Earlier in the week, the San Diego Padres projected a crowd of around 32,000 for their Wednesday home game against the Colorado Rockies.
Then the Padres acquired Juan Soto, Josh Bell, Brandon Drury and Josh Hader in a trio of three pre-deadline trades.
Soto, Bell and Drury were greeted Wednesday night by 44,652 vocally enthusiastic fans. The support figures to be there again when San Diego looks to complete a five-game sweep of Colorado.
Soto, who was given a standing ovation before his first plate appearance, went 1-for-3 with two walks, and Bell finished 0-for-2 with two walks and two runs in San Diego’s 9-1 win. The star of the night was Drury, who hit a grand slam on the first pitch he saw in a Padres uniform.
“The atmosphere was incredible tonight,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “It was electric. We’ve seen it here before, but this was special. Everyone in the dugout felt it.
“Our fans were in it from before the first pitch … and our fans are a huge part of this. Today, the environment was at a different level, and it’s going to continue like this.”
Right-hander Joe Musgrove (8-4, 2.65 ERA) will start for the Padres on Thursday against Rockies left-hander Kyle Freeland (6-7, 4.63 ERA).
The Padres have never before swept a five-game series. In fact, this is only the second five-game series played in San Diego, after they went 3-2 against the Chicago Cubs from July 9-11, 1971.
“It’s been a long week,” said Rockies manager Bud Black, whose team has been outscored 29-9 through the first four games of the set. “We haven’t played the way we had been playing the Padres.”
The Rockies won eight of the season’s first 11 meetings between the teams prior to the current series. Of course, this isn’t the same Padres team that was dominated by Colorado earlier this year.
“I wish good luck to all pitchers,” Soto said Wednesday afternoon at his introductory press conference. “It’s a long lineup, me, Josh, Manny Machado and soon Fernando (Tatis Jr.).”
Padres general manager A.J. Preller said, “You need these players if you want to win a World Series.”
But, first things first, the finale against the Rockies and a shot at a sixth straight victory overall against a Colorado team on a five-game losing streak.
Also on a losing streak is Musgrove, who earlier this week agreed to a five-year, $100 million contract extension with the Padres. He has lost four straight decisions since opening the season 8-0. The Padres are 12-6 in Musgrove’s starts this year.
Musgrove has a 6.06 ERA in his past three outings, starting with giving up five runs on nine hits over five-plus innings against the Rockies in Denver on July 13. In his career against Colorado, he is 4-2 with a 2.13 ERA in seven starts, including a 1-0 mark with a 4.09 ERA in two starts this year.
Freeland is 2-0 with a 5.82 ERA in three starts against the Padres this season. In his one previous 2022 start in San Diego, he held the Padres to two runs on three hits over six innings during a win on June 11, but that was before Soto, Bell and Drury arrived.
Overall vs. San Diego, Freeland is 5-5 with a 4.30 ERA in 18 career games (16 starts).
–Field Level Media