Despite Record, Padres Have Positives

A couple of players who were question marks are off to good starts

Even since the Padres took on his rather large contract fans have been scared about having outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. on the roster. In two years with the Braves, Upton hit a combined .198, not the kind of production you want from a man making $15.45 million in 2016.

But so far Upton has not just avoided disappointment; he’s been one of the best players on the team. Melvin has a pair of homers and has scored seven runs with a .822 OPS while appearing in all 13 games.

“Yeah, it’s cool, but I’d rather win,” said Upton. “If I wasn’t this hot and we were winning, that would be one thing. But obviously I like where I’m at and I’m going to continue to work but the main thing is winning ballgames.”

Upton showed an uptick in his game in the second half of last season. He told NBC 7 during Spring Training the Padres have allowed him to be more like himself and that freedom of personality is carrying over to the field.

“Definitely,” said Upton. “It’s allowed me to keep focus and just go out there and be myself and be the player I know how to be.”

First baseman Wil Myers is another guy who had question marks entering the regular season, but for very different reasons. Myers is coming off wrist surgery and had been struggling (aside from a couple of monster games in Colorado) until the series against the Diamondbacks. Over the weekend Myers finished 7-17, including a 4-hit game in Saturday night’s 14-inning win.

He had been swinging through a lot of fastballs he normally hits hard. All of a sudden he started lining those balls in to the outfield, and Myers thinks he could have done even more damage.

“I missed a lot of pitches this series, as well,” said Myers. “Just putting good swings on good pitches, that’s the biggest thing. You’re only as good as the pitch you swing at. I’ve worked on some things and I’ve seen them carry over in the game.”

The Padres have had trouble stringing hits together in 2016 (again, aside from the explosion at Coors Field). Take out the two days they scored 13 and 16 runs and the Friars are averaging 1.6 runs per game. They simply cannot sustain innings to stress a pitcher and create more run-scoring chances.

But, if Upton and Myers stay hot, and a couple of other players start to click, the guys in the clubhouse think the merry-go-round will start turning.

“Yeah, I think you can see it,” said Upton. “Things will start going our way here shortly. We’ve just gotta keep playing good baseball and we’ll be fine.”

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