<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - San Diego Padres]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcsandiego.com/feature/san-diego-padres http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.comen-usTue, 25 Jul 2017 06:03:46 -0700Tue, 25 Jul 2017 06:03:46 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Padres Trade Three Pitchers To Royals]]> Mon, 24 Jul 2017 16:46:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Cahill+TradeWEB.jpg

The Padres traded starting pitcher Trevor Cahill and relievers Brandon Maurer and Ryan Buchter to the Kansas City Royals on Monday, in exchange for two left-handers and a minor league infield prospect.

San Diego received veteran pitchers Travis Wood and Matt Strahm as well as 18-year-old infielder Esteury Ruiz.

Ruiz appears to be the main piece of the trade that Friars general manager AJ Preller coveted.

A native of the Dominican Republic, Ruiz has been tearing up the Arizona Fall League and owns slashes of .419/.440/.779 in 26 games this season.

Standing six-foot tall, Ruiz bats and throws right-handed and is also a perfect 9-for-9 on stolen base attempts.

In 2016 for the Dominican Summer League Royals, Ruiz hit .313 (68-for-217) with 18 doubles, five triples, five home runs, 26 RBI, 44 runs scored and 13 stolen bases in 56 games, playing primarily at second base.

Strahm is out for the year after having undergone knee surgery for a torn patellar tendon earlier in July.

Preller said Monday he is hoping for Strahm to be ready for spring training in February.

Strahm was originally slated as a starter for KC this past off-season but after the Royals made some moves of their own, Royals manager Ned Yost decided to move Strahm to the pen.

Wood has also fluctuated in various roles over his career.

The 30-year-old has spent most of his big league career in the Midwest with the Reds, Cubs and Royals organizations.

Wood was an all-star for Chicago in 2013 and helped the Cubs win the World Series last season by appearing in 77 contests and posting a 2.95 ERA out of the bullpen.

The Padres also promoted infielder Dusty Coleman from Triple-A El Paso and recalled right-handed pitcher Jose Ruiz from Single-A Lake Elsinore to help out their big league club.

There could still be more current Padres on the move in the next few days.

The Major League Baseball trade deadline is next Monday, July 31 at 1 p.m. PT.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Take Another Series From Giants]]> Sun, 23 Jul 2017 22:27:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/179*120/Padres+Beat+Giants+On+Sunday.JPG

For the better part of a decade the Giants have tormented the Padres. In 2017 that trend has reversed itself.

San Diego won again in San Francisco, this time a 5-2 decision on Sunday to take three of four games at AT&T Park. These teams have played four series this season and the Padres have won all of them.

Wil Myers continued his power surge with a 1st inning home run, his 3rd dinger in the last three games. The 453-foot missile was his 20th of the season and put the Padres on top 1-0.

The Giants tied it in the bottom half on a Buster Posey RBI single but in the 4th inning the Padres strung together some hits against Giants starter Ty Blach. After Myers walked, Blach gave up consecutive doubles to Hunter Renfroe, Jabari Blash and Hector Sanchez, who had a pair of hits to run his season average against his former team up over the .400 mark.

Cory Spangenberg followed with an RBI single to complete a 4-run inning and give the Padres enough of a cushio for Dinelson Lamet. The rookie starter had a nice afternoon, striking out six in 6.2 innings to run his record to 4-4.

In the 9th inning Brad Hand, the All-Star who is going to be one of the most sought-after commodities leading up to the July 31 trade deadline, got a chance in a save situation. He worked a perfect inning without letting a ball out of the infield for his 3rd save of the season.

After playing 13 of their last 16 on the road the Padres start a 9-game home stand on Monday night when the New York Mets open a 4-game set at Petco Park.

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<![CDATA[Three Trades the Padres Should Make]]> Fri, 21 Jul 2017 13:21:19 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/Brad+Hand+Delivery.JPG

I hope A.J. Preller has his phone charged. He’s going to be on it a lot.

We are less than two weeks from the Major League Baseball trade deadline and the Padres General Manager is going to be getting a lot of calls on a lot of players. It seems like the entire pitching staff aside from Luis Perdomo and Miguel Diaz is on the block but there are some deals that just make too much sense not to make.

So here are the trades the Padres should pull the trigger on before the 31st:

RHP Trevor Cahill to Cleveland

The Indians have a pair of studs at the top of the rotation and are decent one through three but after that there is a monster drop-off. They have a solid lineup, one of the game’s best bullpens, and serious World Series aspirations. But Cleveland is in an unexpected battle with the Twins in the American League Central and if they got another arm in the rotation they can pull away.

Sonny Gray and Jason Vargas (and maybe Yu Darvish) are the biggest names on the market but since coming off the disabled list Cahill has been really good. His outing on Sunday against the Giants was solid (6.2 IP, 1 ER, 8 K) and he didn’t even have his potentially devastating curve working. Cahill is a cheap addition, too, on just a one year deal. If Preller can pry 19-year-old RHP Triston McKenzie out of Cleveland, which is not too much to ask, this trade is a no-brainer.

INF Yangervis Solarte to Boston

This one hurts. Like, I mean it’s physically painful to write it. I love what Solarte brings to the Padres clubhouse. He’s one of the most likable players in the game and, oh by the way, he’s a heck of a ballplayer.

But the Red Sox need a 3rd baseman and they need one in a bad way. Pablo Sandoval ate his way out of Boston and there is no serviceable replacement on the big league roster. Todd Frazier is off the market, making Solarte the top available infielder capable of playing the corner. The fact Frazier and some effective relievers went to the Yankees puts the Sox in a tough spot.

This, of course, is continguent on Yan coming off the disabled list from his oblique injury in time to put on a quick showcase but he is expected back by the end of the month.

Odds are there is still bad blood between these teams after the Drew Pomeranz trade but when the Red Sox have a chance to win now they go all in. Solarte’s team-friendly contract make him more valuable so a package of prospects including 3B Rafael Devers, a 20-year-old masher who was promoted to Triple-A and went deep twice in his first six games, a good deal for both clubs.

LHP Brad Hand to Houston

One of the very few weak spots for the Astros is the bullpen. That’s why they’ve been asking the Orioles about Zach Britton. But I’m thinking the Dodgers are going to get Britton even though they don’t need him, leaving Hand as the best reliever available.

Houston has been scoring runs at a historic rate but Carlos Correa will be out for a few weeks with a thumb injury so run prevention will have to be a bigger emphasis. Hand has turned in to one of the most reliable and versatile relievers in baseball, able to go multiple innings and get both lefties and righties out. The problem for Houston will be how much they have to part with to get him.

Preller is looking for a big haul for a guy who’s 27 years old and under team control for the next two years so Houston will have to part with a package that includes at least one of their top pitching prospects (Francis Martes, David Paulino and Forrest Whitley are all in the MLB.com Top-100 list) and a big league-ready talent.

The other guys who are possibilities to move are relievers Kirby Yates and Craig Stammen and starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin but they would not get the same kind of return as the three players mentioned above would.

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<![CDATA[Rockies Crush Padres To Finish Off Sweep]]> Wed, 19 Jul 2017 20:42:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/RichardSanchezWEB.jpg

To say Colorado simply swept the Padres or that San Diego just had a bad game would be too big of an understatement.

The Rockies blasted the Friars 18-4 to finish off a sweep of their division rivals.

Wednesday’s matinee got so out of hand, the Rockies scored in every single inning except the eighth (Thank you Kirby Yates) and the ninth.

Plus, the reason Colorado didn’t need to bat in the final frame was because the Rockies already had the lead and were playing at home.

This was a downright ugly game for the Friars.

Starting pitcher Clayton Richard gave up 11 runs (10 earned) and did not finish the fourth inning.

Rockies All-Star Nolan Arenado was not a one-man wrecking crew by any means but he had one of his best days as a pro thanks to his scorching bat.

The third baseman went 5-for-6 with three homers, two singles and seven RBI.

All-Star outfielder Charlie Blackmon and Trevor Story also went yard for the Rockies to really put things out of reach.

San Diego trailed 13-0 before Jabari Blash’s base hit in the sixth scored rookie Carlos Asuaje and put the Friars on the board.

A few batters later, Cory Spangenberg added a three-run blast to trim the deficit to 13-4 but the game was already a lost cause.

The Rockies are in second place but still trail the Dodgers by 11 games in the National League West.

The Friars will try to regroup in San Francisco when they continue their road trip Thursday against the Giants.

Jhoulys Chacin is scheduled to start opposite Madison Bumgarner at 7:15 p.m.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sanchez Excels But Padres Falter In Colorado]]> Mon, 17 Jul 2017 22:02:48 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/RockiesPadsWEB.jpg

For the third straight day, Hector Sanchez started at catcher.

And for the third consecutive outing, the switch-hitter smashed a home run.

Unfortunately for the Padres, this time Hector’s heroics came in a loss as his team had trouble keeping up with their division opponents in Colorado.

The Rockies tapped out 11 hits and tagged Padres starter Luis Perdomo for seven runs in the first three innings Monday night on their way to a 9-6 win over San Diego.

Padres catcher Austin Hedges sat out again as a precaution after taking a foul ball off his catcher’s mask during Friday’s game.

Manager Andy Green originally had Hedges in the starting lineup Monday but later decided to hold out his starting catcher for at least one more day.

Green added that he hopes to have Hedges back in action later this week.

His understudy batted cleanup for the second straight day and again Sanchez gave the offense a boost.

San Diego trailed 8-3 in the eighth inning when Sanchez smacked a solo shot to right field to start a late rally.

The 27-year-old from Venezuela had hit a walk-off two-run homer Saturday night against the Giants and then crushed a three-run bomb in the first inning of Sunday’s 7-1 victory over his former team.

This time his home run trot did not give his team the lead, but it did help the Friars climb back into the contest.

Before the eighth inning ended, Jose Pirela scored on a sacrifice fly and Allen Cordoba added a RBI single to cut the deficit to 8-6.

But Colorado added an insurance run before Greg Holland closed the door in the ninth to register the save.

Another bright spot was Jabari Blash who is getting more playing time while everyday right fielder Hunter Renfroe recuperates on the disabled list with a strained neck.

Blash crushed a two-run homer in the second inning to give the Padres a brief 2-1 lead.

But Perdomo faltered in the third inning and Padres manager Andy Green decided to give him a quick hook.

Reliever Craig Stammen entered and tried to put out the fire but Colorado tacked on one more run and took a 7-2 lead into the fourth inning.

Wil Myers usually plays well at Coors Field but he struggled at the plate.

The 2016 All-star struck out four times and finished 0-for-5 with a groundout.

Despite the loss, San Diego has still won 7 of its last 11 ball games.

Rookie Dinelson Lamet is scheduled to start Tuesday against the Rockies.

Colorado counters with Antonio Senzatela.

First pitch is slated for 5:40 p.m. at Coors Field.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Place Renfroe on Disabled List]]> Fri, 14 Jul 2017 14:24:02 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/183*120/Hunter+Renfroe+Swinging.JPG

The Padres return from baseball’s 4-day All-Star break with a weekend series against the Giants that starts Friday night at Petco Park. Rookie outfielder Hunter Renfroe will not be in the lineup for any of those games.

Renfroe landed on the 10-day disabled list (retroactive to July 10) with a strained neck. He felt something tighten in his neck while hitting a double in the 7th inning of last Saturday’s game in Philadelphia and was removed from the lineup. Renfroe is tied for the team lead with 16 home runs and is 2nd on the club with 39 RBI.

The Padres recalled outfielder Jabari Blash from Triple-A El Paso to fill the roster spot.

San Diego also placed relief pitcher Kirby Yates on the paternity list so he could join his wife Ashlee for the birth of their first child. Fellow reliever Jose Valdez was brought up from El Paso while Yates is away.

For Friday night’s game the Padres will hand the ball to left-hander Clayton Richard, one of the many Friars who will likely pop up in trade rumors for the next few weeks. The Giants go with former All-Star Johnny Cueto.

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<![CDATA[To Tank Or Not To Tank]]> Mon, 10 Jul 2017 16:16:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/182*120/Andy+Green+Brown+Uniform.JPG

NBC 7’s Derek Togerson takes a look at the Padres losing a lot of games in the second half in this commentary

At the 2017 All-Star break the San Diego Padres are in 4th place in the National League West with a 38-50 record. But they have been playing well of late.

If you break the 88 games they’ve played in half you find they went 15-29 in their first 44 and a much-improved 23-21 over the second 44. Obviously, they’re doing it wrong.

At least that’s what many Padres fans believe. There is a growing movement urging the Padres to tank the rest of the season, meaning lose as many games as possible to try and improve their draft status and acquire more, better, younger players with higher ceilings and more chance for prolonged Major League success.

It’s basically what the Astros did and right about now it looks like it’s working out pretty well for Houston, another franchise like the Padres that does not have the financial clout to sign a bunch of guys to 9-figure contracts like the Cubs, Yankees and Red Sox.

The idea makes sense. The Padres are not going to compete with the Dodgers or Diamondbacks or Rockies and get back in to playoff contention this season. So winning a bunch of games in the second half of the year to get to the middle of the pack and obtaining a WORSE draft position does not seem like a very good strategy.

But there is something else to consider. Several of the guys the Padres are expecting to be the nucleus of the team when it gets in to perennial playoff contention are already up with the big league club and playing pretty well. Catcher Austin Hedges, centerfielder Manuel Margot, right fielder Hunter Renfroe and starting pitcher Dinelson Lamet, just to name a few, are showing signs of being really good Major Leaguers.

Here is where the problem lies.

If those guys (along with Wil Myers, who is still only 26 years old) are going to be the leaders of the Padres success they have to know how to win because they will be the ones to teach the waves of younger players to come up how to win. So the questions are:

1)    Do you actively stunt the growth of the guys already in The Show for the sake of adding more talent?
2)    When do you have enough talent in the system to stop trying to get good draft slots and start trying to win every single game you play?
3)    Where are the Padres in all of this?

