Sprained ankle casts uncertainty for Paddack

September 11th, 2020

At some point in the next two weeks, the Padres' decision makers will sit down to map out the team’s first postseason roster in 14 years. is running out of time to ensure that his name is on it.

The Friars continued cruising toward the playoffs with a 6-1 victory over the Giants on Thursday at Petco Park. It was their 29th win of the season -- only the Dodgers have more. San Diego’s suddenly brilliant bullpen picked up the slack when Paddack exited after just two innings with a right ankle sprain.

“He ended up with a sprained right ankle, which is a shame,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said. “Because I thought the way he threw the ball in the first, I thought he was onto something special tonight.”

X-rays on Paddack’s ankle came back negative, and Tingler said Paddack is questionable for his start against the Dodgers next week. Paddack sustained the injury at some point in the first inning. After the frame, he retreated to the trainer’s room to have it taped, and when he returned to the mound for the second, his fastball velocity had ticked down.

Among the possible reasons for such an early exit, an ankle sprain qualifies as something of a best-case scenario. Still, it brings forth further questions about where Paddack might fit come October. He was the Padres’ Opening Day starter, but through 10 starts, he owns a 4.74 ERA -- the highest mark among the current five-man rotation.

But Tingler expressed optimism based on Paddack’s first inning Thursday night. He retired the Giants in order, striking out their two best hitters, Mike Yastrzemski and Donovan Solano.

“We're hoping for the best and hoping he can make that next start,” Tingler said. “But just watching his first inning and how crisp he was with his fastball and the changeup … we know it's there. From that part, we don't really have much concern. Our concern now is with the ankle.”

Even if Paddack recovers, he might only have one more start before San Diego begins aligning its postseason rotation. After their series against the Dodgers next week, the Padres have three off-days in the last 11 days of the regular season. In all likelihood, next Friday in Seattle is when they’ll start adjusting the order of their rotation to account for the postseason.

Paddack’s final few starts were supposed to serve as a barometer for his postseason readiness. Those questions won’t be answered so long as he’s sidelined.

Oña on the board

 didn't get cheated for his first big league hit.

The Padres' No. 24 prospect earned his callup on Tuesday when Eric Hosmer landed on the 10-day injured list due to a fractured left index finger. Making his second start on Thursday, Oña demolished a hanging breaking ball from Drew Smyly and sent it to the second deck in left field.

Statcast pegged the blast at 414 feet -- a no-doubter from the moment it left his bat. It was, in a nutshell, precisely why Oña is here in the first place. The 23-year-old slugger has ridiculous power, particularly against left-handed pitching.

“We see BP, we see what he does, we know the power’s there,” Tingler said. “But it’s another thing to take it into the game.”

Oña is the second Padre in the past six days to record his first big league hit via the long ball. Luis Campusano went deep on Friday in Oakland, before he landed on the IL two days later with a sprained left wrist.

Before Campusano, no Padre had homered for his first big league hit since Patrick Kivlehan in 2016.

Manny does it all

Fernando Tatis Jr. is the frontrunner, but he’s not the only National League MVP Award candidate on the left side of the Padres' infield.

 put his value on display in the first three innings of Thursday’s game. He made a ridiculous diving snare on Alex Dickerson’s laser one-hopper in the first inning. Two innings later, Machado crushed a 421-foot bomb to the second deck in left, his 13th of the season.

Machado is hitting .307/.376/.597 in 46 games this season, and after a so-so defensive showing last season, he's playing like a two-time Gold Glove Award winner at third base.