Framing the Friars: Two-Out Rallies and a Bullpen Implosion

during the MLB game at Chase Field on September 12, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Credit: USA Today Sports

The Padres took the field in Arizona looking to prevent a series sweep against the division rival Diamondbacks.

Austin Hedges put the Friars up early with a bases-loaded, one-out single back up the middle to score two runs. This game looked like it was going to be a good one for San Diego as they got the first five batters on the base paths without recording any outs.

The two scored runs were followed by some quality pitching to start the game for Clayton Richard; he got the one and two hitters for the D-backs to ground out back-to-back. But two outs for the Padres were quickly changed from a comfortable situation to a hostile situation.

During the course of the game, the Diamondbacks scored 10 of their 15 runs with two outs. Here’s the breakdown for those 10 runs:

1st inning with two outs, no one on: Clayton Richard pitching

Paul Goldschmidt – Single

Chris Owings – Double – Goldschmidt scores

Daniel Descalso – Double – Owings scores

Brandon Drury strike out ends the inning

5th inning with two outs, no one on: Richard pitching

Blanco – Single

Iannetta – Homerun – Blanco, Iannetta score

Goldschmidt strike out ends the inning

6th inning two outs, no one on: Kevin Quackenbush pitching

Drury – Hit by pitch

Jake Lamb – walk

Ahmed – Single – bases loaded

David Peralta – Single – Drury, Lamb score

Blanco – Walk

Iannetta – Double – Ahmed, Peralta, Blanco score

Goldschmidt – Double – Iannetta scores

Owings strikeout ends the inning

The Padres were one strike away from ending the 1st inning and the 6th without any runs scoring and they were one tough play away from ending the 5th before any runs came in. But, that’s the type of night it was for the Friars.

That brings us to our next topic, the bullpen, who has recently been very reliable for the Padres. For the fifth straight game, the Padres have pulled four arms out of the bullpen to finish a game off. In those five games, the bullpen has pitched 20.1 innings, allowed just nine runs and has racked up 34 strikeouts with 10 walks. What is even more impressive, six of those nine runs came on June 3rd when Miguel Diaz gave up two earned runs in 1/3 innings, then Jose Torres came in and gave up two runs before finishing off the inning. Kevin Quackenbush followed the two rookies and gave up two runs during his appearance.

Outside of those two horrendous innings, the Padres bullpen has allowed six fewer runs and 10 fewer hits, to bring their totals to 18.1 innings pitched, 11 hits allowed, three runs allowed (1.34 ERA), and 33 strikeouts with eight walks. So it’s safe to say they have been pretty solid.

Credit: Arizona Sun

That was not the case Thursday for the bullpen. Clayton Richard kept the Padres in the game for the most part. Sure, he did allow four runs and took the loss, but the Padres were behind 4-3 when Richard stepped off the mound after the fifth inning.

Quackenbush came in and allowed a six-run, two-out rally. Kirby Yates came in and did pretty decent despite allowing a solo home run to Daniel Descalso. Then Brandon Maurer came in and did his weird thing where he’s totally inconsistent and allowed four runs without even recording an out. 

In (weird) fact, the only pitcher that didn’t give up a run today was Erick Aybar. No you’re not crazy. The only pitcher that didn’t give up a run today was the 33-year-old veteran shortstop who warmed up with just four pitches.

Aybar came in after Maurer gave up a third-straight double that brought in his fourth earned run with no outs. So with Owings at second base, Aybar walked Descalso to put a man on first and second base. Aybar then forced a Brandon Drury popout and followed that up by forcing Lamb to ground into an inning-ending double play.

Erick Aybar, who now has two pitching appearances under his belt, holds a 0.00 ERA and a  0.75 WHIP with three inherited runners in 1.1 innings of relief. I’m not trying to jump the gun here, but Aybar may very well have a chance to shift his career in another direction. After all, every one of his pitches Thursday registered as knuckleballs, and knuckleball veterans have been known to cause most hitters trouble.

All in all, another difficult yet important game to watch. Sure they got completely blown out of the water in the second game. Austin Hedges and Hunter Renfroe continue to drive in runs. Jose Pirela went 2-4 with a walk a day after going 3-3 yesterday. Wil Myers went 2-3 with a walk and two runs scored. Franchy Cordero also picked up another hit to keep his batting average up at the .300 level.

Times are tough for Padre fans, but when you look past the losses and the box score, you can really see a lot of improvement by the guys who are going to be on this roster for years to come.

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