The answer to the first one is for a while, yes. Just look at Jose Altuve. The Astros 2nd baseman was up in 2011 and went through three consecutive 100-plus-loss seasons and he turned out to be pretty good. Sometimes you just have to take the lumps for the end product.

The answer to the second one is much more problematic. The Padres have re-vamped their system with more than 50 international signings and another 60-plus draft picks, plus a handful of high-value trade acquisitions the last few years and yet they still are very likely nowhere near where they need to be talent-wise.

That brings us to the answer to the third one, which is no chance. They’ll get there when they have multiple top-notch prospects at every level of the system and right now they are simply not there. If General Manager A.J. Preller and his squad keep up this pace for the next two years and some of these guys start to pan out then San Diego will be at the point where they stop courting losses and start despising them.

And I know there is a caveat to the whole draft and international signing thing. I’ve touted it myself many times. For every Ken Griffey Jr. there is a Matt Bush (both #1 overall picks). You can find a Cy Young Award winner with the 7th overall pick (Clayton Kershaw) or in the 7th round (Dallas Keuchel). In 2009 Mike Trout was the 6th outfielder selected.

Basically the point is, although there is a history of the #1 overall pick panning out with greater frequency (24 of the first 48 became All-Stars) the MLB Draft is an inexact science, more so than any other sport. Remember four of the overall first picks that did NOT become All-Stars were taken by the Padres. Talent can be found anywhere at any time. Jake Peavy in the 15th round, anyone? Sure I’ll take that.

But as it stands now the Padres are in tank mode, something that will become even clearer as the trade deadline looms and some of the veterans they have on the roster are sent away for even more young talent.

Given their strategy it’s probably the right thing to do. So enjoy the small successes the Padres are having in 2017 and root for the youngsters to play well and learn … but lose a lot of games. They’re 8.5 games back of the Phillies for the worst record in baseball and need to make up some ground.

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<![CDATA[Padres Fall Short of Sweep]]> Sun, 09 Jul 2017 14:03:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/184*120/Phillies+HR.JPG

The last time the Padres swept a series in Philadelphia was the last year the Padres went to the World Series. So seeing as how the Friars have been pretty bad at completing sweeps (just two this season) and at winning on Sundays (4-8 in 2017) it was probably asking a little much for San Diego to win three straight this weekend.

The Padres lost to the Phillies 7-1 in the last game before the All-Star break. San Diego starter Trevor Cahill had eight strikeouts in 5.0 innings but was also touched up by the long ball. Cahill gave up homers to Nick Williams, Cameron Rupp and Freddy Galvis as the Phillies built a 4-0 lead.

Philly kept swinging it against the Padres bullpen. Odubel Herrera went deep off Crain Stammen in the 6th and in the 7th, rookie reliever Phil Maton surrendered back-to-back dingers to Aaron Altherr and Galvis. Philadelphia’s six home runs are one shy of their single-game franchise record.

The Padres, meanwhile, had the same number of hits (seven) but six of them were singles. Their only run came in the 9th inning on a sacrifice fly by Hector Sanchez. The Padres hit the All-Star break with a 38-50 record but there is reason for excitement.

They went 4-2 on their road trip through Philly and Cleveland and after a bad start to the season they’ve played much better. In their first 44 games the Friars were 15-29. In their last 44 games they’ve gone 23-21.

Everyone not named Brad Hand gets a four-day break before starting a weekend series against the last-place Giants at Petco Park on Friday, July 14.

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<![CDATA[Asuaje Leads Padres To Third Straight Win]]> Wed, 05 Jul 2017 20:47:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AsuajeJuly5thWEB.jpg

San Diego’s offense appeared to be stuck in neutral halfway through Wednesday’s game in Cleveland.

But thanks to Carlos Asuaje and Jose Pirela, the Padres got back on track against Indians starter Trevor Bauer.

Asuaje collected two RBI singles and a double to help the Padres build a 4-2 lead.

Pirela also added three hits, including a RBI triple off the right-centerfield wall in the fifth inning.

Cory Spangenberg provided some insurance with a two-run homer in the top of the seventh.

That capped the scoring and proved to be enough firepower to help Luis Perdomo and the bullpen close out the Padres third straight victory, 6-2.

Throughout the evening, Asuaje also showed some defensive prowess. He helped turn two double plays and collected seven putouts on grounders to the right side of the infield.

The Indians tried to rally, but Hunter Renfroe saved a run from scoring in the eighth inning when he gunned out Jose Ramirez after a single by Yan Gomes.

Cleveland never threatened again.

Perdomo worked five innings and allowed only two runs (one earned).

The right-hander struck out four batters and tiptoed around nine hits to improve to 4-4 on the year.

Rookie pitcher Phil Maton continued his dominance racking up three more strikeouts in 1.2 scoreless innings.

After that, Padres All-Star Brad Hand and teammate Craig Stammen finished the last two frames to keep the Indians at bay.

Friars rookie Dinelson Lamet toes the rubber Thursday when the visitors try to finish off a sweep.

Cleveland will send Josh Tomlin to the mound for the first pitch which is scheduled for 4:10 p.m.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Sign 25 More International Players]]> Wed, 05 Jul 2017 15:32:29 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/184*120/Preller+Padres+Scouts.JPG

In 2016 the Padres went bonkers on the international signing market, spending darn near $80 million (including taxes) on new young talent.

In doing that they knew they would be restricted in the 2017 international signing period, meaning they could not give any single player more than a $300,000 signing bonus. Obviously that did not deter the Friars from adding more talent to their system.

The new signing period started on July 2nd and according to Baseball America San Diego has already added 25 international players from five different countries. The 25 signees are tied with the Dodgers for 2nd-most in baseball so far, one player behind the 26 the Astros have agreed with.

Most of their additions came from Venezuela (12 signees) but they also made a heavy push in Mexico, adding six players from our neighbors to the south (five of them pitchers).

The full list of Padres signings through July 5th looks like this:

Manuel Partida, LHP, Mexico
Brandon Valenzuela, C, Mexico
Omar Cruz, LHP, Mexico
Alan Mundo, RHP, Mexico
Alfredo Castaneda, RHP, Mexico
Sergio Carrizosa, RHP, Mexico
Frank Lopez, RHP, Venezuela
Angel Solarte, OF, Venezuela
Emmanuelle Guerra, SS, Venezuela
Matias Polanco, C, Venezuela
Yerri Landines, SS, Venezuela
Laurbert Arias, RHP, Venezuela
Jesus Cisneros, RHP, Venezuela
Mauricio Rodriguez, RHP, Venezuela
Carlos Guarate, RHP, Venezuela
Jesus Gonzalez, LHP, Venezuela
Nick Rios, LHP, Venezuela
Miguel Rondon, RHP, Venezuela
Yeison Santana, SS, Dominican Republic
Luis Paez, SS, Dominican Republic
Cristian Heredia, OF, Dominican Republic
Julio de la Cruz, SS/OF, Dominican Republic
Junior Perez, OF, Dominican Republic
Edgar Martinez, RHP, Cuba
Jarryd Dale, SS, Australia

That last name on the list is intriguing. Jarryd Dale is a 16-year-old playing in the Australian Baseball League against grown men. In fact one of his teammates with the first place Melbourne Aces was Jeremy Guthrie, the right-handed starter who was briefly with the Padres organization and pitched in the World Series for the Kansas City Royals.

In 24 games against adults Dale, who is already physically imposing at 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds at the age of 16, has a home run and 10 RBI. His father Phil Dale was an Olympian for Australia and pitched in the Reds organization.

The international signing period is open until next June so the Padres are likely to add more players to the system in the coming months.

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<![CDATA[Padres Blank Indians In Cahill’s Return]]> Tue, 04 Jul 2017 20:53:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/CahillJuly4thWEB.jpg

San Diego’s Trevor Cahill returned from the disabled list and held his own against former Cy Young winner Cory Kluber Tuesday afternoon.

The Indians ace struck out nine batters over eight frames and Cahill punched out four while navigating his way through 4.1 shutout innings.

But the Friars managed to scrape across one run against Kluber and San Diego’s bullpen did the rest to cement a 1-0 Padres victory.

The lone run came in the fifth, when Cory Spangenberg grounded into a fielder's choice and it was enough to score Padres designated hitter Hector Sanchez.

A huge turning point came in the second inning with one out and the Indians threatening with a runner on third base.

Lonnie Chisenhall bounced one back to Cahill who promptly took the out at first.

Jose Ramirez was cheating down the third base line and decided to head for home when he saw Cahill throw to Wil Myers. It turned out to be a bad decision.

Myers whipped the ball to Padres catcher Austin Hedges who applied the tag in time to complete a rare "1-3-2" double play.

Cahill tossed 85 pitches before Padres skipper Andy Green decided to give the righty the rest of the night off.

The Oceanside native and Vista high school product was making his first start since May 13th after suffering a right shoulder strain.

The Padres bullpen helped Cahill out after he left the mound.

Five San Diego relievers combined to go 4.2 scoreless innings and allowed only one measly hit while striking out seven batters.

Jose Torres finished the fifth inning to earn the victory while Kirby Yates and Ryan Buchter each held the fort for three outs apiece.

All-Star Brad Hand then stuck out the side in the eighth before closer Brandon Maurer notched his 17th save.

Kluber pitched brilliantly but Cleveland’s offense gave him zero run support against his former franchise. He was a 4th round pick by the Padres back in 2007.

San Diego sends Luis Perdomo to the hill on Wednesday while the Tribe counters with Trevor Bauer.

First pitch from Cleveland is scheduled for 4:10 p.m.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres' Hand Earns All-Star Nod]]> Sun, 02 Jul 2017 18:46:45 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/Brad+Hand+Delivery.JPG

In April of 2016 the Padres needed another pitcher because Matt Thornton went on the disabled list so they plucked a little-known left-hander off waivers from the Marlins.

Less than a year and a half later Brad Hand is an All-Star.

It's the first career All-Star selection for Hand, who is the only Padre going to Miami for the game. The former waiver claim traded in his curve ball for a slider and became one of the best relievers in the game.

Over the last two seasons only ALCS Most Valuable Player Andrew Miller has more strikeouts as a relief pitcher than Hand does. What will make him even more attractive to National League manager Joe Maddon of the Cubs in the Midsummer Classic is Hand is as versatile as they come. He can be a long reliever or even a closer.

Of course, a guy like this is drawing all kinds of trade interest so he could take the same route Drew Pomeranz did last year. You may recall Pomeranz was a San Diego All-Star before being traded to the Red Sox right after pitching in the ASG at Petco Park. The possibility of Hand being dealt in his first All-Star season is very real.

Here is the entire list of 2017 All-Stars and Final Vote candidates (starters in bold):

AMERICAN LEAGUE

PITCHERS
Dellin Betances, NYY
Yu Darvish, TEX
Michael Fulmer, DET
Dallas Keuchel, HOU
Craig Kimbrel, BOS
Corey Kluber, CLE
Lance McCullers Jr., HOU
Andrew Miller, CLE
Chris Sale, BOS
Ervin Santana, MIN
Luis Severino, NYY
Jason Vargas, KC
CATCHERS (2)
Salvador Perez, KC
Gary Sanchez, NYY
INFIELDERS (9)
Yonder Alonso, OAK
Jose Altuve, HOU
Starlin Castro, NYY
Carlos Correa, HOU
Francisco Lindor, CLE
José Ramirez, CLE
Miguel Sano, MIN
Jonathan Schoop, BAL
Justin Smoak, SEA
OUTFIELDERS (6)
Mookie Betts, BOS
Michael Brantley, CLE
Avisaíl Garcia, CWS
Aaron Judge, NYY
George Springer, HOU
Mike Trout, LAA

DESIGNATED HITTERS (2)
Nelson Cruz, SEA
Corey Dickerson, TB

2017 ESURANCE MLB ALL-STAR GAME AL FINAL VOTE CANDIDATES:
SS Elvis Andrus, TEX
SS Xander Bogaerts, BOS
SS Didi Gregorius, NYY
1B Logan Morrison, TB
3B Mike Moustakas, KC

NATIONAL LEAGUE

PITCHERS (12)
Wade Davis, CHI
Zack Greinke, AZ
Brad Hand, SD
Greg Holland, COL
Kenley Jansen, LAD
Clayton Kershaw, LAD
Corey Knebel, MIL
Carlos Martinez, STL
Pat Neshek, PHI
Robbie Ray, AZ
Max Scherzer, WAS
Stephen Strasburg, WAS
CATCHERS (2)
Yadier Molina, STL
Buster Posey, SF
INFIELDERS (10)
Nolan Arenado, COL
Zack Cozart, CIN

Paul Goldschmidt, AZ
Josh Harrison, PIT
Jake Lamb, AZ
D.J. LeMahieu, COL
Daniel Murphy, WAS
Corey Seager, LAD
Joey Votto, CIN
Ryan Zimmerman, WAS
OUTFIELDERS (7)
Cody Bellinger, LAD
Charlie Blackmon, COL
Michael Conforto, NYM
Bryce Harper, WAS
Ender Inciarte, ATL
Marcell Ozuna, MIA
Giancarlo Stanton, MIA

2017 ESURANCE MLB ALL-STAR GAME NL FINAL VOTE CANDIDATES:
1B Justin Bour, MIA
3B Kris Bryant, CHI
3B Anthony Rendon, WSH
1B Mark Reynolds, COL
3B Justin Turner, LAD

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<![CDATA[Padres Salvage Game Against Dodgers]]> Sun, 02 Jul 2017 17:42:02 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/167*120/Jose+Pirela+Single.JPG

The last time the Padres had a lead in a game against the Dodgers was May 6 when they were up 2-1 at Petco Park. They lost that game, then the next three games against L.A. by a combined score of 35-6.

