The Machine!

March 5, 2018

Say what you will about the new name we chose for the radio station that now broadcasts Padres baseball. But so far this spring training, 97.3 The Machine could hardly describe the Padres’ offense any better.

The great actor Walter Matthau nailed it when he told the Bad New Bears’ weak-hitting outfielder Rudy Stein to get hit by a pitch, because Engelberg was on deck, and “Engelberg was really murdering the ball right now.”

San Diego has scored, over its last seven spring games, 11, 10, nine, 13, 10, seven and four runs. That might not qualify as “murder,” but it’s at the very least a run of aggravated assault on opposition pitching.

Most encouragingly and impressive is the fact that it seems as if just about everybody has contributed to the onslaught. Heck, the catcher position alone is already responsible for five homers, albeit four of them by Austin Hedges.

In all, the Friars have pounded 21 HR’s in just 10 games.

Hedges leads the way, but he has company. Carlos Villanueva, who may just shove the highly-paid Chase Headley aside and take over the third base job, has hit three homers and driven in 10. Hunter Renfroe, apparently not ready just yet to give up the starting spot in left field, has hit a pair. So have guys named Franmil Reyes and Franchy Cordero.

The future has shined brightly, too. Fernando Tatis Jr., homered in his first game, had four hits and five RBI’s Sunday, to give him a .381 average with eight knocked in. Luis Urias is batting a cool .538 and has shown good discipline at the plate, drawing four walks.

Not be outdone, veterans Freddy Galvis is at .400, Jose Pirela .375, Carlos Asuaje .333, Wil Myers .333 and Eric Hosmer .308. Both Myers and Hosmer have gone deep.

The cynical among us (must admit, I’ve been in that category before) might say that it’s a lot easier to hit in the thin, desert air of Peoria, Ariz., in March than it is to put up numbers in the thick, marine-layer air of San Diego in April.

If that seems as if it’s going to be a problem, we can just change the name of the radio station to 97.3 The Mashers of Petco Park.