Now that school is out for the summer, I can focus on important things like baseball. Unfortunately, with the way the year has started for the Padres, that suddenly sounds a lot less palatable than it did in April. The Pads’ 16-28 record gives them the dubious distinction of being the worst team in baseball. Were it September, I’d be a lot more disappointed. However, it is only May 18, which means there’s still a chance to dig out of this hole. Right?
Before the season, KT, DePo and the front office group figured that this team should win 90 games this year. At this point, to hit that number, the padres would have to play .627 ball the rest of the way (74-44). Is it doable? Not if the club stays on their current track. But if these guys start hitting a little, the ship could turn very quickly.
I started thinking about the Padres’ predicament in a historical context and wondered whether any team had come back to make the playoffs after such a lousy start. Looking back at the last 25 years, there have been 62 teams that have had a winning percentage of .364 or below on May 18; I understand that some teams have played more or less games than our club at this date, but this was the easiest way for me to calculate everything, and I reserve my right as a blogger to cherrypick stats for the purposes of furthering my argument.
Of the 62 teams that were as bad as the Padres, 58 finished with a record under .500 and 25 finished with a record under .400. That means that based on data from the last 25 years, the Padres have a 6.4% chance of hitting .500 by the end of the season. This is a very arbitrary way of looking at things, but I’m not looking for an accurate estimation of this team’s chances; I’m just trying to cheer myself up by looking at what past teams have done. It isn’t working.
Finally, and more to the point, has any team started as poorly as the Friars in 2008 and still made the playoffs? Yes. The 1989 Toronto Blue Jays stumbled out of the gate to a 14-25 start (.359); that team, led by 17-game winner Dave Stieb and not-yet-former Padre Fred McGriff, finished at 89-73, two games better than the second-place Orioles.
It’s happened before. These Padres don’t make me confident it can be done again. But it can be done.