When he burst on the scene as a rookie in 2019, Chris Paddack made a name for himself with his fire on the mound and a 97-MPH fastball that hitters had all kinds of trouble catching up to (just ask Pete Alonso). In 2020 and most of 2021 Paddack was a different guy.
After two weeks on the Injured List with an unidentified medical issue Paddack was on the mound again against the Giants in San Francisco. During that time it appears The Sheriff found himself.
Paddack set the tone in an 11-1 Padres win, tossing 3.0 shutout innings. He gave up four hits and walked one but when he started getting in trouble he didn't let the game get away from him. Instead, he got better.
In the 3rd inning Paddack gave up a pair of one-out singles. He responded by striking out Buster Posey with a 96-MPH heater up then blew away Brandon Belt with a fastball at 97. Both pitches had the kind of late life that's been missing from his repertoire since that rookie season.
Of course, it's easier to challenge hitters when you have a lead. In the 2nd inning the Padres beat up Giants starter Johnny Cueto. Jake Cronenworth launched a 2-run homer into the San Francisco Bay, a 445-foot blast to give San Diego a 2-0 lead. A few batters later Fernando Tatis Jr. hit one even farther.
El Nino smoked a 2-run shot 454 feet to left-centerfield. It's the first time in the Statcast era (since 2015) that the Padres have hit two homers that long in the same inning outside of Coors Field in Denver.
They got another run in the 3rd inning on an RBI single by Wil Myers that made it 5-0.
After Paddack (who was on a pitch count after the long layoff) rookie lefty Ryan Weathers matched him with 3.0 innings of shutout ball. Weathers, who's been dealing with arm fatigue, punched out three and allowed just one hit.
The Padres piled on in the 8th inning with four more runs, highlighted by a 2-run triple by Trent Grisham.
San Diego avoids getting swept and pulls back within 1.5 games of San Francisco in the National League West. On Monday the Padres are scheduled to start a series in Colorado but the weather is calling for lots of rain and possibly snow so getting in all three games might be interesting.
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