What just happened?
That was the question facing both the San Diego Padres and Minnesota Twins on Friday night after the Padres hit season highs in homers (five) and extra-base hits (seven) in a 10-1 home rout of the Twins.
Have the Padres finally found some punch after going through 100 games of a power shortage?
And what’s with the Twins, who have been outscored 27-11 in three straight losses?
“Teams go through things like this,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said.
Meanwhile, Padres manager Bob Melvin was hoping his team’s power surge was here to stay after San Diego followed two losses in a three-game series in Detroit with their most impressive slugging game of the season.
“We needed it, and it proved we could do it,” Melvin said after five different Padres homered on Friday. “You hope it carries over. We got two runs in the first on that towering home run (46-degree launch angle) by Luke Voit, which was big. And we kept slugging. Hopefully, this carries on for a while.”
And if you are Baldelli, hopefully it doesn’t.
The series will continue on national TV on Saturday afternoon with right-hander Sonny Gray (5-3, 3.52 ERA) starting for the Twins against Padres All-Star starter Joe Musgrove (8-3, 2.63), who could be close to signing a multi-year contract with his hometown Padres.
“When I first came here in a trade (from Pittsburgh), just the idea of staying in San Diego was enough for me … just to play in my hometown in front of my family and friends,” Musgrove said. “The longer I’ve spent here, it’s become more about the people in the room and at the ballpark.”
“Joe Musgrove is a fan favorite,” Melvin said.
The Padres are 12-5 in Musgrove’s 17 starts this season, although he is on a three-game losing streak and the Padres are 1-4 in his past five starts. In his past two starts, Musgrove has given up nine runs on 14 hits and two walks in 10 1/3 innings.
Musgrove opened the season with 12 straight quality starts and was 8-0 with a 1.59 ERA. Since then, he has given up 18 runs on 27 hits and eight walks in 37 1/3 innings for a 4.34 ERA.
Musgrove will look for success against the Twins; he is 0-2 in two career starts against them, with a 9.72 ERA.
As for Gray, the 32-year old held the Tigers to one run on two hits and a walk with seven strikeouts in six innings Sunday in his first start since the Al-Star break.
“He was locked in,” Baldelli said of Gray. “When he pitches like that, he’s one of the best in the big leagues.”
But in his three starts before the All-Star break, Gray gave up 14 runs on 19 hits and six walks in just 13 1/3 innings as his ERA spiked from 2.17 to 3.71. Still, the Twins are 9-5 when Gray starts. He has a 1.101 WHIP for the season, with a .225 opponents’ batting average.
Although he has made 228 career starts and spent three seasons in the National League, Gray will face the Padres for only the second time.
In 2019, he held the Padres to one run on four hits and three walks with 10 strikeouts in six innings to earn the win with the Cincinnati Reds.
–Field Level Media