It took them 19 innings in their latest series but the Padres finally got a lead against their rivals and were able to turn it in to a 5-3 win.

Manny Margot got the Padres over the hump when he launched a solo home run to centerfield off Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda in the 1st inning to put San Diego on top 1-0.

The Friars padded the lead in the 2nd inning. Erick Aybar was hit by a pitch trying to bunt for a base hit then went to 3rd on a single by Carlos Asuaje. After Luis Torrens walked, pitcher Jhoulys Chacin grounded in to a double play to bring home Aybar for a 2-0 lead.

Then the Padres did something they have not done much of in 2017: hit with two outs and runners in scoring position. San Diego entered the day with the worst offense in baseball in that situation. So it was quite the surprise when Jose Pirela roped a double to the left-centerfield gap to bring home Asuaje and Margot traded places with Pirela to make it a 4-0 game.

The 2-out RBI merry-go-round kept spinning in the 4th inning. Catcher Luis Torrens was on 3rd base with two outs when Pirela delivered another line drive single to give the Padres a 5-0 advantage and although he was not sharp by any means, Chacin kept the Dodgers offense in check.

Chacin threw 5.0 shutout innings but needed 107 pitches to do it. He allowed four hits and struck out six but also walked three and hit a pair of Dodgers hitters. The Dodgers got two runs back in the 6th inning on a single, a walk and a double by Corey Seager to make it 5-2. Rookie reliever Phil Maton was tagged with the runs, the first earned runs he has allowed since his big league call up. L.A. made it a 2-run game in the 7th when Yasmani Grandal hit a solo home run off Ryan Buchter.

That is as close as they got. Brandon Maurer preserved the win with a scoreless 9th inning, giving the Padres a winning homestand. They take Monday off and play the Indians in Cleveland on July 4th.

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<![CDATA[Dodgers Slam Padres Again]]> Sun, 02 Jul 2017 01:00:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/181*120/Chris+Taylor+Slam.JPG

After Friday night’s little disagreement at Petco Park, Major League Baseball decided to suspend Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts for one game after a physical altercation with Padres Manager Andy Green.

So Roberts missed out on seeing his team get another lopsided win over San Diego.

The Dodgers hit three home runs, including their second grand slam of the series, in an 8-0 blowout on Saturday in the East Village.

The Padres gave Dillon Overton, just called up from El Paso, his first start with his new team. It did not last long. Overton allowed four runs in 4.2 innings to take the loss. Two of those runs came on solo homers by Corey Seager and Justin Turner, who went back-to-back in the 5th inning.

Los Angeles put it completely out of reach in the 7th inning when Chris Taylor hit a 4-run homer off Padres reliever Craig Stammen to make it 8-0. The Padres were not going to dig out of that hole against L.A. starter Rich Hill, who struck out 11 batters in 7.0 shutout innings and gave up just four hits (two of those to rookie outfielder Manny Margot).

The Dodgers try to sweep the series on Sunday afternoon when Kenta Maeda takes the hill against Jhoulys Chacin.

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<![CDATA[Tigers Avoid Being Swept by Padres]]> Sun, 25 Jun 2017 16:54:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/222*120/Myers+Tagged+Out+Tigers.JPG

On Sunday at Petco Park the Padres had a pair of leads against the Tigers but lost them both. Detroit was only on top once but they made it count, scoring a pair of runs in the 9th inning to avoid a sweep with a 7-5 win.

The Padres got on the board in the first inning when Wil Myers hammered his 15th home run of the season off Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann. San Diego scored again in the 2nd inning on a solo shot from Erick Aybar, a single by Hunter Renfroe and a triple by Matt Szczur that increased the lead to 3-0.

In the 4th inning Padres lefty Clayton Richard started to leak oil. Detroit got on the board, scoring three runs on two doubles, a triple and single to tie the game 3-3.

The Padres got two of those runs back in the bottom half. Richard dropped down a safety squeeze to bring in Aybar and make it 4-2. Jose Pirela followed with a ground-rule double to plate Renfroe and San Diego was up 5-3.

But in the 6th inning Richard had trouble keeping the ball in the park. Nicholas Castellanos ripped a 2-run shot to the opposite field and it was knotted 5-5. This situation would normally favor the Padres since Detroit has the worst bullpen ERA in Major League Baseball.

But this time it was the San Diego relievers (ranked 24th in baseball in ERA) that gave it up. In the 9th inning Brandon Maurer gave up double to Ian Kinsler then walked Justin Upton, who both moved up on a dribbler by J.D Martinez. Both runners scored on a single on a 3-2 pitch by Mikie Mahtook to bring in the game-winning runs.

San Diego takes Monday off then starts a 3-game set at Petco Park against the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday.

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<![CDATA[Padres Beat Tigers With Late Offense]]> Sat, 24 Jun 2017 22:47:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/167*120/Hector+Sanchez+Home+Run+Tigers.JPG

In their previous four baseball games the Padres offense had only scored six total runs. That makes what happened in the 8th inning Saturday night at Petco Park all the more remarkable.

San Diego scored five times in the 8th in a come-from-behind 7-3 win over the Tigers. The Friars can sweep the Motor City Kitties on Sunday afternoon.

The Padres got on the board in the 3rd inning when Dinelson Lamet bunted right back to Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez, who threw wide of 3rd base trying to cut down Chase d’Arnaud. The ball sailed down the left field line and d’Arnaud scored to make it 1-0.

The bad news is the reason d’Arnaud was in the game. Allen Cordoba is probably out for a while. Cordoba, a Rule 5 draftee who had worked his way in to steady playing time in the outfield and was getting more reps at his natural shortstop position, was hit on the hand by a Sanchez pitch. The Padres are calling it a left hand contusion but Cordoba was in obvious pain as he left the field.

Detroit got a pair of runs off Lamet in the 5th inning on an RBI double and a groundout and the Padres tied it again in the 6th when Wil Myers brought in Jose Pirela with a sacrifice fly.

In the 7th inning Justin Upton led off with a double and manager Andy Green decided to go get Lamet, who had only thrown 78 pitches and struck out five. In came fellow rookie Phil Maton, who gave up a weakly hit infield single to Nicholas Castellanos and a line drive single to Andrew Romine that brought in Upton to give the Tigers a 3-2 lead.

Maton got the next three hitters in order to keep it a 1-run game, which was important because Detroit has the worst bullpen ERA in the Major Leagues and the Padres made it worse.

In the 8th Hector Sanchez detonated a Shane Green pitch for a 2-run, pinch-hit home run and a 4-3 lead. Then the Friars piled on. A single and two walks loaded the bases and Cory Spangenberg dumped a single to right field to bring in two more runs.

Just to be sure it was out of reach catcher Austin Hedges bunted for a base hit that allowed Hunter Renfroe (who had walked) to score with the final run of the game.

Clayton Richard tries to complete the sweep on Sunday against Detroit right-hander Jordan Zimmermann.

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<![CDATA[Padres Lose Solarte to Injury]]> Fri, 23 Jun 2017 18:35:23 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*128/Solarte+Wrigley+Field.JPG

We have good news and bad news for the Padres. I’m one of those who likes to start with the bad news so we can end on a positive so it pains me to say the Friars had to put a promising young pitcher and their emotional leader on the disabled list on Friday.

Infielder Yangervis Solarte and right-handed pitcher Miguel Diaz are both on the 10-day DL. Solarte has an oblique muscle strain and Diaz has a strain in his pitching forearm. To take their places on the roster catcher Hector Sanchez was removed from the disabled list and infielder Carlos Asuaje was recalled from El Paso.

Solarte has been swinging one of the hottest bats on the team with 17 hits in his last 12 games before suffering the injury on Tuesday in Chicago. Diaz was hurt the next day at Wrigley Field.

But, we do get to temper that with something positive. The Padres wasted no time is signing their top draft pick.

High school lefty MacKenzie Gore has agreed to a contract. He'll get about a $6.7 million dollar bonus, right in line with the recommended money for the 3rd overall pick. Gore will sign the deal before Saturday night’s game with the Tigers at Petco Park.

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<![CDATA[Padres 'Pen Preserves Win in Chicago]]> Wed, 21 Jun 2017 15:48:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/172*120/Maurer+Save+in+Chicago.JPG

After sweeping the Cubs at Petco Park in May the Padres avoided getting swept by the defending World Series champs at Wrigley Field.

San Diego topped Chicago 3-2 on Wednesday afternoon despite an abbreviated start and getting just two extra-base hits, one of them by a relief pitcher.

Miguel Diaz got the start for the Padres and threw just 43 pitches when he was lifted in the 3rd inning with what was called a right (pitching arm) forearm strain. His prognosis was not immediately known after the game but his exit meant the Padres bullpen was going to have a long day.

Up first was Craig Stammen, who allowed a 2-run home run to Ian Happ in the 4th inning to put the Cubs up 2-0. It was the 2nd hit the Chicago offense had and turned out to be its final hit of the game. After that Ryan Buchter, Phil Maton, Brad Hand and Brandon Maurer combined for 4.0 perfect innings.

Meanwhile the San Diego offense started chipping away. In the 5th inning Stammen doubled and scored on a single by Jose Pirela to cut the lead to 2-1. In the 6th Erick Aybar rode one out off of Cubs reliever Brian Duensing to tie it 2-2.

Their final run came in the 8th inning in quite the improbable fashion. San Diego loaded the bases on a pair of singles and an intentional walk and with two outs, in stepped Rule 5 draftee Luis Torrens. The kid who just turned 21 in May was facing All-Star reliever Koji Uehara and he worked a walk to bring in Wil Myers with what turned out to be the winning run.

The timing gave another rookie, Phil Maton, his first MLB win. Maton has not been scored on in his first six big league appearances. Maton is expected to someday take over as the Padres closer. Maurer, the current closer, got the final two outs to notch his 13th save of the season.

The Padres take Thursday off then start a 3-game set against the Tigers at Petco Park on Friday night. Rookie Dinelson Lamet gets the start against Michael Fulmer.

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<![CDATA[No Retaliation on Rizzo; Padres Silenced By Cubs]]> Tue, 20 Jun 2017 21:20:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/RizzoNoRetaliation.jpg

Well that was deflating.

Rarely does a Tuesday regular season game in June between a fourth place team (the Padres) and a club barely over .500 (the Cubs) garner so much attention.

But one day after Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo barreled into Austin Hedges and injured the Padres catcher in a controversial collision at the plate, many fans expected San Diego to retaliate.

On Monday, Padres manager Andy Green called Rizzo’s decision to “deviate from the pathway” to home plate and hit his catcher “egregious” and “a cheap shot."

Cubs manager Jim Maddon defended his player’s decision and sounded convinced that Rizzo had done nothing wrong.

San Diego sports talk radio and social media was a buzz all day leading up to the first pitch with many fans wondering if Jhoulys Chacin would plunk Rizzo right out the gate.

It was clear there was a “to bean, or not to bean,” question lingering over the rematch with the potential for a baseball brawl after what transpired in the series opener.

Especially once word leaked out that Major League Baseball informed both clubs that Rizzo did violate the home-plate collision rule but that he would not be suspended.

The first pitch by Chacin to Rizzo (the Cubs new leadoff hitter) in the bottom of the first inning was taken low for a ball.

The second one made contact.

Contact with Rizzo’s bat.

The baseball landed over the centerfield ivy and the Cubs took an immediate 1-0 lead as Rizzo trotted around the bases after slugging his 17th homer of the season.

A fan base looking for a response – or at least something to get excited about other than which high draft pick could be multiple years away from the show – instead had to stomach a disheartening, 4-0 loss in which the Padres managed just four measly singles and a double.

Before the rematch Tuesday, Green went on San Diego’s 1090 AM radio station and stated the Padres would not seek retaliation for the Rizzo-Hedges crash.

"What do you accomplish by hitting somebody? You accomplish nothing," Green said. "You put a man on first base, and you give them an opportunity to win a baseball game. ... I think it's absolutely asinine to even take that approach."

After Tuesday’s defeat, Chacin admitted that Green “asked me to give my word I wouldn’t hit (Rizzo) on purpose.”

Green and Chacin stayed true to their word, but a number of Padres fans were pretty outspoken on social media that the Padres missed a giant opportunity to make a statement and standup for their catcher.

On top of that, Hedges did not play Tuesday as a precaution after suffering that thigh bruise during Monday’s collision.

Luis Torrens served as the starting backstop and collected two of the team’s base hits.

Chacin finished with just two earned runs allowed on five hits in six innings but with no run support he saw his record fall to 6-6 with the loss.

In other injury news, Yangervis Solarte was pulled from the starting lineup after hurting his left oblique taking a swing before the game.

Chase D’Arnaud started in Solarte’s place and batted cleanup.

Green implied that Solarte is headed to the disabled list and that the club has multiple options to pick his replacement from Triple-A El Paso.

The recently demoted Ryan Schimpf and rookie Carlos Asuaje would be prime candidates to be recalled to take Solarte’s active roster spot.

Wednesday’s getaway game at Wrigley Field begins at 11:10 a.m.

San Diego sends Miguel Diaz to the mound while the Cubs will hand the ball to Eddie Butler.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cubs Muscle A Win Away From Padres]]> Tue, 20 Jun 2017 16:48:44 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/RizzoHedgesWEB.jpg

The Chicago Cubs added insult to injury Monday evening as they overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat the Padres 3-2.

Jose Pirela led off the contest with a solo shot on the third pitch of the game thrown by Cubs starter Jon Lester.

Padres infielder Yangervis Solarte then crushed his tenth homer of the season in the third frame to push San Diego’s lead to 2-0.

