Before Monday’s games, the San Diego Padres are still a playoff team.
They have a 67-53 record, which is good, but probably not as good as they anticipated before the campaign began.
They are 5-5 in their last 10 games, but the problem is they play in the most competitive division in MLB other than perhaps the American League East.
The San Francisco Giants have the best record in MLB at 76-42, and the Los Angeles Dodgers are right behind them, with a solid 72-46.
Both of those teams are 8-2 in their last 10 contests as of Monday afternoon, while the Padres are 5-5.
The friars have fallen way behind in the division race, at 10 games back.
The most worrisome development, however, is that the Cincinnati Reds are getting awfully close to the Padres.
San Diego currently holds the second Wild Card spot, but the Reds are now 2.5 games behind them.
San Diego, like almost every team in the history of professional sports, have had to deal with injuries throughout the season.
Tatis Jr.’s Health Is The Storyline To Follow In The Coming Weeks
The problem, however, is that they have been affecting the best players on the roster, which is often not ideal for teams in the hunt for the playoffs.
The most notorious case is Fernando Tatis Jr.
The All-Star shortstop suffered a shoulder subluxation on a swing and miss in April, an injury with extremely high re-aggravation odds.
"His hope, the Padres hope is that he stays healthy and finishes the season. It's going to be tricky because [Tatis Jr.] plays really hard."@Ken_Rosenthal updates us on Fernando Tatis Jr's shoulder issue: pic.twitter.com/DG7SqAS2ut
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) April 18, 2021
Indeed, he has re-injured his shoulder several times already, and the Padres are continually praying that his season doesn’t end prematurely before they can ready their primary objective, which is playing in the World Series.
He is playing in the outfield now, too.
The most impressive part of the Padres’ season is that Tatis has been able to produce while playing with virtually one shoulder.
He has a .300/.379/.675 slash line, with 33 homers and 23 stolen bases while missing about a month worth of games.
Other Injuries Of Note
The Padres have also lost other players for varying periods of time.
Drew Pomeranz, a key cog in their dominant bullpen, has been lost for the season with a forearm injury.
Ace Yu Darvish, dealing with back issues, will be out until late August.
Additionally, the #Padres placed RHP Yu Darvish on the 10-Day IL (lower back tightness, retro to 8/13) and recalled RHP Reiss Knehr from El Paso.
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) August 15, 2021
The same goes for Dinelson Lamet, a pitcher who dominated in 2020.
Lamet, however, seems ticketed for Tommy John surgery eventually, as he has missed a lot of time in 2021 with shoulder woes.
Starter Chris Paddack has also missed time with injuries, and is currently nursing an oblique issue.
Prospect CJ Abrams, who could have been a September call-up (albeit in an unlikely scenario) also suffered a season-ending injury.
Promising starter Adrian Morejon was lost for the year in April due to his elbow.
If you add ace Mike Clevinger, also rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, the injuries have been too much to overcome.
As long as they have Tatis playing games, the Padres will have a chance, a shot at the World Series trophy.
If they ever lose him for the year, it may be too hard of a blow to get back up.