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The most popular TV viewing in San Diego? Padres games

Padres fans are watching their team in record numbers despite lackluster results on the field

As the Dodgers' television blackout extends into a second month of a second season, San Diego Padres fans are watching their team in record numbers.

The Padres had perhaps the splashiest off-season of any major league team, adding such stars as Matt Kemp, James Shields and Justin Upton, and Fox said Thursday that the Padres' local cable ratings are up 67% from this time last season.

Padres' broadcasts are the top-rated prime-time programming in the San Diego market for April, according to Fox, "beating both broadcast and ad-supported cable competition head-to-head." 

The team itself is another matter. The Padres just fell into third place in the National League West after getting swept by the Houston Astros.

The standings might not be a pressing concern in April, but this is: The Padres, playing in what might be the best pitchers' park in all the major leagues, have a pitching problem. 

The Padres have scored the most runs of any team in the league, but they have given up the most runs of any team in the division, which is particularly problematic when your division includes the Colorado Rockies.

The San Diego bullpen has a 5.35 earned-run average, higher than any major league team except the Cincinnati Reds. The Padres' bullpen led the NL last season with a 2.73 ERA.

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