Relevant? Profar's double reverberates in LA

April 15th, 2024

LOS ANGELES -- found himself the subject of some harsh words during the middle game of the Padres’ weekend series against the Dodgers. After Profar was at the center of a benches-clearing incident, Dodgers catcher Will Smith said after the game that Profar is “kind of irrelevant.”

In the series finale, Profar let his bat prove he is, in fact, relevant.

Profar drilled a tiebreaking, three-run double in the seventh inning to lift the Padres to a 6-3 victory over the Dodgers on Sunday evening at Dodger Stadium. The 31-year-old veteran cleared the bases with a long drive off reliever J.P. Feyereisen that hit the top of the wall in center, capping yet another Padres comeback and giving them the series win.

“I'm not going to comment on that,” Profar said of Smith’s words. “I'm just going to play like I did. Yes, I heard about it. But I'm not a media guy. I show up out there.”

The Padres drew 14 walks in the game as they rallied from a 3-1 deficit. Dodgers pitchers James Paxton and Ryan Brasier walked the bases loaded to lead off the sixth, allowing the Padres to tie it up on Luis Campusano’s ground-ball double play and an infield single by Jackson Merrill.

The Padres again loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh, aided by a pair of walks from Feyereisen. After Manny Machado popped out, Profar provided the big blow to put the Padres ahead for good. His double traveled 397 feet, left his bat at 102.5 mph and was mere inches away from being a grand slam.

“[Smith] has got his own opinions about relevancy. He can judge that all he wants,” Padres manager Mike Shildt said. “But I can tell you this: Profar is very relevant to us. He's a glue guy for us.

“This guy's got 10 years in the big leagues. There's some relevance there, and he did a nice job tonight with the three-run double. But beyond that, [Profar] is a pro and he's a very big part of the San Diego Padres. He's very relevant to me. I believe completely he's very relevant to his teammates. We respect and appreciate him highly.”

Profar also walked and scored and Machado homered for the second time in three games to pace the Padres’ offense. Yu Darvish allowed three runs in five innings, and the Padres’ bullpen finished out with four scoreless frames to wrap up the victory.

Profar’s relevance has not been in question to the Padres this season. After re-signing a one-year contract with the team during spring training, Profar leads the Padres with a .424 on-base percentage and .960 OPS. He’s tied with Fernando Tatis for the team lead with a .536 slugging percentage.

“We're going to have to check the dictionary on that because he's been leading this team big time,” Machado said of the “irrelevant” remark. “The numbers speak for themselves. Every time he comes out here and he steps on that field, he makes a big impact on the game.”

The Padres went back and forth with the Dodgers before Profar swung the game permanently in their favor. Machado led off the fourth inning with a long homer off Paxton to give the Padres a lead, but the Dodgers quickly erased it with three runs in the bottom of the frame against Darvish.

Freddie Freeman led off with a double, Smith followed with an RBI single and Max Muncy launched a towering two-run homer into the Padres’ bullpen in right field to give the Dodgers a 3-1 lead.

But for the third straight day, the Padres rallied in the late innings. In the series opener, they trailed 7-3 before rallying to tie it in the seventh and win it in extra innings. In the middle contest, they trailed early but pulled into a 1-1 tie in the sixth before faltering late. And in the finale, they rallied from behind once again to take the series, with Profar showing just how relevant he really is.

“We have a great team, and they have a really, really good team over there,” Profar said. “For us to come in here and take two out of three, it’s a message.”