The Friars looked like they had the ingredients for a victory thanks to those two hits until San Diego catcher Austin Hedges was injured on a controversial play at the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Chicago’s Anthony Rizzo tried to tag from third base when former USD Torero Kris Bryant lined out to centerfield.

Padres outfielder Matt Szczur made the catch and unleashed a bullet towards home that bounced a couple times right on the money to Hedges.

Replays showed the catcher out in front of the plate allowing ample room for the Cubs first baseman to attempt a slide but Rizzo made no attempt to touch home plate and instead barreled right into Hedges with his knees and upper body.

Hedges held on for the catch and Rizzo was out at home, momentarily preserving the Cubs 2-1 lead at that point in the game.

But the Padres – and many fans on social media – believed it was a dirty play.

The fact that Hedges left the game afterwards with what was later determined to be a right thigh bruise only fuels that fire. Luis Torrens wound up finishing the game behind the plate, and an inning later, the Cubs rallied against reliever Kirby Yates thanks to a home run by Jose Contreras and a double by Albert Almora Jr.

Hedges deflected questions after the game, saying he thought he gave Rizzo a lane to the plate but was just thankful to be able to walk away after the collision.

“I just got the wind knocked out of me,” said Hedges in the clubhouse, while admitting he would have to “take another look” at the collision.

Padres manager Andy Green did not hold back at expressing his disdain for the collision.

“From my perspective,” said a fired up Green, “when a guy hits a guy – that clearly gave him not just gave him half of the plate, he gave him the entire lane to the plate - and he’s probably safe if he slides to the back corner.

That’s where the frustration is. The frustration is that you expect the rule to protect you when you’re out there giving the guy the plate.”

“There needs to be something stronger after that transpires where the commissioner, baseball in general has to do something to be where you actually protect my catcher,” continued Green. “Because right now, it’s open season on him, if all it is - is out at the plate.”

The controversial crash overshadowed another solid outing by Clayton Richard.

The Padres lefty went 6.1 innings and was only charged with two earned runs and five hits.

Richard wound up with a no-decision.

Rookie reliever Phil Maton entered in the 8th inning and once again looked impressive.

The rookie right-hander blew away Cubs rookie Ian Happ with a 94 mile per hour fastball on a full count and finished with two strikeouts in a scoreless inning of work.

Be on the lookout for emotions to erupt the next two days especially when Rizzo steps into the batter’s box against a Friars pitcher.

Jhoulys Chacin takes the mound Tuesday against the Cubs starting at 5:50 p.m. Chicago counters with Mike Montgomery.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Maton Proving MLB Draft Can Yield Hidden Gems]]> Mon, 19 Jun 2017 12:07:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/190*120/Phil+Maton+Padres+Dugout.JPG

In 2015 the Padres grabbed Phil Maton in the 20th round of the MLB Draft. Exactly two years and one day later Maton was on the mound in Milwaukee recording his first career big league save, looking like he is about to become one of the best young closers in baseball.

The Padres ended up with Maton because an area scout saw something and set off a series of events that led to the guy taken in the 20th round being the first one from the class to reach the Major Leagues.

“We had two guys that were helping split the area,” said Padres Director of Scouting Mark Conner about the trek to find Maton. “Those two guys where covering north Texas.”

Louisiana Tech is in northern Louisiana so one of the scouts made a trip to the city of Ruston to see Maton pitch. He came away impressed.

“Good body, arm action, delivery, starter at a Division-1 university,” said Conner of the scouting report. “He liked the components.”

Once the Padres were intrigued with the physical tools they started the next stage of the scouting process by diving in to Maton’s personal history.

“Who he was; good athlete,” said Conner. After those boxes were checked they looked at the analytics.

“TrackMan data and things of that nature and you find out there are some really interesting components to what he does to be successful,” said Conner.

One of those components … in fact the one that really put Maton on the map … is the vicious spin rate of his fastball. Maton’s heater spins at more than 2500 RPM, allowing it to ride higher in the strike zone and look a lot faster than its 94 MPH velocity. Maton’s spin rate is slightly better than Justin Verlander, Yu Darvish, Max Scherzer and even Aroldis Chapman.

In college Maton was a starting pitcher where he had decent strikeout numbers. The Padres put him in the bullpen and in pro ball he became a punchout machine, whiffing 58 hitters in 32.2 innings at Tri-City in the Northwest League. He has not stopped striking guys out since, giving San Diego one of those proverbial draft day diamonds in the rough.

“I think it was a group effort getting him, definitely led by the area scouts in that situation,” said Conner.

If Maton keeps this up then pretty soon he’ll have to pick out his entrance music as the next San Diego Padres closer.

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<![CDATA[Homers Hurt Padres in Series Loss]]> Sun, 18 Jun 2017 16:34:41 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/183*120/Cordoba+Watches+HR+in+Milwaukee.JPG

If the Padres are not hitting home runs odds are they are not scoring many runs. On Father’s Day the Friars had trouble manufacturing offense without the long ball in a 2-1 loss to the Brewers.

San Diego put eight runners on base against Milwaukee starter Jimmy Nelson on six singles and two walks but could only bring one of them home. In the 5th inning Erick Aybar singled to left-centerfield to bring in Cory Spangenberg and put the Padres on top 1-0.

Other than that the Friars only got a runner past 1st base two other times, in the 2nd and 7th innings, and failed to score on both occasions. It was a stark difference from Saturday’s game where the Padres hit five home runs in hitter-friendly Miller Park.

This time it was the home run ball that cost them. Padres right-hander Luis Perdomo, who made the first start of his big league career a year ago in Wisconsin, was good enough to get a win this time. Perdomo went 6.0 innings and only allowed two runs, both on solo homers in the 6th inning. First Hernan Perez lofted a fly ball that is an out in most other parks just over the left field wall and two batters later Manny Pina hit a no-doubter to left-center for what turned out to be the game-winner.

Nelson finished off his complete game effort by striking out Aybar, the 10th punchout of the game for the Brewers righty.

The Padres continue their road trip on Monday at Wrigley Field against the Cubs. Clayton Richard gets the start against Jon Lester.

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<![CDATA[Solarte Leads Padres to Victory]]> Sat, 17 Jun 2017 21:36:06 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/182*120/Solarte+HR+in+Milwaukee.JPG

Yangervis Solarte is not a guy who will put up All-Star numbers … but he is every bit as valuable as any team’s most prolific offensive threat.

Solarte is the unquestioned emotional leader of the Padres and he came up huge for them again in a 7-5, 11-inning win over the Brewers in Milwaukee on Saturday afternoon.

Solarte started the scoring with a solo home run in the 2nd inning, touching off a bit of a home run derby between the Padres and Brewers. By the time the game ended the teams had combined for eight dingers, five of them hit by the Padres.

Milwaukee took the lead back in the 3rd inning with a pair of homers, one an inside-the-park job by Orlando Arcia and the other a 2-run traditional blast by Eric Thames, his 20th of the season to put the Brewers on top 3-1.

The Padres got one back on an RBI double by Hunter Renfroe (the only run they did not score via home run) then Wil Myers unloaded on a 3-0 pitch from Chase Anderson to tie it 3-3.

Padres rookie starter Dinelson Lamet helped keep it tied with 12 strikeouts in 6.0 innings so it went to the 10th inning knotted 3-3. That’s where Solarte thought he won the game. Yangervis demolished a 2-run home run to right field that gave the Padres a 5-3 lead with closer Brandon Maurer on the mound.

The lead lasted two batters.

Maurer hit one guy then served up a 2-run bomb to Keon Broxton that re-tied things 5-5 and sent it to the 11th. It would not go to the 12th.

Cory Spangenberg and Chase d’Arnaud both hit solo home runs to put the Padres up 7-5 and rookie closer-in-training Phil Maton did not allow another comeback. Maton came on with one out and a runner on and struck out both hitters he faced to get his first MLB save.

San Diego can win the series on Sunday afternoon at Miller Park.

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<![CDATA[Padres Show Muscle at the Plate but fall to Brewers]]> Fri, 16 Jun 2017 21:05:14 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-696732346.jpg

Wil Myers, Hunter Renfroe and Yangervis Solarte all homered in Friday night’s series opener against the Milwaukee Brewers. Their power at the plate took them into extra innings but the Brewers literally walked away with a 6-5 victory in the first of three games from Miller Park.

Myers set the bar high with a three run blast in the first inning and gave San Diego an early 3-0 lead. Keeping pace with the Padres 2016 all-star was Renfroe. The stand out rookie’s solo shot in the first inning was good for his 15th home run of the season.

The Brewers caught up with home runs of their own. A solo shot by Travis Shaw followed by a three run bomb by Keon Broxton had the score tied at four runs apiece after four innings.

Solarte did his part in the eighth inning with a home run to right field, his seventh of the year. But the Brewers were determined to continue this game of home run ping pong. Manny Piña went yard in Milwaukee’s half of the inning to tie the game again 5-5.

At this point every run scored from both teams was a result of a home run swing. This one would go into extra innings. In the tenth Eric Thames hit the walk off home run for Milwaukee.

Game two is set for Saturday at 1:10 p.m. PST at Miller Park.




Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Finalize 2017 Draft Class]]> Wed, 14 Jun 2017 16:36:18 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/183*120/MLB+Draft+Board+2017.JPG

The Padres finished their 2017 MLB Draft class with 30 more selections on Wednesday. Once again the theme was strength up the middle of the diamond.

Between the 9th and 16th rounds the Friars took eight straight pitchers, three of them left-handers and one of them a local product. In the 13th round San Diego took Fresno State left-hander Fred Schlichtholz, a native of Coronado.

The Padres grabbed another local hurler in the 35th round when they took Madison High School right-hander Kevin Abel, who was ranked as one of the top-200 prospects in the class but is going to be tough to sign due to his commitment to play at Oregon State.

Overall the Padres had a clear emphasis on players who patrol the middle of the diamond. Of their 41 selections, nearly 75% are pitchers, catchers, shortstops or centerfielders and several others have the potential to convert into catchers.

The full 2017 Padres draft class looks like this:

RD.     PLAYER                  POS.     HT    WT     B/T   SCHOOL      
1.      MacKenzie Gore          LHP      6-2   185    L/L   Whiteville High School (NC)
2.      Luis Campusano-Bracero  C        6-0   215    R/R   Cross Creek High School (GA)
CBB.    Blake Hunt              C        6-3   205    R/R   Mater Dei High School (CA)
3.      Mason House             OF       6-3   200    L/L   Whitehouse High School (TX)
4.      Sam Keating             RHP      6-3   195    R/R   Caterbury High School (FL)
5.      Jonny Homza             3B       6-1   190    R/R   South Anchorage High School (AK)
6.      Aaron Leasher           LHP      6-3   195    L/L   Morehead State University (KY)
7.      Nick Margevicius        LHP      6-5   220    L/L   Rider University (NJ)
8.      Olivier Basabe          SS       5-11  190    R/R   Faulkner University (AL)
9.      Alex Cunningham         RHP      6-0   210    R/R   Coastal Carolina University (SC)
10.     Dominic Taccolini       RHP      6-3   230    R/R   University of Arkansas (AR)
11.     Chandler Newman         RHP      6-2   175    R/R   Chattahoochee Valley Community College (AL)
12.     Thomas Cosgrove         LHP      6-2   190    L/L   Manhattan College (NY)
13.     Fred Schlichtholz       LHP      6-3   220    L/L   Fresno State University (CA)
14.     Vijay Miller            RHP      6-2   180    R/R   East Mississippi Community College (MS)
15.     Cole Bellinger          RHP      6-1   175    R/R   Hamilton High School (AZ)
16.     Joey Cantillo           LHP      6-4   235    L/L   Kailua High School (HI)
17.     Jason Pineda            1B       6-1   220    R/R   James Monroe High School (NY)
18.     Cam Sanders             RHP      6-2   170    R/R   Northwest Florida State College (FL)
19.     Nicholas Feight         1B       5-11  200    R/R   University of North Carolina Wilmington (NC)
20.     Duke Ellis              OF       6-3   160    L/L   Panola College (TX)
21.     Greg Lambert            OF       6-1   195    R/R   Southern Illinois University (IL)
22.     Jake Lyons              RHP      6-5   271    R/R   Weatherford College (TX)
23.     Luis Roman              3B       6-0   220    L/R   Texas Wesleyan University (TX)
24.     Harrison Simon          RHP      6-4   210    R/R   Loyola Marymount University (CA)
25.     Robbie Podorsky         OF       5-8   170    R/R   McNeese State University (LA)
26.     Daniel Cabrera          OF       6-1   185    L/L   Parkview Baptist School (LA)
27.     Christian Robinson      OF       6-2   205    L/L   Viera High School (FL)
28.     Noel Vela               LHP      6-0   150    L/L   Veterans Memorial High School (TX)
29.     Jalen Washington        C        6-1   195    R/R   Ohio State University (OH)
30.     Chandler Seagle         C        6-0   185    R/R   Appalachian State University (NC)
31.     Tyler Benson            OF       6-0   175    L/R   Bloomsburg University (PA)
32.     Matthew Batten          SS       6-0   170    R/R   Quinnipiac University (CT)
33.     Caleb Boushley          RHP      6-3   180    R/R   University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (WI)
34.     Henry Marchese          OF       6-3   185    L/R   Adlai E. Stevenson High School (IL)
35.     Kevin Abel              RHP      6-2   180    R/R   Madison High School (CA)
36.     Shane Muntz             C        6-4   240    R/R   Malvern Preparatory School (PA)
37.     Logan Browning          LHP      5-7   165    L/L   Florida Southern College (FL)
38.     Jeremy Smith            RHP      6-1   195    R/R   Southwestern Oklahoma State University (OK)
39.     Justin Paulsen          1B       6-0   215    L/R   Missouri State University (MO)
40.     Chad Stevens            3B       6-3   190    R/R   Gig Harbor High School (WA)

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<![CDATA[Padres Complete Sweep of Reds]]> Wed, 14 Jun 2017 15:09:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/197*120/Renfroe+HR+Reds.JPG

When Hunter Renfroe hits a baseball hard he hits it REALLY REALLY hard.

