Rookie pitcher Chris Paddack has the misfortune of playing West Coast baseball for the routinely overlooked San Diego Padres. Such conditions can make it difficult for a young player to get noticed on the national level, but Paddack doesn’t seem like the type to let circumstance stand in his way.
Before he started against the Mets in San Diego last night, Paddack went out of his way to call out Mets first baseman Pete Alonso, who had just been awarded NL Rookie of the Month honors. Paddack, who finished April with a 1.91 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 33 innings, felt like he deserved the award and had been snubbed. We know this because he came right out and said so, and promised to take his frustration out on Alonso. From the New York Daily News:
“He’s a great player, no doubt,” Paddack said of Alonso. “Does he deserve (the Rookie of the Month honor)? Absolutely. But I’m coming for him. We’ll see Monday who the top dog is. That’s something I’m looking forward to, for sure.
“And I’m not saying that in a cocky way. I’m saying that because I know what I want, just like I’m sure he knows what he wants. It’ll be a fun little matchup.”
Paddack did indeed come for Alonso, as well as the rest of the Mets’ lineup. He shut out the Mets over 7.2 innings, allowing just four hits while striking out 11. He was as locked in and as red-assed as a pitcher can possibly be:
Alonso counted for two of Paddack’s strikeouts, and I think it’s fair to say that Paddack was pumped, and possibly even a little jacked, to have taken down his self-selected rival:
Alonso was asked about the pair of strikeouts and Paddack’s comments, and he handled the situation about as well as anyone who has just been publicly owned can be expected to:
This is good stuff. Baseball is currently replete with fascinating and talented young players, but the league itself has never been all that great at helping those players get all the attention they deserve. What Paddack showed is that sometimes the best thing to do is take matters into your own hands. You want to be a star in this league? Get yourself an enemy, and then throw the ball extremely hard in his direction.