Padres’ Clevinger exits early in 5-2 loss to Angels

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Credit: USA Today Sports

Petco Park- San Diego, California

Mike Clevinger was prepared to make his first start for the Padres since dealing with a tight bicep that caused him to skip his last start, and he began the game beautifully.

In the first inning, he struck out David Fletcher and Mike Trout in a 1-2-3 frame. However, after finishing the inning, he told the team that he was experiencing more tightness in his right arm. Out of concern manager, Jayce Tingler removed him from the game and scheduled an MRI to get more information on his potential injury. That should give the Padres an indication if he will be available for the playoffs or not.

Adrián Morejón took over as the next pitcher in this improvised bullpen game. He did not fare as well as Clevinger. Shohei Ohtani, Justin Upton, and Anthony Bemboom all took Morejón deep for a total of four runs in the second inning. Morejón is competing for a spot on the playoff roster as an opener/bullpen arm. He had whittled his ERA down to 2.87 before today’s game. If he wins a spot, it will be from his elite 33.3% strikeout rate and 3.3% walk rate.

Following Morejón’s rough second inning, Dan Altavilla and Tim Hill teamed up to work three scoreless innings in which they each struck out two batters. Craig Stammen followed up that duo in the sixth inning. After Stammen allowed two singles, Angels infielder David Fletcher lined a ball to left-center that Tommy Pham appeared to snag on a diving catch. Upon further review, however, the ball was shown to have fallen out of Pham’s glove during the dive. That would have been the third out, but instead, it was yet another run scored.

In total, the Padres brought out eight pitchers on Wednesday afternoon. Emilio Pagán, Drew Pomeranz, and Pierce Johnson all worked scoreless innings in the seventh, eighth, and ninth, respectively. Pomeranz continued to be the Padres best bullpen arm by striking out his side in his outing. The good news for the Padres is that they have an off day tomorrow before facing the Giants. That should give the pen time to rest and allow Tingler to align his pitching staff the way he wants to for the playoffs.

Offensively, the bats never got going for the Padres aside from an opposite-field home run from their first baseman. In the first inning, Eric Hosmer delivered a two-run shot to deep left, which would be the only runs the San Diego produced on the day.

The two-hit outing for Hosmer is a good sign. Since coming back from his fractured finger, he has a .245 OPS. San Diego needs him to return to form because the team has struggled with runners in scoring position as of late, going just 1-8 in the game and 2-15 for the series in those situations. The San Diego offense was missing Fernando Tatis Jr., who was sitting out to get some extra rest after batting just .200 in the last week. Greg Garcia took over his spot in the batting order but played third as Machado was moved to DH. Typical producers Wil Myers and Trent Grisham each went 0-4 with two strikeouts apiece. The Friars will hope to turn things around when they travel to San Francisco to face the Giants in a four-game series beginning Friday at 4:10 p.m.

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