Mr. Stats’ Notes: Shared history for Padres, Nationals

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In a public letter to Nationals fans from the Lerner family, published in the 2022 Nationals Media Guide, Washington’s principal owners wrote: “What more can you say about Juan Soto? He has become a pillar of our organization and one of the best players in Major League Baseball right before our eyes. Not only does he have incredible talent, but his attitude, energy and enthusiasm are infectious.”

On Sunday, in a game streamed live on Peacock beginning at 12 pm ET, Juan Soto’s attitude, energy, and enthusiasm will once again be on display at Nats Park in D.C. But now, he is a pillar of a different organization: the San Diego Padres.

The Padres believe that to win a World Series, you need elite players. To get elite players, you need an elite set of prospects, and elite talent evaluators. San Diego put all their chips in the middle of the table at the trade deadline, acquiring Josh Bell, Brandon Drury, Josh Hader, and the uber-talented Soto.

Is that good? Only if you don’t mind adding a player (Drury) whose slugging percentage (min. 400 PA) is among the top 11 in the sport, actually tied with Padres’ superstar Manny Machado.  Only if you don’t mind taking on the closer (Hader) with the most saves in the sport since 2019. Only if you think a cleanup hitter having a career season (Bell) could improve on San Diego’s woeful production from the No. 4 spot in the order so far in 2022 (.215/.292/.346, with 11 HR through Wednesday). And of course, adding Soto, one of the top talents in the game.

Of course, a cynic might say what do the Padres know about winning a World Series?

It is that time, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, to travel back in the WABAC (Way-Back) Machine to examine the Padres’ history — and how they’ll always be connected with the team they’ll face on Sunday, the Washington Nationals.

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Padres and Nationals linked by history

We are going to set the WABAC to May 27, 1968. Now, when most people remember or study 1968, they think of events like the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, the Apollo program and space travel, the music of the counterculture, etc. Not me. I’m taking you to a meeting in Chicago among National League owners on May 27, 1968. On the 16th secret ballot — after more than 10 hours of discussion and argument — the National League finally agreed to expand from 10 teams to 12, adding the San Diego Padres and Montreal Expos (who would become the Washington Nationals decades later) beginning in the 1969 season.

And how have the two franchises from the Class of ’69 fared in their 54 seasons?

Montreal/Washington:  4,105-4,355

San Diego:                    3,925-4,546

Both teams have just six postseason appearances. The Montreal/Washington franchise has one World Series championship, and that did not happen until 2019. But that’s still better than the Pads.

San Diego is one of six franchises to never win a World Series title. The Padres have been around since 1969, and in all those years, have won exactly 1 World Series game (Game 2 of the 1984 World Series). The Pads lost in five games in 1984 to the Tigers, and were swept in 1998 by the Yankees.

The Cleveland Guardians haven’t won a World Series title since 1948 (73 years) but at least they came close (they lost in 10 innings in Game 7 to the Cubs in 2016).

The Texas Rangers have not won a World Series title ever. But they came within one strike — twice — in Game 6 of the 2011 Fall Classic vs. the Cardinals.

The Brewers (beginning in the American League as the Seattle Pilots) started the same year as the Padres, and they too have never won a World Series. But at least Harvey’s Wallbangers reached a Game 7, and led 3-1 in the seventh inning of that Game 7, before falling to St. Louis in 1982.

The Tampa Bay Rays have never won a Fall Classic, but were so close to reaching a climactic Game 7 in the 2020 World Series. However, manager Kevin Cash pulled Blake Snell, who had a lead and a low pitch count when he was removed in the sixth inning of Game 6.

The Rockies and the Mariners have also never won a World Series, but they haven’t been around nearly as long as the Padres.

RELATED: Vin Scully and Bill Russell: Essential voices lost

Will trade moves bring Padres the ultimate prize?

The Padres HAD to take a chance on trading all their prospects. I wouldn’t worry if I were a Padres fan about how well the prospects will fare in the future. By all accounts, C.J. Abrams, Victor Acosta, Robert Gasser, MacKenzie Gore, Robert Hassell III, and James Wood make up quite a desirable package. Not to mention Luke Voit (a productive middle-of-the-order bat, or a chip for even more prospects).

There is real risk in doing what San Diego did. The Nationals did well, and a few years from now, there is a chance people will believe that they fleeced the Padres (in the same way a 2013 NBA blockbuster trade between Brooklyn and Boston sent superstars Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Nets, only to find years later that Boston’s 2022 cornerstones Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum were acquired with draft picks from that trade). Sometimes, tortured franchises can do everything right, and still not win a title. There is a lot of luck involved.

