One pitch into Monday’s long-awaited showdown with the Dodgers, the Padres discovered themselves tracking by a run. Joc Pederson unloaded on a Chris Paddack fastball and sent it into the left-center-field seats. The seven-time reigning division champs, the very team the Padres have actually spent a decade chasing in the National League West, had actually provided the very first punch. Again.
However the Padres have actually fixed that they are a different team this year. So minutes after Pederson touched home plate, there was Paddack, heels on the rubber, glove in front of his face, virtually asking Max Muncy to hurry up and get in. The Padres wanted a possibility to punch back.
This time, they would. Trent Grisham, Wil Myers, and Fernando Tatis all homered in a back-and-forth 5-4 triumph over their Southern California rivals on Monday night at Petco Park. Two times, a Paddack error put the Padres behind by a run.
Both times, the San Diego offense roared back.
Grisham introduced a 436-foot homer off Walker Buehler in the bottom of the first inning, an emphatic reaction to Pederson’s leadoff shot. After Will Smith’s two-run double put the Dodgers ahead in the 5th, Tatis hit an oppo bomb off Buehler with 2 outs in the bottom of the frame. It was a dogfight, Padres got the bone.
Paddack knew one run was not going to beat them. It is in his hands, he has got to continue to contend, continue to show those young boys he is going to go out there and grind for them. Paddack, meanwhile, locked himself back in right away.
Paddack used his curveball perhaps more successfully than he ever has, although his fastball and changeup were working, too. He tossed 14 breaking pitches, including a bender that set out ruling NL MVP Cody Bellinger with a weak half-swing in the 4th inning. It was a plain contrast to the way the San Diego offense has flailed versus Buehler in the past.
The right-hander was 4-0 with a 0.64 ERA in four profession starts against the Padres.
Possibly it is symbolic of the changes they made throughout the offseason. They obtained Grisham, for circumstances, and unexpectedly he appears like a pillar in center field. He went 2-for-3 with a walk on Monday, and through 12 games, he is striking .293/.396/.683.
The Padres chased Buehler after five innings and went to work on a Dodgers bullpen that entered Monday with the most affordable ERA in the Majors. Jake Cronenworth singled home Manny Machado to put San Diego on the top, and Austin Hedges added another RBI single, his first hit of the season, to make it 5-3. From there, the Padres lastly got a mainly worry-free night from their bullpen.
The Padres better rebounded with 3 straight strikeouts to end the game. Tatis did his best to get away several tags. This time, Tatis’ aggressiveness only resulted in an out, and a crash with Smith. That was a bit of what Padres had imagined from the get-go.
Padres got a little too over-excited.
To see it against a truly, truly great group, it felt good, and ideally Padres can construct some self-confidence and develop some momentum and keep it going back there. Besides those couple blemishes, which are things Padres can clean up, that was one of their better-played games of the year. The Padres could have, and probably ought to have, busted the game open in the seventh inning.
A set of baserunning mistakes cost them. Grisham was nailed attempting to stretch a single into a double for the first out. After Machado lined out to ideal field, Tatis got caught in a rundown in between third and home.
Cronenworth has never ever played Major League playoff baseball, but if he needed to think, that was what it is like. It was back and forth, and the energy level, even without the fans, was tremendous. Just a high-stakes baseball game between two division rivals.
Playoff baseball has been a while since the Padres experienced that.
Justin Turner, who provided the toss to Smith, was none too pleased with the contact on his catcher. Turner had a couple of choice words for Tatis, who appeared to chirp back. However both sides pulled back to their dugouts, and absolutely nothing more came of it.
They understand their course in the NL West goes through the Dodgers, and they began 2020 by punching back.