Padres Daily: Small things are good, bigger things are needed; Pro the pro; Jake rakes again; it was mean



Tenth into the season, the Padres are on course for 100 wins. The way they do it, however, is not sustainable.

They will have to hit more homers. They will need more hits of all kinds.

But it’s good to know that they have that in their repertoire.

“We’ve talked about it all year,” Jake Cronenworth said. “Good defense, good pitching, quality hitters and just finding a way to win.”

It’s very beautiful. Impressive even. But it can’t last long. They say they want to keep their heads above water until Fernando Tatis Jr returns. But the sooner that happens is 40 games from now – and probably more like 50.

Last night was the seventh time in 16 games that the Padres had five or fewer hits. It was only the second time they won one of these matches.

They went two of their three runs last night without a hit. It was, in fact, the second time in six days the Padres had won a game started by Yu Darvish and they had two runs via anything other than a hit.

One of their runs in last Sunday’s 2-1 win over the Braves came when Austin Nola was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, and the other came when Cronenworth beat a potential soloist at double-dealing.

Last night’s 3-2 win was marked by sacrifice steals from Wil Myers and Nola around a Cronenworth homer.

“We have to do these things now,” Bob Melvin said. “You know, until we start hitting on all cylinders and swinging the bat all the way down the line, that’s the kind of stuff we have to do and we’ve done, and it contributes to wins. like this. Good throwing, good defense and definitely some fabricated runs.

It’s easy enough for anyone who has followed this team for more than two weeks – and witnessed an inconsistent offense leak – to take only a small measure of joy in a win like last night.

And, again, the attack must be better.

Yet it was a victory to be savored.

What Darvish did to make this possible was one of the most impressive things you’ll see a pitcher accomplish. He’s in the elite because of his ability to do what he did between the second and third innings. You can read about it, as well as the gameplay at the end, in my game story (here).

The pro of the pro

When asked at the start of the season how it felt to be taken out of games for a defensive substitution, Jurickson Profar smiled broadly and said: “I don’t make those decisions.”

But that didn’t mean he couldn’t do anything about it.

Above all, he was stable at the plate. His four home runs lead the Padres, his .368 on-base percentage is third-highest on the team, and last night was the fifth straight game in which he reached base and scored.

And he not only limited his responsibility to fielding balls in the outfield, he optimized his strength there. Last night he kicked out a runner from left field for the third game in a row. This one came in the 10and inning, as he ran to catch Gavin Lux’s fly ball, then threw to third base for Chris Taylor to try to advance.

“Short and fast,” Manny Machado said of Profar’s throwing ability.

The former infielder worked to change his arm slot and learn to throw from the outfield while maintaining the strength and quick action that made him a top prospect as a stop- short ten years ago.

How much has Profar improved as a left fielder?

“All around, really,” Melvin said. “I mean, to the point where you feel good about keeping him in the game, because, number one, his bat can come up a little later, and he’s worked so hard to make that type of play.”

Melvin decided to stay with Profar in left field not only when the Padres were up 2-0 in the eighth inning, when he could have put Trent Grisham in center and moved José Azocar to left field, but also to keep Grisham on the bench after Profar. fouled out on a ball to his knee on a ninth-inning at-bat.

“I talked about (Profar) getting out of there,” Melvin said. “He said, ‘No, the game is even now, you don’t have to take me out. You know what? His defense has been so good lately, and that shot was fantastic. It’s always a thought, but the way things are going, if it changes a bit, we definitely want his bat in the lineup.

Said Profar: “Thanks to him for not taking me out. You know, I’m like, ‘No, I’m not coming out.’ And he trusts me. It goes a long way.”

Although it would have been a good play and he ran over 60 feet to try and make it, Profar felt he could have saved Trea Turner from doubling the wall in left field which tied the game 2- 2 in round eight.

“I thought the wall was right there,” he said. “And then watching the replay, I took one more step. That one more step, maybe I had a chance.

When it came to deciding whether to replace Profar before the 10and, Melvin also had in mind how he would like to use Grisham in an impactful role. And he ended up doing it.

Grisham, perhaps the team’s best bunter, led the bottom of the 10th dropping a sacrificial bunt on the first pitch he saw to move CJ Abrams to third. Austin Nola’s sacrificial fly won the match.

Still, Melvin pointed out that Profar managed to stay in the games. He had been raised for a defensive substitution in the first three games he started that were close late.

“I know I can help the team like this every day,” Profar said. “Whether it’s hitting, lining up or running the bases, I can bring anything every day.”

Profar scored Saturday’s first run after hitting his third double of the season and his third extra hit in four games. He continued a start to the season that Profar predicted and worked in the offseason to achieve it. (I wrote earlier this month about how Profar spent time this offseason training in the Dominican Republic with elder Fernando Tatis.)

“He said last year he was going to come back this year and be a different hitter,” Machado said last night. “He went to work on things and came back and is playing well.”

Back in the area?

Teams pitched Cronenworth carefully, and he couldn’t do anything with the few good pitches he saw.

Last night, he ended a career seven-game no-hitter skid with a soft single the other way that barely reached the outfield grass on the left side. On his next at bat, he did some damage by throwing a 1-1 fastball near the bottom of the zone 380 feet from right field for his first home run of the season.

The circuit, at 102.8 mph, was the 16and ball that Cronenworth has put into play this season at 95 mph or more. He is now 6 for 16 on those balls.

“You hit the ball hard and line up, even though it’s good that you took a good swing and everything, you want that shot,” Cronenworth said. “But at the same time, it’s the game. It’s the process. That’s all there is to it, and you just have to stick with it.

Asked before the game if there had been any particular games as he thought Cronenworth was on the verge of coming out of what was really a season-long slump, Melvin said: “I think he always will. You look at his (batting practice), you look at his work ethic, see what he does in the cage, his consistency since he’s been in the major leagues, I always feel like today is the day.

Melvin also beat Cronenworth second, ahead of Machado for only the second time this season, in part to take the pressure off a bit.

Small bites

  • Nola’s three sacrificial flies are tied for second in the majors.
  • Eric Hosmer’s five-game hitting streak has come to an end. The team’s longest streak now belongs to Azocar, who struck in two consecutive games.
  • Melvin wanted to give rookie shortstop CJ Abrams a bad enough start (after he had only started once in the previous four days) that he put Abrams in the lineup yesterday against a left-handed starter for the first time this season. Abrams is 0 for 5 against the southpaws after going 0 for 2 last night.

defensive solution

We wrote a bit about defense yesterday.

There are plenty of great quotes about how Machado does what he does at third base in Bryce Miller’s column (here).

And I tried to give some context to the Padres’ error-free start to the season, which is now 16 games (and 565 defensive chances). It’s in a notebook (here) that also has updates on Fernando Tatis Jr. and Blake Snell.

bad visitor

Cronenworth was among the most excited Padres players to meet English UFC fighter Paddy Pimblett, aka Paddy the Baddy, who was a team guest and sat in the nearest front row of the Padres’ dugout during the game.

Cronenworth and several others spoke with Pimblett during batting practice, and Pimblett entertained a group of a dozen players at one of the higher tables in the clubhouse after the game. Every minute or so, laughter erupted from the table as the players listened to Pimblett.

“It was super awesome meeting him,” Cronenworth said. “Amazing competitor, awesome guy too.”

Alright, that’s it for me. Game day today.

Speak to you tomorrow.


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