But the idea is to win the World Series. The Padres have not made the postseason in a 162-game schedule since 2007. This team has a big payroll. This team brought in a seasoned manager in Bob Melvin. This team locked up its ace for years, kept trading up for an elite closer and fills their wonderful home stadium night after night.

Will it be enough to win a postseason tournament with the powerhouse teams in the National League like the Dodgers, Mets, and Braves? Not sure.

But like, wow!

RELATED: Juan Soto promises to bring ‘good vibes,’ winning to Padres

The missing ingredient

The big thing for San Diego is to get Fernando Tatis, Jr. back in the lineup for the first time in 2022. He’ll likely return next week, as he continues his rehab after fracturing his left wrist before the season. He’s playing centerfield in the Minors a bit, as the Padres want to keep Ha-Seong Kim at shortstop as much as possible. So Tatis, Jr. will play a little shortstop, some centerfield for the struggling Trent Grisham, and designated hitter when he eventually returns to the big-league club.

Wouldn’t it be something for the National League Championship Series to come down to the Mets and Padres, with Jacob deGrom facing Tatis, Jr. with the season on the line, two players that didn’t play at all in the first four months of the season? Wouldn’t it be something for San Diego to make the World Series and face the Yankees? Who knows? If that happens, we could have a matchup between Judge and Drury.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Of course, what’s most likely to happen is this: a star member of the Washington Nationals’ 2019 World Series team is going to be the 2022 N.L. MVP and lead his team to a World Series title.

No, I’m not talking about Juan Soto (although that scenario could happen).

It’s more likely Trea Turner wins the N.L. MVP and leads the Dodgers to the championship.

Turner, traded to the Dodgers from the Nationals a year ago at the trade deadline, has played 162 games for Los Angeles since the trade. He has scored 110 runs and hit 28 HR and has 109 RBI. He’s stolen 30 bases, has an .852 OPS and plays a terrific shortstop.

The absence of Turner has led to a tremendous hole for Washington, whose shortstops now are a mess offensively and defensively. It’s a large part of the reason why the return for Soto included 21-year-old C.J. Abrams (the sixth overall pick of the 2019 Draft).

And to conclude just how intertwined the Nationals and Padres franchises are, know this: Trea Turner was drafted by San Diego in the first round (13th overall) of the 2014 Draft, before being traded to the Nationals the next year to complete the deal that sent Wil Myers to the Padres.

MLB schedule 2022: Every Sunday morning baseball game on Peacock, matchups, what to know

 

Mr. Stats’ Notes: Playoff picture starts to take focus

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This is the time of year that baseball turns from a marathon to a sprint. The Toronto Blue Jays are steps ahead of other teams for a spot in the postseason. Toronto finished one game out of the playoffs a year ago. Will this year be different?

On Sunday, in a game streamed on Peacock beginning at 12 pm eastern, the Blue Jays will play the Pittsburgh Pirates.

In 2021, the Jays finished one game behind the Yankees for the Wild Card; and 39 games better than the division rival Orioles. Can Baltimore pass Toronto in the final weeks to nab the third and final Wild Card?

It’s time to sharpen up the predictions to pick out some potential October matchups and storylines.

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Wouldn’t it be something if…the Pittsburgh Pirates win the World Series?

Well, not the 2022 Pirates.  But several former Pirates.

The 2017 Pirates team had Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon in their starting rotation. By 2018, Cole was gone but Clay Holmes was in the Bucs pen.  If the New York Yankees win the 2022 World Series, it will almost certainly be with heavy lifting being done by Cole, Taillon, and Holmes. Jameson (12-4, 3.97) leads the Yankees in wins. Cole is their ace. Holmes should be the closer.

And if the New York Mets win the World Series this year, they will lean heavily on two other Pirates from those Clint Hurdle-managed teams. The Mets don’t hurdle through the National League without Starling Marte and, to a lesser degree, Trevor Williams.  Marte is slashing .309/.359/.511 with 41 extra-base hits in 93 games since May 1, and for the season his bWAR is 3.7. Williams, meanwhile, has not allowed a run in a career-high 24.0 straight innings. Trevor has a 0.88 WHIP, a .190 opponent’s average and a .483 opponent’s OPS during that span.

Pittsburgh fans can find someone to root for even if the San Diego Padres win the World Series (Joe Musgrove), or the Atlanta Braves (Charlie Morton) repeat.

