SAN DIEGO -- Twenty-nine teams had the chance to add Franmil Reyes on the cheap last December. Twenty-nine teams passed.Hard to believe, given that the hulking right fielder has evolved into a fearsome presence in the heart of the Padres' lineup. No doubt, there are more than a few clubs
SAN DIEGO -- Twenty-nine teams had the chance to add Franmil Reyes on the cheap last December. Twenty-nine teams passed.
Hard to believe, given that the hulking right fielder has evolved into a fearsome presence in the heart of the Padres' lineup. No doubt, there are more than a few clubs that would love to have a bat like his.
Reyes -- who was left unprotected in last year's Rule 5 Draft, but wasn't chosen -- extended his hitting streak to 10 games with an RBI single in the third inning Tuesday night. Then he smashed a go-ahead two-run homer in the fifth, before the Padres' bullpen faltered late in a 5-4 loss to the Giants at Petco Park.
"He's looked so good," Padres manager Andy Green said of Reyes. "As an organization, he's become one of the success stories. [Signed] by us, developed by us, and he's just grown so much. ... We're thrilled we have him. He's done a really, really nice job."
Reyes' homer came with a bit of controversy attached. He's known for his prodigious blasts, but this one barely got over the left-field fence and landed in the first row. It might not have cleared the fence at all, but a fan appeared to reach into the field of play, making contact with the glove of left-fielder Chris Shaw. After a crew-chief initiated review, the call would stand.
Shaw got his revenge. His two-run bloop single off Craig Stammen put the Giants on top in the eighth. In the bottom half, Cory Spangenberg missed a homer by inches down the right-field line. It went foul and he lined out sharply on the next pitch.
An inning later, Freddy Galvis came even closer. He smashed a double off the top of the left-center-field wall against Giants closer Will Smith. Galvis, who went 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles, was stranded at second.
"I didn't lift today," Galvis quipped afterward. "I guess that's what happened."
Padres starter Joey Lucchesi allowed three runs and seven hits over five innings while striking out eight. He was removed for pinch-hitter A.J. Ellis in the bottom of the fifth, and Ellis worked a leadoff walk, setting the stage for Reyes' blast.
It was Reyes' 16th homer, and he's hitting .279/.333/.527 in 77 games this year. Not bad for a 23-year-old rookie. Reyes' .860 OPS is fourth all-time among Padres rookies with at least 100 plate appearances. Ryan Schimpf, the leader with his .869 OPS in 2016, is still within reach.
As things stand, it's going to be a crowded competition for playing time in the outfield next season. But Reyes came from seemingly nowhere to anchor right field this year, and he's clearly left his mark.
"He's had so many big hits for us," Green said. "We're definitely pleased he's in a Padres uniform. And he's making a case to be out there consistently next year, too."
LUCCHESI GRINDS THROUGH 5
It's been a while since Lucchesi has resembled the sharp version of himself that burst onto the scene in the first half of the season.
That makes his recent results all the more impressive. The rookie left-hander has found himself in plenty of trouble, and he's worked through it seamlessly.
"I'm a competitor, man," Lucchesi said. "I always go out there just to give my team the best chance to win. That's always how I've been as a character and a human being. I always try to fight for my boys."
In the top of the fifth inning, Lucchesi put two men in scoring position with nobody out. He struck out Evan Longoria, then made a nice play on a Nick Hundley chopper back to the mound, flipping with his glove to catcher Austin Hedges for the out at the plate. He finally escaped by getting Aramis Garcia to chase a 1-2 curveball, ending the threat.
"The battle is so good with Joey when he's off," Green said. "He gives you a chance to win a baseball game. What he did today is just as impressive as going out there and absolutely dominating."
Barring something unforeseen, Galvis is going to be the only player in the Majors to play all 162 games in both 2017 and '18. And he's still going strong. Galvis has doubled four times in the last three games, and his four-hit night was his second of the season.
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"The defense has been there all season long," Green said. "I don't think he feels the numbers are where he'd like them to be. But at-bat after at-bat, it's a high-quality at-bat."
Through August, Reyes had recorded 13 home runs with just 17 RBIs. It was a truly odd statistical anomaly at the time, but those numbers have begun to balance out. Reyes has three dingers and 10 RBIs in September.
HE SAID IT
"He's getting a reputation. They're not going to give in to him … no matter who's hitting behind him." -- Green, on Reyes
Robbie Erlin takes the ball Wednesday as the Padres finish their three-game series against the Giants at 6:10 p.m. PT. Erlin has posted a 2.05 ERA in relief this season, compared with a 6.80 mark as a starter. He was sharp in his most recent start Friday against Texas, allowing two runs (one earned) in 5 1/3 innings, with both runs coming after defensive lapses. San Francisco counters with right-hander Chris Stratton.
AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.