Where there's a Wil: Myers' big night lifts Pads

April 23rd, 2016

SAN DIEGO -- During the offseason, Padres manager Andy Green posed a question of his new first baseman. As a matter of learning the preferences of his hitters, Green asked Wil Myers where he liked to bat in the lineup.

"I just told him, 'anywhere in the first inning,'" Myers said. "I definitely like to hit any time I can jump on something early in the game."

That's exactly what Myers did Friday night. He jumped all over a first-inning fastball from Adam Wainwright and deposited it into "The Beach" section in right-center field at Petco Park. That solo shot set the Padres on course for a 4-1 series-opening victory over the Cardinals.

Myers finished the game 3-for-3 and added a sacrifice fly and a stolen base for good measure. All four of the batted balls were struck well, either up-the-middle or to the opposite field.

He missed hitting for the cycle by a triple.

"Today was outstanding," Green said. "In the last week, he's had really competitive at-bats. ... He's got life to him. When he's on base, he makes us go. He's been moving in the right direction."

A week ago, Green moved Myers from the cleanup spot to the No. 2 hole, and Myers has certainly responded. He's 13-for-31 and has a hit in every game since.

Perhaps most importantly, Myers' strikeout rate has dropped sharply. In fact, Friday marked the first game this season in which he didn't whiff.

"By nature, he likes to instigate; by nature, he likes to get out in front," Green said. "... He just wants to go. He wants to go all the time. So, hitting in the first inning probably really suits him, and I think it's been probably a welcome change."

Myers upped his average to .304 and his OPS to .837 with Friday's three-hit night. He's certainly benefitted from seeing better pitches in the No. 2 spot, batting ahead of Matt Kemp.

But Myers added that he "finally felt something click" in the batters box Friday night. What exactly?

"It's just something you can't explain," Myers said. "Each hitter has their own different thing that they feel. I was able to get some of that tonight."

There's no doubt, Myers has found a groove, and the Padres were better off for it on Friday night.

"It doesn't really necessarily matter where I hit," Myers said. "I'm just seeing the ball better and had a really good approach today. I really felt my approach come around today."