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Padres Round-up 9/15/20

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Padres Move to only 1.5 games back of L.A.

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres
Sweet slide! Not bad for a not-a-left-fielder.
Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images

BEAT L.A!!! BEAT L.A!!! BEAT L.A!!!

Ahem, sorry about that; my fandom got the better of me for a minute (actually not sorry at all ;) ). Our Padres took the opening game of the 3-game series against the Dodgers last night, winning 7-2. A tightly contested affair until the 7th inning, a series of Dodger misplays and some fortunate hits allowed the Padres to score 5 runs and run away with this one. Dinelson Lamet continued his dark-horse Cy Young campaign, pitching 7 excellent innings of 1 run ball, giving up 3 hits and 2 BBs while riding his filthy slider to record 11 Ks on the night. Drew Pomeranz and Pierce Johnson then came in to lock it down in the 8th and 9th innings, giving up a run on a combined 1 hit and 2 BBs while recording 3 Ks.

The offense eventually did their part, but it was rough sledding early. Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw did his best to keep Padres batters off-kilter early, as he gave up only 2 hits in his first 5 innings of work. In the bottom of the 6th, however, CF Trent Grisham decided enough was enough:

Grisham put some STANK on a Kershaw 92 MPH fastball and sent it out to right field to tie the game. That served to fire up both teams, as Grisham received some chirping from the Dodgers bench as he rounded 3rd base on his home run trot.

The Friars offense then opened the flood gates in the 7th inning. RF Wil Myers got it started by legging out an infield single, and LF Jurickson Profar moved him to 2nd on his own single to right field. DH Jorge Ona then got jammed on an inside fastball, but managed to bloop it down the left field line to score Myers. Steady Greg Garcia then came in to replace Jorge Mateo, and insanity ensued. Dodgers 1B Max Muncy had a, well, I’m not sure what to call it, but on Garcia’s grounder to first, Muncy tap danced near the bag before deciding to throw home to try and catch Jurickson Profar. Profar made an amazing slide, swiping his hand across home plate to score and make it 3-1, and the Padres took off from there.

Gotta say, I LOVED hearing the dugout explode after Profar made it home.

The next batter, CF Trent Grisham, also grounded to first, but Muncy again made an error, this time throwing a potential double play ball into left field, allowing Ona to score and make it 4-1. Fernando Tatis Jr. then legged out a single of his own to load the bases, and Manny Machado then singled in another run to mkae it 5-1. C Austin Nola tacked on 1 more with an RBI ground out, and just like that, our Padres had a 6-1 lead. Wil Myers then put an exclamation point on the game by smacking his 13th homer on the year in the 8th, and that was that.

A very satisfying win for the Good Guys! Check out all the highlights here.

With that, let’s get to news and notes.

