Monday, April 22

Parents Daily: Enough little things; Tatis’ barehanded footwork; Machado’s tireless production


Buenos dias,

It was more than usual. It was enough. Honestly, it’s about what should be expected for a while.

The Padres last night scored exactly twice as many runs as they had in each of the previous three games and beat the sad sack Reds 4-1.

Jeff Sanders’ game story (here) broke down the reasons the Padres improved to 6-0 when scoring more than two runs.

“We kept (saying) coming into the season, we knew our pitching staff was going to keep us close in ballgames,” Manny Machado said. “That’s what they preached about. We know we haven’t been putting up the runs and hitting as well as what we’re capable of. But as long as we keep doing the little things, I think overall in the long period of the season, I think we’re going to be where we want to be.”

The Padres extended their modern-era (since 1901) major league record to 12 games without an error at the start of a season. They got six innings from Sean Manaea, his third time going at least that long and the seventh time in 12 games a Padres starter has gone at least six innings. Taylor Rogers became the first pitcher in the major leagues since 2017 to convert each of his first five save opportunities with a new team. The Padres’ fifth sacrifice fly of the season moved them into a tie for the second most in the major leagues. They walked six times last night, and their 51 walks this season are most in the majors.

Again, the Reds are not good. Last night was their seventh straight loss.

The Padres are now 4-1 against two really bad teams (Diamondbacks, Reds) and 3-4 against the defending world champions (Braves) and the team that won 107 games last year (Giants). That’s generally the recipe for building a winning record.

The Padres are batting .229, which ranks 18th in the majors. Take away Machado’s 17-for-48, and the rest of the team is batting .211. Take Hosmer’s 14-for-37 away from that, and the rest of the Padres are batting .191.

parents stats

You would expect Cronenworth to break out of his funk soon. He had three stretches last season that were worse than this, but none lasted longer than 15 games. And when he came out of those skids, he was blazing hot for a time.

But here’s the thing: Fernando Tatis Jr. is not walking out of the dugout during a game until at least the second week of June. So this is how it might go for a while.

To keep going at a 7-5 clip, which is a 94-win pace, the Padres probably have to keep playing as they are in other facets if Machado’s prediction about the offense doesn’t prove correct.

“I think we’ve been playing really, really good baseball overall,” he said. “Offensively, we haven’t been doing what we’re capable of. But we’re about to start getting hot. … It’s gonna be fun when everything clicks for the for the whole ballclub.”

Tatis took another step in his progression toward a possible June return yesterday.

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Using only his right hand, he fielded grounders at shortstop and made throws across the diamond.

“Just getting his feet going, so when he’s ready to play, he’s ready to play,” said third base coach Matt Williams, who also works with infielders.

Tatis, who had surgery March 16 to repair a fractured wrist bone, cannot yet squeeze a glove. He is standing in against pitches in the cage, as well, but he wo n’t be swinging a bat even off a tee for at least another week.

For the record, he just might be a better baseball player than soccer player.

Tatis kicked a soccer ball around the outfield with teammates before the first four games of the homestand. That video of him falling was from Sunday.

“He’s got a brace on; it’s padded,” Bob Melvin said. “Visually maybe not the best look, and I’ve talked to him a little bit about that, but he’s trying to get a lot of conditioning in. He is protected as far as the hand goes.”

As much as Melvin downplayed the fall and defended his player, it should be noted that Tatis did not play soccer yesterday.

getting it done

Playing for a franchise that for decades has essentially been known for little more than Tony Gwynn and a long line of All-Star (even Hall of Fame) closers, Taylor Rogers is doing unprecedented things.

On Sunday, he became the first pitcher in franchise history to convert his first four save opportunities with the Padres. So it followed that on Monday he became the first to convert his fifth save without blowing one.

Rogers hasn’t even found a place to live yet. His car from him was just delivered to Petco Park yesterday.

“I’m getting to know the names around here and everybody is really welcoming,” said Rogers, who was acquired in a trade from Minnesota on opening day. “I’ve just really enjoyed my time so far. It’s easy to go out there and do your job.”

Hit ’em where they ain’t

Machado is having a little better luck on hard-hit balls this season.

He is 11-for-14 on balls he has put in play with an exit velocity of 100 mph greater.

In 2021, he was third in the major leagues with 188 balls hit that hard. Yet his .510 average on those balls was lowest among the 20 players who hit at least 140 balls at 100-plus.

Machado was 3-for-4 last night, his third game with at least three hits in the first five games of this homestand. Included among his hits from him last night was this laser no one was catching.

162?

Machado is the only Padres player to have started all 12 games. He might make it through tomorrow, the final game in the 14 straight the Padres are playing at the start of the season.

