The San Diego Padres, as of Friday afternoon, are the best team in the NL West record with a 41-24 record.
The thing that is hard to believe is not their record per se or the fact they are currently higher than the Dodgers in the standings: it’s actually the fact they have been able to achieve all of this without star player Fernando Tatis Jr., who is still rehabbing from a fractured wrist.
But here we are, and the Padres are looking like World Series contenders even without their best player.
An integral part of their success can, and should, be attributed to their phenomenal starting pitching, especially one member of the rotation: Joe Musgrove.
Musgrove is currently a firm NL Cy Young candidate with a 1.59 ERA in 79 frames so far with the Friars.
He has been amazing from a run-prevention perspective.
“Most consecutive starts to begin a season with 6+ innings and no more than 2 earned runs allowed: JOE MUSGROVE – 2022, 12 Ubaldo Jiménez – 2010, 12 Hoyt Wilhelm – 1959, 10 Bob Tewksbury – 1992, 10,” Codify Baseball tweeted.
Most consecutive starts to begin a season with 6+ innings and no more than 2 earned runs allowed:
JOE MUSGROVE – 2022, 12 😮
Ubaldo Jiménez – 2010, 12
Hoyt Wilhelm – 1959, 10
Bob Tewksbury – 1992, 10 https://t.co/gAFXdpuhqU
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) June 17, 2022
A Quality Starts Machine For The Padres
In other words, every time Musgrove takes the mound, the Padres get a guaranteed quality start.
For reference, a quality start is when a pitcher stays on the mound for six or more innings while allowing three earned runs or fewer.
The right-hander has dominated the competition even without a top-notch fastball.
However, his secondary offerings are so good that he doesn’t need elite fastball velocity or movement to be considered one of the best pitchers in the league.
With 2.3 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), Musgrove is fifth in MLB among hurlers.
If the season ended today, he would probably fight with Miami Marlins’ Sandy Alcantara for the NL Cy Young.