Padres handle Rockies 8-1 despite internal COVID-19 concerns

Credit: AP Photo

Credit: AP Photo

Coors Field- Denver, Colorado

Fans of the San Diego Padres got some rough news hours before the game started on Tuesday.

Shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., infielder/outfielder Jurickson Profar, and infielder/outfielder Jorge Mateo were all placed on the injured list in accordance with the COVID-19 protocols. As a result, infielder/outfielder Tucupita Marcano, right-handed pitcher Nabil Crissmatt, and outfielder John Andreoli were called up.

Those three represent a huge loss to a team that was hoping to get into a groove on offense.

In the past week, it became clear that Tatis would need to be the leadoff hitter. The numbers simply show he is nowhere close to the same batter when he is in the two or three-hole in the lineup. With Tatis out of the lineup, Trent Grisham would be tasked with the leadoff role.

Grisham tends to fit the traditional leadoff spot. He has a positive OBP at .369 and averages four pitches per at-bat. Once on base, he possesses the speed to steal or take an extra base on a hit. The one area where he doesn’t fit the leadoff hitter mold is his power. His .515 slugging percentage ranks 27th among qualified batters in the MLB. On Tuesday, he would provide a hit and walk from the number one spot in the lineup in a perfect showing of his skills.

The nice thing about playing at Coors Field is the altitude that sends the ball soaring. The downside of playing at Coors is the rough weather can get in the way at times. The stormy conditions and cold weather are not ideal for launching big hits. Both Manny Machado and Wil Myers early on would feel that effect early. Machado launched a ball to left-center that just fell short of a home run. Myers would hit one that, off the bat, looked gone. Both of them would fly out.

While the bats were warming up in the game, Dinelson Lamet was on the mound warming up for the season. After a second stint on the IL, he is still slowly progressing. Once again, he only threw 29 pitches over two innings. This short strategy is by design to help him build up his strength while making an impact in the MLB. In this short outing, he allowed a hit, walk, and run while striking out one. He is by no means back to full form. His slider still isn’t the most valuable pitch in baseball like it was last season. His velocity and command just aren’t there and his health is still an open question.

“I thought the first inning he felt his way through it. I felt the second inning he was a little bit sharper, which was kinda opposite from the start before. He had the slider working. I thought it had more finish to it”, Jayce Tingler said after the game.

Miguel Diaz started eating some of the innings that Lamet left on the plate. This is a new and improved version of the pitcher that played in 2019. While he is yet to give up a run this season, he does have a 3.73 xERA and 3.10 FIP. He will be a good “arm on demand” that moves between the majors and minors based on need.

Later in the game, Machado would get his revenge for the ball that fell short in the first. In the top of the 5th, he would line a home run that left no doubts that it would reach the stands.

Machado wouldn’t settle with just that home run. In the next inning, he would come up with bases loaded. The third baseman lined a ball in the right-center gap. A diving Garrett Hampson just missed the ball. Machado would clear the bases and end up with a triple. He finished the day with five RBIs and two extra-base hits. His performance this season could have worried some. However, a dive into his numbers like in this article shows that he was poised to heat up.

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In the game on Tuesday, there were some defensive substitutions made. The first substitution was Tucupita Marcano coming into play right field for Wil Myers. The initial thought was that Myers hurt his arm after jumping against the wall to catch a ball. After the game, Tingler revealed that he had tested positive for COVID-19. The next substitution was Eric Hosmer, who was pulled for contact tracing. That opened a spot for John Andreoli to make his first Padres’ appearance.

The sudden spread of Padres’ players testing positive for COVID-19 or being sidelined due to contact tracing is concerning. Tingler mentioned that the doubleheader is still scheduled to be played. If the doubleheader is played, a flurry of moves may be made to field a full 26-man roster. Stay tuned to EVT for updates.

As of now, the two teams are set for a doubleheader on Wednesday with the first game slated at 12:10 and the second scheduled for 3:40 PST.

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