  • If there was one sentiment the team expressed prior to this series, it’s that they WANT to play the Dodgers, and make a statement while doing so. “We’re playing really good ball right now, and we always look forward to playing our rivals right up the street,” said CF Trent Grisham. “Plus, they’re just a good team. So of course we’re looking forward to it. Of course we’re amped.” Grisham’s solo shot in the 6th not only tied the game, but also upped the emotions in the game. Grisham turned emphatically toward the Padres’ dugout before watching the ball sail into the right-field seats. The Dodgers’ bench responded to Grisham’s reaction by chirping at him as he rounded third base. Grisham chirped back, and then proceeded to emphatically stomp on home plate with both feet. After the game, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he “took exception” to Grisham lingering for so long at the plate against a pitcher of Kershaw’s caliber, though don’t expect Grisham to apologize. “On this stage, against that pitcher, no, I have never hit a better home run than that,” Grisham said. It also sounds like manager Jayce Tingler learned a few things from earlier this year as well. His comments on Grisham’s shot: “It was a big moment in the game, and it was a huge hit,” Tingler said. “It got us fired up, and we have fun. We play the game right, we respect the game, but we’re going to have fun, and we’re going to pull for one another. To us, that’s all it is.” And apparently, fans around the league approve as well (link contains NSFW language; you’ve been advised).
  • Dinelson Lamet was brilliant again, using the same weapon he always uses — a near-unhittable slider. For the second consecutive start, Lamet racked up 11 Ks, and became the first Padres pitcher to do that since RHP Jake Peavy in his NL Cy Young Award-winning 2007 campaign. Lamet lowered his ERA to 2.12 on the year, and moved into a tie with Jacob DeGrom and Max Scherzer for the NL strikeout lead. “He just continues to get better,” said Tingler. “... For the last couple outings, he’s been as good as anybody in the league. We’ve got a lot of confidence and a lot of faith when he takes the ball on the mound.”
  • As mentioned by our own johnjprecoda in yesterday’s Round-up, Statcast released its 2020 outs above average leaderboard, and provided some evidence to support what many of us have been saying: the Pads defense has been excellent this year, and especially up the middle. As of today, 2 of the 5 best infield defenders in baseball reside in San Diego: 2B Jake Cronenworth ranks 3rd, and SS Fernando Tatis Jr. ranks 4th. Overall among all fielders, CF Trent Grisham ranks 13th, and 3B Manny Machado comes in at #46. Looks like the coaching staff’s renewed emphasis on defense is paying off.
  • Many assumed that it would take new C Austin Nola some time to adjust before helping to anchor the middle of the Padre lineup. Apparently, it’s taken all of 8 games played. Since his arrival 2 weeks ago, Nola sports an .888 OPS with 5 extra base-hits, while also catching 4 shutouts from the pitching staff. Nola credited his quick transition to the coaching staff, particularly to pitching coach Larry Rothschild and bullpen coach Ben Fritz. They’ve filled in details around the edges about the new pitchers he has to catch. Nola has also leaned on Jason Castro, who arrived in a trade on the same day. The two catchers regularly share notes on who they’ve caught. Since Nola and Castro arrived (via the same private jet from Anaheim, by the way), the Padres have a 2.38 team ERA and a 2.58 FIP — both the best in baseball. He’s also thrown out 3 of 5 would-be basestealers in 68 innings as the Padres catcher.
  • Jurickson Profar continues to flash the tools that once made him the #1 prospect in the game. After hitting .094 with a .237 on-base percentage in his first 32 plate appearances this season, he is batting .298/.354 in 128 plate appearances since 03 August. He also might be a better left fielder than second baseman, where he started the season before moving as to left as the full-time full-in for the injured Tommy Pham. He’s played at a league-average rate, per Statcast, making 1% more outs than expected. He’s earned the confidence of the coaching staff as well. “Just being able to do different things on the field because he’s a baseball player,” Tingler said. “He’s done so many things that go unnoticed in the box score, but he’s a hell of a baseball player. He’s a big part of what we’re doing.”
  • The Padres’ 21-5 record since Aug. 17 is best in the majors and tied for the best 26-game stretch in franchise history. The best 27-game stretch came when they went 22-5 from May 2-31, 2005. They’ll have a chance to tie that streak tonight.
  • For the Padres offense:

- 2B Jake Cronenworth was 2-for-4 with a double last night; 5 of the rookie’s past 7 hits have been doubles.

- Wil Myers’ home run last night was his 2nd in 2 games and his 13th of the season, tying him with Manny Machado for fifth in the National League.

- Grisham’s home run extended his career-high hitting streak to 10 games.

- Tatis still has never gone hitless in 3 straight games after getting an infield single in the 7th inning. For context, Mike Trout had 2 four-game hitless streaks among his first 133 career games.

  • The Padres’ 7-8-9 hitters combined to go 2-for-8 with 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored last night. The bottom three has scored and/or driven in at least 1 run in 10 straight games, and are batting .341 (31-for-91) in that stretch.
  • In injury news:

- RHP Chris Paddack threw a bullpen session Monday afternoon and seems on track to start either Wednesday’s series finale against the Dodgers at Petco Park or Friday’s series opener in Seattle. Paddack left his start Thursday against the Giants after 2 innings due to what the team called a sprained ankle. Even with Paddack’s short outing, Padres relievers have thrown a total of just 30 innings the past 10 games, which covers a span of 12 days.

- LF Tommy Pham has been participating in intrasquad games at USD and could be activated off the injured list any day.

- 1B Eric Hosmer, out since fracturing his index finger 07 September, was no longer wearing a splint when he worked out before the game. He wore batting gloves as he stretched and did sprints and then stood in for Paddack’s bullpen. He also took grounders at 1B and threw with the finger taped. The team still considers Hosmer’s return further off than Pham’s.

  • And because I feel like it, let’s take one more look at Profar’s slide, this time from the perspective of the Western Metal supply building in left:

Perfection.

The Padres continue the series today, with RHP Zach Davies (7-2, 2.48 ERA, 50 Ks) getting the start. Davies has relied on his changeup more this year, and for good reason: opponents are only batting .175 against it. The Dodgers will send out RHP Tony Gonsolin (0-1, 1.57 ERA, 28 Ks), who was roughed up in his last appearance, a 5 inning relief effort where he gave up 3 runs.

First pitch is set for 1810 Pacific.

GO PADRES!!!! BEAT L.A!!!!