The Padres went 4-2 during a critical week against the Cardinals and Rockies. Now, they enter the final full week of the season still in the driver’s seat.
Which players have been playing well during this critical time? Which have struggled? Let’s take a look.
Kim tied for the team lead this week with eight hits. He added a home run off of Adam Wainwright, the second of his career against the decorated right-hander. He was pivotal at multiple times, batting leadoff in Bob Melvin‘s shuffled lineup. This week, he hit .333 with three extra-base hits.
When the team has needed him most, Machado seems to find a way time after time to come through. He has another strong case to win yet another NL Player of the Week award as he did in mid-August. With a 1.163 OPS and a team-high two homers, he led the way to a winning week. He put an exclamation mark on the Padres’ 13-6 win in Colorado on Sunday with a three-run bomb, putting him at 100 RBI. The Padres are not even close to a playoff spot without Machado’s efforts this season.
To his credit, Profar has been put in a variety of spots in the lineup, and he has found a way to make an impact more often than not. He batted .333 with eight hits, including four extra-base hits this week. He had six total bases in Thursday’s matchup with the Cardinals alone.
His early-season struggles are long gone. After a shaky April through June, which saw his ERA north of five, he has buckled down. In San Diego’s 1-0 win over the Cardinals, he looked every bit like his 2018 self that won the AL Cy Young. He tossed seven shutout innings while striking out 13, a season-high, and tied for the most he’s notched in a Padres uniform.
With Machado and Soto both humming, the Padres’ offense looks like one of the most dangerous in all the league. Soto was one of four Padres this week with eight hits, with a .364 average. He also reached base in half of his plate appearances, leading to a 1.091 OPS. This is the Juan Soto that Padres fans pictured when A.J. Preller swung that big deal to get him. He seems to be finding his stride in a Padres uniform at the perfect time.
One player that really has not found his footing after the trade thus far is Bell. For the Nationals this season, he had an .877 OPS and 152 OPS+, which were All-Star numbers. Since arriving in San Diego, those two numbers have cratered to .590 and 74, respectively. He is running out of time to make a true impact in San Diego, as he is set to be a free agent following the season. It’s now or never for Bell.
There is a reason why Jose Azocar is now seeing the lion’s share of innings in center field. Grisham simply never got it going with the bat this season. This week, he hit a new low. He went 0-for-9, never reaching base once, and struck out six times.
There is little doubt that Manaea will be left off of the starting rotation heading into a possible playoff series. He simply has not been good in the second half. He has completed five innings just once in his last five starts. Friday’s game in Coors Field went about as expected- 3 2/3 innings, six hits, with three earned runs and three walks.
While Soto, Machado, and Snell have thrived down the stretch, Martinez has floundered. That is a surprising development given that he has been one of the most solid, reliable arms on the entire Padres pitching staff to this point. In three appearances this week, he owns a 9.00 ERA. He has allowed four hits and three runs in his last two appearances alone.