2022 MLB on Peacock schedule: How to watch, live stream Sunday morning baseball games online

Wouldn’t it be something if…the Cardinals beat the Mets in the postseason (with Adam Wainwright getting the final outs)?

In 2006, the Mets won 97 games. The Cardinals won 83 games. But the two teams met in the NLCS, and in Game 7, the Cards had a 3-1 lead entering the bottom of the ninth. Rookie Adam Wainwright closed it out, slamming the door and eliminating the Mets by striking out Carlos Beltran with the bases loaded to end the game.

Wouldn’t it be something if all these years later, the Cardinals once again eliminated the heavily-favored Mets in the deciding game with Wainwright (9-9, 3.09) on the mound!

And if that happened…

Wouldn’t it be something if…the Cardinals beat the Yankees in the World Series (with Jordan Montgomery eliminating his former team)?

Jordan Montgomery was traded from the Yankees to the Cardinals in exchange for Harrison Bader. Montgomery, in his first five starts for St. Louis, is 4-0, with 1.76 ERA and a WHIP of 0.815. How great would it be for Monty, who started the season as the Yankees’ No. 3 starter, eliminates New York.

Of course, October is a long way away. Perhaps Harrison Bader will run down a long blast by Nolan Arenado or Paul Goldschmidt to save a game for the Yankees.

I know what you’re thinking. Even if the Cardinals make the World Series, the Yankees may fall in the ALCS to the Astros. And if that were the case…

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Wouldn’t it be something if…the Cardinals and Astros meet in the World Series, a rematch of the 2004 NLCS (when St. Louis won) and the 2005 NLCS (when Houston won)?

Albert Pujols was the MVP of the 2004 NLCS versus the Houston Astros. Albert batted .500 (14-28 AB) with 1.000 SLG, 1.563 OPS, and 4 HR in the series! Imagine if he has a surge in the very late stages of his career. In the 2005 series, he hit a ninth-inning blast off Brad Lidge that’s a signature highlight in a career full of them.

I know, the Cardinals are a long shot. The Mets have a much better chance of reaching the World Series. So:

Wouldn’t it be something if…Buck Showalter finally makes the World Series in his 21st year as a Major League manager…and loses the Series when the Yankees bring in a reliever named (check notes…) Zack Britton to slam the door on Buck’s Mets?

Well before Timmy Trumpet, Showalter once had an elite reliever in his stint with the Orioles, Zack Britton. In 2016, Britton saved 47 games in 47 save opportunities. The Orioles won 89 games in 2016, and played in the one-game Wild Card in Toronto. The elimination game was tied 2-2 after five innings. And six innings. And seven innings. And eight innings. And nine innings. And ten innings. Buck kept waiting for his Birds to score a run, to bring in the great Britton to close out the Jays. Trouble is, he never did get Zack into the game, and eventually Ubaldo Jimenez lost the game for Buck in the 11th.

Just a thought. If there’s an opportunity to get Edwin Diaz late in a tie game on the road, do it. If you go down, go down with your best.

RELATED: Rogers: Mets are ‘built for postseason’

Wouldn’t it be something if Buck Showalter finally makes it to the World Series against the Astros and Dusty Baker? One of them has to win, right? Please tell me someone has to win.

Is it even remotely possible that Dusty’s team blows another series lead? Baker shouldn’t have lost the 2002 World Series to the Angels, or the 2021 World Series to the Braves. He shouldn’t have blown a 2-0 series lead to the Giants in a 2012 best-of-five series. He shouldn’t have blown a three-run lead with five outs to go in Game 7 of a 2003 series to the Marlins. And only Dusty — poor Dusty — can have a lead after four innings of a winner-take-all game, bring in Max Scherzer — and still lose the game and series, as Dusty’s Nats did against the Cubs in 2017.

Wouldn’t it be something if the 2022 World Series were a rematch of the 2017 World Series? Only this time, Clayton Kershaw pitches on a level playing field, if you know what I mean. Man, it would be great to see Clayton start a game in Houston.

Remember what happened when Kershaw started Game 5 of the ’17 series in Houston? Clayton was unhittable in Game 1 of that series at Dodger Stadium; but in Game 5, Kershaw blew a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning, and a 7-4 lead in the bottom of the fifth.

I know Kershaw found redemption in the 2020 World Series in Arlington, Texas against Tampa Bay. But I want more. I want Clayton to shut down Altuve, Bregman, and Gurriel in Houston. In a World Series. Wouldn’t that be something?

