San Diego Padres Off to Strong Start

Take your walks and success will come.

The San Diego Padres walked 28 times in their four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks en route to winning three of four games at Petco Park.

They lead the majors in walks after finishing in 26th place in 2019.

New manager Jayce Tingler made that a focus in the weird (yet productive) offseason. He made hitters take multiple rounds of batting practice without swinging at any pitches. This is a weird strategy that is paying early dividends for this young offense. 

The acquisition of veterans Tommy Pham and Jurickson Profar in the offseason has also increased patience at the plate. They each drew four walks on Opening Weekend, often in crucial situations. Profar filled in at second base, first base, and designated hitter throughout the weekend.

Eric Hosmer, who was scratched from the lineup on Saturday and Monday with a non-COVID-related sickness, went four-for-six with seven RBI, including two bases-clearing doubles in the 7-2 victory on Opening Day. He added a solo home run on Sunday.

In Game 4, the offense showcased its balanced approach. Outfielder Trent Grisham got the party started with a solo blast in the first inning. Then, Fernando Tatis Jr. tripled home three runs in a five-run fourth, which included a walk, a double and a bunt. 

A few rookies made their debuts on offense for the Padres. Jake Cronenworth had one pinch-hit at-bat and drove in a run when he blasted a double off the right-field wall on Sunday. 

Surprise roster addition Edward Olivares went one-for-three in each of his starts on Saturday and Monday and made some solid plays in right field.

The starting pitchers only allowed three earned runs. Chris Paddack threw six shutout innings on Opening Day to set the tone for the series.

Paddack, Dinelson Lamet, and Garrett Richards only allowed one earned run in 16 innings of work with 18 strikeouts. That trio will need to dominate the remainder of the season for the Padres to have a shot at the playoffs.

The bullpen was strong but faltered in the Padres’ 4-3 loss in Game 3 of the series, with Emilio Pagán and Kirby Yates each giving up two runs in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively. 

The Padres are heading to San Francisco for a three-game series against the Giants, who split their four-game opening series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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