The Padres completed one of the best weeks in recent memory with back-to-back sweeps of the Rangers and Astros on their way to a seven-game winning streak.
Let’s take a look at five top performers during an undefeated week of Padres baseball.
The real Manny Machado has arrived. After a little more than a year of up-and-down play, Machado is playing like a man deserving of $300 million. He ended the week with a six-game hitting streak, and on Tuesday through Saturday, he had five straight games of multiple hits. He didn’t just do it with the bat. While in Texas, he made one of the best defensive plays of the year, catching a ball in deep right field after shifting over as the rover near second base.
The Padres were down one run in the bottom of the 10th … until this 💥
MANNY. MACHADO. WALKOFF. SLAM. pic.twitter.com/LyZv6X8H2g
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 20, 2020
The pinnacle moment of Machado’s week was Wednesday when the Padres fell behind in the 10th inning. San Diego loaded the bases thanks to some stellar at-bats from Trent Grisham and Fernando Tatis Jr. ahead of Machado. After working a solid at-bat himself, Machado launched a ball into left-center for a walk-off grand slam, the third grand slam of his Padres career, and second this season. He didn’t stop there. He homered twice against the Astros, including the game-winning home run in Sunday’s 5-3 win, finishing the week with a .393 average, 1.290 OPS, and 240 wRC+. His season OPS is now .890 with a 143 OPS+.
Among the individual accolades the Padres may command if this trend continues, Cronenworth is making a solid case for Rookie of the Year. He hit safely in each of the seven games this week and joined the club of Padres hitters who hit grand slams this week, setting a major league record. He blew the game open in Saturday’s 13-2 win over Houston with the team’s fifth grand slam in six days.
WHAT IS GOING ON IN SLAM DIEGO?! 💥IT IS THE 2ND INNING!!!!!
— Fox Sports Slam Diego (@FOXSportsSD) August 23, 2020
Aside from his grand slam, all the Michigan alum did was get on base over and over, scoring six runs with five extra-base hits. With an average of .423, seven RBIs, 1.192 OPS, and 222 wRC+, he turned in one of the best weeks among all hitters in the National League and is atop most leaderboards among rookies in the National League.
Although Machado and Cronenworth had better overall numbers during the entire week, we would be remiss not to include Tatis, who single-handedly set the baseball world ablaze this week with his “controversial” grand slam in Monday’s 14-4 win over the Texas Rangers. The story is well-documented by now, with Tatis hitting a grand slam on a 3-0 count while up by seven runs. The Rangers took exception publicly, and everyone who is anyone in the baseball world reacted to it and were speaking Tatis’ name. This week was the week that genuinely put Tatis on the map as a baseball superstar.
Rangers pitcher Ian Gibaut threw behind Manny Machado right after Fernando Tatis Jr. hit a grand slam on a 3-0 pitch with the Padres leading by seven runs last night. pic.twitter.com/2eajDXt3UK
— ESPN (@espn) August 18, 2020
That grand slam not only brought national attention to himself and the Padres, but it also sparked the mania that was “Slam Diego” as his was the first of five grand slams over the week for the Friars. The 21-year-old backed it up with a solid week at the plate, reaching base in every game in both series. The Dominican star hit three home runs against the Rangers in four games and then hit .333, reaching base six times against the Astros over the weekend and threw in one of the best plays by a Padres shortstops ever.
It’s impossible to leave out a player who had a three-homer night. He hit safely in five of the seven games, including the monstrous 4-for-5 night against the Astros, including three home runs and six RBI. He has been a revelation at the leadoff spot, batting .306 with a .942 OPS since moving to the top of the lineup.
Trent Grisham is hitting so many HRs he's been having to use sign language when rounding the bases 😂 Can the @Padres lead off man keep slugging in the series finale?!#FriarFaithful | @TrentGrisham pic.twitter.com/HdtITfvHNf
— Fox Sports Slam Diego (@FOXSportsSD) August 23, 2020
He finished the week with a .344 average, 1.039 OPS, and 178 wRC+. Overall for the season, Grisham boasts a .369 on-base percentage with a 142 OPS+.
The standout pitcher of the week was Davies. His first start on Monday was a ho-hum five innings with three earned runs and six strikeouts. Luckily, he was able to hit cruise control early in that contest as the Padres rolled to a 14-4 win. His start on Saturday, however, was the best performance by a Padres starter so far in 2020. He faced a talented lineup in the Astros, yet Houston only had two hits outside of Jose Altuve all game long.
Davies could’ve called it a night after yet again, pitching in a blowout win. However, he was able to keep his pitch count down and became the first Padres pitcher to complete eight innings of work in a game. This was desperately needed for a beleaguered bullpen, only requiring one inning of work from Luis Perdomo in the ninth inning. That set the stage for the bullpen to work heavily in Sunday’s win, which was essentially a bullpen day.
I think Trent Grisham just inadvertently gifted us a strong Zach Davies nickname:
"He’s taken it to the next level," Grisham said. "… He’s a technician."
Indeed. Zach Davies, The Technician.
— AJ Cassavell (@AJCassavell) August 23, 2020
Davies finished the week with two victories, 13 innings with a 3.06 FIP. In six starts this season, he boasts a 3.03 ERA and 145 ERA+. He has been everything the Padres could have hoped for and more since coming to San Diego in the deal that also brought Grisham to San Diego. He also had perhaps the best quote regarding the so-called controversy surrounding Tatis’ grand slam.