Hello from Atlanta,
Ryan Christenson has been watching Bob Melvin for five years, and one thing stood out above all the other traits he admires in his boss.
I always start with the rapport and relationships he builds with these players, either in person, bringing people into the office to talk and get to know him, constantly texting guys, guys just coming into his office to say hello and see how he’s doing, Christenson said. It is still as open as ever. I mean, a lot of people say they have an open door policy, but he really does have an open door policy that gets used a lot, which has always been impressive.
Yesterday, in his capacity as interim manager while Melvin is in San Diego recovering from prostate surgery, Christenson asked Ha-seong Kim to assure him that signing Robinson Cano would not affect his position in the league. ‘team.
We love the way he plays; He’s our shortstop right now,” Christenson said. So I just made sure to talk to him for a bit. I didn’t want him to think about anything with the addition of Robbie today. I had a little chat with him. He creaks. He knows it’s a tough game and sometimes things just don’t get to you. So it’s good to see it come out and have a solid one.
Kim’s seventh-inning three-run homer gave the Padres the lead for good, and he went 3-for-5 after entering the game on a 4-for-36 skid.
Here is my match story on the 11-6 win.
To have enough
In the sixth inning, Kim hit a ball 368 feet from left field that was caught on the warning run by Marcel Ozuna. It was the sixth ball Kim had hit from at least 341 feet in the past 12 games that ended in a strikeout, most in the major leagues in that span.
There were a bunch of times where I thought it was going to be a home run or it was going to be a hit at least,” Kim said last night through performer Leo Bae. Our coaching staff keeps telling me, Hey, are you okay. Just keep doing what you’ve been doing. Eventually it will find a hole and you will get a good result. I just trust my coaching staff. I just continued what I was doing. Today I was able to get a good result.
After all those close calls, Kim was making sure the one he made in the seventh inning was really going to go away.
I watched the ball until it went over the fence, he said of the 390-foot homer.
first and first
The Padres sent the MLB batting average leader to the plate in back-to-back plate appearances last night, one that ended the eighth inning and the next that started the ninth.
Manny Machados’ average went from .374 to .371 with his retirement in the eighth. In the ninth, Eric Hosmer averaged .372 at the plate and hit a single to end the night 3-for-5 and bring his average to .377.
We can keep swapping places like this all year round,” Hosmer said with a laugh. I would gladly sign up for that.
Wil Myers is a notorious handyman. Often to his detriment.
But his adjustment in the game last night worked quite well, as he changed his position slightly in an effort to see the ball better and give himself more room to swing. He ended up hitting his first home run of the season.
It feels good, he said. I opened up my stance there a bit at bat just to get a little more visual and I was able to get some good rhythm there and good timing and I was able to put a good swing on it. I felt pretty sluggish at the plate and my hands weren’t working so I just opened myself up a bit.
Here’s a look at what he meant, with the screenshot on the left showing him ready for the final pitch of his fourth-inning line and the one on the right at the same spot just before his home run. Note the front foot.
Christenson considered sending his new left-handed hitter (Cano) to the plate with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, but instead went with the left-handed hitter who’s been there all season (Trent Grisham).
Grisham stopped an 0-for-15 skid with a base clearance and pinch double.
I thought of Robbie, said Christenson. It was a long day for him. It was a corner flip for me. I wanted those two guys gone. But I decided to go with Grisham, and I was glad he made it.
Bryce Miller is with me for the first six games of this trip and has written a column on Cano (here). This includes, of course, Bryces supporting Cano’s signature and quotes.
At their own risk
Braves third baseman coach Ron Washington is notoriously aggressive. It was a little too much during the first round last night.
On a single hard hit by two outs from Ozuna to left fielder Jurickson Profar, Washington waved Travis Demeritte off from second base.
A good throw was almost certainly going to get Demeritte. And Profar made a good throw.
As it turns out, Profar was as shocked as anyone to have a chance at his sixth assist, tied with Clevelands Myles Straw for the major league lead.
I didn’t see him leave, Profar said. I just threw. I was very, very surprised. But Wash is like that. I just said to Manny (Machado), trainers like Wash, maybe I’ll end up with 10 (at the end of) this road trip.
The Padres intend to go with a six-man rotation for a spell.
With the day off Monday, that means their top three starters (Yu Darvish, Sean Manaea and Joe Musgrove) will likely go six days between starts for a fourth consecutive time.
These pitchers expressed a preference for routine and not spending too much time between starts. But they also expressed an understanding of the situation and an appreciation for what it might mean down the road.
Everyone throws the ball well, so it’s hard to dispatch anyone, Musgrove said yesterday.
That could end up being beneficial, especially since the Padres’ top three starters have historically gone at least six innings per start.
You get extra rest, Musgrove said. We were going to be grateful as the season progressed.
After Monday, the Padres play nine straight games before another day off. Then comes a streak of 13 games, one day off, then 18 games in 17 days. There will certainly be no problem with six starters then.
Maybe go to a seven-man rotation then, Musgrove joked.
As I explained in my notebook yesterday (here), the starting six may not get used to this feature until the next rotation. MacKenzie Gore could throw once out of the bullpen in the next series (in Philadelphia) if the need arises.
(By the way, just to be clear, they don’t use a seven-man rotation.)
- The Cubs Willson Contreras were nearly impossible to take out the entire series at Petco Park this week, hitting base 11 times in 14 plate appearances. This included a home run in the Wednesdays series finale. Last night his brother, William, was the designated hitter for the Braves and went 2 for 4 with a home run.
- The Padres have 16 home runs in 337 at bats against left-handed pitchers this season. That’s an all 21.1 at bat, the third highest in the majors. The Padres average one home run for every 53.1 at-bats against right-handers, which ranks them 26th among 30 teams.
- The Padres are averaging 5.63 carries per game on the road, leading the major leagues. They have scored at least five points in nine straight road games. They average 3.41 home runs, which ranks them 25thand.
- The Braves have won the all-season series against the Padres for five consecutive seasons (2016-19 and 21). The teams shared a four-game streak in San Diego last month, so a Padres victory in one of the next two games snaps that streak.
- Luke Voit hit two singles last night and is 5-for-12 with two homers, two walks and five runs in three games since returning from the disabled list.
- Hosmer has 18 RBIs in the last 16 games.
- The Padres entered the game with just .206 at bat in the first at bat of an inning, which was the fourth-lowest mark in the majors. They went 4 for 9 in the lead last night.
- Machado went without a hit for the first time in eight games, but a fifth-inning walk extended his scoring streak to 22 games.
- Jake Cronenworth extended his on-base streak to 18 games. He’s batting .250 (18 for 72) with .321 on-base percentage during the streak. He was 1 for 6 with a career-high four strikeouts last night. His strikeout rate of 20.5% this season is 5% higher than his rookie season and more than 6% higher than last year.
Alright, that’s it for me. First game tomorrow, at 1:05 p.m. (PT).
And listen, since I know you’re going to ask, I’m just going to tell you that you don’t know why Bryce can’t stay for all nine games. I am joking. He’s going to cover the Preakness after the series in Philadelphia.
Speak to you tomorrow.
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