14 freaking years.
That’s a long time.
But now it’s finally over, because our San Diego Padres are headed to the post-season! The team retained the Vedder Cup this weekend, defeating the Seattle Mariners yesterday 7-4 in extras. The win also puts the club in the driver seat for the #4 seed in the NL playoff bracket, meaning they will likely host whoever finishes as the #5 seed (currently the Miami Marlins) in the best-of-3 Wild Card round (REALLY hoping it isn’t the Cardinals; that’d be the worst). With that, let’s get into yesterday’s action before diving into news and notes.
RHP Dinelson Lamet got the start yesterday, and like he has been all season, dominated in his 6 innings of work. Lamet didn’t give up a hit until the 5th inning, and finished having only given up 2 hits, 2 BB, and 1 ER while K’ing 10 batters. That brings Lamet up to 89 Ks on the year, the most in the NL, and 2nd in MLB only to Cleveland’s Shane Bieber. Seriously, he was so good yesterday, he didn’t even need to get his pitches into the strike zone!
Dinelson Lamet is so freakin' dominant he can K you looking...— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 20, 2020
With none of the pitches being in the K zone.
The team held a 3-1 lead until Seattle tied it in the 8th, when RHP Emilio Pagan’s fastball up and over the middle of the plate got taken yard by Dylan Moore. From there, it was on to extra innings, where Pierce Johnson and Trevor Rosenthal held down the Mariners enough to let the offense do their part.
And oh, how they did their part! While quiet the first 5 innings, RF Wil Myers turned the volume up to 11 with a 430-foot, 3-run homer in the 6th inning to give the Friars the lead. Seriously, Wil knew it was gone on contact:
In exras, it was Fernando Tatis Jr. who got things started. He drilled the first pitch he saw for a single into center field. That scored Jorge Mateo to give the Pads another lead.
But since the Mariners just didn’t know when to quit, the Boys came back out in the 11th to finish them off. 1B Mitch Moreland smacked a flare down the left field line to score Manny Machado, then LF Jurickson Profar laced a single into center field for another RBI. CF Trent Grisham then reached on a error to score C Austin Nola, and that was all Trevor Rosenthal needed.
Mitchy Two Bags. Mitch Moreruns. Mitch Scoreland. pic.twitter.com/NpnvvYtMan— San Diego Padres (@Padres) September 20, 2020
Two outs don't faze these Friars! pic.twitter.com/FraZFppvBv— San Diego Padres (@Padres) September 21, 2020
Man, this feels good! Now, let’s get into news and notes.
- CF Trent Grisham walked twice yesterday to set a new career high by reaching base in 15 straight games.
- With Manny Machado going hitless and thereby ending his hitting streak at 10 games, Jurickson Profar’s 9-game streak is now the Padres’ longest active hitting streak.
- Lamet turned in the Padres’ 11th quality start in the past 17 games. Among the 6 games in which their starter did not go at least 6 innings and allow 3 or fewer earned runs, two were bullpen games. Not surprisingly, the 2.75 ERA by Padres starters in that stretch (since 02 September) is lowest in the majors.
- Just prior to yesterday’s game, the Padres announced some roster moves. RHP Luis Patiño got optioned to the Alt Site, with RHP Austin Adams joining the team from off the IL. Patiño, one of the team’s most heralded pitching prospects, struggled with his command in his first stint at the MLB level. He posted a 7.2BB/9 rate in his 16.1 innings of work, while also demonstrating he has the raw stuff to succeed going forward. The 20-year-old Patiño also posted a 10.5 K/9 rate with the Padres, in line with his minor league numbers. Adams, a part of the Austin Nola and Dan Altavilla trade, while recovering from a torn ACL in his left knee suffered last year. Prior to the injury, Adams enjoyed a breakout 2019, posting a 3.94 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 53:16 K:BB in 32 innings with Seattle. While command has been an issue for Adams in the past, he possesses the raw stuff (mid-90s 4-seamer, along with a sinker and a slider that pushes 90 MPH) to be considered a late-inning stopper. Expect Adams to get some work in the last few games as the Padres look to set their roster up for post-season success.
