One of the very basic truths in sports is good teams beat bad teams consistently. That's why good teams end up in the playoffs.
So far in 2022 the Padres are doing just that. With a 7-5 win on Thursday afternoon in Cincinnati the Friars completed their 2nd sweep of the Reds in two weeks, moving San Diego to 13-7 on the year. That's their best record after 20 games since starting 16-4 in 1998 (and going to the World Series). So, to state the obvious, things are going pretty well right now.
"It's fun playing baseball," said Manny Machado after the most recent sweep.
Not many people on earth are having more fun at work right now than Machado. He went 4-for-5 and leads the world in hits in 2022. Everything seems to be falling for him right now, which he attributes to a refreshing strategy.
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"See ball, hit ball," says Machado. "Keep it as simple as possible, don't try to get into the analytical wars. Just go out there, have fun, perform, and once you step between the lines just play."
Machado's batting average is up to .395, good enough for 2nd in the National League. The only guy in front of him drove in the Padres first run of the day. Eric Hosmer lined one up the middle off Cincy starter Tyler Mahle to bring home Jake Cronenworth for a 1-0 lead. Hosmer had two more knocks and leads MLB with a .415 average.
"They're paid the big bucks for a reason, right?," says Padres Manager Bob Melvin. "Going into the season there are certain guys, with Tatis out, that you really have to count on. Manny's been that guy. Hos has, too, and we certainly don't have as many wins as we have without him."
San Diego starter Nick Martinez was solid on the mound. The right-hander tossed 5.0 innings and allowed two runs with five strikeouts and got his first win in the Major Leagues since 2017 (Martinez spent the 2018-2021 seasons playing in Japan).
Just like they did the first two games of the series, the Padres got one big inning to take a lead they weren't going to give up. In the 6th inning, trailing 2-1,they loaded the bases and Jorge Alfaro hit a sacrifice fly to right to score score Machado and tie it 2-2.
C.J. Abrams was hit by a pitch to re-load the bags and Ha-Seong Kim ripped a line drive to left field. Former Padre Tommy Pham made an awkward dive-type thing in the ball's general direction and whiffed completely. The ball rolled to the wall for a bases-clearing double.
Alfaro got himself another RBi without a base hit when he walked with the bases loaded in the 7th inning and Machado drove in San Diego's final run of the day with a single in the 8th.
The Friars have played 14 games against teams with losing records and are 10-4 in those contests and can keep padding their record this weekend when they start a 3-game series in Pittsburgh on Friday afternoon. The Pirates are 8-11 and the Friars get Opening Day starter Yu Darvish on the mound.
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