Yangervis Solarte led the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night with a career high six runs batted in, guiding them to a 12-4 series opening victory.
It was just over 48 hours ago that we here at Friars on Base published an article titled, Solarte’s versatility undervalued in midst of struggles. The piece pointed out how even when the infielder’s bat isn’t what fans want it to be in the middle of the lineup, Yangervis Solarte is valuable due to his defensive versatility.
Well. It didn’t take long to make that point seem irrelevant. Tuesday night’s explosion once again reinforces the fact that Solarte is just waiting to burst forth offensively once in a while with a stunning performance.
It was the series opener against the Cardinals in St. Louis, and Solarte was dialed in. He opened the game’s scoring with a bases clearing double in the third, putting San Diego ahead 3-0. He drove in another two innings later with a gapper to almost the same place as his first big hit. This drove in another run and put the Padres back in front.
Finally, Solarte drove in his fifth and sixth runs of the evening with a two-run blast to right field in the eighth, closing the scoring for the night. His home run was said to be 455 feet, the longest of his career.
With the win, the Padres move to 13 games under .500 and put a dent in the Cardinals’ playoff chances. They will have two additional opportunities to continue to do this on Wednesday and Thursday.
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But looking past what the win itself means, the offensive eruption from Solarte is well timed. We weren’t lying in our previous article about Solarte. He was indeed struggling. Even now, the 30-year-old is five for his last 24. He is hitting just .208 in the past week. A night like this gives him confidence, and serves as a reminder that there’s more than one dangerous bat in this young lineup.
So yes, Solarte is valuable because he can and has played every infield position. He is like a utility infielder who is good enough to start. It also doesn’t phase him to move positions, as he proved earlier this season when him and Cory Spangenberg swapped, moving Yangervis from third to second. But his value doesn’t stop there, and his bat has proven to be one the Padres need. Currently, he is hitting .270 on the year and .318 with runners in scoring position.
It is a good thing that the Padres have Solarte for the long term. He provides manager Andy Green with a reliable defensive player and possible spark in the order. So stop complaining Padres fans, and we’ll try to do the same.