Some Thoughts on Padres Opening Day 2019

The Padres won their first game of the Machado era today. What went right? What went wrong?

First the positives

The Padres Won!

Wil Myers looked outstanding. 2 for 2 with a HR and a walk. He took a breaking ball to the outside part of the plate, a pitch that tied him in knots in previous seasons, for a 456 ft ride to the opposite field. More than that, his at bats looked poised and in control. No out of control swings on 2 pitch counts. On defense he used his speed to get to several balls I thought would drop and gunned down Longoria at 2B. He did it all. That is the Myers we have all been waiting for.

Tatis went 2 for 3 in his major league debut. 2 singles, but 2 for 3.

Lauer finished with a great outcome. 6 innings of shutout ball and the win. Only 70 pitches. Very efficient pitching.

The bullpen looked fantastic. 4 pitchers over innings that gave up just one hit while striking out 2. Yates looked unhittable against the heart of the Giants lineup. That is what a closer looks like.

So why do I have this bad feeling about the game?

Lets start with Machado. The Padres savior in resident went o for 3 with 2 SO and the only time he put the ball into play he grounded into a double play and did not run hard. Ouch. Not the start Padres fans were hoping for.

Now the starting pitching. Lauer threw 6 shutout innings and had great control. Hedges got him 2 strike outs with simply outstanding pitch framing. But Lauer struck out just 3 batters. He had 15 at bats when he had batters in a 2 strike count and could only put away 3. He really only threw 2 pitches today. A slider/cutter at 85/87 (yes they are the same pitch. They both break into RHB and are the same speed) and a FB at 89-91. He had 2 pitches over 92 all day. He threw 2 curveballs, but neither was a strike. He still doesn’t possess an out pitch that will help him through days when his control is off. That does not bode well for when he faces righty dominated lineups if his control is off even a little bit. Soft tossing lefties with 2 pitches end up with ERA’s like he had last year. I expect more of the same from him this season.

Tatis’ offense. While he had two hits, neither was a well struck ball. One was a bad reaction on the ball in play by an aging 3B that became a single to LF. One was a bunt.

I know there are people out there that will argue this, but bunting in 1 run games with 2 outs and the bases empty in the 4th inning is not going to lead to a run often. Especially when Tatis the baserunner immediately gets caught stealing.

Lets hope that Green does not call for many bunts in that situation. Tatis most valuable calling card is power from the shortstop position. Utilize it. Use his speed to take the extra base, not to bunt.

Reyes. Reyes’ defense was awful. That ball off the bat of Bumgarner in the 6th is an out with Renfroe or pretty much any other OF in RF. It didn’t turn into a run because of Lauer’s great move to 1st. Reyes at bats were not good either. He struck out on a FB in his eyes with a man on in the 1st, hit a fly ball to the opposite field on a belt high FB on the outside half of the plate in the 4th, and lined out on a flat, thigh high changeup on the outside half in the 6th. Two of those pitches were serious mistakes and he should have driven them. Instead they were easy outs.

The Padres offense as a whole. The Padres batters managed to produce just 2 runs, 6 hits, and 1 walk. A .231 BA and a .259 OBP. Not exactly the improved offensive output the Padres were hoping for when they signed Machado. Although it was against Bumgarner, a long time Padres nemesis who has a career 3.32 ERA and .265 OBP against us so I do feel it necessary to cut them a little slack.

A win is a win is a win

The bottom line is the Padres won. They are tied for 1st place in the NL West and for the pennant as of today.

They have 3 more against one of the worst teams in the NL to start the season. Here is hoping they come out 4-0 and also a prayer for many more games with an outcome like today’s interspersed with just a few losses. Is 80 wins too much to ask for from this team? I hope not.

That is my take. What do you think?


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