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  1. MLB

MLB: Padres needing to up their game

The San Diego Padres entered 2021 with a prolific line-up, but they did not perform to their highest standard.

The Padres are 11/1 to win the World Series and they will be relying on their big hitters to produce when the 2022 season gets under way.

Fernando Tatis Jr. performed at MVP level, Manny Machado did more than enough and Jake Cronenworth continued to progress, everyone else was at best adequate.

Some performers did not reach the standards that they had set themselves, these players include Eric Hosmer, Trent Grisham, Wil Meyers, Tommy Pham and Austin Nola.

Padres batting below-par

The Padres' offensive performance sat in 14th place in MLB runs, 15th in hits and a batting average of .242, also 15th place and 23rd place in home runs. It wasn't good enough to keep team manager Jayce Tingler in a job.

The Padres have replaced Tingler with experienced former Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin and despite the disappointing numbers, he has a lot to work with.

While the batting was distinctly average the pitching was way below. It was perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the Padres' season.

Blake Snell struggled for the entire campaign, while Yu Darvish began the year at a strong pace but then faded down the stretch. Injuries hit Dinelson Lamet and Chris Paddack struggled so much he might not be part of the 2022 rotation.

Clevinger a positive for Padres

The positives for the Padres include Mike Clevinger coming back. The 31-year-old was acquired at the 2020 MLB trade deadline and should have recovered from the elbow injury that kept him out of all of the 2021 season.

Joe Musgrove was a nice surprise last season, emerging as the team's ace and they could do with keeping him in form.

Can the Padres overcome their Divisional rivals, the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers? They will have to be at their best.

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