- AJ Cassevell takes a look at how the Padres turned themselves back into a playoff contender over the years. The team heavily invested in their farm system, particularly in the international signings, as well as trading heavily around the league. Of the players who’ve made an appearance with the 2020 Padres: 3 came from the Amateur draft; 5 from International signings; 6 were Free Agent signings; 24 came from trades (across all levels); 2 were waiver signings, and 1 (Luis Perdomo) was a Rule 5 draftee that managed to stick. Most amazingly, this doesn’t cover all the players traded AWAY from the team to make the current roster a reality. To illustrate that point, I remind you of something I posted about 2+ weeks ago: just 6 players on the current active roster were on the Padres roster at any point in 2018 (Wil Myers, relievers Matt Strahm, Craig Stammen and Javy Guerra (who actually was a SS at the time with all of 19 plate appearances that year), RHP Dinelson Lamet (who spent that season on the injured list after needing TJ surgery in spring training that year), and then recently-signed 1B Eric Hosmer). Only the Mariners and Diamondbacks have fewer holdovers from that year, with 2 and 3 respectively. Safe to say, these ain’t the Padres you used to know.
- RHP Mike Clevinger, who was scratched from Saturday’s start with a biceps strain, threw on flat ground before Sunday’s game and from distances beyond 100 feet. Clevinger will throw a bullpen during Monday’s off-day and could rejoin the rotation as soon as Wednesday. “He’s feeling good,” manager Jayce Tingler said. “He’s progressing so it’s good news so far. You won’t obviously know until he lets it go a little bit. He’ll have a bullpen (Monday) and that will give us more information. We’re still confident, feeling good. We still feel good about him.”
- In other injury news, LHP Jose Castillo has been facing batters in game-like scenarios at the alternate site. He remains a potential wild card to be added to the post-season roster. Additionally, C Luis Campusano is also on the mend after spraining his wrist. He also is an option for the post-season roster.
- AJ Cassavell also takes a look at the potential postseason roster for the team. Like the regular season, the team will carry 28 players into the Wild Card Series. His guess, for at least the Wild Card round:
C: Austin Nola, Jason Castro
1B: Eric Hosmer, Mitch Moreland
2B: Jake Cronenworth
3B: Manny Machado
SS: Fernando Tatis Jr.
Util.: Greg Garcia, Jorge Mateo
OF: Trent Grisham, Wil Myers, Tommy Pham, Jurickson Profar, Jorge Oña
Rotation: Mike Clevinger, Dinelson Lamet, Zach Davies
Bullpen: Trevor Rosenthal, Drew Pomeranz, Emilio Pagán, Matt Strahm, Tim Hill, Garrett Richards, Chris Paddack, Pierce Johnson, Austin Adams, Adrian Morejon, Craig Stammen
Cassavell notes that some decisions remain, particularly in regards to adding a righty bat. He stresses that, while he believes Oña will get the call, C Luis Campusano (if healthy) or OF Greg Allen could get brought back in. Or the team could opt for another bullpen arm. The team doesn’t have to set it’s roster until the morning the Wild Card series begins.
That’s it for today. Given today is an off-day for the team, let’s dip into the way back machine and find out what everyone was doing the last time the Padres clinched a post-season berth. For me back in 2006, I was just coming off my first deployment to Iraq, and preparing to move from Ft. Campbell, KY to Ft. Bliss, TX. I was also getting ready to propose to my now-wife. Today, I’m still in the Army despite deploying 3 more times and having moved 5 times in that span (including a move internationally). I’m somehow still married, and have 1 kid with 1 more on the way (!!!).
A lot can change in 14 years. What about for y’all? Let us all know in the comments!