Padres News: Winning Road Trip is Sign of Progression in Team

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Mandatory Credit: UT San Diego
Mandatory Credit: UT San Diego

The San Diego Padres needed to take that last game of the series in Atlanta to salvage a split in the four game meeting. The importance of that game was magnified by the fact, the win resulted in a winning road trip for the team. Typically the Padres haven’t done well away from Petco Park, so the winning road trip was a great morale boost for this newly formed team.

The team is still new, and the players are just beginning to really play for each other. Very concerning the pitching staff did not step up after Matt Kemp and Justin Upton were both plunked, but hopefully the team learns from that. You must, as a pitching staff protect your hitters, especially your two best hitters. Upton and Kemp were both unhurt, but a player could easily break a wrist or hand after being hit by pitch. You don’t want to let teams get the idea its okay to throw up and in to Padres hitters without consequences.

In rallying past the Braves, the Padres team once again shows they have the ability to come back. Trailing for most of the game, the offense finally began to get some timely hits and the usually stoic Bud Black even got thrown out of the game. The umpires missed an obvious call when the ball struck Jace Peterson‘s bat twice while he swung at an Andrew Cashner pitch. Black was infuriated and was ultimately tossed by the umpires.

That show of emotion, in Padres fans eyes, is fantastic. The Padres team can look rather calm like their manager at times. Being calm is a very productive trait to have in the game of baseball, but sometimes you need to show that passion and fire too. That was shown by Black and the team responded with the win. Sure they got some breaks on their side, but the Padres were due for some good fortune.

Cameron Maybin and Jace Peterson both punished the Padres for dealing them in the off-season. Maybin in particular looked extremely motivated to perform at a high level. He went 5-13 in the series driving in three runs and scoring two. He managed to only strike out one time in the series, and has clearly made an adjustment in his swing. He is very short to the ball right now and should finally enjoy some consistency. Hopefully for the Braves, Maybin is able to remain healthy. Peterson went 7-17 and scored two runs for the Braves in the four game series.

The one out single by Yangervis Solarte to drive in the  two game-winning runs was huge. Solarte continues to come up with big hits, and used correctly he could be a very important player in a potential play-off run for the Padres. What more can be said about Corey Spangeberg’s bunt that ignited the whole rally in the 11th? I really enjoy seeing old school baseball like that, and slap bunting and positional bunting is exciting.

Corey Spangenberg reaching on a bases loaded, catchers interference call to tie the game in the eighth inning, was the topping on a truly weird four game series in Atlanta. The Padres looked well on their way to winning game two of the series, but James Shields, uncharacteristically fell apart and the team couldn’t recover. That loss resulted in a poor performance the next night, a common theme among for the Padres. They have however appeared to shaken it off.

Just at the right time as the Los Angeles Dodgers come into town with a five game lead on the Padres for first place in the National League West. Losing that last game in Atlanta would have given the team zero momentum coming into this weekend. The Padres have to face Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke in the first two games of the series. The Padres will counter with Odrisamer Despaigne on Friday against Kershaw. Saturday’s starter for the Padres hasn’t been named. Ian Kennedy would be the most likely suspect.

The Padres must take a step forward against their division rival. A huge series for the Padres to establish themselves. All eyes will be on the Padres and facing the Dodgers top two starters is a daunting task. It really doesn’t matter who is on the mound, this team needs to take that mentality and scratch out a victory any way they can. The Padres have all the talent to do so, now take that momentum and let it guide you to new heights.

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