In what began as a pitching duel, Eric Hosmer’s bases-clearing doubles proved key for the Padres.
It took what felt like an eternity for this moment to arrive, but the Padres played their first game of the 2020 season on Friday night, defeating the Diamondbacks 7-2. Delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chris Paddack made the Opening Day start approximately four months later than expected.
However, the results were worth the wait, as he bested the newest Diamondback, Madison Bumgarner. In all, Paddack went six innings while striking out four and allowing four hits. We noted that Paddack’s use of the curveball was something to monitor, and he didn’t throw one until the fifth inning.
Overall, the curveball didn’t look sharp, still exhibiting some “loopy-ness” to it, at times. But in this particular game, it had the similar effect of Rocky switching to southpaw against Apollo Creed, allowing Paddack to fully take control of the game.
Bumgarner nearly matched the Padres ace, going 5.2 innings with four strikeouts of his own. But he ran into a buzzsaw in the sixth inning when Fernando Tatis Jr. doubled off the right field wall.
Eventually, Jurickson Profar took first to load the bases – after a replay overruled that he was hit by pitch – setting the table for Eric Hosmer.
It’s been well-documented that Hosmer had yet to record a hit off Bumgarner since signing with the Padres, but the former Royal went 3-for-4 on the evening, with the damage being done on two three-run, bases-clearing doubles in the sixth and seventh innings.
Yes, you read that correctly. We noted, earlier in the week, that Hosmer elevating the ball in the exhibitions was a welcome sign, and he continued to do so all night. Even the out recorded was a deep fly ball on the warning track.
Obviously, it’s just one game here, but if Hosmer can generally maintain that trend all year long, the Padres are going to end up in a favorable position after 60 games.
I thought it was interesting that Emilio Pagan was used in the seventh inning. He was touched up for a solo home run off the bat of Kole Calhoun, but that’s all he would allow. Drew Pomeranz pitched the eighth inning, fanning two of the three batters faced.
Back at it on Saturday.