The second-longest playoff drought in the National League has been snapped. With their win Sunday against the Mariners, 7-4 in 11 innings (box score), the San Diego Padres moved to 34-20 on the 2020 season and, more importantly, have punched their ticket to the 2020 Major League Baseball playoffs.
There's still room for things to change in a positive or negative direction, but the most likely scenario is the Padres are headed for the four seed in the NL, which potentially sets up a divisional round, five-game series against the Dodgers.
For now, though, the Padres can bask in the glory of snapping a decent drought. The last time the franchise made the playoffs was in 2006. We probably don't need such perspective, but the last time the Padres made the playoffs, they had Hall of Famers Mike Piazza and Trevor Hoffman on the roster, not to mention the likes of Vinny Castilla, Khalil Greene and Brian Giles. From a human perspective, 2006 might not seem so long ago, but in MLB terms, it's ages.
Further, this is only the sixth postseason trip in franchise history. The Padres started play in 1969, so it doesn't happen all too often.
Though the expanded playoff field and the shortened 60-game season might not make this seem quite a momentous occasion, the Padres have been the second-best team in the NL pretty much throughout the season. They have two players in Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis who will likely finish in the top five in NL MVP voting. Dinelson Lamet should see some love in Cy Young voting, Jake Cronenworth will win Rookie of the Year and first-year skipper Jayce Tinger seems likely to grab Manager of the Year.
Once the dust settles here, the focus will be on the playoffs. The first-round series will only be three games. With the Padres able to start Lamet, Mike Clevinger and one of Zach Davies, Garrett Richards and Chris Paddack, you've got to like their chances at advancing.
For now, the city of San Diego can savor the moment. Their Padres are finally going back to the playoffs.