San Francisco, California
The San Diego Padres edged the San Francisco Giants in another close NL West rivalry game, coming out on top by a score of 3-2. The Padres scored in the top of the first inning on a Christian Villanueva home run, and added onto their lead in the top of the fourth inning, as Jose Pirela grounded out to second base, scoring Eric Hosmer.
With the game all tied up in the top of the 9th inning, Giants’ reliever Hunter Strickland elevated a fastball that proved costly, as Eric Hosmer drilled it over the left field fence for his third home run of the season to give the Padres a 3-2 lead. Brad Hand worked a flawless ninth inning as the Padres evened up the series against the Giants at one apiece.
Spectacular Outfield Defense
The San Diego Padres might have the fastest outfield in all of baseball. With Wil Myers on the disabled list, Manuel Margot, Franchy Cordero, and Travis Jankowski currently make up a superb defensive outfield based all on speed. It surely showed on Tuesday night.
In the bottom of the first inning, Giants’ slugger Andrew McCutchen drilled a baseball toward the centerfield warning track that surely screamed extra bases. Unfortunately for him, Manuel Margot made one of the more spectacular catches you’ll see all season. Running at full speed into the outfield wall, Margot secured the baseball and stole an extra base hit away from McCutchen.
Then, in the bottom of the 6th inning, third baseman Evan Longoria stroked a Tyson Ross fastball into right field, which almost surely appeared to be a base hit. Think again, as right fielder Travis Jankowski covered an immense amount of ground (103 feet according to Statcast), and in a diving attempt, caught the ball and took away a hit from Longoria. Both of these plays were crucial to the outcome of the game, as it kept extra base runners off the bag for the Giants and took some pressure off of Tyson Ross.
A Quality Tyson Ross outing
In his return to the Padres this season, Tyson Ross has been nothing short of spectacular. After recovering from a tough shoulder surgery, Ross has shown spurts of his former all-star self, especially in today’s game against the San Francisco Giants. The right-hander went six complete innings, allowing four hits and only earned run. He also struck out nine batters and walked three.
A huge part of his success, both past and present, has been the ability to command his slider. His slider was extremely effective tonight, as the Giants only put two balls in play all game against it. With a late break to it, Ross possesses one of the best sliders in baseball when he can command it. Ross also did not give up much hard contact all game, as the majority of the balls that the Giants put in play were either hit on the ground or weak contact through the air.
Ross going six innings is easily one of the most important takeaways of his outing. With how taxed the Padres’ bullpen is, it is crucial that the team’s starters continue to work deep into games to take some pressure off of the pen.
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) May 2, 2018
Hosmer Starts to Heat up
It’s finally happening. The face of the franchise, Eric Hosmer, has finally started to get a feel for himself at the plate. After what most people would consider a relatively slow start at the plate, Hosmer has started to barrel the baseball up and make solid contact consistently, even when he gets out.
In his last seven games, Hosmer has posted a ridiculous .409/.581/.545 batting line with nine hits and a home run against Hunter Strickland that eventually gave the Padres a much-needed victory. What’s most impressive about Hosmer during his hot streak is how well he is seeing the ball. In 22 at-bats, the Padres first baseman has walked nine times while only striking out four times. Since moving up to the two-slot consistently in the order, Hosmer is working deep counts and selecting which pitches he can drive in the gaps for extra base hits. He simply finds ways to get on base and make things happen for the other players around him. It appears that Eric Hosmer has started to find his stroke, something that we Padres fans have all been waiting for.