SAN DIEGO – The Padres (29-33) have alternated wins and losses every game since May 27. On Wednesday against the Mariners (30-31), that trend continued in front of a rowdy daytime crowd at Petco Park as the Friars trounced the M’s by a score of 10-3. Notably, Juan Soto and Gary Sanchez led the way–the former went 5-5 with four RBI. All in all, the Padres produced their 10 runs on Wednesday behind 17 hits. Additionally, the pitching for San Diego was sharp all afternoon with the exception of reliever Drew Carlton who gave up all three Mariner runs. Ultimately, Padre starter Michael Wacha improved to a club-best 6-2 record in 2023 behind six innings and seven strikeouts, surrendering only two hits in the midweek contest. Yet, in Jekyll & Hyde fashion, San Diego still remains fourth in the NL West–eight games behind first-place Arizona.
Here are three takeaways from Wednesday afternoon’s win against the Mariners.
Sanchez is thriving in Southern California
Veteran catcher Gary Sanchez has been on a tear since joining the Friars. Once a solid contributor for the Yankees and Twins, Sanchez saw both the Giants and Mets pass on his services this season after brief trial runs. Now with San Diego, Sanchez has slugged four home runs in nine games since dawning the gold & brown. Additionally, Sanchez has collected nine RBI behind nine hits in 29 total at-bats (.310 BA) with the Padres. For a team that has had offensive production issues at the catcher position in recent years, Sanchez’ efforts are certainly appreciated. In Wednesday’s matinee, his third-inning homer off a 98-mph heater from George Kirby set the tone for the entire day.
Soto has to be “the straw that stirs the drink”
As Hall-of-Famer Reggie Jackson once proclaimed of himself (and he wasn’t wrong), Soto has to be that guy near the top of the order, especially with hitters like Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado bracketing him in the lineup. I mentioned Soto went 5-5 on Wednesday, knocking in four runs while scoring another himself. A rarity, he did not draw a walk in the game, but still leads MLB with 56 bases-on-balls (Matt Olson of the Braves is second-most with 44 walks). Either way, Soto’s dynamic ability to both hit-for-power as well as getting on base makes him the key cog for “Slam” Diego.
Wacha continues to dazzle
Wacha has largely been the most consistent starter on a solid Padres pitching staff. Joe Musgrove missed time to start the season, Yu Darvish has been up-and-down while Blake Snell has had a rough campaign. On Wednesday against Seattle, Wacha proceeded to dominate, giving up just one hit in the first frame and another in the fifth–that’s all. As mentioned, he struck out seven Mariners through six full innings of work, allowing no runs and one walk. Against Julio Rodriguez, Wacha held the superstar to an 0-3. On the year, Wacha has a 3.18 ERA (10th-best in the National League) with 64 punchouts over a dozen starts (68 combined IP). If the rest of San Diego’s staff can begin to follow his lead, the Padres will be a tough team to deal with down the stretch if in contention.
The Padres are off Thursday before heading to Denver to battle the Colorado Rockies (26-36) on Friday at 5:40 p.m. PT. Probable pitchers are currently listed as Yu Darvish (4-4) and Austin Gomber (4-4).