Baseball is a team game. You win and lose as a team. Rarely you can point at one player and say they were the difference in the game. Saturday’s game was no exception.
Eric Hosmer is one of the most controversial players on the San Diego Padres. He signed what was once the largest contract in franchise history. Since signing with the Padres Hosmer has a -0.1 WAR. His defense has always been below average in that same time frame. The first baseman’s bat has been below average in all but one of his seasons, 2020. That one season was when he made one simple change. He fixed his launch angle.
In 2021, his launch angle has decreased to his career norms. In public statements, it’s clear that he doesn’t want to change his game. Additionally, he has publicly been against taking the vaccine. This has made him one of the most disliked players among Padre fans.
Saturday’s game was a perfect showcase for why fans are so frustrated with him. He was the top contributor in the lineup and the biggest liability in the field. At the plate, he went 2-for-3 with two doubles. His two hits came with a launch angle of 14 and 15 degrees. With exit velocities of 103.3 and 106.9 mph, those hits were reaching “barrel” status. That tiny adjustment is all he needs to be an elite hitter like he was in 2020.
In the 5th inning, his defense put the Padres in a hole that they would not dig out of.
Ramiel Tapia hit a routine grounder to Hosmer. This had inning-ending double play potential; instead, he failed to cleanly field the ball and both runners reached safely. Later in the inning with bases loaded Charlie Blackmon hit a grounder a few feet from Hosmer on his glove side. He failed to get to the grounder after three bounces. Although he didn’t get an error on that play, two runs scored on the hit.
Joe Musgrove only went 4.1 innings on Saturday. He gave up five hits, two walks, one earned run, and struck out six. Ultimately it was a good plan of attack by the Rockies and the error that caused chased Musgrove in the 5th inning. One of the most notable at-bats was a ten-pitch duel between Musgrove and Tapia. Tapia ended up winning by taking a walk then stealing his second base of the game.
That grind-it-out approach quickly wore out Musgrove who had thrown 94 pitches when he was taken out of the game.
“We felt Joe and our pitching staff threw well enough to be able to do that. We didn’t make some play’s defensively. Allowed some 90 feets. Offensively just couldn’t get enough done to cross the dish. Just overall we got beat in a lot of facets today,” Jayce Tingler said after the game.