Padres Daily: Time is of the excellence; confidence breeds breathing easy

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Padres tend to do better when they take longer; Joe Musgrove tends to win after his team has lost

Good morning from San Francisco,

If you want to watch the Padres win consistently, you better have some time to invest.

That was the reality early in the season when they were winning on the regular. It had not been the case all that often lately as they have lost a lot more than they have won.

But the patient Padres were back grinding away last night in a 9-6 victory over the Giants that took four hours and six minutes to complete.

“You look up and we’re back to four-hour games, but that’s when we’re honestly … playing more winning baseball and kind of grinding and long at-bats,” Jayce Tingler said. “Up and down (the lineup), the guys had good at-bats, they barreled balls, they got hits, they extended at-bats, they fought off hard two-strike pitches and just all the things you want to see in the team offense.”

My game story (here) referenced a few offensive achievements that had not happened in a while, such as the Padres scoring in four different innings for the first time since July 16.

They scored nine runs last night for just the second time in 50 games. They scored nine or more 13 times in their first 95 games.

How they scored last night is how they did so for good portions of the season’s first four-plus months.

the Padres had five plate appearances that lasted at least eight pitches, and four of them ended with the batter getting on base.

Jurickson Profar doubled (in the first inning) and homered (in the seventh) at the end of eight-pitch at-bats. Immediately before that homer, Ha-seong Kim fouled off three full-count pitches to draw a walk on the ninth pitch he saw from Jose Quintana.

Eric Hosmer drove in two runs with a single in the second inning on the ninth pitch of his at-bat.

Fernando Tatis Jr. singled and doubled at the end of seven-pitch at-bats.

Tatis also singled on the fifth pitch of another at-bat and third pitch of another. And Adam Frazier saw a total of 12 pitches in his four at-bats that ended with hits. It doesn’t matter when a batter swings, provided he is swinging at the right pitch and doing damage on it.

But there is evidence the Padres are better when they are characterized by patience.

They were 17 games over .500 on Aug. 10. And in 48 of the 115 games they had played to that point, they averaged at least four pitches per plate appearance.

Last night was their ninth win in 30 games since then, and it was just the eighth time they averaged four or more pitches per plate appearance. (To clarify, they averaged four or more pitches per plate appearance almost twice as often in the season’s first 4½ months.)

The Padres are 26-17 in games that last 3½ hours or more. That isn’t stellar, but they are four games under .500 in games that don’t last that long.

So why can’t they be patient like this all the time?

“We don’t know the reason,” Tingler said. “If we did, we would have got it going three, four weeks ago. I just think up and down, the guys were loose, they were locked in.”

The reality is teams have been trying to pitch the Padres different the past couple months, challenging them more. Not every pitcher can pull it off, because it requires the pitcher throw strikes and throw them in the right spots. But opponents have succeeded quite a bit in getting the Padres out of their game.

Another reality is the Padres have been complicit by, quite simply, not being very good at hitting.

Just one example of the difference between last night, when the Padres got 16 hits, and the previous 29 games, when they hit a collective .199, was what they did with pitches in the meaty part of the strike zone.

From Aug. 11 through Tuesday, they batted .243 and missed on 14 percent of their swings on pitches squarely in the zone. Last night, they went 12-for-25 (.480) with a sacrifice fly and missed three times in 50 swings (six percent).

Getting it going

The Padres’ two runs in the top of the first inning gave them their first lead in a week — a span of five games.

“I feel like our offense gave me a lot of energy and a lot of confidence to go out there and do what we did,” Joe Musgrove said after he went six innings, allowing three runs on five hits. “Our offense was really good tonight. … When our offense is dialed in and our guys are putting together good at-bats and we’re passing the at-bat to the next guy, it’s a really dangerous lineup and I know I that I’ve got to go out there and just be decent to get a win. It takes a lot of pressure off.”

How about that?

I wrote yesterday (here) about the notion the Padres have quit and some of the evidence that such a narrative is off-base. The story touched on Manny Machado’s contribution lately, in contrast to the end of 2019, when he and others could be characterized as giving up. The story also included players talking about trying too hard.

I didn’t put in the story what Hosmer said when I asked him about the challenge of getting out of the rut in which the offense is clutching the bats so tightly. This was his answer:

“Yeah, usually when you get hits is when that (relaxing) comes. It’s going to take a big hit or two from guys to get it going.”

That’s what happened last night.

Now, the Padres have thought a game like this would jumpstart them before. Maybe it will this time. Maybe it won’t.

The Giants are starting Kevin Gausman today. He is 14-5 with a 2.65 ERA and in three starts against the Padres this season has allowed three runs in 19 innings.

So we’ll see.

But it worked last night. And if building that confidence is what it takes, then give some credit to Tommy Pham and Frazier.

Profar’s double in the top of the first inning was the Padres’ first lead-off hit since Sept. 5 and their first extra-base hit to start a game since Aug. 27.

Tatis followed that with a single before Machado and Hosmer made outs.

But just when we thought we had seen this horror show before, Pham drew a walk and Frazier went the other way with a double down the left field line that drove in two.

“I thought it took a little bit of a weight off,” Tingler said of Frazier’s hit. “(There were) a lot of smiles, and I thought we kind of carried that throughout the night.”

Said Frazier: “I think it just started in the first with Profar getting that hit and then we were able to get a couple runs right there in the first. That kind of freed everybody up, took some pressure off. We kind of have been searching for that big hit for a while now.”



  • The Padres have won nine games since Aug. 11. Musgrove has been the starting pitcher in four of those victories. The Padres have won 10 of his 14 starts that have come after the team lost its previous game.
  • Blake Snell played catch yesterday to test his adductor (groin) strain. He was then placed on the 10-day injured list. The Padres are hopeful the left-hander can be back in time to make two more starts in the regular season.
  • Jake Cronenworth is trending toward playing in the next series, in St. Louis. He increased the velocity he saw while hitting in the cage and also took grounders. Notably, he worked at both shortstop and second base.
  • The Padres’ seven extra-base hits (six doubles and a home run) last night were their most since having nine on July 16 at Washington.
  • Craig Stammen allowed two home runs in the seventh inning, which moved him ahead of teammate Emilio Pagán for the lead among National League relievers. Stammen has yielded 13 homers this season, one more than Pagán. Stammen, who has thrown the most innings of any reliever in the majors (80), has the league’s fourth-lowest ERA (2.54) among relievers with at least 50 innings pitched. He has been charged with 23 runs and has allowed seven inherited runners to score this season, and 19 of those have been driven in by home runs.
  • Pitching in non-save situation both nights, closer Mark Melancon has allowed a total of three runs (two earned) in the past two games after not allowing a run in his previous 10 games (11 1/3 innings).
  • Frazier’s four hits were his most with the Padres. He had four hits twice with the Pirates this season. Frazier is 11-for-31 with a walk and has been hit by three pitches in his past 10 games.
  • Tatis is 11-for-26 in his past seven games after going 4-for-5 last night. It was the fifth time this season Tatis had four hits, tying a career high.
  • Machado was 2-for-5 and is batting .313 with a .371 on-base percentage in his past 16 games (70 plate appearances).
  • The Padres are 15-2 when both Tatis and Machado have multiple hits.

All right, that’s it for me.


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