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Fast games not always good for Padres

Notes on Sundays, Hedges, Weaver, Margot
San Diego Padres

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Commissioner Rob Manfred has to be happy with the Padres' pace of play this week.

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Commissioner Rob Manfred has to be happy with the Padres' pace of play this week.

Manfred wants to see faster games in baseball -- and the Padres have complied.

They defeated Arizona, 1-0, on Wednesday in two hours and 13 minutes. The next night, they won a second straight game in two hours and 24 minutes. On Friday night, they won a third straight game in two hours and 28 minutes. Even Saturday night's 11-inning loss to the Marlins had a brisk pace through the first 10 innings.

So, fast games are good, right?

Not necessarily in the eyes of Padres manager Andy Green, who thinks his club's pace of play has a lot to do with swinging at pitches too early in the count.

"I know faster games are enjoyable for the fans," Green said earlier this week.

But he'd like to see the Padres slow the pace just a bit and have his young hitters do a better job working the count.

"I'm looking for [consistent], quality at-bats -- at-bats that grind, at-bats that make pitchers work," said Green. "I think when you look back over the course of the season, we've had some of the quickest games.

"But part of the reason why we've had quick games is the at-bats have been too quick. We've had guys put pitches into play on the first pitch that shouldn't be put in play, they should be conceded to the pitcher. I like that we're aggressive. ... I like guys who are aggressive.

"But I want guys to be aggressive on their pitch. We're moving guys around in the lineup because we're looking for that combination of guys who grind through at-bats, who make it tougher on the other team.

"And we haven't done that consistently yet. We had better at-bats [on Saturday], as far as I'm concerned -- and I'm expecting them to continue to get better. But you're looking for that consistency at [the plate] that forces the other team to work harder.

"You don't win baseball games consistently sitting back and waiting for home runs. Now, if it's a three-run homer, it plays. What doesn't play is runners not getting on in front of the homer. Our challenge has been -- and will continue to be -- getting on base. If you don't make outs, you win baseball games. We will get to a point where our guys get on base more consistently."

Green also believes swinging early in counts has adversely affected the Padres' running game. Hitters have been putting the ball in play -- or fouling off pitches to fall behind in the count -- before the runner has a chance to attempt a steal.

Game notes

• It is Sunday and time for the rubber match of the Padres' three-game series with Miami, as their six-game homestand at Petco Park ends. It's also time to revisit one of the stranger series of stats working against the Padres. The Padres are 0-2 on Sundays this season, after going 6-20 on Sundays in 2016. The Padres are also 17-39 in day games since the start of '16 and 14-43 in the final games of series.

• Catcher Austin Hedges hit his fifth homer in a span of seven starts on Saturday night, becoming only the second Padres catcher to hit five home runs in a seven-game span. Terry Kennedy hit five home runs in a six-game window in 1983. Hedges was 1-for-5 on Saturday and is 10-for-32 (.313) with two doubles, five homers and 11 RBIs since starting the season 0-for-24.

• Righty Jered Weaver gave up two home runs in six innings on Saturday night, raising his season total to seven homers in 23 innings over four starts. Weaver has a 3.91 earned run average and all 10 runs he's allowed have come on homers. He also allowed four hits and a walk with three strikeouts on Saturday. "I've got to find a way to keep the ball in the park," said Weaver, whose fastball topped out at 85-mph in the outing.

• Center fielder Manuel Margot, the Padres' rookie leadoff hitter, is 8-for-15 (.533) with two doubles, a triple, two homers and a walk when opening games this season. Margot (.270) was 2-for-5 on Saturday night in his seventh, multi-hit game of the season.

San Diego Padres