voice of the Padres, Jerry Coleman. A devastating loss that was hard to comprehend.

Then June 16, 2014.

I attempted to write something a handful of times following the news that Tony Gwynn succumbed to cancer. I never finished it. Didn’t know how to write it, what to write, barely knew what to say. I was on public transportation when I received a text saying “Sorry about Tony Gwynn.” I didn’t know what that meant. Except, I did. Since then, my passion for 2014 Padres baseball was diminished. I’m sure the poor play on the field played into that. Mostly, I was just ready for the season to be over. 2014 Padres baseball just made me sad mostly.

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Realistically, the Padres are going nowhere this season and that hasn’t changed. Sure, since the All-Star Break they’ve been a better than respectable 11-7. Sure, that accounts for a .611 winning percentage that would top the NL West presently if spread out through the entire season. The Padres have averaged 4.67 runs a game since the All-Star Break, a far cry from the “worst offense in history” that they were (and still may be) just a few weeks ago.

And yes, this is all over an extremely small sample size.

But fans would be excused for getting excited over the recent play of the Padres. Whether it’s players getting healthy, new blood in the lineup, a regression to the mean, or a combination of all of these things, the Padres are playing better. The team stands to get even better still in the near future with the return of Andrew Cashner (though with more names due out from the Biogenesis scandal, who knows if and who the Padres may lose soon).

Add to that the Padres have finally ended their search for a new GM by hiring AJ Preller from the Texas Rangers, a young, energetic, forward thinking baseball mind by all accounts. For a season marred by poor play on the field and tragedy off it, the last month has been a breath of fresh air. So it’s no surprise that fans have been happier recently. Dare I say, we might actually be enjoying this team a bit recently.

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Yesterday the MLB Trade Deadline came…and went. And while the week or so leading up to the deadline was quieter than recent memory in the way of rumors, the deadline day itself brought a flurry of moves that were, at times, difficult to keep up with. Add to that the newish trend of fake Twitter accounts of MLB writers and the information, and misinformation, was fast and furious.

So what of the Padres? Well, their trading began a few weeks ago when they sent Huston Street to Anaheim and, a few days later, Chase Headley to the Yankees (which has been handled in a variety of spots so we won’t rehash that here). This left Chris Denorfia, Joaquin Benoit and Ian Kennedy as the most talked about pieces that the Padres could move. For a team that is double digits below .500 the Padres had a surprising number of sought after pieces.

Let’s start with the move the Padres DID make. It was reported early on yesterday that Denorfia was moving and that the Dodgers were going hard after Benoit.

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It’s no surprise to anyone reading this that the Padres offense is historically bad. And while I continue to await a regression to the mean, the further into the season we go the more I’m concerned that this simply is the mean. These offensive woes are not being noticed only in our neck of the woods it turns out. Yesterday, Benjamin Hoffman of the New York Times contacted me for my thoughts on an article he was doing on the Padres woes. While he, naturally, didn’t use everything (I can be a bit verbose at times) I thought I’d provide the unedited version of our email interview here.

You can check out the NY Times article here.

Enjoy!

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Chase Headley made his 2008 debut for the Padres (after playing 8 games for the Padres in 2007) on June 17, 2008 at old Yankee Stadium. I know this because I can look it up online. But also because I was there, in my one and only trip to Yankee Stadium before it was torn down and replaced…by Yankee Stadium. But this was THE Yankee Stadium. And despite my lifelong hatred of the Yankees, no self-respecting baseball fan can say with a straight face that Yankee Stadium didn’t hold a certain hallowed ground status. It’s baseball history, as is Wrigley and Fenway. 2008 was the last season it would exist. And by happenstance the Padres would be playing the Yankees in interleague play. So, I hopped a plane, did some sightseeing, and took the subway to the Bronx to see the Padres lose 8-0 to the Yankees that day. No matter. It was a great experience. And it was Chase Headley’s first game of that season.

I was excited for Yankee Stadium. But I was also excited to get to see Chase Headley in person. After getting an amos buche of Chase Headley a year earlier, and with all the hype that comes along with hot prospects, expectations were high for Chase. I was so excited, I even took a picture of the scoreboard with a camera apparently set to the smallest possible setting (every picture from that trip to New York is this size…it is quite disappointing).

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“It’s a disease. Nobody thinks or feels or cares any more; nobody gets excited or believes in anything except their own comfortable little God damn mediocrity.

– Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road 

The Padres have lost 4 games in a row, which, in and of itself, isn’t newsworthy. It’s relatively mundane actually. The Padres are 3-7 in their last 10. Again, not great but nothing to stop the presses over.

No, the Padres issue isn’t the losing anymore. At least not the losing on the field. It’s the loss they are beginning to experience in the stands and in living rooms where Padres fans reside.

It’s apathy. And it’s a disease. A disease that the Padres have brought upon themselves and a disease that only the Padres can cure.

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Early this week, the Padres played their longest 9 inning game in franchise history and hit 3 batters for the 22nd time in the process. 

They lost.

On Wednesday, the Padres salvaged their series against the Pirates and won the getaway game, avoiding a sweep. While that fact is not overly interesting, this one is. The Padres won the game by getting only 1 hit, a bunt single in the first. Despite that, they won 3-2. As Corey Brock pointed out in his game recap, this was only the 3rd time in Padres history that the Padres had won with only 1 hit. 

The most recent 1-hit win was on April 20, 2010 vs the San Francisco Giants. This was a bit more your routine 1-hit wins, as much as 1-hit wins can be “routine” as the Padres won 1-0. Mat Latos spun a gem of a game, tossing 7 IP of scoreless baseball. The Padres’ lone hit came in the 4th inning on a single from Chase Headley that led to their lone run. A stolen base put Headley in scoring position before he moved to third base on a foul pop-out to 1st base. Scott Hairston hit a sac fly to right field. Run scores. Game functionally over. However, unlike on Wednesday, in which the Padres did not even hit a fly ball until the 8th inning, the Padres were hitting fly balls from the start, including the aforementioned sac fly. Also, unlike Wednesday, where the Padres drew 9 walks, the Padres drew only 3 walks that day.

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In 2010 the Padres utilized a second round pick on a shortstop out of West Virginia by the name of Jedd Gyorko. He was viewed by most throughout MLB prior to that draft to be a bit of a defensive liability at shortstop and the thought was that he’d move positions (his arm being strong enough to play anywhere on the diamond). Gyorko in 2010? He didn’t care. 

Where I play [on defense] isn’t a big concern for me. I’m just ready for this chance to live a dream and it will all work out.

As is well known to most (if not all) who are reading this right now, Gyorko shot through the minor league system, ending the 2012 season as Baseball America’s best third baseman in AAA. In 2013, in part due to injuries and necessity, Gyorko made the San Diego Padres out of Spring Training as a second baseman. It’s a position he’s yet to relinquish and was in fact rewarded with a 5 year extension early this year. If (when?) the Padres jettison Chase Headley, Gyorko will be the lone position player who can legitimately be called a homegrown (until the next homegrown player arrives). And he’s here to stay.

And he is struggling. Mightily.

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