And if the Astros defeated the Dodgers, I would feel so glad for Dusty Baker, who would have a World Series championship as a player for the Dodgers (in 1981) and as a manager against the Dodgers (41 years later, in 2022).

RELATED: Astros ace Justin Verlander placed on IL with calf injury

Wouldn’t it be something if someone other than the Astros or Yankees made the World Series?  Wouldn’t it be something if the Mariners defeated the Yankees?

Time for a little history lesson. In 2001, the Mariners had a historic regular season, winning 116 games. But they lost the ALCS to the Yankees in five games. In Game 5 at Yankee Stadium, with the Yankees blowing out Seattle 9-0 and eventually eliminating them 12-3, the Bronx crowd chanted “Over-rated” at the Mariners.

Classy, I know. But wouldn’t it be something if the tides were reversed a generation later, and the heavily-favored Yankees fell in Seattle, with the Pacific Northwest crowd serenading the Yankees with the “over-rated” chant?

Wouldn’t it be something if…Rays manager Kevin Cash refuses to take out a starting pitcher that is on his game?

Wouldn’t it be something if…Bryce Harper finally was part of a winning playoff series? Harper appeared been in four Division Series as a member of the Nationals, and lost all four. 

Wouldn’t it be something if…Francisco Lindor makes the World Series against his former Cleveland team and manager Terry Francona?

As the rock group Green Day sang, “Wake Me Up When September Ends.”

MLB schedule 2022: Every Sunday morning baseball game on Peacock, matchups, what to know

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Sunday baseball is officially coming to Peacock this May! 18 MLB games will be featured on the streaming service starting with the Chicago White Sox vs. Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park on Sunday, May 8 at 11:30 p.m. ET. See below for the full Sunday baseball on Peacock schedule.

Sunday Baseball on Peacock schedule

Date Time Matchup
May 8 11:30 a.m. ET Chicago White Sox at Boston Red Sox
May 15 11:30 a.m. ET San Diego Padres at Atlanta Braves
May 22 11:30 a.m. ET St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates
May 29 11:30 a.m. ET San Francisco Giants at Cincinnati Reds
June 5 11:30 a.m. ET Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees
June 12 11:30 a.m. ET Oakland Athletics at Cleveland Guardians
June 19 Noon ET Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals
June 26 Noon ET New York Mets at Miami Marlins
July 3 Noon ET Kansas City Royals at Detroit Tigers
July 10 Noon ET Los Angeles Angels at Baltimore Orioles
July 17 Noon ET Kansas City Royals at Toronto Blue Jays
July 24 Noon ET Chicago Cubs at Philadelphia Phillies
July 31 Noon ET Detroit Tigers at Toronto Blue Jays
August 7 Noon ET Houston Astros at Cleveland Guardians
August 14 Noon ET San Diego Padres at Washington Nationals
August 21 Noon ET Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Guardians
August 28 Noon ET Los Angeles Dodgers at Miami Marlins
September 4 Noon ET Toronto Blue Jays at Pittsburgh Pirates

How to watch the MLB on Peacock                              

Baseball is back and for the first time ever MLB games are coming to Peacock this May, featuring a total of 18 Sunday match ups. Click here to sign up for Peacock and watch MLB games live on Sunday mornings!

The first MLB game on Peacock will take place on Sunday, May 8 at 11:30 a.m. ET as the Chicago White Sox battle it out with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. The game will also be available on the NBC broadcast network.

In addition to MLB games, Peacock will also feature a new MLB hub which will include access to highlight packages and award-winning documentaries from the MLB Film & Video Archive.

Opening Day for the 2022 MLB season takes place on Thursday, April 7 and the league will stick to its original slate of 162 games despite a 99-day-lockout. For more on the 2022 MLB season click here.

See below for additional information on how to watch MLB on Peacock.

How can I watch baseball on Peacock and what devices are compatible?

Peacock is currently available on the Roku platform; Amazon FireTV and Fire tablets; Apple devices including iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD; Google platforms and devices including Android™, Android TV™ devices, Chromecast and Chromecast built-in devices;  Microsoft’s Xbox One family of devices, including Xbox One S and Xbox One X; Sony PlayStation4 and PlayStation 4 Pro; Samsung Smart TVs; VIZIO SmartCast™ TVs; LG Smart TVs; Comcast’s entertainment platforms including Xfinity X1, Xfinity Flex, and XClass TV; and Cox’s Contour and Contour Stream Player devices. To learn more about Peacock and how to sign up, visit PeacockTV.com.