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Padres Round-up 07/31/20

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So, about that bullpen...

San Diego Padres v San Francisco Giants
2nd series win, if slightly more dramatic than I’d prefer.
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Good morning, Padres fans. Well, I’d say last night was certainly a little more stressful than we’d prefer, right? While the team is 5-2 for the first time since 2009, they had to mount a comeback in extra innings to do so after the bullpen once again came in with gas cans, giving up five runs before the end of the 8th inning. It marks the first time in FRANCHISE HISTORY a Padres bullpen had blown a lead of 4 or more runs in back-to-back games (that’s not good history, that’s bad history, very bad). We’ll go now to Pete Campbell for his thoughts on the performance of the Padres bullpen so far. Pete?

I think Pete speaks for all of us right now.

Thankfully, the offense was up to the task, scoring six runs in the 10th inning to earn a 12-7 victory. Let’s get into today’s news and notes from last night.

  • Manager Jayce Tingler spoke about the bullpen woes last night. “They’re not clicking on all cylinders right now,” Tingler said. “We know we’re going to get there. We think it’s good, seeing the hitters rally there in the 10th and pick them up a little bit. Because there’s going to be a point in the season where that’s probably flipped.” A theme has emerged in Tingler’s bullpen use this season: He’s doing his best to avoid asking his primary relief weapons for more than one inning. In all seven games the Padres have played this season, they’ve carried a lead into the eighth inning. That was supposed to be their recipe for success after constructing one of the sport’s deepest bullpens. But given the collapse over the last 2 nights, it may be time to start modifying that strategy.
  • Speaking of that 10th inning offensive surge, the six-run 10th inning was the highest-scoring extra inning so far in the Majors this season. CF Trent Grisham became the first Padre to start an inning on 2B, but he wasn’t there very long. After 3B Manny Machado drew a walk, Grisham scored on LF Tommy Pham’s RBI single. The floodgates opened from there, with the team putting 6 men on base before they recorded an out. Perhaps the biggest moment of the frame came courtesy of a gutsy decision from Tingler. With the bases loaded and sidewinding RHP Tyler Rogers on the mound, Tingler lifted Wil Myers for the lefty-hitting Greg Garcia. Garcia lined a single to center, plating two runs, his second run-scoring pinch-hit in three such at-bats this season. “That was a huge at-bat,” Tingler said. “It’s incredibly hard to come in off the bench and do that, and Greg’s already done it a couple times.” The team continued to pile on, as Ty France looped a single to center field, giving the Padres a 10-6 lead before Austin Hedges dropped a squeeze bunt, allowing Garcia, on third at the time, to dash home and narrowly avoid Tyler Heineman’s tag. France scored two batters later on Fernando Tatis Jr.’s single to center.
  • CF Trent Grisham continues to make his mark on the team. On top of making history as the Padres’ first automatic runner in extra innings, Grisham had himself quite a night, going 2-6 on the night with a triple and double, an RBI, two runs scored, and stolen base. Grisham’s best play, though, came in the bottom of the 5th, as Grisham made a sprawling play in right center to save multiple runs. Per Statcast, he covered 70 feet in four seconds — a 5-star play with just a 15% catch probability, marking the toughest catch of Grisham’s young career. Jerry Coleman would’ve been proud of that one. Check it out for yourself below:
  • Despite leading the Majors in steals so far this season with eight, the team has also given away several bases, being picked off 1B four times, with two coming in Wednesday’s 8th inning by Giants left-hander Tyler Anderson. “It’s a little give and take,” manager Jayce Tingler said. “… We’ve got to bear down there. We can’t be giving outs away, especially with the middle part of the order coming up.” 1st Base Coach Wayne Kirby worked with several players prior to Thursday’s game, emphasizing their leads and needing to read a pitcher’s move. “We’ll play station to station as much as we can, and once we read them and we understand what we’re reading, we can steal,” Kirby said. “… We take what they give us. Probably going to be a little smarter. We’re not going to stop being aggressive, just a little smarter on pitchers we know we can’t steal on — and play the cat and mouse game.”
  • In the baseball drama department, former Padre now Mets INF Brian Dozier lambasted the team. “I’m a big transparency guy,” Dozier, who was added to the Mets’ 30-man roster on Thursday, told the New York Media. “I like people to be honest with me. That wasn’t the case over there. I had to get out of there. I’ll leave it at that.” Dozier, signed back on February 24, appeared to have the inside track at making the roster and getting the bulk of time at second against left-handed pitchers during Spring Training as 2B Jurickson Profar struggled despite Dozier himself hitting only .227/.320/.227 in the spring. However, Profar and every other Padres infielder with a chance to make the roster except Dozier spent time in San Diego during the shutdown, during which time, coaches raved about the work Profar did both offensively and defensively. When asked about Dozier’s comments, manager Jayce Tingler stated, “I don’t really know. I enjoyed our short time in Arizona. We pride ourselves (on) being transparent, (on) being honest. We wish him nothing the but best of luck over there. …. I can’t speak for the way he feels.” (Sorry Doz, but if life is choice, then you chose poorly not coming to San Diego during the break and solidifying your place on the roster)
  • 1st Base Coach Wayne Kirby, who also coaches the team’s outfielders, also commented on the team’s outfield play during the series. While Kirby acknowledged the difficulty of playing in San Francisco (where the wind often swirls, playing havoc with fly balls), he also made no excuses for his players, noting the Giants didn’t misjudge any fly balls. “We’re in the big leagues,” he said. “Excuses gotta run out.” The team emphasized making routine plays in the field during Spring Training, a point that manager Jayce Tingler plans to continue emphasizing. “We haven’t been as solid as we need to be on our pop flies,” Tingler said. “We’re leaving some outs on the field. Those outs add up. Any time you give teams extra outs, you’re messing with fire. We got burned pretty bad.”
  • Also, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com takes a look at the team’s offensive surge so far this season. Padres hitters have committed to working counts and getting on-base, a stark change from the last several years where the team often ranked dead-last or near to it in on-base percentage in the Majors. Cassavell credits both GM AJ Preller for finally acquiring players who emphasize getting on-base, like Tommy Pham, Trent Grisham, and Jurickson Profar. But he also notes the work new hitting coach Damion Easley has done with the team. Prior to Thursday’s game, Wil Myers and Fernando Tatis Jr. have five walks already, while Manny Machado has four; all three players have worked extensively with Easley since Spring Training. “[Easley] has been a big reason why,” Myers said. “Just seeing him in there every day and working to keep me where I need to be — the credit goes to him.” Easley and manager Jayce Tingler have drilled the team hard to improve their at-bats, leaning heavily on high-velocity and curveball machines, and mostly focusing on two-strike settings. “If you put a focus on it, you practice it, you work it, you drill it, I think we can grow in a lot of areas,” Tingler said.

That’s it for today. The Padres travel to Colorado to take on the Rockies in their home opener, with RHP Garrett Richards making his 2nd start of the year. He’ll go up against Rockies RHP Jon Gray. First pitch is set for 1710 Pacific.

Go Padres!!!!