Lamet shines but Padres fall to Cubs 6-1 in series sweep

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AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Wrigley Field- Chicago, Illinois

In the 4th inning, outfielder Tommy Pham and shortstop Ha-Seong Kim slammed into each other when tracking a pop fly. Kim, ignoring whatever pain he felt after the hit, fired the dropped ball to third to begin a double-play.

The collision represented the San Diego Padres in their series against the Chicago Cubs: the wind was at their backs, only for everything to come crashing down.

With Fernando Tatis Jr. on the bench for “precautionary” reasons, the Padres could only muster one run as the Cubs brought out the brooms, sweeping San Diego with a 6-1 victory.

“The way the Cubs are playing right now, you gotta get some runs off those starters,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said. “The way that bullpen’s been throwing, when they get a lead, that’s kind of been their formula to success.”

Dinelson Lamet had his finest start of the season so far, throwing four innings and striking out six in a no-decision. He threw a season-high 72 pitches, a promising sign for a starter who has been kept on a tight pitch count.

After the game, Jayce Tingler called Lamet’s performance the highlight of the day, hailing it as another positive sign for the 28-year-old.

“That was probably the highlight for me was how good Lamet was,” Tingler said. “I thought the slider was sharp, he felt great, he looked strong, he stayed in his delivery. He just did a lot of great things today, which I thought was another step forward for him.”

He looked like the Lamet of old. According to Baseballsavant, his fastball averaged 95 mph while topping out at 98. The slider was dancing again, fetching eight whiffs while averaging 87 mph.

That’s where the positives end.

After the aforementioned collision, Pham and Kim were helped off the field, and neither returned. Pham had to be led to the clubhouse after getting into an argument with Padres bench coach Bobby Dickerson.

“It was the perfect storm. A little bit of a language barrier there,” Tingler said. “We’ve got a passionate group. Passion is a good thing. At times, things are gonna get heated… we’ll move on, and we’ll become closer because of it.”

After the game, Padres manager Jayce Tingler told the media that Kim had undergone the concussion protocol, and it appears to have dodged a concussion. Pham, however, got stitches underneath his chin and will get a CT scan when the team returns to San Diego.

Both are considered day-to-day.

What’s worse, the bullpen has begun to show chinks in their once impenetrable armor.

First was Pierce Johnson in the 5th, who walked two batters and only threw seven of his 18 pitches for strikes. Tim Hill came on to relieve him only for Anthony Rizzo to take a 1-1 slider to center field for a bases-clearing two-RBI double, breaking a 1-1 tie to give Chicago a two-run lead.

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Miguel Diaz was the next pitcher to get hit hard. After striking out the side in the 6th inning, Sergio Alcantra tripled to lead off the 7th and later scored on a rare error by Jake Cronenworth.

Six pitches later, Javier Baez sent a 2-2 changeup flying to left field at 111.4 mph, locking up the Cub’s lead at five.

San Diego has faced adversity before. In the midst of a 20 game stretch, the Padres still remain a game out of first place and have already hurdled over obstacle after obstacle.

Will they overcome this test? Only they can answer that on the field.

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