It was not that long ago that the Los Angeles Dodgers were told to watch out for the San Diego Padres. San Diego traded for Juan Soto, Josh Bell, Josh Hader and Brandon Drury, and despite being over 15 games out of first at the time, San Diego had somehow become the new kids on the block ready to make something happen.
Things have not quite gone how the Padres would have hoped since then. Hader has imploded with a 12.46 ERA in San Diego, Bell is hitting .153 with .552 OPS, Drury is hitting .208 with a .631 OPS and the Padres have a 9-11 record. Juan Soto is playing well. but he can’t save everything that has happened for the Padres.
Oh, and Fernando Tatis Jr. was suspended 80 games for a banned substance and then opted to have shoulder surgery afterward that every Padres fan is hoping doesn’t compound the issues even further.
Things have been spiraling for the Padres while the Dodgers have been red-hot, and it is quite hilarious to see the script get flipped after all of the smack talk that came from San Diego during the deadline. It is even funnier when Padres manager Bob Melvin is showing some desperation with some pretty sad postgame comments.
The Dodgers might not even see the Padres in the playoffs after all.
San Diego went from being on top of the world to fighting for their playoff lives in a short timeframe. The Padres are currently the third Wild Card in the National League with just a 1.5-game cushion over the Milwaukee Brewers. They are 2.5 back of the Philadelphia Phillies for the second Wild Card spot.
Things are not going to get easier for the Padres over the last month of the season as well. They are not going to get the luxury of playing a Juan Soto-less Nationals team seven times in a 10-day time frame (while still only winning four of the seven games).
Of the Padres’ 36 remaining games, 17 are against teams with a record above .500 and that does not include another six games against the San Francisco Giants, who are one game under .500 and are still a tough team to beat.
San Diego has nine more games against a Dodgers team that has owned them dating back to the end of last season. With how the Padres have played in those games, a 2-7 record or worse against the Dodgers is definitely not out of the equation.
San Diego very well could falter and open the door for Milwaukee, missing the playoffs altogether. If San Diego does stumble into the playoffs as the third Wild Card team, then it is hard to see them making it all the way to the NLCS, having to go through the St. Louis Cardinals AND New York Mets to do so.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers would play the winner of the fourth and fifth seed (likely Phillies and Braves) in the NLDS. San Diego would have to jump one of those teams to even have a realistic chance of playing the Dodgers and that seems unlikely.