The Giants re-signed Tim Lincecum, they have Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez coming back from injury, and they’ve made attempts at cutting down the fat (both figuratively and literally – see Aubrey Huff) with their offense. The Dodger have an underperforming team and are always a threat to live up to heir potential. The Diamondbacks won the division and return just about every player. And the Rockies are an intriguing rebuilding team. Why should anyone think the Padres can sneak up and surprise the National League West? Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune doesn’t think it will happen. In his chat the other day, he said we shouldn’t expect another magical 2010 season. As unlikely as it may be to some, the Padres have some real talent and could make a move this season. But the move has to start at home.
The Padres, like every other team in the league, rely on winning at home. Most teams hope to go about .500 on the road if they can dominate at home. The Milwaukee Brewers turned this into an art and a play-off run last season. But the Padres did just the opposite.
In 2011, the Padres were 35-46 at home. They were two games better on the road at 36-45. If the Padres could have managed a winning home record they may have saw a .500 season. While still not good enough for the postseason, an 81-81 record is easier to swallow after a 90-win season than what the team actually did in 2011. Unfortunately, San Diego has failed to take advantage of their home field. In 2010 they did so to the tune of a 45-36 record. In 2007, they posted an impressive 47-34 record. Yet they have struggled mightily in their down years.
Josh Byrnes and the entire Padres organization recognizes any successful San Diego ball club must be built around the park. It does not seem as if the team is ready to move the fences, a topic I can share my opinion on another day, so the Padres need a team that can take advantage of the unfriendly aspects of PETCO Park. Sure, it seems like a daunting task. Build a team that can perform well in a park that stifles offense. However, speed, contact hitters, and defensive wizardry will help the Padres win at home.
They were nine games under .500 on the road last season, so just improving their home record won’t be the miracle cure to help them eek into the postseason. The team needs to be better all around. But winning at home is a start.