SAN DIEGO -- The Padres capped perhaps the busiest 48 hours in franchise history in appropriate fashion:
Statement made, on the field and off it.
“It was a long day, and it was emotional right away, just because of what was going on,” said Padres manager Bob Melvin. “... Ended up being a really good day.”
Soto, Bell and Drury will join the team Wednesday. As such, Hader was the only newcomer on hand on Tuesday. He entered a tie game in the ninth inning and made quick work of the Rockies.
“Way better than watching him on the other side,” Melvin said. “We’ve seen him too much where he comes in and you feel like, at times, you just don’t have a chance.”
Indeed, the Petco Park faithful were treated to vintage Josh Hader. He blended his upper-90s two-seam fastball with his usual biting slider. The Rockies couldn’t square him up. Generally speaking, no one does. He’s one of the sport’s premier relief weapons, the owner of a 2.47 career ERA and four All-Star selections.
Hader’s dominant debut was, really, just the first taste of what’s to come from the Padres’ Deadline Day acquisitions. In the span of 48 hours, the Padres took a talented but flawed roster and turned it into what they feel is one of the most complete teams in the National League.
“The atmosphere here is: They want to win,” Hader said. “And not just to go to the playoffs but to win a World Series. That’s a contagious atmosphere to be a part of. Obviously the moves that [general manager A.J. Preller] and the front office put together, it’s exciting. That’s the mentality out here. And as players, that’s what you want.
“To be a part of that group and to be a part of a trade to come here – it’s special.”
Fittingly, it was Hader’s former Brewers teammate who won it for the Padres. Grisham has now homered in three straight games, including in both games of Tuesday’s doubleheader. His walk-off drive was his second this season and the third of his career.
Grisham’s recent surge could prove hugely important for the Padres. They addressed seemingly all of their potential areas of need at the Deadline, except for one. They didn’t add another center fielder. That might put the onus on Grisham to lock down that spot -- and he wasted no time making his case.
“For the better part of a few weeks now, he’s been swinging the bat well and getting good contact,” Melvin said. “... And if he’s at the bottom of the lineup doing what he’s doing like that -- with the length of our lineup maybe starting tomorrow -- it’s a good sign.”