Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.
Baseball’s crystal ball doesn’t offer a clear look at the future. It gives you a forecast, sometimes just a clue or a hint.
All three were impressive in starts in Milwaukee against the playoff-contending Brewers.
• Richards, 31, allowed three runs on five hits with five strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings in his first Major League outing since having Tommy John surgery 15 months ago. But the line is not the story. Some of his pitches were filthy and low in the zone. He looked healthy. This is a veteran of 115 Major League starts before this year with a 45-38 record and a 3.54 career ERA.
• Paddack, 23, completed his rookie season by giving up one run on a hit and a walk with nine strikeouts over five innings to finish with a 3.33 ERA for 26 starts. And he finished on the best possible note. Over his last four starts, Paddack gave up two runs on 13 hits and four walks with 32 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings -- for a 0.77 ERA, a 0.73 WHIP and an average of 12.34 strikeouts per nine innings.
• Lamet, 27, who had Tommy John surgery in the spring of 2018, struck out 14 Brewers in six innings Wednesday, allowing one run on three hits and three walks. He is just one of 13 pitchers in Major League history to have 14 strikeouts in six innings or less. Lamet turned in the eighth performance of 14 or more strikeouts in Padres history -- and the first since Jake Peavy tied his own Padres’ single-game record of 16 strikeouts on April 25, 2007. Over the final three of his 13 starts, Lamet has allowed five runs on 13 hits and six walks with 25 strikeouts in 17 innings for a 2.65 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP while averaging 13.24 strikeouts per nine innings.
• Closer Kirby Yates recorded his Major League-leading 41st save Wednesday night, although he has had only 11 saves since the All-Star break. Yates has also converted nine straight saves since his third blown save of the season on Aug. 4. Yates has not allowed an earned run in his last eight outings covering 7 2/3 innings to lower his ERA 1.21.
• Hunter Renfroe’s home run Tuesday in Milwaukee was the injury-slowed outfielder’s first since Aug. 10. Of course, he had also missed 11 starts due to ankle and elbow pains over the previous 34 games. The home run ended a 4-for-44 drought during which Renfroe had 25 strikeouts against two doubles and one RBI, although he had also drawn seven walks.
• Right-hander Gerardo Reyes’ sixth stint with the Padres this season has been his most successful. He has allowed one run on four hits and no walks with eight strikeouts in five innings over four appearances to lower his ERA from 11.25 to 9.
• Right-hander Trey Wingenter has allowed one run on one hit and a hit batter with six strikeouts in four innings since returning from Double-A Amarillo.