The San Diego Padres are back to their winning ways coming out of the All-Star break. This weekend, they bounced back from Friday’s defeat to take the final two contests in the series.
It took a little while, but the Padres have now reached the 40-win mark. Thanks to a thrilling walk-off on Saturday night followed up by an all around strong performance on Sunday, San Diego has taken two out of three games from the San Francisco Giants.
And this weekends heroes? Unlikely to say the least. After a scary moment on Friday kept Austin Hedges out for the remainder of the series and now even longer, his replacement Hector Sanchez responded by hitting a walk-off two-run blast on Saturday and a three-run home run which set the tone for Sunday’s rout.
Cory Spangenberg also went yard to create some separation between the two teams. Starter Trevor Cahill was strong in his six and 2/3 innings of work, marking his second strong outing since returning from the disabled list.
Saturday and Sunday’s games are exactly what fans want to see out of their Padres, and it’s only fitting that they came back-to-back against the Giants at Petco Park.
Saturday night was more of a pitcher’s duel between Jhoulys Chacin and Madison Bumgarner, though it ultimately came down to the bullpens. It was a tight game, one which was dramatically swayed by each individual play.
Sunday was not as interesting, but even more fundamentally sound for the Padres. They found ways to put crooked numbers on the scoreboard, something they have struggled to do this season.
Put the two together, and the Padres have some momentum. They have now won seven of their last ten games, and have triumphed in three consecutive series. They are playing exceptionally well together, and are coming through in the clutch. This, coupled with the fact that it’s the so-called “no names” making the biggest contributions is the most encouraging sight. After all, no one saw Sanchez’s heroics coming, or a strong weekend from outfielder Jabari Blash filling in for the injured Hunter Renfroe.
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The Friars are making progress, but it’s too slight to make any noticeable difference in the standings. They now lead last place San Francisco by six games, but still trail the first place Dodgers by 23. A more realistic goal, catching up with third place Colorado, is still a monumental task. Though the Rockies sit 11.5 games out of first place, that is still good enough to lead the Padres by 11.5 games.
For fans though, winning right now is about more than the standings. The improved chemistry is undeniable, though unnoticed by most outside of the small market of San Diego.
The Padres will have a chance to move upward in the standings with three games this week against the Rockies at Coors Field. Then, once again, they will square off with the Giants, this time in the Bay Area for a four game weekend series. Keep it up Padres!