Compared side-by-side, it’s not all that close. The New York Mets had a far better year than the San Diego Padres in 2022. They won more games and did it with much better team numbers.
That’s not to say the Padres are an easy team to beat. They have their own strengths which when matched against the Mets, can overtake them on an off-night or two by New York.
There is, however, a clear advantage for each squad over the other.
NY Mets have a huge advantage in the closer spot
Edwin Diaz vs. Josh Hader might have sounded a lot more enticing last year. This season, however, with Diaz putting together one of the great seasons a Mets closer has ever had and maybe even one of the best in National League history, he has far surpassed the struggling Padres ninth-inning man.
The Padres acquired Hader from the Milwaukee Brewers at this year’s trade deadline and saw him immediately struggle. Believe it or not, there was a time when Mets fans fantasized about having both of these relievers in the bullpen. There was even a point when fans would have swapped Diaz for Hader.
In the ninth inning, there’s no question which team is more secure. It’s the Mets. Then there’s everyone else.
SD Padres have bigger home run threats
It’s kind of unbelievable but the mighty Padres with Manny Machado on the roster and two months of Juan Soto didn’t hit all that many home runs in the regular season. That’s because aside from Machado, they didn’t have any major home run threat all season-long. The Mets were able to outslug them easily thanks in large part to Pete Alonso.
When it comes to threats, it’s a little different. Alonso remains the top slugger in these series. He doesn’t have too many teammates anywhere near as capable. Francisco Lindor had a nice powerful season but that’s about it from New York’s side.
The threat of a home run remains present with players on the Padres roster even if they didn’t do much slugging in the regular season. Don’t sleep on Josh Bell suddenly remembering how to hit.
If one team is going to win this series with home runs, it’s going to be San Diego. Fortunately, it’s rare for dingers or dongs to power a team to victory. Expect some well-pitched games and the threat of the home run to be held at bay. The Padres are not an exceptional team at the plate.