Melvin said Machado will play tonight “and we’ll see how things go on Wednesday.” The manager said they have discussed having Machado DH one of the next two days.

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Machado, who had his left shoulder wrapped with an ice pack, said of playing this many consecutive days, “It’s pretty tough. But I don’t really think my numbers are too good as a DH. I’d rather stay on the field.”

What is true is that Machado prefers to not serve as the designated hitter. He has done so just seven times in his career, despite playing in the American League the first 6½ years of his career. The desire to play third base has apparently skewed his memory of him, too, because he has hit .344 / .364 / .625 in 33 plate appearances as a DH.

keeping-up

With the Padres facing another left-handed starting pitcher tonight, Ha-seong Kim will start a third straight game after starting just four times in the first nine games.

“He’s played great all year and (especially) not getting consistent at-bats every day,” Melvin said. “… He’s playing great defense. He’s got some deep at-bats. He’s played really well all season for the amount of at-bats he has.”

Kim, who has started at shortstop and is the likely third baseman whenever Machado rests, drove in a run with a single Monday and has a .360 on-base percentage in 25 plate appearances.

“It’s enjoyment to play the game, especially if you start the game,” Kim said last night through interpreter Leo Bae. “Always happy to do that. But just to show what I worked on in the cage, behind the scenes, to show fans that I can play in this league, that’s more happiness than anything else.”

rotation equation

Mike Clevinger departed the Padres’ clubhouse Monday afternoon carrying his equipment bag and with a backpack on his back. He was headed for the airport to catch a flight to Las Vegas, where he will make a rehab start for Triple-A El Paso tonight.

This will be Clevinger’s second minor-league start as he works back from a right knee sprain, and the Padres anticipate that, provided he gets to four or five innings tonight, his next start will be for them.

If you’re wondering what happens when Clevinger returns, you’re not alone.

If their health persists, the Padres will have six starters with Clevinger and seven when Blake Snell returns (likely during the homestand that begins May 5). They’re not going to a seven-man rotation and they’re almost certainly not even going to a six-man rotation. After this run of 14 games in the first 14 days of the season ends tomorrow, the Padres don’t play more than nine games in a row until June, and they don’t want their best pitchers going six and seven days between starts.

“We’ll figure it out,” Melvin said. “Typically, things transpire along the way, as we’ve seen to this point. … You can never have too much starting pitching, so we’ll figure it out.”

tid bits

  • Machado hit a single and double to go with his homer. He was due up in the ninth inning, but the Padres did not have to bat, so he didn’t get a chance to hit his 18th career triple to complete his first career cycle.
  • Kim’s single in the fourth inning was the Padres’ first hit with a runner in scoring position since Friday. They were 0-for-9 Sunday and on Saturday did something that they do, on average, about once a season: they did not have a single runner in scoring position. Kim’s hit was the Padres’ only one in six chances with runners at second or third, though Luke Voit hit a sacrifice fly that scored Machado in the seventh inning.
  • Tommy Pham, who played for the Padres the past two seasons before signing with the Reds in March, was booed louder each time he came to the plate last night. He responded with a homer, double and single in his first three at-bats. The boos evidently finally worked, because after going 3-for-3 against Manaea, Pham popped out against Pierce Johnson in the eighth inning. Pham entered the game 1-for-26 this season. Said Machado: “I don’t know why they booed him. But it was fun having him out here and seeing him again. He meant a lot to this clubhouse, and he was he was a big part of what we’ve done the last couple of years. I guess he was just waiting for us, to get here to go out there and rake.” I talked to Pham before the game about his feelings about him about the Padres. Here is that story.
  • Wil Myers went 0-for-3 with a walk in his return to the lineup after three days down with a thumb injury. He did make a nice sliding catch in right field that made Manaea pretty happy.
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join us

Every so often I tell you about something I read on our website that I think is worth your time. Today, I urge you to watch a short film produced by the Union-Tribune (here) on the struggle in the Barrio Logan community over air pollution. Honestly, I won’t even try to explain how good it was.

And I can’t stress enough how important it is that stories and videos like this are produced for and about our region. You just won’t find anywhere else the breadth and depth of coverage we provide on local issues.

As I’ve said before, it isn’t free to produce all this content.

But it’s practically free for you to enjoy it and be enriched by it. You can get four months of unlimited access to the Union-Tribune website for $4. Check out the deal here.

Even if all you’re interested in is Padres coverage, it’s ridiculously worth it. I took Sunday off, and we still posted nine Parents stories between Sunday morning and last night. We’ll have five or six more today and five or six tomorrow and five or six the day after that. I can promise you gathering all this information is not free. (Which reminds me, I haven’t done an expense report in a month and I better get to it.)

All right, that’s it for me. Talk to you tomorrow.




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