Padres avoid injury scare with Chris Paddack, bigger concerns remain

(Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images) /

Chris Paddack left after only two innings for the Padres last night. And while they avoided serious injury, are there broader concerns present?

Padres hurler Chris Paddack has generally had success against the Giants in his career. And facing them in game one of a significant four-game series with about two weeks left in the regular season, the 24-year-old needed to get back on track. Paddack has struggled with his fastball command, and he’s been very up and down in 2020.

And in the top of the first inning, it looked like he was going to have a big day, striking out two of the three batters he faced. Shifting to the second inning, Paddack’s fastball velocity was noticeably down from where he usually sits, and he was pulled with an apparent injury after just two innings.

Later we learned that he had sprained his ankle at some point, which is a much bigger relief in the sense that the injury could have been much worse. Had it been a shoulder or elbow injury, the Padres rotation could have taken a huge hit.

We’ll see how long he could be out for, but with an important three-game set against the first-place Dodgers next week, the team would obviously like to have him back for that one. However, with Paddack’s struggles, it does raise the question if he makes the postseason rotation. With a 29-17 record and only 14 games to go, the Padres are virtually a lock for the playoffs.

Who they will face is yet to be determined, but right now, is your starting three Lamet – Clevinger – Davies? A strong argument could be made for that scenario, as Paddack did serve up another long ball in last night’s outing before exiting.

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He’s yet to develop a true third pitch, which should be his primary focus on the offseason, so you have to wonder if penciling him into a playoff rotation gives the Padres the best chance to win the game. I can definitely see him having an impact, piggy-backing a starter’ effort before getting to the back-end of the bullpen.

Hopefully, Paddack can return before the end of the year and finish on a strong note.