Who Cares About A Knucklehead?

Photo Credit: KC Alfred

Looking over the picture in the header it is pretty apparent the Padres are a happy bunch. Not a care in the world for these guys. They are playing well and have a playoff spot to chase. Not one of them looks to be saddened by the news of losing Fernando Tatis Jr. for the next 80 games. Nobody misses that knucklehead.

And neither should we. Really, winning a wild card and making a run for a title is all we, the fans, should be concerned. And with good reason, because this is a very good ball club. The trade deadline acquisitions addressed some glaring needs. First base is now manned by a competent defender. And although he hasn’t hit so far in a Padres uniform, Josh Bell has a nice track record of being very productive with the bat. It’s going to come around soon. His expected stats for the last 50 PAs show a slight slump, but his seasonal numbers point to a solid approach that should have him coming out of this soon.

Juan Soto has filled a major need of outfield power and production. His numbers since donning the brown and gold have been amazing. But his Statcast page shows he might even have another level to achieve. He is still lagging his career averages and this surge with the Padres could get even better. And Brandon Drury has filled in nicely as a DH and another multi-gloved defender. The flexibility he offers allows manager Bob Melvin to rotate everyone in the infield to the bench for a breather, or into a DH role. Drury has had some huge hits in limited ABs but he really hasn’t hit as well as his season numbers so we could see a surge in production from him as well.

Keeping the players fresh down the stretch should pay off as the team continues its playoff drive. The additions to the offense allow everyone a necessary day off. Although some players look to be heating up to the point where you never want that bat on the bench. Yes, I’m talking about Manny Machado. He is off to a monstrous August slashing .333/.381/.632 with 8 doubles and 3 HRs. His at bats are must view live events as he is pounding peas all over the park. It is also nice to see Trent Grisham heat up. He finally is batting above the Mendoza line! He also is on a small tear with some major slugging. His August slash line is an eye popping .275/.396/.700 with 2-Dbls and 5-HRs. That’s some sweet swinging from the bottom third of the order.

It wasn’t just the offense addressed at the deadline as Josh Hader was added to the ‘pen. But we have now seen the return of Adrian Morejon, Michel Baez and Robert Suarez. Baez has returned to El Paso but did look sharp in a couple of innings with the big league club. Drew Pomeranz is finally on a rehab assignment and has pitched at the Arizona Complex League. The league really needs to be rebranded as the “ACL” is just a terrible moniker. But I digress. Pomeranz now is assigned to the Lake Elsinore Storm so hopefully we see him back with the Padres soon. And Morejon looks like he could handle some high leverage work down the stretch.

The high leverage innings could be in short supply as the starting staff continues to work deep into games. Padres starters trail only the Astros in innings pitched for the season with 661. Blake Snell has produced a second half resurgence and now looks like the most dominate starter on the staff. His numbers for the second half read 0.94 ERA, 12.24 K/9, 1.02 BB/9, 1.37 FIP and 2.21 xFIP. Those are the kind of numbers that lead to starting game one of a playoff series. It is great to see him regaining his CY Young award winning form.

The Padres had a solid week while taking a series against the Giants and winning one from the Nationals too. Of course we’d like to see sweeps these days as the wild card race heats up. And the schedule for the rest of this month favors the Padres chances of doing so. And that is the really good news from this last week. The Padres are a good team playing good ball and in the thick of a playoff hunt. It is all they need to be concerned with. There does not need to be distractions from selfish stupid players. They are better than that.

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