The Padres rookie demolished his 14th homer of the season in a 4-2 win over the Reds on Wednesday at Petco Park. Renfroe’s shot came in the 6th inning against Cincinnati starter Amir Garrett. Renfroe’s 14 homers before the All-Star break matches the San Diego franchise record for pre-break homers by a rookie, set by Nate Colbert all the way back in 1969.

Renfroe was not the only rookie that made an impact. Franchy Cordero continued to show he can be an impact big leaguer.

In the 7th inning Cordero snapped a 2-2 tie with an RBI single to right-center then took 2nd base on the throw, showing off impressive speed. Renfroe followed with an RBI groundout to put San Diego up 4-2.

That was enough to get Jhoulys Chacin another win at home. Chacin allowed two runs, both on solo homers, in 7.0 innings to get the win.

The Padres swept Cincinnati, their second sweep in the last three series at Petco Park, to finish a 4-2 homestand. The Friars get a day off then hit the road to start a weekend set in Milwaukee against the Brewers on Friday.

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<![CDATA[Padres Draft 8 More Tuesday]]> Tue, 13 Jun 2017 16:17:22 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/248*120/Aaron+Leasher.jpg

On day one of the MLB Draft the Padres took an arm and two catchers, all out of high school. Their emphasis on day two was still on youth in the middle of the diamond.

With their 3rd round selection the Friars took another high schooler, centerfielder Mason House from Whiteville High School in Texas. House is 6'2" tall and weighs 190 pounds but he chose not to play heavily on the travel ball showcase circuit so he is a bit of an unknown commodity. Scouts like his size and power potential from the left side of the plate.

In the 4th round the Padres nabbed right-handed pitcher Sam Keating from Canterbury High School in Fort Myers, FL. As a senior Keating went 11-1 with a 0.96 ERA and 93 strikeouts.

With their 5th round selection the Padres took yes another high schooler and the only one who plays a corner spot, 3B Jonny Homza from South Anchorage High School in that baseball hotbed of Alaska. Homza is an intriguing prospect because he can play 3B, SS or catcher. The two-time Alaska Player of the Year also tossed a no-hitter on the mound.

With their next four picks the Padres went to the college ranks, grabbing three pitchers and another shortstop. Lefty-handed pitcher Aaron Leasher from Morehead St. went in the 6th round, followed by fellow lefty Nick Margevicius out of Rider University in the 7th round. Leasher has recorded back-to-back 100 strikeout seasons and Margevicius led the Broncos in strikeouts, wins, innings pitched, ERA, WHIP and complete games.

Faulkner University shortstop Olivier Basabe (a native of Venezuela) was scooped up in the 8th round. San Diego finished the second day of picks with two more right-handed pitchers, Alex Cunningham from Coastal Carolina and Dominic Taccolini from Arkansas. Basabe has a plus arm at short, recording throws over 90 MPH from the position. Cunningham was one of the big reasons the Chanticleers won the 2016 College World Series and Taccolini has a power sinker that scouts love.

The MLB Draft concludes on Wednesday with rounds 11-40. The Padres will have the 3rd pick of every round. Here's another look at the picks they made on Tuesday:

ROUND  NAME                    SCHOOL                   POSITION
3           Mason House         Whitehouse HS         CF
4           Sam Keating          Canterbury School     RHP
5           Jonny Homza         South Anchorage HS  3B
6           Aaron Leasher       Morehead State          LHP
7           Nick Margevicius     Rider                        LHP
8           Olivier Basabe        Faulkner                    SS
9           Alex Cunningham   Coastal Carolina         RHP
10         Dominic Taccolini    Arkansas                   RHP

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<![CDATA[Padres Clobber Cincinnati]]> Tue, 13 Jun 2017 00:12:41 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/CorderoHRWEB.jpg

The Padres offense came to life in the second inning Monday night against the Cincinnati Reds.

And unlike this past Saturday, the Friars kept a firm grip on the lead en route to a solid 9-3 victory.

Franchy Cordero and Yangervis Solarte homered and San Diego scored six runs in the second to race out to a 7-2 lead against Reds starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo.

For Cordero it was the first major league home run of his young career.

Solarte went yard two batters later.

Austin Hedges also contributed three hits and three RBI.

The catcher's first base knock was a two-run double in his first plate appearance which made it 3-2 San Diego and helped the Padres grab the lead for good.

That was more than enough for Perdomo on this night.

The right-hander pitched into the seventh inning and finished with four strikeouts and allowed only 7 hits and 3 earned runs.

Padres relievers Ryan Buchter, Kirby Yates and Craig Stammen combined for 2.1 shutout innings to close out the contest.

The Friars return to Petco Park Tuesday against the Reds when lefty Clayton Richard opposes Scott Feldman.

First pitch is slated for 7:10 p.m.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Preller Talks About Padres Top Draft Pick]]> Wed, 14 Jun 2017 21:22:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/PadresPrellerOnMacKenzieGore_1200x675_966064707783.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[MLB Draft Preview: Who Will the Padres Take?]]> Mon, 12 Jun 2017 07:32:06 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/Preller+and+Conner+Talking.png

When the MLB Draft starts on Monday afternoon the Padres will have the third overall pick. Among the thousands of amateur players eligible, how do they narrow down who they want?

That’s actually pretty simple.

“I think honestly we need the best players possible,” said Padres Director of Scouting Mark Conner. “We need prospects that are going to help build the organization whether they’re pitchers, catchers, shortstops, outfielders … I still think it’s about acquiring the best prospects.”

Even though they went nuts on the international market and signed a whole lot of shortstops, if the best guy available is a shortstop you can bet the Padres will be drafting a shortstop.

“One thing we have talked about as a staff pretty religiously over the last few years is we’re not drafting for need; it’s best guy available,” said Padres General Manager A.J. Preller. “It’s not the NBA or the NFL where you’re drafting somebody and the next year they’re playing the league. There’s that development process that going in to place. Teams make the most mistakes when they look at and think OK, we HAVE to take this position or in this area we’re strong. When you think you’re strong in an area there’s a trade, there’s an injury, something happens or the guy doesn’t perform. So the direction I’ve given to Mark and the staff is the guy you think is the best guy available and if we feel like we have infielders from last year’s international class, there’s no problem having more that are talented.”

This is the baseball information age so everyone thinks they have a good handle on the top prospects from around the country. Although there is a lot of good intel floating around, there’s never a full, 100% way of knowing exactly how an organization has the talent ranked.

“Even dating from one of the first draft rooms I was in with the Dodgers,” said Preller, “I came in there with my Baseball America and my list all set up and I realized pretty quickly that what’s potentially out there in the media from an information standpoint, at times the board ends up stacking up somewhat similarly but a lot of times the names and order and everything like that is in a different spot.”

This year the consensus top three guys are Los Angles prep star Hunter Greene, Louisville All-American Brendan McKay and Vanderbilt right-hander Kyle Wright. Drafting third the Padres are going to have a shot at at least one of them, and they know all of them very well by now.

Let’s start with Greene, the guy with the 100-MPH fastball who also hits 450-foot home runs as a shortstop who showed up on the cover of Sports Illustrated recently and has garnered an awful lot of attention.

“He’s a talent,” said Preller, who does not think the exposure will put undue pressure on Greene. “He’s definitely been in the limelight and been in the media a little bit. In some ways that’s a good thing. He’s kind of been exposed to some things that he’s hopefully going to be exposed to a lot as a high pick and a guy who’s hopefully going to have a lot of success down the road. He’s been very successful and a fun guy to scout this year.”

The Padres have a bit of history with McKay. In 2014 they drafted him in the 34th round out of high school in Pennsylvania but McKay decided to take his scholarship offer at Louisville. Now he has a chance to go number one overall after a stellar career both on the mound as a left-handed starter and a 1st baseman with power to spare.

“Very easy to identify that he has a very calm demeanor,” said Conner. “Strong body, good arm action, good delivery, throws strikes, always been able to spin a breaking ball. His pitchability and the success he’s had in college stand out and he keeps performing with the bat. From Day 1 in college he’s hit. Power continues to come and he’s a very good two-way player.”

Then we have Wright, the polished Vanderbilt starter with the mid-90’s fastball and hard curveball.

“When you talk to the coaches he’s got tremendous makeup and work ethic,” said Conner. “He’s grown as a pitcher daily and shown more arm strength and strikes with the breaking ball. All three of (these players) have good makeup.”

Wright is the only guy who is exclusively a pitcher. The other two are top-10 prospects either on the mound or in the field. If the Padres take Greene or McKay they will have to decide with track they think is the best one to take.

“We’ve got a scouting group that feels like they can do both and they’re prospects as both,” said Preller. “My guess is, if it goes that route we’d take some time to figure that out in pro ball to see which is the area that best suits them and best suits us.”

The Padres will make three selections, 3rd, 39th and 69th overall, on Monday. Rounds 3-10 take place on Tuesday and the final 30 rounds go on Wednesday.

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<![CDATA[Royals Use Timely Hits to Beat Padres]]> Sun, 11 Jun 2017 16:12:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/177*120/Royals+Beat+the+Padres.JPG

If you only needed two outs to get out of an inning in Major League Baseball the Padres would have one of the best pitching staffs in the game.

On Sunday the Royals scored seven of their eight runs with two outs to beat the Padres 8-3 and win their weekend series at Petco Park.

San Diego starter Dinelson Lamet got the first two outs of the game but then the rookie lost the feel for his fastball. He walked Lorenzo Cain on four pitches and let loose a pair of wild pitches with Eric Hosmer at the plate. Just looking to get something over, Lamet threw a 3-1 changeup that Hosmer sent in to left field for an RBI single and 1-0 lead.

Salvador Perez singled on a slider and then Mike Moustakas belted a 3-run home run off another change and the Royals had a 4-0 lead before the Padres could get an at-bat.

In the 4th inning, again with two outs, Lamet served up a solo home run to Alex Gordon to put KC up 5-0. The Padres got a run back in the 4th when Cory Spangenberg hit the first of his two solo home runs. Spangenberg had two hits, as did Jose Pirela, who hit a solo shot of his own and is still hitting .500 since being recalled from El Paso.

The only other hits the Padres could come up with were singles from Rule 5 rookies Luis Torrens and Allen Cordoba.

In the 5th inning, again with two outs, Lamet was touched up by Hosmer once more. The All-Star 1st baseman crushed a 2-run home run to right field for a 7-1 Kansas City lead. Lamet allowed seven earned runs in 5.0 innings to take his second straight loss.

There is a positive, though. Rookie reliever Phil Maton, a guy who many believe is being groomed to be the next great Padres closer, made his MLB debut and worked a 1-2-3 inning, striking out one.

The Padres drop two of three from the Royals and open a 3-game series on Monday night at Petco Park against the Cincinnati Reds. Luis Perdomo gets the start against Bronson Arroyo.

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<![CDATA[MLB Draft Preview: Former Aztec Shows Power of Scouting]]> Sun, 11 Jun 2017 14:31:54 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Tyler+France+San+Antonio+Missions.jpg

The MLB Draft starts on Monday. This year the propsectpalooza is, for me, serving as a reminder of how utterly idiotic the drafting of Johnny Manziel was.

Not by the Cleveland Browns, mind you. We all know what a TMZ-documented train wreck that was. No I’m talking about Manziel being picked by the San Diego Padres.

You may recall in 2014 the previous Padres front office decided it would be a good idea to select the Heisman Trophy winner and former high school infielder in the 28th round even though there was exactly zero chance he would ever play for them.

Now I know most 28th-round picks never play a day in the Major Leagues and there are those who think it doesn’t really matter who a team picks at that point anyway. A former Aztec is proving that is definitely not the case.

San Diego State product Tyler France is plowing through the Padres system. In 2015 he started at short-season Tri Cities; now the infielder who spends most of his time at 3rd base is tearing up Double-A San Antonio with a robust .937 OPS. If he keeps this up he’ll likely earn a promotion to Triple-A El Paso next year, if not by the end of the 2017 season, and could be playing in Petco Park by the end of the 2018 season.

I tell you this because France was selected in the 34th round of the 2015 MLB Draft. Remember Manziel was a 28th-round pick. He is the kind of guy the new Padres regime under General Manager A.J. Preller is looking for, especially in the later rounds when teams are looking for those proverbial diamonds in the rough.

“The area scout is the foundation of what we do,” said Padres Director of Scouting Mark Conner. “They are the core to finding these players. That is the pride of an area scout fighting for a player he believes in.”

34th-round picks have not often been seen by multiple scouts. A lot of times an area scout will stand up in the draft room and state his case to take a kid because he’s gotten to know him and the family and truly believes he’s an undervalued asset.

That was the case with Phil Maton, the reliever with the mid-90’s fastball who was a 20th-round pick in 2015 and earned his first MLB call-up before Sunday’s game against the Royals. The Padres area scout saw something in Maton and stated his case on draft day.

“Truly that’s a testimony to the hard work the area scouts do,” said Conner. “Big leaguers come from all parts of the draft so it’s something we pride ourselves on and try to work hard on. I think our area guys to a really good job at it.”

Ty France is exactly why a big league team cannot waste any selection in any of their 40 rounds on a pick that is simply aimed at generating buzz or novelty uniform sales. It did do both of those things but I think I speak for a majority of Padres fans when I say I’d gladly trade the publicity of a stunt for the publicity of winning more baseball games any day of the week.

