Every man has his limit. And this is ours. We've talked far too much mess about the San Diego Padres this year to be able to stomach improbably running into them in the NLDS. Enough. ENOUGH. Can someone please end their misguided playoff pursuit so their elimination doesn't fall on the Dodgers' shoulders?
The Padres' dysfunctional clubhouse should be dead and buried by now. They should've been eliminated weeks ago -- or, at the very least, playing out some sad string like the Boston Red Sox, who raced into the Wild Card race at 10 games over, fumbled around .500 for a while and bit the elimination dust on Wednesday night.
Instead, San Diego has somehow found their stroke in recent weeks (though playing the Colorado Rockies probably has a good deal to do with it). After a summer of rumored leadership squabbles, diagnoses of "too many stars" disease, and remarkably poor performance in tight games, Xander Bogaerts now gets to find the microphone and talk about how glad he is that the Padres "proved" the will to win existed within them all along. Just in time for 2024.
But ... ugh ... what about 2023? The Padres' tragic number in the Wild Card race still sits at an uncomfortably high six, meaning the world still requires a combination of six Cubs wins/Padres losses before the deed is done. Their record is a suddenly respectable 75-78, with hideous series against the Cardinals and White Sox -- as well as a road series against scuffling San Francisco -- on their horizon.
They almost definitely won't make the leap to the playoffs ... but if they do ... they're on a collision course to see the Dodgers from Sixth Seed Land if they can advance past the Wild Card round.
Dodgers Playoff Bracket: If Padres end up in October, we swear to God...
Please. My hopes to avoid a drama-free opening round of the postseason. They're very sick ...
For a while, it seemed as if the Giants might make the leap -- they, too, were the hottest team in baseball in late June, stealing walk-off after walk-off against the Padres in almost Red Sox-ian fashion. Instead, they seem liable to be passed in late September, which would leave only Chicago, Cincinnati and Miami standing between San Diego's current win streak and a redemptive final seed.
The odds are still stacked against SD, and if the Padres do sneak into October, any team that plays them would be overwhelming favorites. But nobody wants to see the hot hand creep into their bracket. Ask the ... 2007 Padres, who stumbled down the stretch and were caught by a Rockies team that was jacked up on belief. That Rocktober crew eventually made the World Series before the Red Sox eradicated them.
Don't say Doug McKain didn't warn you with this nauseating paragraph. The Padres are so close to dead that it'll hurt more than ever if they somehow come back to life from this point forward. It'll be like the regular season never even happened -- so, yeah, like most Dodgers playoff runs, actually.