Dan Hayes of the North County Times has confirmed the speculation about Anthony Rizzo’s impending arrival, citing a team source who says the stud first base prospect will be in the Padres’ lineup for tomorrow’s game against the Nationals.
Rizzo was already in San Diego to have his injured thumb examined, but the Padres have been coy about whether he’d stick around and moving Brad Hawpe from first base to right field was some pretty obvious writing on the wall.
Rizzo, who was acquired from the Red Sox in the Adrian Gonzalez trade this offseason, forced the earlier-than-expected call-up by hitting .365 with 16 homers, 20 doubles, and a ridiculous 1.159 OPS in 52 games at Triple-A as a 21-year-old.
That production is well beyond anything he’s done in the past, as Rizzo entered the season with an .850 career OPS, but Baseball America ranked him as a top-75 prospect even before this year’s explosion and he’s definitely the Padres’ long-term replacement for Gonzalez at first base and in the middle of the lineup.
Between his arrival and Nick Hundley’s return from the disabled list San Diego’s pitiful lineup is getting a whole lot stronger after scoring an MLB-worst 3.4 runs per game through 62 games.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.