Entering Saturday, the Padres held the best run differential in the National League (+83) this season, thanks in large part to their pitching staff, which has given up an average of only 3.43 runs per game. This puts them on pace to give up only 555 runs this season, and regardless of whether the Padres' staff (which will be missing Mat Latos for a spell) can keep it up at the same rate, the point is still made.
The last team to have given up less than 555 runs in a season was the 1989 Los Angeles Dodgers (who surrendered 536). Not even the Atlanta Braves' staffs of the '90s and early '00s were able to do that. Look at the stats, and you'll see why.
Here are the Padres' starting five.
Latos has broken out in a big way this year, and Garland, Richard, and LeBlanc are putting up solid numbers. It's a good rotation, but it's not, say, the 1998 Braves' five-headed monster. Here's the difference.
If you can recall ever seeing a better-looking bullpen, say something in the comments, because I can't. Here's something strange: all five of these relievers are right-handed. This season, the Padres have used left-handers for only 23.1 innings of relief work (18.2 from Joe Thatcher and 4.1 from Cesar Ramos).
So, yes, the Padres are offering some of the best baseball we've seen from a pitching staff in quite a while. The only criticism I have to offer is that they are terrible at sneezing, which, of course, is baseball's unspoken sixth tool. If only Latos could have mastered the Dracula sneeze.
Read more on the Dads at our Padres blog, Gaslamp Ball.