Good morning, all, and welcome to another week of Padres baseball. Our 1ST PLACE PADRES juuuuuuuuuuusst missed out at starting 3-0 due to what I hope will be an uncharacteristic performance from the bullpen yesterday. With that, let’s look at the news and notes for the team.
- As mentioned in the comments over the weekend, INF Jorge Mateo has cleared COVID-19 protocols and can return to the team, though the team will leave him on the Injured List for the time being until he can work his way back into shape. As a reminder, Mateo is out of minor league options, so he’ll have to be added to the active roster, waivered, or traded once his time on the IL runs out. Mateo was placed on the 10-day IL, effective 22 July, so the Padres will need to make a decision on him on August 1.
- RHP Garrett Richards completed his longest outing in two years yesterday, making him feel like his old self again. “It’s just fun,” Richards said. “I’m having fun playing baseball again. … It just feels good to be back out there and be pitching pain-free and executing pitches and not having to worry about things and go after guys.” While Richards will need to improve his control going forward (just 21 of his 40 fastballs were strikes, 48 of his 73 total pitches were strikes), safe to say his performance will allow the team to give him a longer leash in his next start.
- Two Padres made their official team debuts on Sunday. Side-arming LHP Tim Hill, acquired via trade on 16 July from KC, made his Padres debut. With runners on the corners with two outs in the 6th, Hill came in and struck out left-handed hitter Kole Calhoun. RHP Pierce Johnson, signed in the offseason, got the final out in the top of the 9th in his first appearance.
- So far, the Padres have stolen an MLB leading seven bases on the season. LF Tommy Pham currently leads the team four, with 3B Manny Machado, 2B Jurickson Profar, and SS Fernando Tatis Jr. each having one steal.
- Amazingly, 1B Eric Hosmer’s six balls in play so far on the season have all been hit in the air. This marks a drastic change for Hosmer, as his 58.2% ground-ball rate over the last 2 years has led the Majors (whoever this guy is that’s impersonating Hosmer, I’m keeping him. NO BACKSIES).
- Unrelated to the Padres, but still amusing, MLB had its’ 1st managerial ejection in the COVID era. Pirates Manager Derek Shelton exchanged words with home plate umpire Jordan Baker, after Shelton got run for “heckling from the stands” during the Pirates’ matchup against St. Louis (apparently voices carry a bit farther when there’s no fans). Personally, my favorite part was Baker pulling his mask out with a clear “Really? We’re actually doing this?” look on his face. Pretty tame from what we’re used to in the past, but still, baseball!
That’s it for today! A reminder that, like Sunday’s matchup, today’s game will start at 1310 PDT, with LHP Joey Lucchesi taking the mound against the D-Back’s RHP Luke Weaver. Go Padres!