On Friday night, outfielder Matt Kemp completed the first cycle in Padres history, helping his team beat the Rockies at Coors Field. Kemp entered his final at-bat in the top half of the ninth needing a triple for the cycle. Triples are the rarest leg of the cycle.* The once-speedy Kemp used to be good for five-to-seven triples in a given season, but had registered no more than three since 2012 as he’s had a handful of lower-half injuries. The odds were pretty stacked against Kemp tripling.
Kemp didn’t get the memo. With a runner on first base and one out, Kemp drilled a Justin Miller slider to right-center. Center fielder Charlie Blackmon watched the fly ball carom off of the top of the wall and bounce back towards dead center. It was at that point that Kemp’s triple became all but guaranteed. He coasted into third base without a relay throw to complete the first cycle in the 47-year history of the Padres.
Adding even more entertainment value to the feat was listening to the FOX Sports San Diego broadcast team’s enthusiasm. Watch and listen:
*According to Baseball Reference, a National League game this season has averaged 5.87 singles, 1.65 doubles, 0.90 home runs, and 0.19 triples.
The Padres fired manager Andy Green on Saturday, per an official team release. Bench coach Rod Barajas will step into the position for the remaining eight games of the 2019 season.
Executive Vice President and GM A.J. Preller gave a statement in the wake of Green’s dismissal:
I want to thank Andy for his tireless work and dedication to the Padres over the last four seasons. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary at this time to take our organization to the next level and expedite the process of bringing a championship to San Diego. Our search for a new manager will begin immediately.
In additional comments made to reporters, Preller added that the decision had not been made based on the Padres’ current win-loss record (a fourth-place 69-85 in the NL West), but rather on the lack of response coming from the team.
“Looking at the performance, looking at it from an improvement standing, we haven’t seen the team respond in the last few months,” Preller said. “When you get to the point where you’re questioning where things are headed … we have to make that call.”
Since his hiring in October 2015, Green has faced considerable challenges on the Padres’ long and winding path to postseason contention. He shepherded San Diego through four consecutive losing seasons, drawing a career 274-366 record as the club extended their streak to 13 seasons without a playoff appearance. And, despite some definite strides in the right direction — including an eight-year, $144 million pact with Eric Hosmer, a 10-year, $300 million pact with superstar Manny Machado, and the development of top prospect Fernando Tatís Jr. — lingering injuries and inexplicable slumps from key players stalled the rebuild longer than the Padres would have liked.
For now, they’ll prepare to roll the dice with a new skipper in 2020, though any potential candidates have yet to be identified for the role. It won’t come cheap, either, as Green inked a four-year extension back in 2017 — one that should have seen him through the team’s 2021 campaign.