The San Diego Padres suited up in their beautiful brown uniforms like they do every Friday home game and welcomed their second interleague opponent to Petco this season.
Friday night, Jhoulys Chacin took to the mound looking to pick up his first win since May 12th. (W @CWS, 0-2 since then). He went seven innings against the once World Series champion Royals, allowing just three hits and two earned runs while striking out six. Chacin retired the first 12 batters in a row, including a walk that was followed up by inducing a double play in the 2nd inning.
In the bottom of that same inning, Jhoulys Chacin helped himself out by ripping a first pitch double into right field to score the veteran Erick Aybar and give the Friars a 2-0 lead.
It wasn’t until the fifth inning when he allowed his first hit of the ball game; an Eric Hosmer single. The very next pitch, Chacin gave up a game-tying home run to catcher Salvador Perez. That home run would shut the door on Royals scoring until the top of the ninth inning.
The Padres’ bats rarely had a quiet inning in this game, racking up a total of 14 hits on the night. Jose Pirela got the party started with a leadoff single to open the books for the Padres. That was eventually followed by three consecutive singles that brought in a run for the home team.
Matt Szczur crushed a solo shot to left field to give the Padres a 3-2 lead. Royals pitcher Matt Strahm hung a fastball over the heart of the plate and Szczur swung for the fences. The ball left Szczur’s bat at 99mph and traveled 384 feet at a 32 degree angle to leave the park and change the lead in just 5.6 seconds.
Franchy Cordero also made a case for himself Friday night. He has been absolutely killing it at the plate since being called up to replace an injured Manny Margot. He is slashing an impressive .316/.381/.474 with four extra-base hits, four RBI, and four walks to start the season. Two of those RBI came in the bottom of the 8th inning on Friday night when he slugged a gapper that fell just short of the wall in right-center to bring home Aybar and Szczur to increase the Padres lead to 5-2. He would later score a run when Yangervis Solarte brought him around with an RBI single.
Saturday went similar to how Friday night played out, but things took a huge turn for the worse in the top of the 8th inning, but we’re not going to touch on that topic here. What we are going to focus on is Miguel Diaz and his first career start.
Miguel Diaz took the mound for his first career start. He finished just two innings, allowed just one hit, but gave up three walks.
The first inning went pretty well for Diaz. He sat down the first two Royals to step to the plate. He faced a little adversity after a fielding error by Jose Pirela that allowed Lorenzo Cain to reach base, but Diaz got Eric Hosmer to pop out and end the inning. To many of our surprises, Diaz opened the game hitting 99 mph on the radar gun, something that many of us haven’t seen him do even coming out of the bullpen all season long.
The second inning was pretty impressive as well. He allowed a leadoff walk to Salvador Perez, but forced Mike Moustakas into a double play to put an end to the threat. He then got Alcides Escobar to ground out and put an end to the inning.
The third inning is where things got to be a little shaky for the rookie Rule 5 draft pick. Alex Gordon led off with a single back up the middle, which was followed by two consecutive walks to former Friars, Ian Kennedy and Whit Merrifield. The walk allowed to pitcher Ian Kennedy was done so in just five pitches, and Merrifield picked up a four pitch walk. Seeing that Diaz was having some command issues, Andy Green decided to pull the plug and call it an end to Diaz’s first career start.
Miguel Diaz draws a ton of comparisons to Luis Perdomo, as we’ve all heard. Both are Rule 5 draft picks, both pitchers had never played above the Single-A level, and both pitchers started out in the bullpen for the Padres. If you guys remember, Luis Perdomo had his first start in Milwaukee against the Brewers. Here’s what his stat line looked like; pitched 2.0 innings but lasted into the third where he gave recorded no outs, allowed four hits, two walks, and two earned runs while striking out four.
Diaz didn’t have the strikeout number that Perdomo had, but he also only allowed one hit and didn’t end up being responsible for any runs. When you look at the comparisons between the two, it’s hard not to get excited about Diaz’s future, considering his career is starting off very similar to that of the rapidly progressing Luis Perdomo.
Biggest plus of them all? He’s only 22 years old.