In the Padres final tuneup before the regular season, here’s what stood out from the contest with the Angels.
At times, it felt like this moment would never come, but here we are just 24 hours away from Padres baseball. The 60-game slate is not ideal, but it’s better than nothing in a strange year overall.
In spring training, the fifth starter competition was beginning to heat up between Cal Quantrill and Joey Lucchesi. The latter started the Padres’ final exhibition game before the games matter, and after going cold offensively on Monday, the offense came to life in the third inning.
Here are my takeaways from the game.
1. Lucchesi looked good, not great
After sailing through the first inning and striking out both Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, the Padres southpaw struggled to consistently find the strike zone in the second and third innings. Lucchesi had some issues with his release point, as his curveballs and fastballs were located up high.
He got into a jam in the third inning but was bailed out by a tremendous diving grab by Trent Grisham in centerfield that only had a 10 percent catch probability, according to StatCast.
2. Eric Hosmer elevating the ball is excellent news
In what seemed like a drinking game with every groundout last year, Eric Hosmer started the night with a ten-pitch at-bat that resulted in a hard line-drive to Justin Upton in left field. The following inning, during the Padres scoring barrage, Hosmer hit a deep fly ball to Upton. This time, resulting in a sacrifice fly.
3. Umpiring remains a work in progress
Staying in the third inning, Fernando Tatis Jr. hit a slow chopper towards first base. Pitcher Patrick Sandoval fielded the ball and threw to first. Watching it live, it was fairly obvious that Tatis was safe. Eventually, the call would be overturned, proving Tatis had reached first before the ball got there.
However, moments later, Jurickson Profar batted a ball into right field. With Tommy Pham hustling from first to third on the play, right fielder Taylor Ward threw to third. Pham was called out on the play, but the replay clearly showed that he got a hand in before the tag. This particular game didn’t matter, so the inning concluded, but in the regular season, that would be two missed calls in one inning.
4. Cal Quantrill started shaky, but settled down
Did I mention there is a battle for the final spot in the rotation? Manager Jayce Tingler indicated that the plan was for Lucchesi to go four innings, followed by Quantrill. Well, the latter started off on a rough note, allowing three straight singles before a ball to shortstop Gabriel Arias quickly resulted in two outs, albeit a run still scored. That play seemed to calm Quantrill down, as he struck out catcher Jason Castro to end the fifth inning.
He followed that with a quick 1-2-3 inning in the sixth, highlighted by a terrific play by Jake Cronenworth on a ball hit back up the middle.