Padres Daily: Always crazy, and I love it; Machado crushes; Kim makes games

Hello from San Francisco,

There they left.

And they swear it never gets old. Rather the opposite. They think that this kind of madness can positively perpetuate itself.

“I know those types of wins make you better as a team and make your expectation level even higher when you’re at it,” Bob Melvin said after the Padres’ 2-1 win over the Giants yesterday.

There was a bit more on that and a lot on Joe Musgrove and how he helps the Padres win while working towards a major payday himself in my playing history (here).

Update and expansion on some numbers I shared yesterday:

  • The Padres are tied for the second-most one-point games in the majors and have the second-best record (9-4) in those games.
  • They are 19-9 in games decided by three runs or less, which is tied with the Yankees and Blue Jays for most of those games at the majors and tied with the Yankees for the best record in three-point matches.
  • The Padres are 4-5 when scoring exactly two runs. Only A’s (3-2) and Twins (3-3) are better. The average record for scoring two points this season is 1-4.

It seems clear that there is a resilience within this team, and it could well be growing.

But feeling good about what’s going on and worrying a little about it aren’t mutually exclusive.

The Padres won’t keep winning like this unless:

  • Robert Suarez is going to throw like he has for the past two days (and maybe a little better than giving up half the two-point cushion he inherited on both days).
  • Luis Garcia is going to exploit his slider and sinker and stop allowing baserunners and ultimately run so often.
  • Nabil Crismatt continues to pitch like he has (no runs in his last nine innings, three runs in 20 2/3 innings) as he transitions to a higher leverage role.
  • Several other relievers work more regularly than them.
  • And, more than anything, Taylor Rogers continues to successfully save games while throwing in severe bursts. He’s had a few light spells of activity this season, but lately he’s not been one of them. Yesterday was his fifth appearance in nine days, including two for four strikeouts. Said Melvin: “I was hesitant today until he came up to us and said, ‘I feel great. I was surprised, and it’s out there throwing 96 (mph) today. Often with that kind of workload, we’re going to let him decide how he feels. And when we don’t have it, other guys have to step in.

Heating, homer

Relatively speaking, the Padres don’t have a lot of home runs this season. Their 32 home runs rank 22n/a among the 30 major league teams.

So it’s no surprise that their only player with a home run at over 93 mph is Manny Machado. He has three, and all of them have come to terrain at over 97 mph. The latest was his 425-foot bomb to center field yesterday on a 98.7 mph fastball from Carlos Rodon.

Machado trailed 1-2 when Rodon tried to pass him.

“His thing is electric,” said Machado, who fell short and lined up center against Rodon yesterday. “Good pitcher, man, what he was doing today, beating the zone with this heat. I know the history, how he likes to pitch me. He’s effective with the pitch up in the zone. … In this situation, I know he’s going to try to beat me up there, so I wasn’t trying to be late with the 99.”

Machado is the only major league player with three homers on pitches of at least 97 mph.

Asked if Saturday’s home run or his 424-foot blast on a 97.9 mph fastball from Miami’s Jesus Luzardo on May 5 was more satisfying, Machado said, “I’m not going to lie. They are all very satisfying.

Overall, the Padres are batting .211 with a .307 hitting percentage against throws of 95 mph or faster. These numbers rank 28and and 26andrespectively, among MLB teams.

Awesome Kim

Ha-seong Kim made two similar plays running down the middle to catch players on the ground and execute a perfect backhand to Jake Cronenworth. One started a double play, the other forced the runner to second.

Kim has become almost as automatic in the field as Machado. They do it differently. Machado looks awake and takes measured steps towards the ball. Kim looks like she’s had six Red Bulls and runs for the ball like Barney Rubble drives a car.

But Kim has simply gone game after game and is near the top of the majors in many defensive metrics. His .214/.310/.393 batting line in 129 plate appearances this season includes a .228/.311/.418 line over the last 22 games. He also leads the Padres with a .368 average and 1.112 OPS with runners in scoring position.

Plus, he’s not just replacing Fernando Tatis Jr. in the field. It helps compensate for Tatis’ contagious lack of enthusiasm.

“He’s key to this team,” Machado said of Kim. “I think it’s the heartbeat of it. Everyone loves him. … He brings energy every day.

Kim, who signed a four-year, $28 million contract with Korea before last season, has batted .202/.270/.352 in 298 plate appearances in 2021.

“He’s been fantastic,” Melvin said. “He now feels like a major league player. He feels in his place. … He becomes the type of player that AJ (Preller) signed to bring here.

Kim credited Melvin’s communication and confidence in himself and consistent playing time as the impetus behind his improvement. There is also the question of his growing comfort, which he put into perspective the other day.

“I enjoy the game as much as in Korea,” he said. “And also, the comfort level is quite similar (to what it was) in Korea too.”

Small bites

  • Eric Hosmer, whose .329 batting average ranks ninth in the major leagues, didn’t start for the first time in 28 games. It was his longest starting streak since the 50th straight start in 2019. Luke Voit started at first base yesterday and went 1 for 3 with a walk and a double.
  • Machado’s home run was his first in 50 at bats.
  • Jurickson Profar was 2-for-3 with two walks yesterday and is .323 batting (10-for-31) with .417 on-base percentage in a six-game hitting streak. He increased his batting average by 34 points (to .217) and his OBP by 23 points (to .335) during that span.
  • Both Profar and Kim stole bases yesterday, and the Padres stole five bases in the series. They had five stolen bases in the previous 23 games.
  • Southpaw Drew Pomeranz, returning from flexor tendon surgery last August, pitched the bullpen again on Saturday. It’s unclear when he’ll begin a rehab assignment, but provided there are no setbacks, the Padres don’t anticipate the veteran reliever needing more than two or three minor league appearances. Pomeranz is eligible to come off the 60-day injured list on June 7.
  • José Azocar started for the first time in eight days, playing in left field as Profar was the designated hitter. Saturday was the first time in seven games the Padres faced a left-handed starter, and all but two of Azocar’s nine starts have come against lefties.

Alright, that’s it for me. Game of the day to finish the road trip.

The Padres, by the way, haven’t swept a series in San Francisco since July 15-17, 2016.

Speak to you tomorrow.

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