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Keeping Up with the Padres | Ellie Ballard

If you’ve been keeping up with Major League Baseball at all for the past few weeks, you’ll know just how well the Padres have been doing. After season-after-season of losses and disappointment, their recent success comes as a surprise to many.

In a time where the MLB is one of the only sports leagues worldwide consistently running (with no fans, of course), all eyes are on San Diego. Luckily, they’ve risen to the occasion and their record-breaking week of grand slams was impressive to say the least. Beginning August 19th, five different Padres players hit five grand slams in the span of merely six games and there were four in-a-row against the Texas Rangers, which ultimately resulted in a series sweep. As of now, the Padres are the only team in MLB history to hit a grand slam in four consecutive games.

Fernando Tatis Jr., a 21 year old shortstop from the Dominican Republic, became the first player to hit the grand slam, and as a result, started the “Slam Diego” streak. Tatis Jr. has quickly proven that he can be a valuable asset to the Padres club, and though he’s only been with the organization for a little over one year, he’s quickly become a fan-favorite. This year, through August 28th, Tatis Jr. was leading the MLB in home runs and is currently one of the Padres’ top five hitters.

Tatis Jr. is just one of the fresh talents to make up the squad’s predominately youthful, spirited core. Within the past 48 hours, the Padres have acquired 6 new players, including the Cleveland Indians’ starting pitcher, Mike Clevinger. Padres star players Eric Hosmer and Jake Cronenworth along with the new additions builds a promising future for the squad.

The team’s momentum may also be partly thanks to Jayce Tingler, San Diego’s brand new rookie manager. Considering the circumstances of the global pandemic that has severely altered the sports world, the fact that this is his first time ever managing a major league team, and having to pick up a team that hasn’t had a winning record since 2010, one could say he’s done a pretty good job so far. The Padres needed a switch-up anyways. Under Tingler, the team has made some pretty aggressive trade deals, as we’ve seen so far. Whether this was a good or bad decision will be clear soon enough.

Hopefully, at the end of the day, all this will be enough to secure the Padres one of the 16 spots in this year’s postseason and maybe even a shot at its first ever World Series title. Keep in mind that the team hasn’t made the playoffs since 2006, nearly 15 years ago. From where they stand right now (2nd in NL West, trailing the LA Dodgers), they have the best shot they’ve had in years. This brings up an interesting query: is the 2020 season just a one-off, or is this the start of a multi-year playoff team? San Diego’s recent trades are looking pretty promising for the latter. And even if all goes south, they’ve still got a great core of young, excited players ready to try it all again next season.

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