Even if he never plays a day in The Show, France is a guy who can help the Padres win because his presence and production in the system creates competition for everyone else. When you have a player putting up crazy numbers it elevates the play of everyone else fighting for a MLB promotion.

Take a run at real baseball players and you never know what might happen.

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<![CDATA[Padres Bullpen Blasted by Royals]]> Sat, 10 Jun 2017 19:58:50 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/Cain+and+Hosmer+at+Petco+Park.JPG

In case you have not seen or heard or otherwise been aware of us making this point in the past I’ll bring it up again:

When things go badly for the Padres they do so in a truly spectacular fashion.

In just one inning on Saturday afternoon at Petco Park the Padres went from leading by two runs … to trailing by seven runs and eventually losing 12-6 to the Royals.

The bit of good news is the Padres got another nice game from Jose Pirela. Starting at 1st base to give Wil Myers a day off, the recent El Paso recall was batting leadoff and opened the game with a home run against former Padre starter Ian Kennedy. Pirela had three hits and drove in three runs and it hitting .500 since re-joining the big league club.

2nd baseman Yangervis Solarte also had a nice afternoon. Solarte had a pair of RBI singles, the second one coming in the 7th inning to put the Friars on top 5-3. After that the Padres collapsed like a giraffe on a sheet of ice.

We knew the bullpen was going to be taxed because Miguel Diaz was asked to make his first MLB start in place of the injured Jarred Cosart. The rookie Rule 5 draftee made it through the first two innings unscathed but ran in to trouble in the third when he loaded the bases on a single and two walks, one of them to Kennedy.

Craig Stammen came in and, for the second time in a week, got out of a bases loaded, no outs jam that he inherited. Stammen struck out Jorge Bonifacio then got Lorenzo Cain to ground in to an inning-ending double play to pull the Houdini act. Stammen ended up going 3.0 innings, allowing one run.

Jose Torres and Kirby Yates followed with abbreviated appearances, both allowing one run, so in the top of the 8th inning San Diego had a 5-3 lead with the right man on the mound.

Brad Hand has been one of the best relievers in the game in 2017 and is squarely in the All-Star Game conversation. He had allowed exactly two home runs for the entire season before Saturday. He gave up back-to-back homers to Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez and in the baseball blink of an eye the Royals had a 6-5 lead. But they did not stop scoring there.

The recently recalled Jose Valdez coughed up a grand slam to Cain, who hit a pair of dingers, to cap a 9-run Royals 8th inning. The Padres can still take the series from Kansas City on Sunday if rookie Dinelson Lamet can beat rookie Jake Junis.

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<![CDATA[Padres Trade Possibilities]]> Fri, 09 Jun 2017 12:11:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/184*120/Solarte+Dugout+High+Fives.JPG

We have reached that time of the year again. The Major League Baseball trade deadline is not until July 31 but it’s right about now when teams start seriously talking about making a deal.

Most organizations know at this point whether or not they are true contenders and if so what they need to either stay in the pennant race or separate themselves from the pack. The Padres are not in that boat so they figure to be open for business.

But who is most likely to be dealt? Let’s look at the roster and take an educated guess on who the Friars are definitely going to keep and who is probably headed out of town. For this we’re going with only the guys on the active roster, PLUS a couple of pitchers who, if they come off the disabled list soon, might be trade bait.

Brad Hand, Relief Pitcher

Despite his rough outing in Arizona (and what pitcher has NOT had a rough outing against the Diamondbacks in that ballpark this year) Hand has turned in to one of the best left-handed relievers in baseball. He has the ability to work anywhere from the 4th inning to the 9th inning and could probably even get you a spot start if absolutely necessary. Now that he’s perfected the slider he’s a strikeout machine, whiffing 43 hitters in 33.0 innings this year. Other teams are going to want the 27-year-old for his effectiveness and his contract situation. Hand is not eligible for free agency until 2020, making him infinitely attractive to contenders. However, that also makes him attractive to the Padres so if he moves it will have to be at a huge asking price. My guess is somebody like the Nationals, who are in dire need of bullpen help, will ante up to pry Hand out of San Diego (but no, Trea Turner and Joe Ross are not coming back so don’t even ask).

Trade Probability: 90%

Yangervis Solarte, Infielder

This one would hurt a lot. Solarte is one of the most likeable guys in the clubhouse. Yangervis went through a wicked 2-week slump in May but has turned it on of late with 18 hits in 15 games. Plus he can play three infield positions and provide a switch-hitting bat off the bench. He’s not great at any one thing but he’s really good at everything so any contender looking for a reliable veteran will be calling about Solarte. The thing that might keep him in San Diego is his leadership ability. Plenty of the Padres’ young Latino players look to for Yangervis for guidance. Plus he has a team-friendly contract that the Friars could certainly stomach for the next few years to help raise the youngsters.

Trade Probability: 65%

Trevor Cahill and Jered Weaver, Starting Pitchers

Cahill has resumed throwing after going on the disabled list in mid-May with a shoulder ailment. If he is able to come back and make a couple of effective starts before the deadline, say anything on par with what he did before going on the shelf (3.27 ERA, 51 K in 41.1 IP) then someone needing a 4th or 5th starter will come after the Vista High School alum. I threw Weaver on here because he’s also a starter who could come off the DL in the next month or so but he is not in the same situation as Cahill. Nobody is going to inquire about him but as we’ve seen with A.J. Preller in the past he might make another team take the velocity-challenged starter in a trade for someone else.

Trade Probability: Cahill 50%, Weaver 5%

Jhoulys Chacin, Starting Pitcher

This is one of the strangest seasons for a veteran starting pitcher that I have seen in a while. At home Chacin is pitching to a 1.36 ERA with a 0.85 WHIP in 33.0 innings. On the road he’s sporting a truly horrific 10.27 ERA with a 2.12 WHIP in 30.2 innings. But he’s struck out 28 at home and 28 on the road. The stuff is there but for some reason it’s not working away from Petco Park. There is the possibility that, if he can look like even a serviceable starter in a start or two away from the East Village, a contender desperate for help in the rotation will take a flier on Chacin for a mid-level prospect.

Trade Probability: 35%

Clayton Richard, Starting Pitcher

Richard’s journey back from baseball purgatory is inspiring. After undergoing surgery to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome (including having a rib removed) Richard has put up a few stinkers but also thrown a couple of gems this year and he’s doing the thing he’s always been able to do: eat innings. Richard is also well-respected around the game for his demeanor and clubhouse presence. A team looking to fill out the back end of its rotation could look at Richard as an option.

Trade Probability: 25%

Ryan Buchter, Craig Stammen, Brandon Maurer and Kirby Yates, Relief Pitchers

You’ll see a pattern forming here. Most of the guys available are pitchers. It’s no coincidence that these are also the spots that most teams will be interested in. All three of these guys have had stretches where they were dominant and all three have at times struggled in a big way. But they’ve all shown the ability to handle late-inning situations and that might make them attractive trade chips. The issue with moving them will be the quality of other relievers on the market. If teams like the Royals and Pirates start dismantling then there will be better options for contenders to go after. If any of these guys are moved it will be in smaller deals to fill out other bullpens or serve as emergency backfills for injuries.

Trade Probability: 25%

Erick Aybar, Shortstop

The Padres would probably love to move Aybar, who is basically just filling space at SS right now. Problem is the veteran is 33 years old with a .274 OBP and limited range in the infield so if he is shipped off it would have to be a situation similar to Weaver where the Friars make another team take him off their hands in a deal for someone they actually want like Hand.

Trade Probability: 3%

Ryan Schimpf, Cory Spangenberg, Matt Szczur and Chase d’Arnaud, Infielders/Outfielders

Schimpf is likely the most desirable as a late-inning left-handed bat off the bench since he can change a game with one swing (like the modern-day Matt Stairs) but his strikeout rate is off the charts so a team acquiring him will not do it to fill a hole in the starting lineup. Spangenberg, Szczur and d’Arnaud are both good late-inning defensive options but not going to give you much at the plate. Any deals involving these guys would be for purely “we’ve had too many injuries and are jumping up and down on the panic button” purposes.

Trade Probability: 2%

Jose Pirela, Luis Perdomo and Kevin Quackenbush, Utility Man, Starting Pitcher and Relief Pitcher

There is not going to be a market that develops for any of these guys. Maybe in a few years Perdomo will draw interest but he’s only 24 years old and not there yet.

Trade Probability: 0.5%

Allen Cordoba, Franchy Cordero, Jose Torres, Miguel Diaz, Luis Torrens and Dinelson Lamet, The Rookies

These guys are good and young and tremendously unproven. Cordoba, Diaz and Torrens have shown enough at Rule 5 draftees to stick for the duration of the season. Cordero has all kinds of athletic ability in the outfield and Torres and Lamet both have good stuff they’re still learning how to use. But all of these guys are the prospects San Diego would have to include in a deal with another team because they are adding veteran pieces for the stretch run, not the other way around.

Trade Probability: 0.25%

Wil Myers, Austin Hedges, Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot, The Untouchables

Don’t even ask. The Padres gave Myers the largest contract in franchise history so they could build around him. Preller knows the public relations fallout of dealing the face of the franchise right now. Hedges is going to be an All-Star behind the plate, Renfroe is going to be a consistent 30-HR threat and Margot is going to win multiple Gold Gloves if he can stay healthy. These guys aren’t going anywhere.

Trade Probability: There’s a better chance of the Dodgers trading Clayton Kershaw to the Giants for a bucket of baseballs and an otter ... so -10%

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<![CDATA[Diamondbacks Hand Padres 5th Straight Loss]]> Fri, 09 Jun 2017 00:16:48 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/DBacksSweepWEB.jpg

Remember that Padres five-game winning streak?

Seems like ancient history.

The latest loss got so bad, San Diego’s Erick Aybar wound up pitching an inning.

And he usually plays shortstop.

San Diego took a 3-2 lead in the third inning when Hunter Renfroe sent a double down the left field line.

Wil Myers scored on the play and Clayton Richard was in position for the win if he could just get through five innings.

Arizona’s Chris Iannetta had other ideas. The catcher bashed a two-run homer off of Richard in the fifth inning to give the D-Backs a 4-3 advantage and ruin the strong start by the Friars.

Richard was lifted shortly after finishing the inning.

In his next at-bat, Iannetta stepped up to the plate against Kevin Quackenbush with the bases loaded and promptly deposited a bases-clearing 3-run double.

Quackenbush gave up six runs in the 6th inning alone. But he and Richard were not the only Padres pitchers who struggled on getaway day.

Padres reliever Kirby Yates allowed a solo shot in the seventh to Daniel Descalso and teammate Brandon Maurer could not record an out in the eighth despite giving up four more runs to the D-Backs.

Iannetta finished with 7 RBI and the D-Backs finished off their sweep of the Padres with a resounding 15-3 victory.

Richard suffered the loss and saw his record fall to 4-7.

Arizona owns the best home record in the majors with an impressive 24-8 mark.

In contrast, only the Philadelphia Phillies have a worse record on the road (9-23) then the Padres (10-22).

San Diego will try to snap its five-game losing streak Friday when the Kansas City Royals come to town.

Jhoulys Chacin will deliver the first pitch at 7:10 p.m.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Strong Start Turns Sour In Arizona]]> Wed, 07 Jun 2017 22:58:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ANDYGREENYWEB.jpg

Yangervis Solarte took the reins of the Padres offense Wednesday night with a solo shot and a RBI single in his first two at-bats.

But then the Friars were silenced by a lamb.  Jake Lamb to be exact.

The Arizona third baseman hoisted a three-run homer off of Padres starter Luis Perdomo in the bottom of the third inning to put the home team up 3-2.

Two batters later, Diamondbacks second baseman Brandon Drury tagged Perdomo for a two-run missile that landed over the centerfield fence.

Those two swings flipped a 2-0 San Diego lead into a disappointing 5-2 deficit and the Diamondbacks led the rest of the way to secure a 7-4 victory.

What made it worst was that Perdomo had two outs when he gave up both long balls.

The young righty lasted just four innings and fell to 0-3 while his earned run average rose to 5.47.

Franchy Cordero and Jose Pirela added RBI singles in the fifth and eighth innings respectively but the visitors could not string together a crooked number in any frame.

Even Padres all-star candidate Brad Hand was a little bit off his game.

A slider got away from catcher Luis Torrens and allowed Arizona to tack on an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Minutes later, Hunter Renfroe appeared to throw out a runner at home plate with a bullet from right field, but Arizona challenged and the call was overturned to give the D’Backs a 7-3 advantage.

Former Padres all-star closer Fernando Rodney entered in the ninth inning and locked down his 15th save of the season.

Rodney struck out Renfroe to end the game.

San Diego tries to salvage a game in the series in a Thursday matinee.

First pitch is set for 12:40 in Phoenix with Clayton Richard opposing Patrick Corbin.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Diamondbacks Pounce On Padres]]> Tue, 06 Jun 2017 23:50:24 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Lamet1stLossWEB.jpg

San Diego’s Hunter Renfroe had a pretty good night at the ballpark in Phoenix.

Two swings by the rookie right fielder turned into a pair of towering home runs against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

But the visiting Friars needed a little bit more offense to keep pace Tuesday against the home team.

Actually they needed a lot more offense.

The D’Backs stung Padres pitcher Dinelson Lamet for nine runs during the first four innings and ran away with a 10-2 victory.

The rookie right-hander endured his worst outing since getting called up to the majors earlier this season and suffered his first loss which dropped his record to 2-1.

The big blow came from Padres killer Chris Owings who blasted a three-run homer in the second inning to push Arizona’s lead to 7-0.

Owings owns the Friars this season.

In ten games against San Diego, the 25-year-old is batting .333 (13-for-39) with four homers and 13 runs batted in.

