You should be excused for thinking this sounds familiar.
The season is barely over five percent over, but this Padres offense suffers from the same inconsistency that doomed it in 2021. To call it inconsistent might even be a little too kind.
Of the Padres’ 43 runs this season, 22 have come in two games. If they are to be called consistent, it is systematically futile.
Here’s a quick chart to show the difference between how the Padres did in those two big games versus all the others:
My play story from yesterday (here) goes a bit deeper into the offensive problem and how he wastes a good tee shot.
Or, while I think my story is interesting and informative, you can just read this relevant summary from Bob Melvin about his 5-5 club:
“We just don’t have enough guys on base, we don’t put enough pressure on and apart from a few games where we scored multiple points, we don’t do it consistently.”
Speaking of Melvin, I wrote (here) yesterday about how he has already earned the trust of his new players. And maybe that will make a difference at some point this season. Remember that many people in the organization said that an experienced manager would have stepped in to make changes during last year’s end-of-season slide.
For now, remember yesterday was the 10and Game. To put that into context, if it was NFL season, the Padres would have just tied their first game.
Trent Grisham, for the first time this season, achieved his goal at home plate.
I wrote in yesterday’s newsletter (here) about his struggle to be patiently aggressive rather than passive. In yesterday’s game, he had his first game at bat and hit his last home run.
Grisham came into the game having seen the most called strikes in the major leagues. The pitch he hit out of the park, a 2-2 fastball to the top outside corner of the strike zone, is absolutely the type of pitch he would have looked at many times this season.
“I’m starting to feel better at home plate, I guess,” he said. “We will see if the results come with it. But right now I’m feeling good and trying to stay on time and keep going.
Grisham won a Gold Glove in 2020 but came out of this season knowing he had a glaring area of weakness. He covers a lot of ground in center field and has the dive caught. But he didn’t complete enough near-wall taps.
It was better to come back and on the wall last season. And on his first chance of 2022, he stole a home run from Manny Piña for the third in the second inning.
“I was definitely squeezing,” pitcher Nick Martinez said of his reaction to watching the ball fly.
Piña grabbed the ball well, sending it 404ft with an exit speed of 104.1mph, but it was clear that Grisham was tracking the ball well from the start.
“The ball was hit well,” Grisham said. “I just turned around and started running. At that second glance, I knew I had a chance. So it was just a matter of negotiating the wall. I felt I had a pearl on it all the way. I got into the bad habit of jumping towards the wall or worrying about the wall. I feel like I did a good job staying focused on the ball and aiming it as best I could.
The thing about trying to get better at catching balls off the wall is that it’s hard to train with a lot of intensity, due to the risk of injury.
“It just comes with experience, playing Petco a lot of times and kind of knowing the track and knowing how much time you have,” Grisham said. “I think it was more about feelings than anything else.”
The right call
An argument could be made that right fielder Matt Beaty shouldn’t have made that nifty sixth-inning flyball catch from Piña, in which Beaty caught the ball while sliding near the wall in foul territory. But not much argument, probably.
Given his distance from home plate and the position he was in after making the catch, Beaty had virtually no chance of driving Dansby Swanson home from third place.
“It’s hard to tell yourself not to catch that ball,” Melvin said. “An exit came out. He gets a run, but if you don’t (catch the ball) and (the batter) doubles and now all of a sudden you have a bigger inning. … So you can’t fault that.
AJ Preller didn’t hire Ron Washington as his manager, but he knows a good teacher when he has one available.
Preller was in the front office for the Rangers when Washington was successful in Texas and came close to hiring Washington as manager of the Padres after the 2019 season. Preller is among the legions who admire Washington’s ability to teach defense and his zeal for the Game.
So he arranged for rookie shortstop CJ Abrams to hang out with the Braves’ third baseman coach before Friday’s game. The two stood talking — or rather, Washington spoke while Abrams listened — for about 15 minutes as Preller stood nearby.
“Washington was cool,” Abrams said. “I grew up watching him. It was really cool talking to him.
To be clear, Abrams, 21, who grew up about 30 minutes from Atlanta, meant he looked up to Washington as a coach. Washington’s 10-year playing career ended in 1989, 11 years before Abrams was born.
The conversation focused almost exclusively on the fundamentals of the game on the pitch.
“I enjoyed that,” Washington said. “When I was that age, people did it for me. We have to push the game forward. … AJ is a disciple for young kids. He always tries to get young people to understand the game.
Everyone does it
The web space between Wil Myers’ right thumb and index finger on Sunday morning was colored the deep purple and blue of the sky before a thunderstorm. He stuck his thumb sliding into second base on Tuesday and finished that game and played two more before sitting out the final two. (It might be available today.)
So I would have asked him why he played in those two games, but I knew the answer.
What I asked instead was how often he plays with a part of his body that bothers him.
“Every day after May Day,” was her quick response.
Maybe think about that the next time you wonder why a guy isn’t playing well. Maybe there’s more going on than we know.
When I noted that it was before May Day and that might be why now was a good time to sit down, Myers said, “Yeah, but I’ll tell you this: at least someone’s here right now playing something.”
- Luke Voit struck out three for the second straight game and struck out 12 in his last 23 plate appearances. It has been clear for several games that he is pressing. Where Voit chased 13 of 56 (23.2%) pitches he saw outside the strike zone in the first five games, he chased 21 of 44 (47.7%) in the five games since. He was remarkably candid about his struggles after yesterday’s game. Here’s Bryce Miller’s column on Voit, with some fantastic quotes from Voit’s harshest critic.
- Jurickson Profar hit his first homer of the season on the left side of the plate yesterday. The other two homers from the switch batter were on the right side.
- The Kansas City Padres and Royals still haven’t made a mistake. The Padres have played 10 games, the Royals eight.
It should be fun
First base umpire Doug Eddings had two first base calls over yesterday. One went against the Padres, the other went the way of the Padres. Both were bang-bang games, although on one it was pretty clear that Eddings was wrong without the benefit of slowing him down.
Eddings is behind the plate today. It’s not the first time he’ll work the plate in a Padres game since his awful (and horribly lopsided) performance in Miami last July, but he was so bad that day it’s well worth checking out. reacquainted with his performance just to get into the right frame of mind for today. Here’s my game story from that night.
Incidentally, MLB disagreed with the numbers I put in my story on Eddings’ missed hit and ball calls that night. And as it was explained to me, it is because the league marks the referees on a zone a little larger than what we see on TV or on the computer. In league ratings, umpires get pardoned for so-called “50-50” balls to the periphery of the zone.
Alright, that’s all for me for now.
There will be no newsletter in your inbox tomorrow. I take my leave today. I haven’t seen my family for six weeks. And although they appreciated the break, they were kind enough to let me know that I could come to the Easter festivities today.
I speak to you on Tuesday.