Coming into the series, the Padres really had no expectations, and frankly we did not know how this series would turn out.
You’re going up against the defending World Series champs and their all-star studded lineup.
To add to that, one of the best pitchers in the game, Jon Lester, is slated to pitch game one.
Understandably, many Padres fans came into the game pretty much expecting a Friars loss.
The Padres had the lead for most of the game and ended up losing with a final score of 3-2.
With that being said, there was a lot that went on in the game that played a part in that final score.
For example, on just the third pitch of the game, Jose Pirela belted a fastball to dead-center field to put the Padres on the board at 1-0
Later, in the third inning, that 1-0 Padres lead was made a 2-0 margin thanks to Yangervis Solarte. Lately, Solarte has been hitting very well, going 17 for his last 46 while riding a seven-game hit streak.
Fast forward to the bottom of the sixth inning, Anthony Rizzo at third base with one out and Kris Bryant up to bat.
Bryant lines it to somewhat shallow center field, Matt Szczur makes a nice running grab and an even better throw to nail Rizzo at home plate. That’s not the story though. This may have been the most controversial play yet for the Padres this year. As you can see below, Anthony Rizzo clearly attempted to knock the baseball loose and had no intention of sliding for home plate. Austin Hedges gave him more than enough room so Rizzo could comfortably attempt to slide into the plate, but Rizzo simply elected not to.
There are many things wrong with this play, including the fact that Rizzo hurt our beloved Hedgie. Austin Hedges was replaced in the seventh inning by Luis Torrens, and we later learned that it was due to a bruised right thigh. We don’t really know the extent of the injury as of yet, but it was all caused by the dirty slider that is Anthony Rizzo.
Austin Hedges left tonight's game with a bruised right thigh
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) June 20, 2017
Another thing that I have trouble understanding is when Anthony Rizzo was asked about his slide after the game he said ” I’ve talked to a lot of umpires about this rule. My understanding is if the catcher has the ball, it’s game on.” This contradicts a direct rule from the MLB rule book. Rule 7.13 states “A runner may not run out of a direct line to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher.” Therefore Rizzo, by doing so, should be out, and maybe even be thrown out of the game. I’m sure Rob Manfred and MLB will review this and penalize Rizzo if they believe it was indeed dirty or against the rules.
Then came the fun part. In the top of the seventh inning, Jon Lester plunks Matt Szczur in the shoulder to lead things off. Tempers are already high because of the Rizzo slide so that just makes things more heated. Obviously it was unintentional, but it still should not be taken lightly.
As we jump to the bottom of the seventh Anthony Rizzo is now up. At this point the Padres have lost their lead and it is now 3-2 Cubs. As Anthony Rizzo steps up to bat, there is two outs with runners on first and second base. Many Padres fans, and even broadcasters, were hoping for a retaliation from the Padres. Brad Hand elected not to throw at Rizzo. Instead he got him to pop out for the third, and final, out of the inning.
If Rizzo gets hit his next AB, it should be all good. He completely went out of his way to run into Hedges! #Padres
— Tony Gwynn Jr. (@tonygwynnjr) June 20, 2017
The game ended on that same final score of 3-2.
It was a tough loss, as one of the Padres’ star players got hurt, and that they were so close to victory. Although this game will be remembered for the Rizzo and Hedges collision, there was much more to this game. It is disappointing that the Padres couldn’t come out on top, but the rest of this series should sure be entertaining to watch.
Bonus: To all the people who think Rizzo’s slide wasn’t dirty.