Chris Paddack struggled against the Dodgers last year, but he put together a masterful performance in the Padres win on Monday night.
The noted concerns against the Dodgers were present for Chris Paddack in his rookie year. The Padres ace finished with a 3.33 ERA in 26 starts overall on the season, but as we previously touched on, the Sheriff struggled against the team’s rivals, posting a 5.65 ERA in three starts. For the Padres to prove that they could hang with the Dodgers, it was so important for Paddack to have a strong performance.
And that’s exactly what he provided.
The 24-year-old went six innings, fanning five batters and allowing zero free passes. He allowed three earned runs in the contest, throwing 54-of-88 pitches for strikes. However, when Joc Pederson sent Paddack’s first pitch of the game into the stands, it had that all-too-familiar feeling of perhaps the Padres weren’t ready to hang with the Dodgers.
I think what was most impressive about Paddack was how quickly he rebounded from that moment, striking out the next two batters and then getting Cody Bellinger to ground out. Trent Grisham quickly responded for the Padres, sending an absolute moonshot – his fourth of the year – to right field.
Speaking of Bellinger, Paddack’s curveball usage has been something to monitor this year, and it looks like it’s showing signs of a viable pitch. In the fourth inning, he got Bellinger to swing about a foot over the top of a curveball in the dirt, raising the eyebrows of many people on Twitter.
The game was generally a back-and-forth affair with Fernando Tatis Jr. hitting a booming opposite-field home run, and Austin Hedges recording his first hit of the year, an RBI single that gave the Padres much-needed insurance.
And aside from Kirby Yates giving up a bomb to Bellinger, the bullpen looked much better, as Emilio Pagan and Drew Pomeranz went relatively drama-free to set-up the Padres closer. Tuesday’s game will be critical because, as we saw in the Rockies series, winning the first game means little if you drop the next two. Also a huge shoutout to Jake Cronenworth for his magnificent play at first base last night.
Dinelson Lamet versus Dustin May. Let’s get it.