This is probably a good time to point out that he has just three home runs this season against MLB teams not named the Padres.

Maybe Padres manager Andy Green should borrow a page from Joe Maddon’s playbook and start walking the D’backs infielder Bryce Harper-style.

Regardless, San Diego’s promising rookie in right-field could not completely make up for the promising rookie on the mound that struggled.

Jake Lamb tagged Lamet for a two-run double in the first inning and then proceeded to knock in two more runs with a bases-loaded single in the second.

That set the stage for Owings three-run bomb which put the game out of reach.

Aside from Renfroe’s two bombs, the rest of the Padres offense was held to just three hits.

Arizona starter Robbie Ray struck out 11 and went 6.2 innings. Reliever Tom Wilhelmsen finished the job.

Padres pitcher Luis Perdomo opposes Zach Greinke (7-3, 3.06 ERA) Wednesday evening at Chase Field. First pitch is at 6:40 p.m.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Bullpen Has the Upper Hand]]> Mon, 05 Jun 2017 11:15:41 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/188*120/Brad+Hand.JPG

When the Padres claimed Brad Hand off waivers from the Marlins in April of 2016 he was a left-handed starter who had lost his spot in the rotation and been moved to the bullpen.

Just over a season later he’s become one of the most lethal left-handed relievers in the game and a comforting sight for his teammates.

“It’s nice looking out at the bullpen and seeing Brad Hand get up because you know the team probably isn’t going to score,” said All-Star 1st baseman Wil Myers. And he’s right.

In 2017 Hand has put himself in the All-Star conversation, ranking in the top-5 among National League relievers in innings pitched, strikeouts and earned run average.

“He’s been very dominant since he’s been here,” said Myers. “He’s got four quality pitches so he’s a tough at-bat for anybody. He’s one of the best in the game right now and hopefully he can continue that.”

The turnaround for Hand has been incredible. In his five seasons in Florida he pitched to a 4.71 ERA. Since arriving in San Diego he’s cut that down to a 2.60. The biggest reason is his 4-pitch repertoire is not the same as it was with the Marlins.

“I don’t think I’ve thrown a changeup this year,” said Hand. “It was more of a pitch I threw as a starter.” Instead of the change, Hand is relying on what is now one of the best sliders in the Major Leagues, which is amazing considering he hasn’t been throwing it that long.

“Last year was my first full year throwing that,” said Hand. “Just getting more comfortable with that pitch and it’s really been successful for me.”

Hand picked up the slider because he needed a more reliable breaking pitch coming in to high-leverage situations.

“Coming in out of the bullpen it was hard for me to get my curve ball over for a strike so I just kind of played around with stuff and found something that was comfortable for me.”

It’s become one of the most devastating pitches in the game. According to the statistical website FanGraphs, Hand is throwing his slider 45% of the time and is sporting a career-best 4-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Hand toyed with the slider as a rookie but then didn’t touch the pitch again for three and a half years. Halfway through the 2015 season he got the feel for it again … even if he’s not entirely sure why.

“I really can’t put my finger on one thing. It’s just something I’ve gotten comfortable with and the grip just seemed to work for me.”

Some baseball observers have even compared Hand’s slider to the one Indians reliever Andrew Miller used to win the American League Championship Series MVP award last year. Interestingly, Miller was a mid-season trade acquisition from the Yankees and now that Hand has established himself as one of baseball’s best late-inning stoppers the rumors about him being dealt are swirling.

Padres fans don’t want to hear about another All-Star heading out of town. The same thing happened last year with Drew Pomeranz, who threw a scoreless inning in the Midsummer Classic at Petco Park and was promptly traded to Boston.

Odds are Hand is on that same trajectory. He’s heard the rumors. He just chooses not to listen.

“You can’t pay attention to it,” said Hand of the trade talk. “Obviously it’s around. You’ve just got to show up every day and play for your team that you’re on right now and whatever happens down the road you can’t do anything about it.”

If the Miller trade is a template the Padres should be expecting a king’s ransom in return for Hand. Cleveland gave up four prospects, including two of their top four prospects, for a 31-year-old with $21 million left on his contract.

Hand is 27 years old and not eligible for free agency until 2020, making him awfully attractive to contenders looking for solid, affordable bullpen help. Of course that contract could also be the thing that keeps him in San Diego.

Young, talented players with controllable contracts are what the Padres crave and if they truly can be in playoff contention by 2019 then Hand is a guy that would certainly help in a pennant race. The fact they don’t HAVE to trade him of risk losing him for nothing gives San Diego leverage.

Now that we’ve talked ourselves all around this topic the bottom line is Padres General Manager A.J. Preller will have a hefty asking price for Hand. If someone meets it then he’ll be headed out of town. If not, Padres fans can keep enjoying the lockdown lefty at Petco Park.

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<![CDATA[Padres Bats Stay Quiet on Sunday]]> Sun, 04 Jun 2017 17:32:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/168*120/Padres+Lose+Series+to+Rockies.JPG

If he wants to stay in the starting rotation at the big league level, Jarred Cosart is going to have to figure out how to get deeper in to baseball games.

The San Diego right-hander was pulled after 4.0 innings in a 3-1 loss to the Rockies on Sunday afternoon at Petco Park. Cosart has made five starts this year … his longest outing is just 5.0 innings.

Cosart got in to trouble in the 4th on Sunday. He gave up a single to D.J. LeMahieu and a double to Mark Reynolds before walking Ian Desmond to load the bases. Trevor Story and Rancho Buena Vista High School alum Tony Wolters followed with RBI singles to put the Rockies up 3-0.

After that the San Diego bullpen was lights out. Craig Stammen, Kirby Yates, Ryan Buchter and Brandon Maurer tossed 5.0 innings of shutout ball with seven strikeouts. But for the second straight game the only offense the Friars got came on a solo home run.

In the 5th inning Hunter Renfroe hit a rocket off the Western Metal Supply Building in left field for his 11th dinger of the year. But other than that the Padres only got two other hits, both singles, off Colorado starter Jeff Hoffman. The 24-year-old righty went 7.0 innings and struck out nine to get the win.

After losing the first game the Rockies take the series but the Padres can still claim a 4-2 homestand. The Friars start a 3-game set in Arizona against the Diamondbacks on Tuesday with rookie Dinelson Lamet on the mound against Robbie Ray.

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<![CDATA[Rockies Slam Padres]]> Sat, 03 Jun 2017 16:54:19 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/171*120/Ian+Desmond+Slam.JPG

There is no enjoyable way to talk about a blowout so let’s just rip the band aid off quickly. The Padres had their 5-game winning streak snapped with a 10-1 loss to the Rockies at Petco Park on Saturday afternoon.

San Diego’s only run came on a solo homer by Austin Hedges, his 11th of the season to lead all National League catchers. But that blast was one of just four hits the Friars managed against Rockies starter Tyler Chatwood. The Colorado righty had made two previous starts against the Padres, getting beat up to the tune of nine earned runs in 10.2 innings.

This time he was rock-solid, striking out eight in 8.0 innings. Chatwood’s offense made sure he had plenty of room to maneuver.

The Rockies got to Padres starter Jhoulys Chacin in the 3rd inning when Gerardo Parra drove in Calros Gonzalez with an RBI single. Colorado got three more in the 4th inning, a pair of them on a home run by All-Star 3rd baseman Nolan Arenado that gave the Rockies a 4-0 lead. Chacin allowed four runs (three earned) in 6.0 innings with seven punchouts. He had only allowed a total of two earned runs in four previous starts at Petco Park this season.

Hedges hit his homer in the bottom half of the 5th to make it a 4-1 game but in the 7th inning the Rockies put it away when Ian Desmond hit a grand slam off Padres reliever Jose Torres to put Colorado up 8-1 and erase any hope of a comeback win.

The Padres can still win the series on Sunday afternoon when Jarred Cosart takes the mound against Tyler Anderson.

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<![CDATA[Padres Extend Winning Streak]]> Fri, 02 Jun 2017 23:01:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/173*120/Padres+Beat+Rockies+8-5+Solarte.JPG

I wonder if the Padres know they’re messing up the tank.

The Friars beat the Rockies 8-5 in the first game of their 3-game weekend set at Petco Park. After a stretch of losing 14 of 18 games San Diego is on a 5-game winning streak and the teams they’ve beaten are not exactly slouches.

Colorado entered the night tied for first place in the National League West. The previous three wins came against the World Series champion Chicago Cubs and the game before that was a win in Washington against the Nationals, the team with the best record in the National League.

Friday night’s win was of the come-from-behind variety. Starter Clayton Richard went a shaky 5.2 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on 10 hits. The Padres fell behind 4-1 and with three rookies in the lineup against a quality ball club it looked like it had the potential to get out of hand.

But the kids came to play again. In the 4th inning rookie outfielder Franchy Cordero used his substantial speed to leg out an infield single and bring in Ryan Schimpf to cut the lead to 4-2. The next batter was Austin Hedges, who had himself a heck of a night.

Hedges smoked a 2-run home run to left off Rockies starter German Marquez to tie the game 4-4. The 24-year-old backstop leads all National League catchers with 10 home runs and 27 RBI and although it’s a longshot playing in San Diego, he might be putting himself in to the All-Star Game conversation.

In the 5th inning Yangervis Solarte continued his recent hot stretch with a homer of his own, another 2-run blast that scored Allen Cordoba (who singled, doubled and tripled) and put the Padres up 6-4. Solarte has 15 hits in his last 10 games, raising his batting average by 34 points in a week and a half.

Ryan Buchter allowed a run in the 7th inning to make it a 7-5 game, snapping a string of 18.2 scoreless innings from the Padres bullpen. Colorado put the go-ahead run at the plate in the form of San Diego native Tony Wolters but as he’s done all year Brad Hand came in to eliminate the threat. Hand punched out Wolters then whiffed two more in the 8th to lower his season earned run average to 1.69.

In the bottom half the Padres got just a little more breathing room when Wil Myers hit his 12th home run of the year, a solo shot to left field. Brandon Maurer worked a scoreless 9th inning to get his 9th save of the year.

The Padres can make it six in a row and win the series on Saturday afternoon when Jhoulys Chacin takes the mound against Tyler Chatwood in a rare 1:10 p.m. start at Petco Park.

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<![CDATA[Padres Sweep World Series Champions]]> Wed, 31 May 2017 15:08:50 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/169*120/Perdomo+vs+Cubs.JPG

The Padres had a miserable month of May … right up until the last week.

San Diego finished the second month of the season with their longest winning streak of the season and a sweep of the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs. The Padres put the cap on their 3-game set with a 2-1 win on Wednesday afternoon.

The Cubs got on the board in the 2nd inning when Javier Baez hit a fielder’s choice to bring in Anthony Rizzo. That was the only run the afternoon for the Cubs. San Diego starter Luis Perdomo made arguably his best start of the year, allowing just three hits over 7.0 innings. In the 3-game set Padres pitchers allowed just five total runs.

One of the Padres runs came on a ball that flew out of the ballpark. The other came on a ball that didn’t even leave the infield.

In the bottom of the 2nd Ryan Schimpf launched his 14th homer of the year to right field off former Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta. After that the two teams traded goose eggs for five innings.

San Diego finally broke through in the 8th inning. With one out rookie outfielder Franchy Cordero ripped a triple to the gap in right-centerfield with one out. The Cubs played the infield in and Yangervis Solarte hit a ground ball to 2nd base. Cordero broke on contact and slid in just under the throw to score the winning run.

Brandon Maurer threw the 9th inning for the save and the sweep and the Friars' first 4-game winning streak of the season. By the way, the last time the Padres swept the reigning champs was April 26-28 of 2013 when they took all three games from the Giants at Petco Park.

The Padres get a day off on Thursday then open a 3-game set at home against the Rockies on Friday.

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<![CDATA[Padres Walk Around Cubs For Win]]> Mon, 29 May 2017 17:41:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/174*120/Hunter+Renfroe+Grand+Slam+vs+Cubs.JPG

Monday’s game between the Padres and Cubs was technically held at Petco Park in San Diego. But it seems more likely it took place in Bizarro World.

The Cubs got 15 baserunners … but only had three hits and scored two runs while Padres rookie outfielder Hunter Renfroe hit the second grand slam of his career in a 5-2 San Diego win in front of a palindromic 41,414 fans in the East Village.

Padres starter Jarred Cosart got into immediate trouble against the defending World Series champs. In the first inning he loaded the bases on a pair of walks and hit batter then served up a 2-run single to Jason Heyward to put Chicago on top 2-0.

Cosart kept having trouble finding the strike zone, walking five in 4.0 innings, but he was able to keep any more runs from crossing the plate. Had he been able to get one more inning in he would have been in line for the win.

While he was struggling Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks was cruising. He set down the first 10 San Diego batters he faced but then it went bad really fast. Hendricks gave up singles to Yangervis Solarte and Wil Myers then hit Ryan Schimpf with a pitch to load the bases for Renfroe, who launched a 1-1 pitch into the left field seats for his 10th home run of the season and a 4-2 Padres lead.

The Padres got their other run in the 5th inning on an RBI groundout by Wil Myers.

After the Cosart left the bullpen continued the parade of walks. Jose Torres walked two in 2.0 innings, but at the plate he also got his first MLB hit with a single to left field. In the 7th inning Ryan Buchter made things really interesting.

The lefty walked the bases loaded with one out and was pulled for another lefty, the infinitely effective Brad Hand, who finally proved there was not something wacky with the mound in Downtown San Diego. Hand got Heyward to ground into a double play then tossed a scoreless 8th inning. Hand lowered his season ERA to 1.82 and is going to get a lot of interest from other teams looking to add a reliable reliever for the pennant push.

