No matter what Chris Paddack does this season, the San Diego Padres are a very good team. But if he can get back to what made him so successful two years ago, they’re not just good – they’re a legitimate World Series contender.
Paddack got the ball for San Diego to kick off the Cactus League calendar on Monday and did not disappoint, tossing two scoreless innings against the Cubs. Everything he threw was sharp – especially his change-up and fastball. Of course, the difference between his fastball from 2019 to 2020 proved costly and he spent the offseason working to get that pitch back on track.
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In his two frames, Paddack struck out three and walked one. He did not surrender a base hit against a Cubs lineup that featured most of its projecting Opening Day starters.
"“That’s exactly what we wanted to see, and that’s the way he’s been throwing the ball all through camp in what we’ve seen,” Jayce Tingler told MLB.com after the game. “You’re facing really, really good hitters on that side, so for him to carry that in, I thought was a great step.”"
Last season, Paddack went from Opening Day starter to being passed over in the rotation come October. The big right-hander went from dominating hitters with his overpowering fastball to watching them tee off against it last season.
Padres: Optimism is high when it comes to Chris Paddack
Hopefully, Monday’s first taste of action is a sign of things to come. One Cactus League start does not a season make. We all know that. But Paddack looked sharp against Chicago and he’s definitely one of the key guys to keep a close eye on this spring.
Looking at the game, as a whole, Padres pitchers limited the Cubs to just two hits over seven innings. Following Paddack, Daniel Camarena, James Reeves and Nick Ramirez combined for five scoreless frames out of the pen.