San Diego Padres: Some Reasons for Friars’ Recent Success
By Gavin Binns
The San Diego Padres have played very respectable baseball over the past month. Due to several contributing factors, the Padres find themselves only 5.5 games out of first place in the National League West.
The San Diego Padres’ pitching staff has been excellent as of late. Specifically, veterans Tyson Ross and Clayton Richard. Due to his pinpoint command, Ross is on pace to have a career year, with a current record of 5-3, an ERA of 3.31.
The Padres have won 4 of the last 5 games started by left-hander Clayton Richard. Richard has also pitched at least seven innings in five of his last six starts. Jordan Lyles seems to have resurrected his career in 2018, striking out 31 batters in May, while posting a 3.45 ERA.
The San Diego Padres seem to have finally ended their prolonged offensive slump. Much of this recent success can be attributed to outfielder Travis Jankowski, who has sparked the Padres offense from the leadoff spot. Jankowski is batting .309 with an OBP of .377 and 10 stolen bases.
During a recent interview with Darren Smith on the Mighty 1090 radio show, Jankowski spoke about his mindset at the plate.
“For me, my biggest thing is putting pressure not the defense, and I know that any ball I hit in the air, that isn’t one hundred percent on the barrel is probably an out.”
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Jankowski understands his strengths: speed and contact. Rather than launch angle, he’s focused on getting on base, even if that means hitting the ball on the ground. Tony Gwynn would be very proud.
The San Diego Padres seem to be getting their money’s worth out of Eric Hosmer. Hosmer is currently slashing .293/.379/.477 in 2018. This includes Monday’s first-inning home run to kickoff an eleven-run victory.
Since May 13, the Padres are 13-8, and Hosmer is slashing an impressive .350/.416/.500. Hosmer is on pace to win another Gold Glove and currently tied for the NL lead in doubles.
The San Diego Padres cannot fully attribute their current standing to themselves. Many people (including myself) believed that the NL West was one of the best divisions in baseball. This has proven false due to the recent collapse of the Diamondbacks and the injury-struck Dodgers.
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Unfortunately, the Padres cannot count on the defending NL champs to continue playing so poorly. If the Padres want to make a run at first place, the time is now.