DENVER -- “We got our [butts] whooped today, man. We lost. That’s all that matters.”
Manny Machado isn’t interested in consolation prizes or moral victories. And certainly not after the Padres were beaten, 12-2, by the Rockies at Coors Field in Friday’s series opener.
First three-hit game in a Padres uniform or not, Machado isn’t here for those if they don’t translate into victory.
“It’s all about the Ws,” he said. “I know I’m gonna get my hits, and I know what I’m gonna do. But we lost the game.”
The Padres did lose the game, but Machado’s 3-for-5 performance is not insignificant. From Opening Day through April 26, his hard-hit rate, per Statcast -- the percentage of batted balls with an exit velocity of 95 mph or greater -- was 37.5 percent, well below Machado’s 48 percent from 2018.
But entering play Friday, he was on a two-week run during which that hard-hit rate was 55%, ninth among 161 batters from April 27-May 9, who had put at least 25 balls in play. And on Friday, two of Machado’s three singles were scalded, the first at 106.8 mph off the bat in the first inning, and the other at 100.5 mph in the fifth.
Sure, Machado is hitting .250/.325/.438 for the season, and his weighted on-base average is a mediocre .322 since April 27. But according to Statcast, his expected wOBA over that period, based on launch angle and exit velocity of batted balls, is 81 points higher, at .403. He’s also barreling the ball on 15 percent of his batted balls in that span, compared to 6.3 percent before that.
“He’s looked good for a while,” manager Andy Green said. “He had some really good swings in the Dodgers series (three home runs, one off Clayton Kershaw and the other two off Rich Hill), and overall he’s in a good spot. Those last couple of at-bats [Friday night], we’re down by eight, nine, 10 runs, and he maintained his best swing. The three-hit night is a good night for him, for sure.”
The dichotomy between Machado’s first month this season and the last two weeks loosely serves as a microcosm of how he’s been trending since Statcast began tracking in 2015. His hard-hit rate has gone up every year: 41.5 percent in ‘15, 43.8 percent in ‘16, 47.5 percent in ‘17, and 48 percent last year.
The Statcast metrics indicate Machado has been pretty unlucky over the past two weeks based on how he’s been hitting the baseball. And perhaps inadvertently, he alluded to that when talking about his three-hit night in a 12-2 loss.
“This game’s about luck,” he said. “Sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes you don’t.”
The Padres are hoping to see luck even out for their $300 million man, the anchor of a lineup that has prodigious power potential, and the symbol of a franchise that appears to be accelerating its timetable for competitiveness in the National League West, currently residing 3 1/2 games behind the first-place Dodgers.
But don’t talk to Machado about his individual performance after a game like the one he played in Friday night. He isn’t here for the consolation prize.
“It’s just part of the game,” he said. “We just couldn’t hit in key situations. We lost the game.”