Off the field, the Padres are wheeling and dealing like a team that believes it is capable of making a deep October run this year. On the field, they’re playing like one.
With their 13-2 victory over the Rockies on Sunday afternoon at Coors Field, the Padres improved to 21-15 on the season, percentage points behind the Cubs for the second-best record in the National League. They got contributions from seemingly everywhere, most notably six innings without an earned run from right-hander Chris Paddack.
“The boys are excited,” Paddack said Sunday afternoon. “We’re fired up. We have a lot of energy right now. We’re rolling.”
Paddack has struggled over his past three starts, having allowed six runs in two of them. But the right-hander bounced back in a big way, striking out eight and locating his fastball much better than he had over the past month.
“He was due for an outing like this,” said first baseman Eric Hosmer, who homered and went 2-for-5 on Sunday. “He’s too good of a pitcher.”
The Padres still seemed to be asking for a lot from Paddack, who was making his first start at Coors Field after a taxing bullpen day for the team on Saturday. He delivered.
Paddack called the series “one of the biggest we’ve had in a long time,” and that isn’t an overstatement. The Padres haven’t reached the playoffs in 14 years, and they haven’t been serious contenders since 2010. The win moved them three games ahead of the Rockies for the second automatic playoff spot in the National League West.
“Today was huge for me personally, to prove to myself that I still have it, and that I’m going to step on their throats in Game 3,” Paddack said.
That doesn’t account for the Padres’ two National League MVP Award candidates -- both of whom had big days on Sunday. Manny Machado had two hits and extended his hitting streak to 12 games, during which he’s batting .510. Fernando Tatis Jr. went 3-for-4 and doubled twice.
“I don’t think I’ve been on an offense that’s been rolling this good,” said Hosmer -- big words from a veteran who went to the World Series twice with Kansas City.
Entering the weekend, the Padres already had a fairly complete offense -- and that was before they landed a significant upgrade at DH in Moreland.
“Extremely fired up,” Hosmer said. “Mitch is rolling right now, and we’re rolling as a team right now. So it’s perfect to add a bat like him in there.”
And the Padres might not be done yet. The front office has given every indication that another move or two is coming before Monday’s 1 p.m. PT Trade Deadline.
“It’s cool being buyers,” said right fielder Wil Myers, the longest-tenured Padre who would know as well as anyone.
After years in the NL West basement, the Padres -- on and off the field -- look like contenders.