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Padres Daily: Normal Fool; Cronenworth gets aggressive overnight; Suarez’s last cause for hope

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Hello from San Francisco,

The Padres continue to play and win games that are absolutely out of this world.

Last night was the ninth time in their last 10 wins that their opponent had tied or won at home plate or held a lead in at least one of their last two at bats.

It was the sixth time in 10 road games this season that the Padres won a game in which their opponent scored first, which is the best such mark in the major leagues.

They are now 8-4 in one-point games and 3-2 in overtime games.

Zany has become the normal Padres.

They only trailed for a few minutes last night and beat the Giants 8-7 in 10 innings, but they lost two leads, and it wasn’t until the Finals that anyone could let out a breath.

Subsequently, there were some interesting comments.

Reminders, if you will.

You know what? said Bob Melvin. Our record is our record, so we were doing some things right.

This was in response to a question about what he does with a bullpen that for much of the season has been like an endless Mr. Toads Wild Ride loop.

And when asked about the offense possibly starting to heat up, right fielder Wil Myers said:

I think any offense that wins ball games is doing well. Of course, there are things we can improve. But any winning team was hitting well. It’s all that matters.

That’s not all that matters. Do not confuse these quotes with them thinking that everything is fine. But all’s well that ends well, at least for now. And the Padres have finished 25 of their 39 games with more points than their opponent.

Give them their due on this one. They beat a good team in a hostile venue last night. (How hostility is addressed in my game story [here]. If you missed it, play was briefly interrupted twice because fans in left field threw objects at Jurickson Profar.)

Last night marked the start of a new chapter of the season for the Padres, as it was only their seventh game against a team currently with a winning record. The Padres play 16 of their next 19 games against such teams.

The Padres ended a 31-game streak on Thursday against teams that are currently below .500. They went 20-11.

To continue to come out on top in so many close games to be a little tougher against the Giants, Brewers, Cardinals and Mets. But who knows more?

Melvin said that’s what the Padres should probably do at the start of the season without Fernando Tatis Jr.

It’s great to see, and we continue to develop that personality as the season progresses,” he said last night. But it’s not easy to do.

That last part is both what’s so impressive about the Padres and somewhat ominous about the Padres.

He did it

Robert Suarez hadn’t pitched since allowing the two runners he inherited to score on May 13 against the Braves, and he was the Padres’ fourth pick out of the bullpen last night.

The right-hander allowed the runner he inherited in the 10and inning to score but shut down the Giants for its first major league stoppage.

Suarez has arguably been the face of bullpen volatility. Signed to a two-year, $11 million deal after leading Japan in stoppages and not allowing a home run in 62 1/3 innings last season, he allowed three homers and allowed at least one point or a legacy runner to score in seven of his 15 appearances this year.

My confidence has always been there, he said last night. It’s just a matter of performance, and it will give the manager confidence.

Melvin definitely wants to have that confidence in a guy with a 90s fastball.

I think it was important for us that Suarez could overcome that today, Melvin said last night.

The thing is, he said that after at least three outings from Suarez. It’s more of a statement of hope than a prediction at this point.

Look, he looked like he made great progress for us, Melvin said of Suarez, who made some adjustments to his delivery to help with his order. The stuff will still be there. I always try to get a consistent footing here in the big leagues. He has the trick to do it. We’ve seen it really good sometimes. Each time we think it will be a bit of a springboard. I think a game like this can be huge for him. Were going to need him. We signed it for a reason. He’s got more-more stuff and he’s going to have other opportunities there.

Crone swings

The first pitch Jake Cronenworth saw from Jakob Junis in the second inning was a slider that broke in the bottom inside corner of the strike zone, and Cronenworth sent it over the big wall at Oracle Parks in right field.

This 348-foot full-line circuit was hit at 104.7 mph. Cronenworth then hit a harder (106 mph) and further (361 ft) fly ball which was caught.

Tonight was probably one of the best nights I’ve felt at home plate all year, he said. Just be aggressive at the start of the count. Tossed me a pitch that I missed on my first at bat and luckily got it a second time.

That shouldn’t be taken as a sign that Cronenworth, who has taken more strikes called than any major league player, is changing his ways and will suddenly leap pitch after pitch. Junis fills the area. The Padres’ intention against him was to swing early in the scores.

Cronenworth has simply struggled to find the rhythm as he bats .207 with a .642 OPS this season. He pledged to stay committed to his approach.

You want to get out of this, Cronenworth said a few days ago. But I’m going to trust what I’ve always done, and what I’ve always done is what I’m doing now. Maybe it’s not (usually) to that extent, but it’s getting a pitch to hit, and if I don’t get it, I get three or four extra bats.

He confirmed last night that he would stick to this approach.

This selectivity is not new. Cronenworth saw the ninth most called strikes of 2020 at 21, and he hit .271 with an .808 OPS in those two seasons.

different, same

Joe Musgrove was eager to get out of the Sunday game cycle he’s had in the last three starts. Like most players, he prefers night games. It’s just what they get used to. Night games give starting pitchers, in particular, the opportunity to sleep in and still have plenty of time to prepare mentally and physically.

Musgrove will have to wait to launch into the spotlight. He pitches today, and it’s a daytime game because it’s nationally televised (FS1).

Musgrove has done very well on the day this season, allowing five earned runs and striking out 22 in 20 innings in those three starts.

Small bites

  • Nabil Crismatt came in with last night’s game tied 4-4 at the start of the end of the seventh inning. The right-hander pitched another 1 2/3 innings scoreless, running his nine-inning scoreless streak in five appearances and lowering his ERA to 1.31 in 20 2/3 innings this season. It will obviously be used more in such situations. Says Melvin: You play and you get reps like that.
  • Manny Machado was 3 for 5 last night and 7 for 18 in the last four games. It comes after he hit a season-high 12 batting without a hit. His average of .363 ranks second in the majors behind the Angels Taylor Ward (.370).
  • Profar went 3 for 5 last night and lifted its average above 0.200 for the first time since April 28th. It was 0.163 on May 9 but has gone 12-for-37 (0.324) in nine games since.
  • Myers was 2 for 5 with a two-run brace last night. He’s 9-for-27 with two walks in his last seven games.
  • I wrote in my notes yesterday (here) that it was up in the air that would start Sunday’s series finale here, but Melvin’s comments could be read as the Padres bent to go with a piggyback Mike Clevinger-MacKenzie Gore at least one more time. But I was told after the game that was not the case. Clevinger is scheduled to start Monday against the Brewers. It’s unclear how the Padres will fare for Sunday’s game against the Giants, though Gore appears to be the likeliest pick to start.

Alright, that’s it for me.

Wait, before I go, if you missed the story I dropped off last night on Melvins’ comeback, watch it (here). Quotes from several players explain the effect Melvin had on the team.

Alright, that’s really it. Game day today.

Speak to you tomorrow.

Sources

1/ https://Google.com/

2/ https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sports/padres/newsletter/2022-05-21/padres-jake-cronenworth-robert-suarezgets-manny-machado-wil-myers-bob-melvin-padres-daily

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