The Padres had plenty of their “usual suspects” -- as manager Jayce Tingler calls them -- back in the lineup when they kicked off their series at Wrigley Field on Monday.
Third baseman Manny Machado and second baseman Jake Cronenworth were both given the day off on Sunday, and despite a ninth-inning push in the 7-4 loss to the Astros, Tingler resisted inserting either player to pinch hit. Tingler insisted there were no injury concerns for either Machado or Cronenworth and that they just needed a day to get off their feet, so both players being back in the lineup for the series opener against the Cubs confirms that.
“I think it's a little bit individual for each guy, and some guys, they need it physically,” Tingler said. “Some guys need it mentally. I would say with those two guys, with Manny and Jake, I would say it's directly, almost 100% physical, not mental. They're both in a really good place.”
Any player being left out of the lineup has become somewhat of a cause for concern for Padres followers, though, considering the way injuries have taken a toll on the team this season.
San Diego currently has 10 players on the 60-day injured list, and four more remain on the 10-day IL. Plenty of those injuries have come from the bullpen, which combined with four consecutive extra-inning games prior to Sunday, has tested the team’s pitching depth.
But Joe Musgrove bypassed a chance to start Monday to pitch five no-hit innings in relief of Blake Snell on Sunday, providing an entire day of rest for the Padres relievers. With Machado and Cronenworth also getting the day off, San Diego at least had Monday to feel comfortable with Sunday’s reset.
“I feel much better than where we were yesterday, for sure,” Tingler said. “Like we've talked about, as soon as you start to feel good, something happens. You don't get to have that for very long, but I do feel much better with where we are today, as far as where we were to begin the day yesterday.”
The Padres aren’t quite out of the woods yet.
Center fielder Trent Grisham and catcher Austin Nola are still on their second 10-day IL stints of the year -- Grisham with a left foot contusion, Nola with a left knee sprain. But even through the rash of injuries, San Diego has maintained the best record in the National League. Tommy Pham has upped his production since moving into the leadoff spot for Grisham. Webster Rivas -- brought in from the Minors to back up Victor Caratini behind the plate -- hit his first big league home run on Sunday.
The Padres miss the rest of their “usual suspects,” for sure, but for now, they’re comfortable with the replacements keeping the team afloat.
“That's the name of the game,” Tingler said. “The name of the game is depth and next man up and continuing to go, and we've got a ton of confidence in the group we have.”
“Just thinking of my grandparents, and certainly Jack Tingler who served, and I think [that] I think about it more during the anthem. I think it's myself -- and maybe it's other people in general -- a lot of times [in] life, things get going fast, and so just being able to take a moment today, hopefully sometime throughout the day, and you think about the men and women that served and have given their lives, just so we have an opportunity to live the way we live. Most definitely. It's a special day.” -- Tingler, on what Memorial Day means to him
“We're having to do a lot of, obviously, video work. The one thing you don't get is some of that player feedback with guys that have faced a certain pitcher within the last year. We do fortunately have a little bit of a luxury with having a former player like Victor Caratini that can help us, knowing the system a little bit. … But we feel like we've done our homework and know these guys as well as we can without facing them in a while.” -- Tingler, on the challenges of preparing to face the Cubs