Is anyone surprised by the Padres losing streak?

If so, please raise your hand because you shouldn’t be.

After only losing three games in a row once all season (this happened in May) the San Diego Padres are riding a ten game losing streak. And it’s about time.

Don’t get me wrong, the Padres are still a good team and proved a lot of people wrong who picked them to finish last in the NL West. But the offense is putrid. Their team .308 wOBA is beyond poor. I know their road numbers are a lot better than their home numbers, but the offense still is not good. Adrian Gonzalez is a monster and Ryan Ludwick isn’t so bad himself, but this is a team that lets Will Venable and David Eckstein bat. No matter how good a team is in other facets of the game, it’s tough to maintain the best record in the league when you offense is miserable.

What has carried the Padres has been pitching and defense. Mainly defense though. While the Padres have a fantastic team FIP, the bulk of that is carried by the bullpen. Most of their starters have ERA’s better than their periphs indicate because of Petco Park and an amazing defense that catches everything put in play. Like almost literally you need to get a home run to score in Petco, and hitting a home run is near impossible. While the Padres starters have a fantastic 3.65 ERA, their FIP is 4.11, which is just middle of the pack in baseball. In fact, it’s only the fourth best FIP in their own division. So their starters, outside Mat Latos who is a Beast, are not that good. Their flaws are just minimized by a fantastic defense. I mean, their K/9, BB/9, and HR/9 are average. But they have one of the better BABIP’s and a league leading LOB% of 76.8%. So for the first five months of the season the starters were being saved by the defense. Over the past two weeks that has not been a case and their true talent level has emerged.

The Padres all season have won close, low scoring games. The games are low scoring before the Padres can’t score and their defense prevents a ton of runs even though the starters allow quite a few base runners. The Padres win those games because of a legit, dominant bullpen which is a strength. The bullpen by far has the best FIP of 2.88 (the only under 3.00) and by far have the best bullpen xFIP of 3.16. However, it’s tough to expect a bullpen, no matter how good, to hold the lead in every close game. The breaks are finally going against San Diego.

The Padres regression is finally recurring and it should make for an interesting September race unless San Francisco, and even Colorado for that matter, don’t feel like winning.

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