The San Diego Padres are coming off a series sweep of the Seattle Mariners and injected a new energy into the final few weeks of the season.
Since taking over as manager of the San Diego Padres, Andy Green has a record of 139-185, far from the record both he and the fanbase expected. However, things may finally be starting to turn around for the better. The Padres of the past two days gave fans a glimpse into what this team can look like when everyone plays at their full potential.
Luis Urias, the highly touted second base prospect, finally made his major league debut against the Mariners on Tuesday night. Although he went 0-for-3 in his first appearance, he showed patience at the plate, managing a hard-earned walk after falling behind 1-2.
He followed up his debut with a three-hit performance on Wednesday afternoon, including a 107 mph double into left field and even had a near home run down the right-field line. It is one thing to be a highly ranked prospect and another thing to actually put up major league worthy numbers. He set the bar high with his debut series but exhibits a confidence far beyond that of a 21-year-old rookie. His addition seems to have brought about a freshness and much-needed stability to the top of the Padres’ batting order.
With Urias, Wil Myers, and Eric Hosmer manning the top half of the order and Hunter Renfroe, and Manuel Margot mixed into the bottom half of the order, there’s potential. They have proven it (outside of Urias). Their last two games were another brief example of that potential, scoring 10 runs on 18 hits against Seattle.
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The backend of the pitching department is also starting to take shape. Joey Lucchesi and Jacob Nix demonstrated what it takes to win against a team with seventy-four wins. In 21 starts, Lucchesi has an ERA of 3.59 and a 1.28 WHIP across 105 rookie innings. Nix pitched a gem on Tuesday, nearly pitching a shutout, and has two quality starts in only four games.
September might see a few more youngsters take the mound, like recently named Texas League Pitcher of the Year, Logan Allen. But if the Padres want to keep the momentum moving forward, they are going to have to bring in a front-line starting pitcher, this offseason. With another year of production under their belts, the highly-touted and deep minor league system could be used to pull the trigger on a high-profile trade for a starting pitcher.
The time has finally come to see if this farm system can pay dividends and if this team has a shot at competing in 2020, the goal put forward by the organization.