Good morning, Padres fans, and welcome back to another day of Padres Summer Camp. Last night was the first night we actually got to watch the Padres go to work since beginning Summer Camp (looks like most folks agreed: the piped-in crowd noise was weird). Based on that, let’s go over the observations from the media members present in Petco, and compare it to what we all saw. Let’s get to it!
- Garrett Richards and Zach Davies squared off on Wednesday night, giving Padres fans a look at precisely what that duo has been working on over the past few months. Richards and Davies live in the same Phoenix-area neighborhood and were throwing partners while the baseball world shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Twice a week, they threw off the mounds at the Peoria Sports Complex to stay fresh. Richards was sharper on Wednesday night, leading the “Brown” team to a 3-1 victory over the “Gold” team in the five-inning scrimmage. In 4 innings, Richards allowed a run on 6 hits while striking out 5. Richards’ mid-90s fastball and hammer curve overmatched most of the kids he faced, but had some trouble retiring a few of the major leaguers in the lineup. He threw 68 pitches in his 4 innings. Davies, meanwhile, allowed 2 runs over 4 innings, both coming on Pham’s homer. But his 3rd inning was shut down early due to a rising pitch count with runners on 2B and 3B and 2 outs. Zach Davies threw 70 pitches in 4 innings. At least one runner reached base every inning.
- As mentioned above, OF Tommy Pham sent the first pitch (a hanging curve) he saw from Zach Davies into the seats in left field for a two-run homer in the first inning. He yanked an RBI double off Davies down the left field line in the 3rd inning, finishing the game 2-2. When Pham reported late to camp after testing positive for COVID-19, he indicated he needed every at-bat he could get to be ready for the season. In the 3 intrasquad games so far, Pham has seemingly yet to swing at a bad pitch and has made hard contact every time he’s put the ball in play. Check out last night’s HR as evidence:
First-pitch home run? You love to see it, Pham. pic.twitter.com/XuRK3UofCG— San Diego Padres (@Padres) July 16, 2020
- INF Ty France continues to hit, and C Francisco Mejía is heating up. France singled off the base of the left field wall, a ball hit so hard he couldn’t even get to 2B. Mejía followed with a double off Garrett Richards, turning on a 93 MPH fastball and sending it down the right field line just inside the bag at first base. France would have had another hit in the 4th, but Manny Machado robbed France of a single when he fielded a hard grounder while crossing the line and threw across his body from well into foul territory to get France at first. Mejía, who also homered Tuesday at USD, then followed with a single.
- OF Taylor Trammel made a fantastic play in the field, robbing OF Trent Grisham of at least extra bases with his grab at the wall:
All in all, despite the weirdness of it all, it felt good to see some baseball again.
Other news and notes from around the web:
- With the season beginning in about a week, AJ Cassavell looks at the 6 Padres that are on the 30-man roster bubble. C Luis Torrens, INF Jake Cronenworth, OF Josh Naylor, OF Edward Olivares, OF Franchy Cordero, and OF Taylor Trammel all are fighting for a spot, with Olivares the most likely to make the team. All the rest are a toss-up or likely out at this point (I’m thinking Olivares and Cro make it; no idea on the rest).
- Craig Stammen remains sharp, despite turning 36 in March and about to begin his 11th big-league season. The team will likely need Stammen, even with the additional arms the team acquired in the off-season. While the team is leaning heavily toward a traditional rotation over using openers and so-called “bullpen days,” Manager Jayce Tingler acknowledged he will use his bullpen with a sense of urgency. “Everything is going to be on the table,” Tingler said. “I think you could potentially see a lot of pitching styles that are very similar to playoff games.”
- As weird as it was for me personally, the team plans on employing fake crowd noise during games this season. The Padres’ production crew will utilize sound from “MLB The Show,” more to help keep the players focused on the game, essentially providing white noise. As Padres Chief Marketing Officer Wayne Partello said, “Our goal before was entertaining 40,000 people,” Partello said. “Now it’s our players. How do we use the tools to engage them?” The Players have said they don’t see the crowd during action in games, but they do hear the excitement and feel the energy. For that reason, and to enhance the television viewing experience, it was decided almost immediately by MLB that there needed to be background noise in games.
That’s it for today. Anything else to add/stuff I missed, fire away in the comments. Go Padres!!