Brandon Maurer threw a perfect 9th inning for his 7th save of the year. The Cubs and Padres play game two of their series at Bizarro Park on Tuesday night. Dinelson Lamet takes the mound for his second MLB start against Eddie Butler.

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<![CDATA[Padres Avoid Sweep With Sunday Win]]> Sun, 28 May 2017 16:36:36 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/183*120/Padres+Beat+Nationals+In+DC.JPG

Rain delayed the start of Sunday’s series finale between the Padres and Nationals by 80 minutes. Whatever the Friars were doing in the clubhouse to pass the time, they might want to implement it on a more regular basis.

San Diego avoided being swept by the Nationals with a 5-3 win in Washington on Sunday. In the first two games in D.C. the Padres struck out 31 times and had just six hits. The offense reversed that in the series finale.

In the first inning Wil Myers drew a 2-out walk from former Padres farmhand Joe Ross. The next batter was Ryan Schimpf, who had a chance yesterday to do early damage but struck out with the bases loaded against Stephen Strasburg.

This time Schimpf got into one, a 2-run home run to right field to put San Diego up 2-0. They needed an early jolt because with Jhoulys Chacin starting on the road there was a good chance Washington would get a few runs.

In his last start in New York Chacin got demolished, allowing seven runs on 8 hits and not making it out of the first inning. He got into early trouble again, allowing a single, a double and a walk to load the bases with nobody out. This time, though, Chacin was able to wiggle off the hook.

He struck out Ryan Zimmerman with a fantastic slider, got Adam Lind to ground out (allowing one run to score) and whiffed Michael Taylor for the final out of the inning. Chacin ended up allowing three runs in 4.1 innings but stifling that first inning rally likely saved the game.

After Chacin left the Padres bullpen was tremendous. Kirby Yates, Ryan Buchter, Brad Hand and Brandon Maurer combined to throw 4.2 hitless innings, striking out five.

The Padres got what turned out to be the winning runs in the 5th inning. Hunter Renfroe singled and went to third on a double by fellow rookie Franchy Cordero, who collected the first two hits of his MLB career. They both scored on a single by Chase d’Arnaud, who started at shortstop for Erick Aybar and played a whale of a game with a pair of hits and a tremendous diving stop of a Zimmerman ground ball in the 7th inning.

The series in Washington didn’t go as well as the Padres would have liked but the road trip as a whole is one they’ll take. The Friars come home with a 3-3 east coast jaunt. They return to Petco Park for a 1:40 p.m. Memorial Day start against the reigning World Series champion Chicago Cubs.

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<![CDATA[Happy Birthday to the Padres!]]> Sun, 28 May 2017 08:22:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/1969+Padres+Spring+Training.JPG

With the Padres and Nationals playing a series over Memorial Day weekend on the East Coast I thought you all might like this little history lesson.

Many people don’t realize it but May 27 is quite possibly the most important day in the history of the San Diego Padres.

It was on this day in 1968 that San Diego learned it was going from the Pacific Coast League to the Major Leagues when MLB awarded America’s Finest City with a National League expansion team.

The first owner was C. Arnholt Smith, a San Diego businessman who had to pay $10.5 million (the equivalent of about $71 million in 2017) to get the franchise. It’s actually somewhat fitting that the Padres are in Washington, D.C. for a game on May 27 because that city has a little history with the Friars.

When Smith, the original owner, had financial trouble he was looking to sell and came close to moving the team to our nation’s capital (D.C. had lost the Senators in 1961 when they moved to Minnesota and again in 1971 when they moved to Texas). That’s when the man who was arguably the most important figure in Padres history, Ray Kroc, stepped in to buy the team and keep it in its home city.

The Padres have been entrenched in our town ever since, not winning a championship, but still serving as motivation for the thousands of kids who grew up here watching the game, seeing the best ballplayers on the planet under the lights, and wanting to chase their own big league dreams.

Of course a World Series would still be nice, too.

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<![CDATA[Strasburg Stymies Padres]]> Sat, 27 May 2017 16:40:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/182*120/Strasburg+Beats+Padres.JPG

In Friday night’s 5-1 loss to the Nationals, the Padres offense struck out 14 times. That’s in no way a good thing … yet it preferable to the outing they had on Saturday in Washington, D.C.

San Diego native Stephen Strasburg was as dominant as he’s ever been in a 3-0 win over his home town team. Strasburg punched out a career-high 15 Padres in 7.0 innings, allowing just three singles to get the win. Strasburg, a West Hills High School alum, improved to 6-1 with a 2.94 ERA on the year.

Every single person who got an at-bat for the Padres struck out at least once. Ryan Schimpf and Austin Hedges both punched out three times. For the second straight night the guys with the bats in their hands couldn’t help out a starting pitcher who made a pretty good start.

Clayton Richard tossed a complete game in his last outing and followed it up with 6.0 innings against the Nationals. He allowed just three runs, one on an RBI groundout by Bryce Harper and the other two on a home run by Michael Taylor.

The Padres lead the National League in strikeouts and have the 2nd-worst on-base percentage in all of Major League Baseball. It’s awfully hard to win ballgames when you don’t have guys on base.

The Nationals go for a sweep on Sunday when former Padres farmhand Joe Ross gets the start against Jhoulys Chacin, who has been the ultimate Jekyll and Hyde pitcher in 2017. At Petco Park Chacin has an ERA of 0.67. On the road that skyrockets to 10.94. If you’re looking for a ray of hope for the Padres it’s that Chacin does have a career 0.45 ERA in three starts at Nationals Park.

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<![CDATA[Nationals Slug Way to Win Over Padres]]> Fri, 26 May 2017 22:12:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/181*120/Bryce+Harper+15th+HR.JPG

The last time the Padres won three straight games was April 29, April 30 and May 1. Since then they had not been able to put together anything resembling a winning streak. After taking the last two games of a 3-game set in New York the Friars had a chance to make it three wins in a row again.

They’ll have to give it another try at a later date.

San Diego was no match for Nationals ace Max Scherzer in a 5-1 loss in our nation’s capital. Scherzer allowed a scant three hits and struck out 13 in 8.2 innings. The only run he allowed came on a Ryan Schimpf homer in the 4th inning.

Starting pitcher Luis Perdomo threw well enough to get his first win of the year. He allowed three runs in 6.0 innings and punched out six hitters. The only runs Perdomo allowed came on a solo home run by former Padres farmhand Trea Turner leading off the game and a 2-run shot by Michael Taylor in the 4th.

Washington’s other two runs also came on a long-ball by someone you expect to hit a lot of them. In the 7th inning San Diego reliever Kirby Yates left a pitch over the middle of the plate and All-Star outfielder Bryce Harper deposited it into the upper deck in right field for a 2-run blast and a 5-1 lead.

Believe it or not the Padres had a chance to tie it up. In the 9th inning Scherzer gave up a walk, a hit and hit a batter so he was pulled one out shy of a complete game with the bases loaded and the tying run coming to the plate in the form of pinch-hitter Hunter Renfroe.

Nats reliever Koda Glover came on and whiffed Renfroe, the 14th Padre to go down on strikes in the game. On Saturday the Padres hand the ball to Clayton Richard, who gets the start against former San Diego State standout Stephen Strasburg.

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<![CDATA[Padres Offer Unique Ticket Deal]]> Tue, 23 May 2017 10:02:19 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/184*120/Petco+Park+Home+Opener+2017.JPG

The Padres are having a little trouble winning games these days but that’s not stopping them from keeping hope alive. In fact they’re willing to gamble on having plenty of success at home soon.

The Friars have a new ticket offer on the table called the Padres Five-Win Pass. For $99 fans can see the first five wins in June. Not the first five games in June; the first five WINS in June.

The Padres play 16 games at Petco Park in June. That means if they hit the last one, on June 30 against the Dodgers, at 4-11 you will get to see all 16 games for $99. This offer is good for left field sections 226, 228 and 230 right underneath the giant scoreboard and will be on sale until June 9.

But what if they go nuts and win five straight to start the month? Is it still a good deal then?

As an example, a seat in Section 228 for the Saturday, June 3 game against the Rockies is up for sale on the Padres website for $24.50. Quick math tells us $24.50 x 5 = $122.50. So even if the Padres miraculously sweep Colorado to start the month then win two straight against the Royals the following weekend the $99 deal would be less than buying tickets to five separate games.

The Padres are 9-14 at Petco Park this season. The 16 games they play there in June are against the Rockies (3), Royals (3), Reds (3), Tigers (3), Braves (3) and Dodgers (1).

If you purchase the Padres Five-Win Pass the tickets will be delivered to your smartphone via the MLB BallPark app. You can purchase up to eight seats and each pass includes a $20 credit towards a seat upgrade.

For more information on the promotion visit www.padres.com.

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<![CDATA[Padres Prospects Winning Awards]]> Mon, 22 May 2017 14:11:22 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Fernando+Tatis+Jr..jpg

With a 16-30 record, sitting 12.5 games out of first place, we know the 2017 season is not the best version of the San Diego Padres. ALTHOUGH it is worthy to note that on this day in the 2003 the then-Florida Marlins were 13.5 games out of first and ended up winning the World Series so stranger things have happened.

But, back to reality. The Padres have given us no illusions that they are in building mode. I can’t call it a rebuilding mode because “rebuilding” implies there was something good that existed and needs to be resurrected. A franchise that has won exactly one playoff game in the last 19 years is NOT rebuilding.

They’re laying the foundation for what should be a bright future. On Monday a pair of Padres prospects earned awards. One of them could very well be their starting shortstop for a decade. The other is a guy most of you probably didn’t even know was in the system.

Fort Wayne Tincaps shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. was named the Midwest League Player of the Week. All Tatis did was hit .462 with a 1.533 OPS, hit three doubles, a triple, three home runs, drive in six runs and score nine more. That’s a pretty nice week, especially when you consider he’s only 18 years old.

Tatis, as you may recall, is the son of former big league slugger Fernando Tatis, the only man to ever hit two grand slams in one inning. He did it with the Cardinals in 1999, hitting both bombs off then-Dodgers starter Chan Ho Park. (Don’t ask me why Park was still in the game for the second one, that’s a question for Davey Johnson).

He was part of the 2016 trade that sent James Shields to the White Sox. At the time not much was known about Tatis because he was a 17-year-old who had not entered affiliated baseball in the United States yet. Now he’s one of San Diego’s top-10 prospects.

At 6’3” and 185 pounds Tatis Jr. is not a small kid so scouts have long projected him to develop power. Most of them just didn’t see it developing quite this early. It was a little advice from his pop that helped unlock the … well, pop.

"I tried to get stronger and bigger and did a lot to work on that [in the offseason]," said Tatis in an interview with www.milb.com. "Now, I'm just trying to put the ball on the barrel. I was talking with my dad, and he told me that I'm big enough to hit for power and average, so he told me to try to do both. Just swing hard."

Tatis is already on the MLB radar. That’s a place Christian Villanueva is trying to come back to.

Villanueva was named the Pacific Coast League Player of the Week for his performance with El Paso. The 3rd baseman hit .480 with a 1.399 OPS, three home runs, seven runs batted in and eight runs scored. While everyone was waiting for Tatis to show up some folks were waiting to see if Villanueva would return.

In 2013 the 3rd baseman was a top-10 prospect in the Chicago Cubs system. Yes, the system that had guys like Javier Baez, Jorge Soler and Albert Almora in it. He was always regarded as a very good defender but his bat was a little slow to develop. After missing the entire 2016 season with a broken leg the Padres signed Villanueva to a minor league contract.

In El Paso he seems to have found his swing. At the age of 25 and after eight years in the minor leagues the Jalisco, Mexico native may be putting it all together, giving the Padres even more organizational depth than they probably knew they had.

One more Monday note, the Padres are expected to recall infielder Carlos Asuaje from El Paso and option a relief pitcher TBD back to Triple-A. Asuaje should join the club in New York for a three-game series with the Mets starting Tuesday.

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<![CDATA[Renfroe Bashes First Career Walk-Off Homer]]> Mon, 15 May 2017 23:59:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/RenfroeWalkoff.jpg

Padres rookie slugger Hunter Renfroe opened the scoring Monday night against the Brewers with a two-run double in the 2nd inning.

About three hours later, the outfielder ended the game by crushing a two-run homer off of Milwaukee’s Oliver Drake in the bottom of the 10th inning.

It was the first walk-off of Renfroe’s major league career and it gave San Diego a thrilling 6-5 victory.

Renfroe finished with 4 RBI.

Padres starting pitcher Luis Perdomo helped his own cause by smacking his first career triple in the 2nd inning to make it 3-0.

When Renfroe touched home plate on the play, it also gave Perdomo the second RBI of his career.

Perdomo added a double in his next plate appearance and raised his batting average to .250.

Perdomo got in a jam in the top of the 4th inning when the Brewers loaded the bases with nobody out.

After a surprising two-run single by Domingo Santana (it was surprising because he was batting just .125 with the bases loaded for his career), Perdomo was able to escape without further damage.

Perdomo struck out a career-high nine batters over six innings of work.

He allowed just three earned runs over that time and left with a 4-3 lead.

But the bullpen could not keep the Brewers from making a comeback.

The constantly annoying Santana had three hits including the game-tying RBI double in the 8th off of Padres reliever Brad Hand.

That made it 4-4 and helped force extra innings.

Jose Torres made a mistake in the top of the 10th frame when Eric Sogard sent his offering over the wall in right field.

The solo shot put the visitors up 5-4 and it looked like Torres was about to suffer his 3rd loss of the year.

But Renfroe came to the rescue in the bottom half of the inning to save the Padres and hand Torres an unlikely win.

San Diego continues its seven-game homestand Tuesday against the Brewers.

Clayton Richard (2-4) opposes Milwaukee’s Jimmy Nelson with first pitch slated for 7:10 p.m.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>