Impressive Opening for San Diego
The San Diego Padres were not one of the teams that came to mind when thinking of National League powerhouses before this season began. But perhaps the baseball world was a bit hasty in dismissing the boys from San Diego after a four-game set with the Diamondbacks in which the Padres took three. After only a smattering of games into a 60-game season, San Diego resides in the penthouse of the NL West, and although they are likely just warming the seat for the Dodgers, the view isn’t bad from the top.
San Diego outscored Arizona by a combined 21-9 over the first four games of the season, and Padres manager, Jayce Tingler, was clearly happy with his team’s performance.
“We had a lot of people contribute. It wasn’t any one guy. It was a huge group of guys stepping up and doing their jobs. That’s how we wanted to get started,” Tingler said.
Rookie Manager Tingler Getting Props
Speaking of Tingler, the rookie manager has won the respect of his charges. Veteran pitcher, Garrett Richards, who tossed an impressive five scoreless innings in Sunday’s 4-3 loss, offered his perspective.
“He’s a professional. He lets the veteran guys and really the whole team for that to be said. He gives you the freedom to act as a professional,” Richards commented. “We all have a tremendous amount of respect for him in that aspect, because, I think when a manager is too involved, it rubs guys the wrong way. I think the way the team’s going about it, it’s perfect. He’s our guy.”
Matt Vasgersian, MLB Network studio host and ESPN play-by-play voice, offered his opinion on the 39-year-old Tingler.
“Nobody knows what Jayce Tingler is going to turn into, right? We’re starting from scratch with a guy nobody knows much about. There was a time when Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa were relatively unknown managerial commodities. I went back in the case of La Russa, if you look at the things that were written and said about him when he got his first job with the White Sox, they’re very similar to things that are said and written about new managers hired today with whom there’s not a lot of familiarity,” Vasgersian added.
“I’m not saying word for word what’s being said about Jayce is what was said about Tony, but the feel is similar,” Vasgersian continued, “Good with players. Good communicator. Baseball IQ off the charts. He checks all those boxes. Jayce Tingler could turn into one of those guys who sticks around for years and years and years.”
Oddsmakers Giving Padres Respect
It’s funny what a few wins will do in a strange, abbreviated season but if we take a look at what one of the very best online sportsbooks is offering, we see that BetOnline is dealing the San Diego Padres at +2000 to win the World Series, which is quite a jump from their cellar-dwelling status before the season commenced.
“We have those conversations. We understand the protocols. Sometimes things happen in the game and we’re going to continue to educate on them,” Tingler said. “There’s no doubt we’ve got to get better or a little bit more disciplined in some of those areas. At the same time, our focus once the game starts in general, at least my eyes, has been more on the game. It hasn’t been looking at the dugout and seeing a guy four feet (of distance from teammates) instead of six feet. Those are things we’ve got to continue to work on and hopefully we get better but they are being addressed and they’ll continue to be addressed.”
But before we get too caught up in the lollipops and rainbows of an impressive series, we should note that there are 56 more games to play and much will change between now and then. Nevertheless, Padres’ fans have to like the swagger Tingler has brought to this moribund franchise, typified by this gem when he was asked what he expected of his club this season.
“We are preparing to go be a playoff team and do damage throughout the playoffs,” Tingler stated.
And after four impressive performances, that no longer sounds quite so comical.