All-Star Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres start series vs. Phillies

MLB

Even though the San Diego Padres lost a tough one-run game on Thursday, they’ll still enter a three-game series at Philadelphia as one of the hottest teams in Major League Baseball.

The Padres fell 5-4 on the road against the Cincinnati Reds as closer Mark Melancon suffered a blown save.

But the Padres have won 11 of the last 13 thanks in large part to their balanced offense up and down the lineup.

In fact, Fernando Tatis Jr. became the first Padres player voted as a National League All-Star starter since Tony Gwynn in 1999. Tatis leads the NL with 26 home runs and is second with 17 stolen bases.

It’s not just Tatis carrying the Padres though. On Wednesday, Trent Grisham hit a grand slam and added a solo homer. Wil Myers also homered.

Grisham said the coaching staff has been imploring him to be as aggressive as possible.

“Just being ready to hit when those pitches that I know I can handle come across,” Grisham said. “That’s the thing: We don’t know when those pitches are going to come in an at-bat. So being ready every pitch is something that I’ve been trying to take pride in.”

All season, the Padres have not been giving up at-bats. Even when they lose, like they did Thursday, they battle from the opening pitch to the final out.

“I think we have done a great job barreling baseballs and having good at-bats,” San Diego manager Jayce Tingler said. “Just up and down, a lot of barrels and not ever giving up at-bats.”

The Padres will send Chris Paddack (4-5, 4.64 ERA) to the mound for his 15th start. Against the Phillies, he’s 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in two starts.

The Phillies, meanwhile, will look to rebound after another maddening loss in an inconsistent season.

Philadelphia held on for a 4-3 win on Tuesday, but sputtered with two errors and some poor pitching in a five-run loss Wednesday. Their game Thursday against the Marlins was rained out.

“Obviously, to stay in it, you’ve got to have someone dial up a start every night,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “That’s what you have to do. You have to pitch extremely well.”

On a night when they scored six runs, it wasn’t nearly enough.

“It’s frustrating. You’re not going to win close games if you don’t play good defense,” Girardi said. “It’s bit us bad, especially this week. We’ve given a number of extra outs, and it seemed to come to bite us every time.”

Bryce Harper homered twice on Wednesday, giving him 13 this season. Amazingly, all 13 home runs have been solo shots.

Nick Maton added his first career triple to go along with two RBIs.

Two costly errors hurt, and the result was another defeat.

“This is what we do, man. We compete,” Rhys Hoskins said. “We get knocked down and we get back up. Everybody else, I’m sure, feels the same way.”

If the Phillies hope to open this series with a win, they’ll need a strong start from Zack Wheeler.

Wheeler (6-4, 2.20) will be making his 17th start. In five starts against the Padres, he’s 2-1 with a 3.10 ERA.

–Field Level Media

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