In the first litmus test of the season, the San Diego Padres dropped two of three at home to the division-rival Los Angeles Dodgers. The Friars were outscored 18-6 in the three-game set and have lost their last 11-of-12 to their neighbors to the north dating back to last season.
Three takeaways from the weekend series.
1. Offense still very much a problem
As has been the general theme in the first month of the 2022 season, the Padres are struggling to score runs consistently. While nobody should expect them to score 12 runs per game, as observed in the home opener, the absence of Fernando Tatis Jr. is really showing.
It seems as Manny Machado goes, so do the Padres. Machado went 2-for-9 with two walks in the three-game set. The Friars tallied a total of six runs. Averaging just two runs per game requires the pitching and defense to be almost perfect. As we saw in Sunday’s 10-2 loss, neither was close.
“I do think there’s more in there for us offensively,” manager Bob Melvin admitted. “We still haven’t hit our stride as far as that goes. Everything else, we’re doing pretty well other than today. Just kind of one of those days that just kind of snowballed on us a little bit.”
Through the first 17 games, the Padres have been held to five or fewer hits seven times.
2. Darvish shoves against his old team
Yu Darvish is proving more and more that his second start of the year was an anomaly. He was electric against his old team on Saturday, but the path to get there wasn’t linear by any means.
After taking 51 pitches to get through those first two innings, the 35-year-old cruised through the next four innings. In all, Darvish threw 56-of-90 pitches for strikes, fanning seven batters while dancing around three walks.
Yu Darvish, 97mph Paint. 🖌️🎨 pic.twitter.com/PXilS39PiH
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 24, 2022
“He’s a pretty good pitcher, so once he settled in, he settled in,” Mookie Betts said of Darvish. “We let him off. We let him off every single time. We had some situations, especially me, and we just didn’t come through. Any time you don’t come through, and they score a run. It builds his confidence. At that point, once his confidence is up, he’s one of the best pitchers in the game.”
Over his last two starts, Darvish has struck out 15 batters while allowing just one earned run in 12.2 innings of work.
3. First bad outing for Sean Manaea
Through his first three starts with the Padres, Sean Manaea allowed a combined three earned runs in 19.0 innings and a 19-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio. On Sunday, he threw his first clunker with the Friars, surrendering seven runs (six earned) in just 4.1 innings.
“Nothing really felt great,” he said.
The 30-year-old was lifted with one out with the bases loaded in the fifth inning. Dinelson Lamet came on in relief, allowing a sacrifice fly before serving up a three-run dagger to Cody Bellinger. Two of those runs were charged to Manaea, who will look to bounce back in Pittsburgh later in the week.
Coming from the AL West, Manaea hadn’t been exposed to the Dodgers too often. That said, he came into Sunday with a 5.27 ERA in three previous starts against LA.
The Padres will have a chance to re-group before taking on the Reds in Cincinnati for a three-game set starting Tuesday.