The San Diego Padres came into this game struggling and looking to avoid being swept by the New York Mets.
This month the Padres have scored less than three runs in eight of the eleven games. The offense is clearly the weak spot right now. Even though they have faced Jacob deGrom twice in that stretch, come October, they will be facing top-tier pitching nonstop.
This time around, it was former Padre, Joey Lucchesi, on the mound. Sporting a 5.18 ERA, he looked to be the perfect opponent to ignite the offense. As a result, Jayce Tingler rolled out a heavy righty lineup, with Eric Hosmer being the only lefty in the lineup. This did mean that Trent Grisham and Jake Cronenworth were on the bench despite being some of the top contributors this season. Both of them would come into the game as pinch hitters for Jorge Mateo and Ha-Seong Kim, respectively.
On the mound for the Padres was Chris Paddack. He continues to bounce back from his sophomore season slump. This outing was a great example of him working his way back to being a productive pitcher. He allowed two runs, six hits, no walks, and nine strikeouts. Even that line doesn’t show the full story. The Mets had just a .202 expected batting average against Paddack. Jose Peraza’s two-run homer was the only damage Paddack would give up in his six innings of work.
“One of his best starts. I think he had eight punchouts. He was really efficient with his pitches. The changeup had good depth. The fastball had good life. He went to the top of the zone. He went to the bottom of the zone. I thought his last strikeout, from my point, was down, down, and away that 3-2 pitch was huge. I thought he was really good all day. He continues to give us good quality starts and keeps giving us a chance to win games,” Tingler said of Paddack’s performance.
Despite having a good outing, Paddack left the game in line for the loss. Up to that point, the offense was failing to do much. Tommy Pham hit a home run to lead off the game, but that was their only run-up to that point. The frustrating part for the offense was the three double plays that they grounded into. Those coming in the first, second, and sixth innings. All three completely crushing any chance of a rally.
It was in the top of the 7th when the offense would come alive to have Paddack’s back. Cronenworth and Eric Hosmer found themselves on second and third after Webster Rivas had a sacrifice bunt to move them over. Grisham struck out, and it started to look like another failed rally. Then Jurickson Profar, the third pinch hitter of the inning, walked to load the bases. Pham followed suit with a four-pitch walk to score the tying run.
This set up Fernando Tatis Jr. to do what he is famous for, hit grand slams.
“The Profar at-bat, being down 1-2. That goes down as one of the top at-bats of the year and fouling off pitches, getting a walk. Then Tommy gets a walk to tie the game. Then Tati got something out over the plate and obviously got a barrel to it,” Tingler highlighted as a key to the big 7th inning.
The offense wasn’t done there. Manny Machado would follow it up with a home run of his own. This put the Padres in a comfortable 7-2 and set up Paddack for the win.
After Paddack’s six innings of work, the bullpen took over. In the 8th inning, with Emilio Pagan pitching, there was a scare for the safety of the players. With Pete Alonso at the plate, Pagan threw a fastball that hit the bill of Alonso’s helmet. Thankfully Alonso quickly shrugged it and was able to stay in the game. Later in the inning, the Mets were able to scrap across a run on a Cronenworth throwing error.
The Padres will now travel to Colorado and try to keep the momentum from this win.