On a beautiful 70 degree Friday night in San Diego, the Houston Astros visited the San Diego Padres for the first of a three-game series.
The Astros came in leading their division, but with ice-cold bats, as they were shut out in their last two games. The Padres have also been struggling offensively since the All-Star break.
Prior to Friday’s game, the Padres activated Jake Arrieta from the IL to start the game. Arrieta had a decent start to the season, with the Chicago Cubs going 5-4 until losing nine straight and being released. Arrieta’s first outing with the Padres didn’t go so well, ending early with a hamstring pull. He pitched better in his second start. If the Padres can get this productive version of Jake Arrieta (or something close to it) for four or five more starts, he’ll give the Padres a far better chance to make the postseason.
Arrieta did make a couple of mistakes in Friday’s game in the fourth inning. Michael Brantley hit a ground ball into the shift that Eric Hosmer went for but couldn’t get, nor could he get back to first in time when Ha-Seong Kim did make the play. The next batter, a walk to Kyle Tucker, was his first mistake. That was followed quickly by his second mistake, a hanging breaking ball to Carlos Correa. A no-doubt home run to center field, it went 429 feet and had an exit velocity of 109.9 mph. It was the longest and hardest hit of the night and gave the Astros the 3-0 lead. Arrieta did make it through the fifth without giving up any additional runs. His final line was five innings, three hits, three earned runs, one walk, and three strikeouts. A very respectable performance the Padres can accept from their fifth starter.
The Padres’ offense had its fair share of chances but just couldn’t cash enough of them in to earn the win.
Jose Urquidy has a good night on the mound, keeping out of trouble early. Manny Machado beat out an infield single to score Ha-Seong Kim in the third, the first run of the game. In the fifth, Tommy Pham hit a pinch-hit double, scoring Trent Grisham from first. The best chance for the Padres to score multiple runs was in the sixth. With one out Austin Nola singled to score Wil Myers to tie the game. The Padres had runners on first and third with one out. Trent Grisham popped up a bunt attempt, and Ha-Seong Kim struck out to end the threat. In the seventh, Kendall Graveman walked the bases loaded only for Eric Hosmer to strike out against Blake Taylor.
After the game, manager Jayce Tingler admitted hitting with runners in scoring position has been a problem. “It’s been our Achilles heel all season.” Missed opportunities certainly cost the Padres in this game.
The Padre bullpen has been the most used in baseball this season, and they are starting to show it. Emilio Pagan gave up a two-run home run to Kyle Tucker, and Daniel Hudson also gave up a run in the ninth. The Padres were unable to answer, and the Houston Astros took the first game of the series.
The Padres fall to a record of 71-64 a half-game behind the Cincinnati Reds for the second and final Wild Card spot.