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Padres Round-up 07/30/20

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Let’s get it back today.

San Diego Padres v San Francisco Giants
At least we went down swingin’...
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Good morning, Padres fans. Despite putting up six runs, the Padres bullpen faltered late, as the team dropped their second game of the season, losing 7-6 to the Giants, and lowering their record to 4-2 on the season. Let’s go into the news and notes from the game:

  • The Padres failed to move to 5-1 on the year (which would’ve been for the first time since 1996) despite a solid night from RHP Chris Paddack. Paddack threw 89 pitches last night, mainly due to some fielding issues early, as well as a slight lack of control. He got through five innings, allowing two runs on six hits, but Paddack’s fastball, which generally paints the corners of the zone with, found more of the middle of the plate than usual. His change-up helped him to a few key outs early, but even that pitch wasn’t quite as effective as usual. “The pitch count ran up because of the first couple innings,” manager Jayce Tingler said of Paddack. “But he had a bulldog mentality and kept us in the game. … He did his job.”
  • Despite building one of the best bullpens in MLB (at least on paper), some crucial mistakes by that very bullpen are the only thing standing between the Padres and a 6-0 start. Leading 6-3 going into the 8th inning, bullpen mainstays Craig Stammen and Matt Strahm gave up a home run a piece, letting the Giants steal the win. While it’s early, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com states it may be the team’s efforts to not wear out the bullpen (and thereby potentially not using the best arms) that’s playing a factor. The Padres resolved not to use relievers on back-to-back days whenever possible, and it’s already clear that manager Jayce Tingler is doing his best to preserve his arms for the long haul. With 30 games in the season’s first 31 days, Tingler indicated that he’ll continue to use rest days for his relievers early in the season, especially as pitchers continue to work themselves into form. “We talked early today about giving them the day off tonight if we could,” Tingler said. “We had it drawn up. We felt good with Craig in the 8th, then trying to get the ball to (closer) Kirby (Yates). It just didn’t work out tonight.”
  • CF Trent Grisham continues to perform. Despite coming over to San Diego in a somewhat unheralded/maligned trade with Milwaukee, he’s begun to solidify his place in the lineup as the Padres’ CF of the future. Grisham went 2-for-4 Wednesday with a walk and a 3-run homer. He’s also so far displayed a steady glove in the outfield, though he did misplay a ball defensively early in the game that went for a triple that allowed the Giants to take an early lead (though I think that was mainly because of the swirling winds in Oracle Park last night).
  • Wil Myers, the Padres’ most-talented goofball, spoke about his recent run of success in San Francisco. Tuesday’s game featured Myers going 2-for-4 with a 422-foot home run to improve to .280/.364/.624 in his past 107 plate appearances in Oracle Park before Wednesday’s game (he went 1-3 with a single last night). He attributes the improvement to playing mind games with himself. “The big thing when I first got here in 2015, I wasn’t used to coming and playing at a ballpark that was cold on a nightly basis,” Myers said. “That was kind of the adjustment. After ‘15, I was like, ‘Man, the only way for me to start hitting here is pretend to like it.’ You’ve just got to be out there and be like, ‘I like hitting in the cold weather.’ Sometimes you’ve got to trick your mind a little bit to be able to go do things like that.” This explains so much about Wil...
  • The Padres’ catching strategy is starting to come into focus. After five games, Austin Hedges and Francisco Mejía have played only one full game apiece. The other three games have seen late-game maneuvering from Tingler: If Hedges starts, Mejía is available as an offensive replacement if the Padres are losing. If Mejía starts, Hedges is available as a defensive replacement if the Padres are winning. Though the team has been impressed with Mejia’s improvements behind the dish, expect the team to continue to utilize each players’ strengths as the situation demands.
  • Another player that’s impressed lately is RHP Javy Guerra. Guerra, a former all-glove-no-stick SS for the team, converted to a relief pitcher just last year. So far, he’s found a key role as a middle reliever, using a high 90s fastball and slider to keep hitters off-balance. “We’ve got a team and a staff that’s very confident in him,” Tingler said. “It’s nice to see him work through these situations. Inside, he’s gaining more and more confidence, which is the most important thing.” Case in point: check out his 2-seamer from Sunday’s game against the D-Backs:
  • As mentioned in the comments of the 28 July Round-up, the team will need to start thinking of who will be optioned from the active roster to the team’s alternate site when 30-man rosters drop to 28 on August 6. “I haven’t even thought about trimming down to 28, honestly,” Tingler said. “We’ve just been using our guys trying to use their strengths. It’s been great watching them step up and be ready for different moments. They’ve been ready for everything. I haven’t even thought about it, nor do I want to think about it. Especially (with) the guys’ chemistry and just pulling for each other, it’s a lot of fun to be around.” Barring an extension (which is reportedly being discussed between MLB and the Players’ union), rosters will be pared on the 15th day of the season and then trimmed again, to 26 players, on August 20.
  • Speaking of the team’s alternate site, LHP Joey Cantillo continues to impress. Though not yet a household name, those around the league are certainly aware of the youngster (he’s still five months from his 21st birthday), who continuously posted some eye-popping numbers last year. Over the past two seasons, Cantillo posted a 2.41 ERA and K’d 207 over 160 2/3 innings. He’s also shown solid command with 4.22 strikeouts per walk during that span, utilizing a fastball that plays much more effectively than its speed would imply (generally, Cantillo hits low 90’s on the gun with it), as well as a still-developing changeup and curveball. “I feel really confident about it, dropping it in there and stealing strikes,” Cantillo said of his curveball. “I think eventually it’ll become another outpitch for me.” Though not expected at the MLB level anytime soon, the Padres did include the lefty in their 60-man pool where he’ll get to practice against his peers and receive instant feedback from the hitters.

That’s it for today. Tonight’s game against the Giants will feature RHP Dinelson Lamet facing off against San Francisco’s RHP Kevin Gausman. First pitch will once again be at 1845 PDT.

Go Padres!!!