It almost feels as if the San Diego Padres could sense their fans’ displeasure with their play as of late and they’ve appeared to respond in a big way.
Even in a tighter NL West than most folks anticipated, there’s realistically only a sliver of hope that the San Diego Padres can keep themselves on the fringes of the contention conversation. Taking three of four from the Pirates over the weekend surely helped keep that distant cause alive, though.
Even when things go south, this team stays resilient and fights back, as evidenced by yesterday’s four-run ninth inning. There are a number of catalysts for the Padres recent run of good fortune, so let’s start at the top.
Leading off for the San Diego Padres…
Travis Jankowski has been a much-needed spark plug for this team since coming up from El Paso. His offensive exploits since making his debut have been well-documented, but there’s no harm in going over his mind-melting stats again.
In 75 plate appearances this year, the 26-year-old Stony Brook University alum (Go, Seawolves!) is slashing .359/.438/.469 with three doubles, three home runs, and seven stolen bases. In nearly half the games played as his teammates, Jankowski leads the team in swiped bags.
There’s no reason to think that Freddy J shouldn’t be at least mentioned for NL Player of the Month in May if he keeps this up. Talk about a lynchpin player. Wow.
Welcome back, Freddy!
Freddy Galvis is hitting .400 with a 1.007 OPS over his last seven games with just three strikeouts in 25 at-bats. Needless to say, his re-emergence has put this Padres team in a much better position to succeed, as our own Christina Cola opined on yesterday.
Galvis’ bat was all but missing-in-action from May 6 to May 12 (.120 average in 25 at-bats). The hot streak he’s been on over the last week or so has made a world of difference for this team’s offense.
His sparkling defense hardly wavers at shortstop, so when he’s hitting there’s really nothing not to like about Galvis. Let’s hope he keeps those slumps short and well spaced-out.
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Lest we forget…
Christian Villanueva is back to creaming the ball, just as he was early on this season. He snapped a 0-for-35 hitless streak last week and has been on a nice little tear since.
In the five games since coming off of his shneid with a fourth-inning single versus the Rockies on May 14, he’s hitting .412 with a 1.412 OPS, three homers, six runs batted in, and a double in seventeen at-bats.
Eric Hosmer is hitting .304 with a .993 OPS over his last six games and continues to lead this team both on the field and off of it.
His sixteen doubles are fourth-most in MLB and lead the National League.
Even A.J. Ellis has been getting in on the fun. He’s got three hits in his last eight at-bats with three RBI and just one strikeout.
Nothing can slow this team down as of late
Even the recent downturns of Jose Pirela, Franchy Cordero, and Manuel Margot (his ineffectiveness lately is a bit concerning, but let him play through it in this writer’s opinion) can’t seem to slow down this train right now.
Surely things will not always go the Friars’ way as they seemingly have over the last week or so. That’s just baseball. But wins, and riveting, rallying ones like the Padres have been winning lately, can do wonders in the realm of building a team’s (especially a young team’s) confidence.
This little stretch, if it’s milked for all of it’s motivational and developmental value, can end up having some huge ramifications down the line for this team. We could already be seeing that ripple-effect take place.
Look at yesterday’s win; a month ago, would the San Diego Padres have even had a chance to win that game? It’s an honest, rhetorical question; but nonetheless a valid one.