• In case you needed an indication of the level of urgency in the Padres’ Wild Card push: After Monday’s game, manager Bob Melvin revealed that Seth Lugo would be pushed ahead to start Wednesday’s series finale against Miami. He takes the rotation spot that belonged to Rich Hill, who struggled in his first three Padres starts. Lugo, meanwhile is coming off six scoreless innings against Arizona.
“This time of year and where we are, even if it’s incremental, you’ve got to give yourself what you feel like is your best shot,” Melvin said.
That leaves the team with a decision to make regarding Hill. Does he start this weekend in Milwaukee (against another playoff contender)? Or do the Padres use Thursday’s off-day to push him to the back of their rotation, setting him up to start next week in St. Louis instead?
• The leadoff spot just fits Ha-Seong Kim.
He’s patient. He works deep counts. He reaches base. And if you leave a fastball over the plate -- as Ryan Weathers learned the hard way last night -- he’s liable to hit one out.
Still, given the firepower in this Padres lineup, it wasn’t always a foregone conclusion that Kim should hit there. It was June 22 when Kim moved into the leadoff spot full time. In those two months, he’s batting .314/.407/.546.
“It just feels good every time knowing you have your manager’s trust,” Kim said in Korean through interpreter Leo Bae. “He put me in the right position at the right time, and I was able to flourish.”
• Speaking of Kim, it’s his bobblehead night tonight. As bobbleheads go, this one’s a good one. Namely, because it comes with a removable helmet.
Kim, of course, is as aggressive on the basepaths as anyone -- and his helmet rarely accompanies him. I asked him why it flies off so frequently.
“I probably have a smaller head than others,” Kim said with a grin.
• Weird week for Garrett Cooper, who was traded from the Marlins at the Trade Deadline. He gets a reunion with the franchise he spent six seasons with, and he gets to see his former teammates. He’s also been rooting hard against those former teammates for the past three weeks, given the current state of the Wild Card race.
“You want to see them lose,” Cooper said. “That’s definitely not something I would’ve said a month ago. But when you look at the box score, you’re pulling for them to lose. It’s nothing against the guys over there, but it’s the position I’m in right now.”