Padres looking like the real deal

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The most dangerous team in the National League might play on Vin Scully Ave. in Los Angeles. It also might reside 20 minutes from the White House on Capitol St. in Washington D.C., or on Addison St. in Chicago.

We all know the Dodgers, Nationals and Cubs are favored to win their respective divisions, the latter two with threats from the Braves and Reds, respectively. But after seeing opening weekend of the abbreviated season that will conclude after teams have played less than half of a normal campaign, my preconceived thoughts have been confirmed: the San Diego Padres are the most dangerous threat on the senior circuit.

Team vs. Threat. Big difference.

And I say that reserving an option to change my position, knowing the stricken Miami Marlins emerged as a true-to-life threat Monday morning when it was revealed 11 players tested positive for the coronavirus.

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Leave it to me to judge from the smallest of sample sizes — three games into a 60-game sprint — but I’ve been intrigued about the Padres ever since they acquired Tommy Pham in a December trade from Tampa Bay. I admit it, I’m a sucker for Las Vegas guys, having grown up in the 7-0-2. But Pham is a unique story, one that could take up the entire centerfold in this publication. And that’s without any advertisement.

Naturally, I’ve kept an eye on whatever other moves have been made. As a lifelong Dodgers-fan, I’ve admittedly been worried since LSU was crowned college football’s national champion in January.

It starts at the top, with first-year Padres manager Jayce Tingler, whose road map to success includes intertwining a young, energetic personnel with veteran power hitters to provide run support for a group of young arms that have extreme potential.

Joining Pham in the lineup, you have Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, Eric Hosmer, Wil Myers, Jurickson Profar, Josh Naylor, Jake Cronenworth. Some you know, some you don’t. What’s important is Tingler knows ’em all, and their potential.

And even though they opened the season ranked 16th with a .228 batting average after just three games, they did a good job of manufacturing 15 runs — ninth-best after the first weekend — and might have been one swing, or one Arizona error, away from being 3-0.

And about those arms, they produced an MLB fourth-lowest 2.33 ERA after the three-game set with the Diamondbacks, and a league seventh-best 1.04 WHIP. Chris Paddack is the kid to keep an eye on. I’m extremely high on his potential, and think he’ll pose a problem against power-hitting teams. The right-hander was masterful in the season-opener, twirling six scoreless innings and scattering four hits while striking out four.

Afterward, Tingler was all smiles as he posed with the lineup card, which he said will be framed and hung in his office. I hope he has room for more. This has the makings of a fairy tale season, provided everyone stays healthy on the most dangerous threat in the National League.

Thursday

Cubs at Reds: I’m not a fan of Yu Darvish and am not buying into the rhetoric that says he is a sleeper for this year’s N.L. Cy Young Award. He was tagged for three runs on six hits in four innings in his season debut and now faces a lineup he somewhat struggled with last season, with a 4.60 ERA. I’d rather back Luis Castillo, who looked good in striking out 11 and shutting down the Tigers. REDS

Red Sox at Mets: I have to believe Red Sox southpaw Martin Perez will be out to avenge a rough debut for Boston as he gave up five runs (four earned) in five innings to the Orioles. He’s only thrown twice at Citi Field, but is 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA there. New York hands the ball to Steven Matz, who has never faced Boston and is 0-2 in three Interleague starts with a 4.67 ERA. RED SOX

Mariners at Angels: Marco Gonzales opened the season with a thumping from the Houston Astros. Now he has a chance to avenge the loss against a team he’s done well against in his career. Gonzales is 5-1 with a 4.17 ERA in 12 career starts against the Angels, including an impressive 3-0 with a 3.12 ERA in six starts at Angel Stadium. Road pup play here. MARINERS

Last week: 2-0

Season: 2-0

About the Author

W.G. Ramirez

W.G. Ramirez is a 32-year veteran covering sports in Southern Nevada, and resident of 46 years. He is a freelance reporter in Las Vegas and the Southern Nevada correspondent for The Associated Press.

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