SAN DIEGO — It took them a few days to acclimate, but these Padres are finally starting to look like the team they envisioned when they overhauled their offense at last week’s Trade Deadline.
That means their offense looks pretty scary — National League playoff contenders, beware.
“When you know you have a good lineup, you don’t worry about hitting the game-winning homer,” said a newly acquired superstar. Juan Soto. “You just pass the baton, let the other guys do their job, like we did yesterday, like we did today.”
It was a wild back-and-forth ballgame that saw the Padres quickly fall behind by four runs. They rallied to take a two-run lead with a six-run third inning, then gave up that lead in the sixth.
The old Pastor offense wasn’t used to doing that. Then again, the old Padre offense didn’t have Soto, Drury and Josh Bell.
“I think it’s just a different feeling now,” manager Bob Melvin said. “When you’re down, you don’t feel like it’s going to take much to get back up.”
And, certainly, the new type of Priests started slowly. They were swept by the Dodgers over the weekend and shut out by the Giants on Monday. All the while, they insisted they would be fine. They simply had too much offensive firepower to be concerned.
“A lot of people don’t understand when you get new guys, those guys can take a few days to really settle in,” left fielder. Jurickson Profar said “And we expected that. It can be anyone. You can bring Barry Bonds. It won’t click right away. With new teammates, they need to feel at home.
“Now we see it. We are getting there.”
When he returns, Tatis will join a Pastor offense that already looks scary. Soto and Drury each had two hits on Wednesday. Manny Machado and Jake Cronenworth had three Nola, batting ninth, started the third-inning rally with a 10-pitch walk, then ended the six-inning rally with a two-run home run. That level of lineup depth is infectious.
“One guy comes in, it’s a quality at-bat,” Cronenworth said. “The next guy is coming, quality at-bat. Next guy, quality at bat. It just keeps going down the line, and it seems like the pressure on the pitcher is so much.”
Profar said: “You don’t have to do much. Just try to do your job, whatever your job is, and get it over to the guy behind you. You’ve seen what we can do. This is the team we have. We can do that every day.”
With the win, the Padres remain a game ahead of Milwaukee in the race for the NL’s final Wild Card spot. They also crept a little closer to Philadelphia, Atlanta and St. These next three weeks could prove crucial. San Diego doesn’t play another game against a team currently above .500 until September. In theory, it’s a chance to gain separation in the playoff race.
Next: A trip to Washington and a meeting for Soto and Bell, who were traded to San Diego last week. Soto is supposed to be celebrated all weekend long. Deservedly so. He was in center field for the Nationals’ first World Series in 2019 and developed into a superstar during his time in DC
“It means a lot,” Soto said of his time in Washington. “I felt quite comfortable in that city. It feels pretty good, the people, the fans, everyone has been really nice to the players. So I felt comfortable. But at the end of the day, we just have to do our job.”
Indeed, the former Nationals superstar is now the Padres’ superstar. And after ending one city’s World Series drought, he’s determined to end another.