On a chilly and mostly clear Friday night, the San Diego Padres host the last-place Arizona D-backs. This game starts a run of 13 games in 13 days against teams well out of playoff contention. This is part of the schedule the Padres will expect themselves to make ground on the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers. Inconsistent play has plagued the Padres this season, but a long stretch against lesser teams is exactly what the team needs to get on track, especially after a really tough loss in Oakland.
Ryan Weathers got the start tonight, the first since giving up eight runs in easily his worst outing of his short career. The rookie looked to bounce back against a struggling D-Backs lineup. The outing started fantastically. After two innings, Weathers hadn’t given up a hit, and hadn’t walked anyone, and had a low pitch count. He was hitting his spots and getting into favorable counts.
“Early, Ryan was cruising, throwing strikes,” said manager Jayce Tingler postgame.
The offense was equally as good. Starter Caleb Smith has struggled with walks this season, something Padre hitters were eager to exploit. After loading the bases via a single and two walks, Eric Hosmer popped up to shortstop Nick Ahmed to end the inning. Trent Grisham hit the right field foul pole in the second inning to get the scoring started after Austin Nola walked.
The two-run blast had an exit velocity of 93.8 mph, a launch angle of 26 degrees sending it 335 feet, just enough to make it count. Smith proceeded to walk Ryan Weathers, Tommy Pham and Adam Frazier. Padre hitters showed discipline, not swinging at pitches outside the zone. Jake Cronenworth pounced on a first-pitch fastball down the middle, driving it to the opposite field for a two-run double. Wil Myers was robbed of a base hit but a fifth run managed to score.
— Bally Sports San Diego (@BallySportsSD) August 7, 2021
At this point in the game, the team is doing great. The offense is not only getting runners aboard but also driving those runners in and scoring runs. The pitching is solid, and against a last-place D-Backs team, the expectation would be a rather easy win for the hometown Padres. This is the style of play the team wants to have for the entire season and against any opponent. The only thing they hadn’t done yet was stolen a base, something they do more than anyone in baseball.
Unfortunately for the Padres, this was the turning point in the ballgame. Matt Peacock came into the game for the D-backs and practically put the team on his back. Not only did he throw 4.2 scoreless innings, but he also hit an 0-2 hanging slider from Craig Stammen into center field, driving in two runs. Then to top it off, he stole second base.
The D-backs had a six-run, eight-hit inning (all singles) that gave them an 8-5 lead that was not relinquished.
Ryan Weathers came out in the third throwing strikes but just wasn’t as sharp. The D-backs weren’t exactly barreling baseballs, but the hits they were getting were finding open space.
After the game, Jayce Tingler spoke about the team’s inconsistency.
“We can play better. We’re going to play better.”
Matt Strahm had a good outing, his second this season. He was even able to cover first base for the final out.
Before the game, Fernando Tatis Jr.was seen taking fly balls in the outfield and making throws to second base.
Fernando Tatis Jr. has been taking balls in right field during this work on the field and throwing strikes into Jake Cronenworth into second base.
— Jeff Sanders (@sdutSanders) August 6, 2021
This is an excellent sign that Tatis will be able to return and likely give the team the boost it needs to make a push for the playoffs. Chris Paddack was also seen throwing baseballs, his first action since going on the IL with an oblique strain.
Yu Darvish will get the start Saturday night for the Padres. He looks to bounce back from a string of poor starts in the second half.
Jurickson Profar was placed on the IL before Friday’s game for an undisclosed reason and Brian O’Grady was called up in his place.