Tatis' 31st HR, Frazier power win vs. A's

Offense rolls as Padres target pitching ahead of Friday's Trade Deadline

July 28th, 2021

SAN DIEGO -- Come Friday afternoon around 1 p.m. PT, the Padres roster might look markedly different from what it looks like right now. There are, of course, still three days remaining until the Trade Deadline, and San Diego will almost certainly be one of the most active teams on the market.

But let’s say that Deadline comes and goes, and this Padres offense -- the one currently constructed after Monday’s addition of All-Star Adam Frazier -- remains intact.

Looks pretty darn potent, doesn’t it?

The Padres beat the A’s, 7-4, on Tuesday night, offering an early indication of how things might look if this group of hitters stays together for a while. Frazier, in his Padres debut, singled twice and scored twice -- first on a home run by in the third, then on Jake Cronenworth’s RBI single, one batter before Manny Machado’s three-run homer broke the game open in the fifth.

In other words, it was how the Padres drew it up when they traded for the Major League hits leader and stuck him at the top of their lineup ahead of three fellow All-Stars.

“It just gets better and better,” Tatis said. “When you have four guys like that at the front of the lineup, that’s very scary for the other team.”

San Diego trailed 3-0 when Tatis delivered one of the most majestic home runs of his young career, a 440-foot blast over the second deck in left field in the bottom of the third inning. It was his 31st home run of the season, the most in the National League, and the 70th of his career -- barely missing the video board beyond the left-center-field seats.

“I think I could probably get to the big board,” Tatis laughed. “But that was one of the best so far.”

Two innings later, the Padres would load the bases for Cronenworth, who singled home the tying and go-ahead runs. Machado followed with an opposite-field three-run homer, sending a capacity crowd into a frenzy.

Yes, a sellout at Petco Park ... on a Tuesday night … in July ... against an American League opponent. These Padres are generating quite a buzz, and rightfully so. Now, their front office will spend the next 60 hours trying to mold this roster -- arguably the most exciting in baseball -- into the best possible version of a World Series contender.

That means even more change is almost certainly coming. Eric Hosmer, who was excellent defensively on Tuesday and reached base twice, has been the subject of plenty of trade speculation. The Padres, it seems, might still be in on Rangers’ slugger Joey Gallo (though that price tag might come in a bit high).

But if nothing else, Tuesday’s victory offered a reminder that the Padres offense is already excellent, whether they make a tweak or two by Friday or not.

“How all of that worked together, I thought that was really good team offense,” said Padres manager Jayce Tingler.

Then again, offense isn’t the top priority this week. With Frazier on board, it’s pretty clearly a playoff-caliber offense already. The same can be said about parts of the pitching staff. But general manager A.J. Preller remains in search of both starting and relief help, according to those familiar with his maneuvering.

Then again, there are internal fixes available for some of those question marks. Namely, Chris Paddack, who turned in a second consecutive solid outing on Tuesday. He allowed three runs in a tough-luck third inning, but bounced back and wouldn’t allow anything else before he was removed after six.

“I told myself three is all they’re getting,” Paddack said. And three was all they got.

Paddack has cemented himself at the back end of the rotation. A young pitcher with plenty of long-term upside, he’ll keep getting the ball, even though he remains a bit of an enigma for now. His place in a potential playoff rotation is tenuous, and the streakiness of both Paddack and Blake Snell is a major reason behind the Padres’ pitching search in the first place.

To that end, San Diego will almost certainly acquire a starter this week in an attempt to shore up its rotation. But Paddack will get ample opportunity to prove himself down the stretch. If he continues his recent surge, it could be every bit as valuable as an acquisition.

“It was huge for him to go out and give us the six innings that we got,” Tingler said. “It’s just a great step in Paddy’s continued development. We’re seeing a lot of great signs that he’s growing, that he’s developing. He’s getting better.”