There’s nothing wrong with the Padres’ roster that Fernando Tatis Jr. and Willson Contreras won’t fix.
One of them is expected to join the team in early August. The other could too.
Contreras plays one or more positions the Padres want to improve with more consistent hitting (slugging), and the Cubs’ designated receiver/hitter is someone they’ve had discussions with.
Despite several withdrawals over the past few years, the Padres likely have the prospect capital to make a big trade. And pending free agency from Contreras or anyone else is no obstacle. This team is in win-now mode, so rentals are in play as part of the bargain.
It’s unclear if the Padres will be able to land Contreras or Trey Mancini, Andrew Benintendi, Whit Merrifield, Bryan Reynolds or any other target who could play catcher, first base or outfield and/or serve as a designated hitter.
Their names are offered here to emphasize that somebody who has a history of hitting ability almost certainly arrives before the August 2 trade deadline. This has been made clear, by people familiar with the Padres’ intentions.
As if anyone needed to say it.
It has become apparent that Tatis isn’t all it takes. The thing is, this offense is what we thought it was in spring training. It’s just not Jurickson Profar who is one of the problems.
(Let’s not forget that right fielder Wil Myers is due back possibly as early as next week, though he and at least some of the money remaining on his $20 million salary will be bought out.)
Despite their continual protestations that they just need to chain punches together and move people around and do the little things right, it’s always been a concern that the Padres aren’t able to keep making enough streaks to maintaining the winning pace that won them 17 games. above .500 and leading the National League West less than three weeks ago.
They’re 6-12 and averaging 3.33 points per game since then, with both ratings worse than all but three teams in that span. They’re averaging 0.78 home runs per game in that span, worse than all but four teams and not that far below their 0.83 home runs per game so far.
Their 4.58 carries per game this season rank 12e in the majors, which is a testament to how well they’ve done on offense. They rank fifth in the sacrificial flies, are tied for 10e in sacrifice strokes and are tied with the Twins for first place in the majors in the number of times they have taken an extra 90 feet on a single or double.
Commendable. And somewhat laughable to think that bustle and timely hitting can sustain enough offense for an entire season in today’s game against today’s pitchers.
This is not an opinion. That’s what the Padres believe to be the reality.
Players have to work with what they have.
“I think the rest of us in the band, we have to be who we are and stay on our own and not try to hit that grand slam when nobody’s on,” Jake Cronenworth reportedly said in my story. yesterday’s game (here). “It’s about getting down to the base, getting the guy in and scoring him and capitalizing on opportunities when we have them.”
The director and his staff must work with what they have.
“You have to keep working and doing the right things and playing solid baseball and at some point that fog comes up and the sun comes up and hopefully the floodgates open for us,” reportedly said Bob Melvin in Bryce Miller’s column on offense (here).
But those who make the decisions in the organization know that they have to add a bat to the bat that comes back.
Manny Machado doesn’t talk much about his injuries.
When asked yesterday if he felt like himself on the pitch as he recovers from an ankle injury, Machado answered with a question.
“Am I playing?”
The answer is obviously in the affirmative.
“I wouldn’t be there if I couldn’t,” he said.
Which isn’t the same as his perfectly healthy ankle, which won’t be for a while. He’s not at risk of further injury and the swelling has gone down noticeably yesterday compared to the end of last week.
Asked if his ankle was affecting his game, Machado said it wasn’t.
He was 1 for 5 with a double and two strikeouts yesterday. In 21 plate appearances in six games since returning, Machado is 3-for-19 with two doubles, two walks and 10 strikeouts.
“We all hit,” Machado said. “It’s baseball. Nothing to do with anything. It’s just baseball.
Machado had a .400 on-base percentage and averaged one strikeout for every 6.1 plate appearances this season before his injury. And while he’s right that everyone bats, and virtually every batter goes through periods of hitting an inordinate amount, Machado hasn’t batted 10 times in a streak of 21 plate appearances or less. since 2017.
more not better
Mike Clevinger allowed two hits, including a home run. He was pitching in a 1-1 game and felt good going into the fourth inning yesterday. Too good for its own good.
“I lost it a bit in the fourth,” said Clevinger, who allowed three runs on walk, two singles and a double in that inning. “Creating pitches, trying to create shapes with my body, didn’t really stick with me. Then I kind of locked it down after that, but I can’t let it go that long without doing the right ones adjustments.
Clevinger further explained, “I think because everything was working so well, I was just like, ‘Hey, let’s give it another mile per hour, let’s get two more inches on the slider’ instead of just messing with the things that we “I have because it’s pretty good.
As Clevinger twisted and tried to make more movement, his slider’s horizontal and vertical break actually decreased for a while in round four before rising again in rounds five and six.
In short, again
As part of his assessment of Clevinger’s exit, Melvin offered this:
“Gave us six innings, which we really needed today.”
Nick Martinez has joined the bullpen for the time being, giving the Padres seven full-time relievers for the first time since June 20. But that’s still one shy of most teams (those that use five starters), and Martinez wasn’t ready to come back yesterday after pitching 2 1/3 innings on Sunday.
Craig Stammen had pitched three of the previous four days. Tayler Scott threw a career-high 49 pitches on Monday.
So in a bullpen that was short — again, again — Luis Garcia gave the Padres two much-needed scoreless relief innings and closer Taylor Rogers also pitched for the first time in a game the Padres followed.
Help is on the way. Drew Pomeranz (flexor tendon) and Pierce Johnson (elbow) are not expected to return until August, but southpaw Adrian Morejón (shoulder) left for rehabilitation yesterday. Jeff Sanders wrote about it, along with a former Padres bullpen who returned to Petco Park and mastered Padres batting yesterday, in a notebook (here).
- Machado turns 30 today. For the record, this is still considered his “29-year-old” season. The deadline for this is July 1. A “baseball age” is mostly used in player comparisons — that is, how Machado would compare to Mike Schmidt during his 29-year-old season.
- Rogers came in early in the ninth inning with the Padres trailing 4-2 and allowed two runs. He allowed 14 runs (12 earned) and had a .327 batting average in his last 14 appearances. He allowed one run and a .132 batting average in his first 20 appearances (20 1/3 innings).
- Nomar Mazara was 3-for-4 with a double yesterday and is batting .301 with a .789 OPS in 28 games since being recalled from Triple-A.
- Rookie CJ Abrams was 1-for-3 for the second straight day and has a .244 batting average since being recalled from Triple-A on June 20. He had at least one hit in 10 of his 14 games. He hit .182 in 20 games his first time this season.
- Of the 17 games this season the Padres have never held a lead, five have come in the last 10 games.
- The Padres went from third-worst in the majors at catching base robbers to sixth-worst in catching two of four potential robbers yesterday. Austin Nola, who is sometimes slow to get rid of the ball, did a good job on his pass and throw to get Dylan Moore in the sixth inning. He (and Clevinger) also had second base robbed against them twice. Rogers threw behind Moore, who was tagged out in second, in the ninth inning. The Padres pitchers/receivers have given up 42 stolen bases on 52 attempts (80.8% success rate) this season.
Yes, 14 x 4 = 56.
I erroneously wrote in yesterday’s bulletin that the Padres will play 46 games against teams in their division next season. The correct number is 56. They will face the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Giants and Rockies 14 times apiece instead of the 19 times since 2001.
My brain apologizes for the mistake.
He will take the next few days off.
We’ll still have plenty of coverage on the UT Padres page, but there won’t be a newsletter until Sunday.
Talk to you then.