This is a blog series I put together on the 8 MLB Wild Card playoff teams. You can click these links for the other previews already published:
5. Blue Jays
Hopefully it helps improve your MLB playoff experience whether you're a diehard like me or just getting into the season and don't know where to start.
And of course - follow Starting 9 for world class MLB playoff coverage.
Let's get into it:
But first you animals need to know that Bombs Away is the hottest bet on the internet. Hottest is a subjective definition so don't start talking units. Let's talk VALUE
That's a pretty easy ask when you really think about it. The Mets, Phillies and Cardinals are all top 10 in slugging percentage. There's gonna be some pops on the board and +185 is a great number for the action. So go get a taste under the exclusives tab here:
The San Diego Padres
Division: West (2nd)
Playoff Seed: 5th of 6
Wild Card Opponent: @ (#4) New York Mets (up 1-0)
Obligatory Sweet Moment:
I'm not even trolling. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of the Padres is Bartolo Colon hitting this home run. Legendary moment.
Manager: Bob Melvin
Years Managed: 19 - 1st with Padres
Record: 1435-1345 (.516)
Postseason Record: 10-17
Accomplishments: 7 playoff appearances but only 2 series wins. I'd be more critical but his 2 series wins came against the two Chicago baseball teams. Bob is only good at hurting me and my friends. It remains to be seen if that extends to the Mets guys in my life. Sorry in advance fellas.
Noteworthy Nuggets: Not much outside of being a mainstay in MLB for most of my life. Bob Melvin is one of those names that generates confidence, but you can't really defend him in an argument. Like I can easily recite primary and secondary traits for so many other managers that are significantly less accomplished. But then you say Bob Melvin and I put my guard down because it's Bob Melvin. He's practically an institution at this point. Also, I think we all agree he's probably a super nice guy and trustworthy father figure that remains calm 99% of the time. But then the 1% is so bad that you basically live in this bizarre state of fear around him that subconsciously forces you to play clean fundamental baseball. Maybe that's Bob's secret sauce.
General Manager: AJ Preller (8 years) is an absolute fucking ROCKET of a man
He's also mortgaged a decade of Padres success on the next two seasons. Clearly a sweet dude who wants to ball out and do big shit with his money. The kinda guy that listens to 1,000 different experts say "Soto will never sign an extension before free agency" and then instinctively believes that's only because Soto hasn't heard his pitch yet. Like Jon Gruden salivating over Ryan Mallett's measurements despite all the red flags. JUST WAIT til we get our hands on him. Sure thing AJ.
Same time that's exactly why we love guys like AJ Preller.
Padres Owner's Box
Owner: Peter Seidler
Net Worth: $3B
Source of Wealth: Comes from a super rich family and it sounds like this guy didn't do shit. He seems pretty laid back. Not trying to make some character assessment here but he definitely strikes me as the kinda guy that routinely gets taken advantage of by other owners.
Year Purchased: 2020
Purchase Price: $800M
2022 Team Value: $1.6B
2022 Payroll (MLB rank): $236 Million (5th of 30)
The 2022 Padres
Brand Recognition: They're too cool. I know they hustle and they're professional athletes. But the Padres have always been the cool kids. They don't lift weights because it's heavy that's not very chill. They're always injured. Never playing their best. And AJ Preller will trade his first born to get another all star in the lineup. Gotta love that commitment.
3 Best Players:
1. Manny Machado, 3B = misunderstood hall of famer that's played a full season 8 straight years
2. Juan Soto, RF = rejected $450,000,000
3. Ha-Seong Kim, SS = 5+ WAR from a backup SS
Best Starting Pitcher: Yu Darvish
Best Relief Pitcher: Nobody and I don't mean that negatively. They're all pretty talented just can't really say if one is better than the other right now. They're all the same amount of good and nerve inducing from my chair.
Surprise Guy To Watch: Sean Manaea is such an interesting story coming into playoffs. They Padres haven't needed a high leverage reliever yet but I think Manea could slide into that role this postseason. He's outside the top-3 starters for sure. However he's been outstanding in his last 10-innings and credits a change in his breaking stuff late in September. It would be cool to see him get these late season chances, albeit much differently than what the Padres anticipated when they traded for him in April.
Oldest Guy On The Team: Craig Stammen, 38
Youngest Guy On The Team: Adrián Morejón, 23
Strengths: Manny Machado and Juan Soto are both top-10 players in the world. They have a lot of talent in the rotation. Bob Melvin is a calming presence and they're already up 1-0.
Weaknesses: I don't understand how you manage this bullpen and I think you can easily pitch around the middle of their order in late innings. If you don't let Manny Machado beat you, you should be okay. I think. Then again Max Scherzer would say otherwise.
My 3 Questions:
1. Can Blake Snell throw more than 5 innings? I know they have a 1-0 lead but he kinda needs to give you at least 15 outs tonight.
2. Is this deGrom's last game as a Met? Would be crazy if Trent Grisham was the guy who killed Steve Cohen's 2022 Mets. I don't think deGrom let's that happen but there's a lot more riding on this than elimination and I actually mean that.
3. Will you let Darin Ruf beat you? That would be hilarious. Mets fans are losing their minds about him in the lineup but I actually think he kills Blake Snell. Keep an eye out for him. I mean that.
The Padres can win the World Series IF…
Yu Darvish throws 7-8 every time out of 0-1 run baseball. Blake Snell does something similar. Sean Manaea turns into a beast out of the bullpen. Jurickson Profar stays hot and Machado hits like 8 more bombs. Then Juan Soto acts like Juan Soto. Shit like that is pretty predictable and I don't need to sit here and repeat it. I'm not saying it's easy but there's definitely a path for the Padres to win the WS. Short answer is everyone needs to ball the fuck out for the next couple weeks. And lucky enough they have just the perfect kinda guys to do just that.
For more on the San Diego Padres and the 2022 Wild Card Series: