Good morning, Padres fans, and welcome to another morning with our boys all alone in FIRST PLACE!!! The Padres opened their first road trip of the season with a 5-3 win over the Giants. This brings them to 4-1 to open the year. As Michael Peterson mentioned in the recap article, it’s the first time since 1997, 23 FREAKING YEARS, that the team has opened the year 4-1. I got to admit, that’s pretty nice. What do you think, Wil?
With that, let’s get into the news and notes from yesterday’s action.
- How rare was Fernando Tatis Jr.’s three-run oppo-shot in the 3rd inning last night? In the Statcast era, he’s just the 3rd righty-hitting Padre to hit a home run out to right field at Oracle Park. In the words of Padres manager Jayce Tingler, “Just to hit a ball oppo like that, have that type of carry — I’ve been around him long enough that it’s not a surprise. He can do so many things on the field. To barrel it up and go oppo with the wind blowing here ... that got us going.”
- Padres RHP Zach Davies worked five-plus frames, allowing three runs (two earned), while K-ing five without allowing a walk in his Padres debut. Davies continued the string of excellent performances by Padres starters: in their 1st trip through the rotation, San Diego starters have combined for a 1.82 ERA and more than a K per inning. “You want to follow that up,” Davies said. “It was an impressive first four games.” Davies’ performance was all the more impressive when you consider what he works with: Davies’ fastball averages out at 88.4 mph, the 5th-slowest by a starting pitcher in the majors last season — and eclectic mix of four other pitches. Still, Davies used excellent control to put the ball all over the place, mostly baffling the Giants.
- The Padres bullpen came in once Davies ran into trouble in the 6th inning. LHP Matt Strahm came in after Davies gave up back-to-back doubles, allowing the Giants to score two runs before finally getting out of the inning. RHP Javy Guerra pitched a scoreless 7th with help from an inning-ending double play, then RHP Emilio Pagán walked the 1st batter he faced in the 8th before getting out of the inning with a strikeout and double play.
- In something of a surprise, Tingler called on LHP Drew Pomeranz to go get the save last night instead of RHP Kirby Yates. Yates threw 28 laborious pitches on Sunday, and the Padres determined before the game that they’d give their closer an extra day of rest, considering a schedule in which they play 30 games in 31 days to open the season. Pomeranz, who signed a four-year deal with the Padres during the offseason, rose to the challenge, striking out the side in the 9th, highlighted by a biting curveball that caught Giants’ Darin Ruf looking to end the game. It was the 6th save of Pom’s career.
- There wasn’t much doubt, but Tingler also confirmed last night that the starting rotation would flip back to the top on Wednesday, meaning RHPs Chris Paddack and Dinelson Lamet will pitch the final two games of the series against San Francisco, and RHP Garrett Richards will open the three-game set in Colorado. That also lines those three up for the Padres’ first series against the Dodgers this season, slated for next Monday through Wednesday at Petco Park. In their first trip through the rotation, Paddack, Lamet and Richards combined to allow one run over 16 innings.
- No matter where he’s hitting in the Padres lineup, CF Trent Grisham is just looking to have good at-bats. The left-handed hitter was in the #2 spot in the batting order Tuesday for a 3rd straight game, as the Padres were facing a right-handed starter for the third straight day. When a lefty starts, Grisham has hit 9th. “You definitely approach things differently,” Grisham said. “There are different roles on different days. The other day, being the only lefty in the lineup, hitting at the bottom of the lineup, you’re there to grind out at-bats, see pitches and get on base. You get up in the lineup, it pretty much is the same goal — get on base. But you have a little more freedom to do what you need to do.” In either event, Grisham has produced so far: he’s 2-for-8 with a HR and a walk in the #2 spot, and 2-for-6 with 2 BBs batting 9th. He’s also been the Padres’ most disciplined hitter, swinging at just three out of 38 pitches (7.8%) he has seen outside the strike zone (4th-best in the majors so far).
- With the Marlins getting their season put on hold through Sunday, all MLB teams got a stark reminder to adhere to MLB’s COVID guidelines. The Padres spoke of some of the actions they’ll be taking as they’re making their first road trip of the year to San Francisco. In the words of RHP Chris Paddack: “We’re going to do everything we can as a team to control what we can control and that’s self-isolating and making sure we’re keeping ourselves healthy... It’s not just us at the end of the day. We’ve agreed to that as a group. If we want to make it to October baseball, it’s, ‘How disciplined can we be for three months?’ As a challenging as that’s going to be — because nobody likes being locked up inside — that’s what it’s going to take.” The team will try to minimize their chance of exposure, utilizing larger charter planes and multiple buses when traveling, as well as limiting travel out of hotels for essential purposes only. Travel Party members are also not permitted to leave the hotel to eat or use any restaurants open to the public. Instead, hotels must provide a dedicated dining area in a private location within. Room service is OK, as are meal-delivery services. The pool and fitness centers are also off-limits unless hotels guarantee the team exclusive access, while visitors are limited to significant others and children. “We all have to continue to stay disciplined,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said, “on what we’re doing away from the field.”
That’s it for today. As a reminder, RHP Chris Paddack will face-off against the Giants’ Johnny Cueto today, with 1st pitch at 1845 PDT.