San Diego Padres April Review

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The San Diego Padres were expected to make the National League West into a three-team race, and now that the calendar has turned from April to May, that race is already meeting expectations.

The San Diego Padres are sitting in second place, just a half-game behind the Los Angeles Dodgers, and one game above the San Francisco Giants. The Padres have found early success from their starting rotation, and corner infielders Eric Hosmer and Manny Machado have led the way on offense. Outfielder Jurickson Profar added some pop during the month, hitting five home runs and driving in 15 runs.

Pitching

The Padres turned plenty of heads during the 2020 offseason, making blockbuster trades to acquire Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, and Joe Musgrove. They added right-hander Mike Clevinger to the mix before the 2020 MLB Trade Deadline. He missed all of 2021 while recovering from Tommy John Surgery. He made his 2022 debut on May 4 against the Cleveland Guardians, the team that traded him to the Padres. Padres general manager AJ Preller brought left-hander Sean Manea into the mix before Opening Day in 2022.

Rookie left-hander Mackenzie Gore made his long-anticipated debut on April 15 at Petco Park against the Atlanta Braves. He pitched five-and-one-third innings, allowing two runs on three hits and striking out three. He followed that up with two more solid starts, not allowing any runs over 10 combined innings. 

Musgrove led the starting rotation during April with 32 innings pitched over five starts and a 1.97 ERA. Musgrove, who threw the franchise’s first and only no-hitter in history in April 2021, will be an unrestricted free agent after the season. It’s safe to assume the Padres would want to get an extension worked out sooner and not later, but it’s also safe to assume that another strong season would give Musgrove the leverage to test the starting pitcher market this winter. 

On the backend, newly-acquired closer Taylor Rogers took on the role of “Mr. Reliable” during the month, appearing in 11 games and recording 10 saves. He did not give up any runs in April (100 percent scOtg%).

Hitting 

Hosmer and Machado were two of MLB’s hottest hitters in April. Hosmer currently leads the majors with a .389 batting average while slugging .597. More impressively, Hosmer made himself a tough out last month, finishing April with a .457 on-base percentage (OBP). 

Machado hit .386 last month while driving in 15 runs. He flexed his power with the bat by hitting seven doubles and four home runs. He slugged .614 in April. Machado reached base just as often as Hosmer, the evidence seen in his .453 OBP. Profar shared the team lead in home runs with Machado in April by hitting five. 

May Presents Early Challenges

The season is now into May, and the Padres find themselves in a part of the schedule with almost no division games. San Diego plays another three-game series at San Francisco May 20-22, immediately after stops to visit the Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies. The Padres will face two more playoff contenders during the month, hosting the Milwaukee Brewers May 23-25, and ending the month with a three-game series at the St. Louis Cardinals that will carry the team into June. 

Only a few division games, but the Friars still have their work cut out this month. Atlanta and Philadelphia are hostile environments, and both teams are talented enough to reach the playoffs. The Padres split a four-game series with Atlanta at Petco Park last month. How they fare during the month will serve as an early measuring stick to determine how this team measures up against other National League contenders. 

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Players Mentioned

Eric Hosmer, Manny Machado, Jurickson Profar, Yu Darvish, Blake Snell,  Joe Musgrove, Mike Clevinger, Sean Manea, Mackenzie Gore, Taylor Rogers