Bell & Grisham redeem themselves, Padres stomp Scherzer in Game 1

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Credit: USA Today Sports

The postseason of baseball offers a chance for redemption after a terrible season or for souring a great one. Josh Bell and Trent Grisham, both of whom hit under .200 in a Padres uniform, each homered in their very first at-bat. 

The man they took deep? Max Scherzer, who posted a 2.29 ERA in the regular season. 

Of course, some things do stay constant. Yu Darvish, the Padres ace, went seven innings of one-run ball against an extremely talented lineup. Jurickson Profar continued his breakout year with a three-run blast, while NL fWAR leader Manny Machado lined a laser beam of a home run to end Scherzer’s night.

Profar started the game well with a bloop single on the first pitch, but Scherzer responded by sitting down Juan Soto and Machado. Bell saw three non-competitive balls before launching a 3-1 fastball 419 feet into the left-field seats. “When you have success against a starter, it’s just fuel on the fire. Don’t change the routine.”, said Bell after the game. He had homered just three times since coming to San Diego at the trade deadline, but he found his way into the lineup. Manager Bob Melvin showed his trust in Bell, who has hit over .350 against Max Scherzer, and Bell re-paid him. 

The Mets put runners on the corners with just one out against Darvish, but he set down Pete Alonso and Daniel Vogelbach to end the threat. Darvish, who had gone just 2-5 with a 5.18 ERA in his postseason career, managed to settle in quickly.  A two-out home run for Trent Grisham in the second added on to San Diego’s lead, but the critical aspect of the second was Darvish stranding another runner at third. Starling Marte, who returned from a finger injury prior to the game, singled up the middle, but the right-hander retired the next ten batters he faced. 

Credit: Padres

While Darvish shut down the Mets, the Padres knocked out Scherzer. The three-time Cy Young winner didn’t allow a baserunner in the third or fourth, but that changed dramatically in the fifth. 

Ha-Seong Kim shot a slider out to right field before racing to third on Austin Nola’s ground-rule double, which bounced off the chalk of the line. Profar’s home run, which blew the game open, was both just fair and just over the right field wall, but it still brought three massive runs home. “We just play our game,” Profar tole Bob Scanlan after the game. While Profar’s home run just had enough to get out, Manny Machado’s 110.5 miles per hour had no such concerns. It quickly found its way over the left field wall, ending Scherzer’s night in the process. 

Eduardo Escobar did pull a run back with a home run in the bottom of the fifth, the only stain on Darvish’s night. He finished with seven innings, six hits, one run, no walks, and four strikeouts while carving up a talented Mets lineup. Darvish was briefly checked out for an issue in his leg during his seventh and final inning, but he finished off Luis Guillorme and Brandon Nimmo to end his night. 

Neither team did much damage in the final four innings, but the key factor of the final frames was that the Padres managed to use just two relievers, while the Mets used five different pitchers. That could prove massive, as New York’s options out of the bullpen will be limited for Saturday. 

It was a massive day for the 7-8-9 hitters in the Padres order, who went 4-for-11, with a home run and a walk, while scoring three runs. San Diego also did a great job of taking advantage of their opportunities, leaving just two runners on base in the game. New York left seven on base, including four on third base.

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The Mets attempted to save Jacob DeGrom for a potential NLDS matchup in Los Angeles, but facing elimination, he’ll match up against Blake Snell in Game 2. DeGrom is one of the best pitchers in baseball, but he’s posted a 6.00 ERA in his last four starts. Snell’s got a 0.72 ERA over his final four starts. It’ll be a massive chance for the Padres, who are now one win away from a date with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The job is not finished, but a massive win for the Padres nonetheless. “We are going to come with the same energy tomorrow,” Jurickson Profar said after the game. 

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