For at least one game, it all paid off
The San Diego Padres made waves with their big offseason signing of Manny Machado, but the days leading up the Opening Day were still filled with questioning some of the decisions of A.J. Preller and Andy Green.
Preller opted to put 20-year-old Fernando Tatis Jr. on the Opening Day roster, skipping AAA entirely and ignoring the service time manipulations that most teams do with their top prospects. Tatis was one of two players that had multiple hits for the Padres in the 2-0 win, hitting one through the 5.5 hole and getting on later with a bunt single.
Green’s controversial decision revolved around the Opening Day pitcher, with the manager naming Eric Lauer for the job instead of the club’s presumed ace, Joey Lucchesi. All Lauer did was throw 6 scoreless innings (on only 70 pitches!), giving up just 4 hits to the Giants.
Wil Myers grabs the spotlight
When the Padres signed Myers to a 6-year, $83 million contract extension two years ago, it was thought that he would be the leader of the franchise and the face of the team.
One year later, expectations for Myers shifted when the team signed Eric Hosmer to an 8-year, $144 million contract and touted his leadership ability. Now, after Machado’s 10-year, $300 million contracts, Myers has clearly become the third, or fourth, or fifth most important player in the lineup each day.
Maybe falling down the team’s hierarchy motivated Myers in a way that he hadn’t been before. Maybe it was just one good game. Maybe he was seeing more fastballs because Machado was behind him. Maybe he really likes facing Madison Bumgarner.
Either way, Myers will carry an OPS of 3.500 into game 2 after carrying the San Diego offense in game 1, with a HR, a walk, and a RBI single that knocked in Ian Kinsler.
Hitters 3-5 in the Padres lineup (Machado, Hosmer, Franmil Reyes) went a combined 0-9 yesterday, with no walks. Over the last few years, we’ve gotten used to a performance like that, from the middle of the lineup, killing the offense for San Diego. The team needed their best players to play their best every game, and that’s not what happened yesterday.
The amazing part is that, this year, it might not matter. The rest of the hitters in the lineup combined to go 6-15 (a .400 batting average) with a walk added in for good measure. For once, the Padres’ secondary players carried the offensive burden in a victory for the team over a rival’s staff ace. This is, hopefully, a wonderful sign of things to come.