“This is the end. My only friend the end.”
After over 160 games, the San Diego Padres have been eliminated from playoff contention. It actually happened during the 160th game. Just about the time Jake Peavy was wrapping up the ERA crown, the Friars season ended – though not officially.
The Padres opened a new downtown stadium in San Diego this year and the improvements over the cellar dwelling days have been evident. When push came to shove, they were a little shy on experience in pennant races as witnessed by the sub .200 batting average by Phil Nevin.
Houston beat Cincinnati to knock the team out of wild card contention.
Jake Peavy ends the season with a 2.27ERA, the lowest in the major leagues. Peavy, who struck out 11 in six innings of work, went 15-6 with a 1.20 WHIP.
While the ERA crown is something to boast about, especially at 23, Peavy would turn it in quickly for a shot at a World Series ring.
"I'd gladly turn in that title and care less about individual numbers if we had a shot to play in the postseason and win the championship," Peavy said. "There's no doubt everybody in here is disheartened, a lot of sadness going around."
The season, however, has to be viewed as a success. The Padres were dead last in the National League last year at 64-98 and 36.5 games out of first place.
At 87-73, they have a chance to improve their record by 25 games over the previous season. That would have been enough to win the NL Central last year. This year, however, it puts them just outside the playoff race and looking in.
Three million fans came out to see the excitement. If the Padres can put together another offseason similar to the one they had a year ago this team could turn into a dominating franchise for years to come.
They already have the ERA champ.