Good morning, Friar Faithful! Our Padres completed a 3-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies last night, winning 5-3, and reduced their magic number for a playoff spot to 12. RHP Zach Davies won his 5th consecutive start, a career best for him, as he also tied a season high of 8 Ks in his 6 innings of work.
As they did last night, the Padres found themselves in an early hole. Davies surrendered a solo homer to Trevor Story, but the Friars were able to answer in their half of the inning. Mitch Moreland, who had been in a funk recently, got his pitch and drove it into the right field bleachers for a 368-ft., 2-run shot.
The Rockies then responded in the 6th, when Padres arch-nemesis Matt Kemp launched a 2-run shot to give the Rockies the lead, but the Padres came right back. The Padres scored 2 runs in the bottom of the inning on a Mitch Moreland single, a Wil Myers’ triple and Jake Cronenworth’s single. Seriously, it was beautiful:
The bullpen, who have regained their form after a rough start to the season, came in and sealed the win. Drew Pomeranz, Dan Altavilla, and Trevor Rosenthal each posted a scoreless inning in relief, with Rosenthal getting the save, his 9th on the year. The Padres also moved to 28-17 on the year, and a phenomenal 17-5 since The Slam (best in MLB in that span). Gotta love it!
With that, let’s get into news and notes:
- The Padres have been on fire recently, and the pitching staff has been a big reason why. While winning 9 of the last 12 games, Padres pitchers have posted a 2.48 ERA, the lowest in the majors in that span.
- As mentioned above, 1B/DH Mitch Moreland has been in a slump since coming to San Diego from Boston. He entered last night’s game 4-for-24, but broke out last night, going 2-5 with the aforementioned home run, and the 2 hits last being the hardest hits he’s recorded in a Padres uniform. “It’s been a tough go for me here so far,” said the 35-year-old Moreland, who had never been traded in his 14-year professional career. “I’ve felt a little better the last couple days. Able to get a good pitch, 3-2 count in the first and contribute a little bit. So it felt good.” Still needs to work on his dance moves, though:
- RHP Dan Altavilla may just be the Padres’ new man for the 7th inning. He came into last night’s game protecting a 4-3 lead, and he allowed a 1-out single to Colorado’s Elias Díaz before getting Raimel Tapia on a fly ball to left field and striking out dangerous Trevor Story with a 98 mph fastball. It was the 2nd time since being acquired at the trade deadline that Altavilla worked the 7th inning. Jayce Tingler was somewhat non-committal in the post-game, saying “We’ve got quite a few guys that are capable of doing that. He was the freshest of the guys down there. … We’ve got a lot of faith in a lot of guys down there. … That’s one of the good things we’ve got going on down there.”
- For the 2nd day in a row, LF Tommy Pham not only tracked fly balls in the outfield, he also took batting practice in the cage. Out since Pham had surgery on 17 August for his broken hamate bone, it’s a great sign that Pham may be back in the lineup in the next week or so, as hitting on back-to-back days while increasing the intensity is a strong indicator of his health. “He’s been stacking some good days up,” manager Jayce Tingler said. “We’ll see how today goes, but he’s a tough one to keep locked up very long.”
- In Padres batting stats: Trent Grisham has a career-high 6-game hitting streak, during which he is batting .500 (11-for-22). He has also walked and been hit by a pitch. Wil Myers, who tripled and doubled last night, is batting .372 (16-for-43) with a 1.121 OPS over the past 12 games. C Austin Nola was 2-for-3 and is 7-for-25 (.280) in seven games with the Padres. He has walked three times and been hit by a pitch as well, giving him a .379 on-base percentage.
- In other injury news, RHP Emilio Pagan has pitched in intrasquad games at the alternate site. He’s set to return to the team today from the 10-day IL.
- In other roster news, the Padres added recent draft pick OF Owen Cassie to their 60-man player pool. At just 18 years of age, Cassie is unlikely to join the team in its playoff push, but he will likely get some excellent experience at the alternate site before reporting to a minor league affiliate in 2021. He will join fellow 2020 draft picks Robert Hassell III, Justin Lange, and Cole Wilcox at the alt site.
- LHP Adrian Morejon has turned some heads so far in his limited appearances for the Padres in 2020. Despite working just 9 innings across 4 outings, Morejon has displayed a vastly improved changeup. Specifically, Morejon is throwing his changeup with a lower average velocity (83.8 mph) and spin rate (934 rpm) than he did last year (85.4 mph; 1,302 rpm). He also is imparting more action on the pitch, throwing it with 4.2 more inches of vertical movement and 3.1 more inches of horizontal movement compared to 2019. Those improvements have helped Morejon transform his changeup into a weapon versus right-handed hitters, who collectively are 1-for-8 with 4 Ks and a 50% whiff rate More important, the changeup is now Morejon’s third consistently above-average pitch to go along with his fastball and breaking ball, both of which have long been viewed by scouts as plus offerings, and which should improve his chances of becoming a legitimate big league starter.
- RHP Mike Clevinger seems to be fitting in just fine:
Do lazy tre slips count? #PromiseOnlyOnCarpetToEveryoneConcernedAndOnlyTwoTries https://t.co/GGH7E3MuNh pic.twitter.com/2sxY8HzWgb— ❂ Mike ℕ ℍ ℕ Clevinger ❂ (@MikeClevinger) September 10, 2020
- And finally, just to confirm that yes, he is mortal, Fernando Tatis Jr. went hitless in a 2nd straight game for just the 2nd time this season, and only the 5th time in his young career. Last night was also just the 18th time in 129 career games he did not reach base.
The Padres welcome their closest pursuer for the 2nd NL West playoff spot to Petco today, as they start a 4-game series against the much-hated San Francisco Giants. RHP Chris Paddack (3-4, 4.75 ERA) will take the mound, and look to regain his form after posting a dud of a start last time out against Oakland on 05 September. He’ll face-off against the Giants’ RHP Trevor Cahill (0-0, 2.65 ERA). Cahill, who has dealt with a hip issue the last few starts, didn’t make it out of the 3rd inning in his last start against Arizona. Expect the Giants to piggyback him or go with a bullpen game approach.