Big League Stew posts at least once a day, oft-times much more,nearly every day of the year. At such a volume, that means, every oncein a while somebody's going to write something stupid.
That'swhere MLB-a-Culpa comes in. After all, for the sake of transparency,honesty and credibility, when an egregious error is made, amends mustbe made.
Dear San Diego Padres:
This hasn't been an easy apology for me to sit down and write. For the past few weeks, I've hid behind excuses like "It's only April" and "Small sample size!" and "Hey, you had a good start in the first few weeks of last season too and just where did that get you?" Yes, I wanted to wait until the last possible moment until I admitted to making a mistake in completely dismissing you as a contender in our preseason divisional preview for the NL West. These apologies aren't easy, you know.
But after watching you sweep the Giants up in San Francisco on the strength of Mat Latos'(notes) brilliant one-hit shutout on Thursday afternoon, I can say the time has come to say that I underestimated your chances from the start and, for that, I am sorry.
OK, so there are undoubtedly people reading this letter who will say this "my bad" is still premature and that I'm going to regret this, even though you're 22-12, own the best record in the National League and have an early 3.5-game lead over the Giants.
And maybe I will be writing a MLB-a-Culpa to them in a few months. There's still a lot of baseball to be played, you still rely on a lot of young players who could fade down the stretch and you have an offense that often looks like it couldn't even produce runs after a spoiled round of fish tacos. You rank 13th in the NL for runs, hits and homers and your 282 team strikeouts is the second-highest total in the league.
The West Coast sultans of swat, you are not.
But there's also a lot to like about you. You have a defense for those who say you're winning with smoke and mirrors, because your Pythagorean record actually has you one game better at 23-11. And as ESPN's Buster Olney noted Friday morning, you've gone 59-38 since last July 27, which makes you the owner of NL's best winning percentage, just ahead of the Cardinals and Phillies. Your staff ERA is a best-in-the-bigs 2.61 and have twice as many shutouts (eight) as any other team. Hugely impressive, considering everyone thought that rotation was at least still one year away from being really good and the injured Chris Young has only made one start.
There are still 128 games left in your season, Padres, and there's still plenty of time to slide the other way. But here's a big BLS head nod, San Diego, because you've completely put what looked to be the only storyline of your season — when will Adrian Gonzalez(notes) and Heath Bell(notes) be traded? — and put it on the back burner with all of your winning.