Padres drop series to D-Backs after late inning implosion

Credit: USA Today Sports

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After a back-and-forth set of games at Petco, the Padres aimed for yet another series win.

Dylan Cease took the mound for San Diego on Sunday, sporting a 5.68 ERA across his last seven starts.

The right-hander delivered a quality start for the Friars, tossing seven innings of three-run baseball, striking out eight batters on 103 pitches.

Arizona batters were swinging often against Cease, swinging on 55 pitches and whiffing 32% of the time. Cease only allowed six baserunners in his start, on five hits and a walk, but as has been the case in his recent struggles, home runs have been the biggest concern for Cease.

Cease allowed seven hard-hit balls, including a leadoff home run to Corbin Carroll. Since the San Diego bullpen has faced a heavy workload as of late, Cease was sent out to the mound in the seventh inning. the decision to have Cease pitch the seventh would backfire, as Cease allowed a go-ahead home run to Eugenio Suarez on a 1-1 fastball, hit 98.3 mph into the left field seats.

The Padres’ offense looked poised to go off against right-hander Ryne Nelson, who entered the game with a 10.80 ERA against San Diego this season. Initially, it looked as though the trend would continue, with Jurickson Profar lacing a 108.3 mph home run in the first inning.

However, the Padres’ offense languished afterwards, unable to get a runner to second for the rest of the game. Jackson Merrill, Ha-Seong Kim, and Jake Cronenworth would each single in the game, but no runner would get beyond first base. While the Padres struck out only five times, ten of their 27 outs came on the ground.

The Friars’ relief core has faced some criticism amid a recent stretch of underwhelming performance, and the struggles continued in this game. Left-hander Austin Davis allowed four runs in one inning, loading the bases to open the ninth before being relieved. Davis’ pitches exhibited solid movement, but the whiffs were not there, as D-Backs batters were patient and didn’t record a swing-and-miss.

Enyel De Los Santos was called on in a bases-loaded no-out jam, and on the fifth pitch against Eugenio Suarez, the Padres reliever grooved a middle-middle fastball, and Suarez again did not miss, emptying the bases. De Los Santos surrendered three hard-hit balls on four balls in play, allowing two runs of his own.

The Padres’ offense was unable to rally against the Arizona bullpen, with relievers Joe Mantiply, Justin Martinez, and Bryce Jarvis holding the Padres scoreless en route to the Padres’ first series loss since June 17-19 vs Philadelphia.

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Headed to Texas

MLB announced the All-Star Game rosters for this year’s Midsummer Classic in Arlington during the eighth inning of the Padres game. While Jurickson Profar and Fernando Tatis Jr. were¬†confirmed as All-Stars earlier in the week, they will not be making the trip alone. The Padres will be sending three more players to Arlington: infielder Luis Arraez, closer Robert Suarez, and, most notably, center fielder Jackson Merrill.¬†Arraez will be making his third All-Star trip with as many teams over the last three seasons.

Suarez and Merrill’s All-Star selections are the first of their careers, with Suarez having a breakout season as the Padres’ closer, currently third in the National League in saves. Merrill earned his selection on the back of a strong first half to his rookie season and becomes the first Padres rookie in team history to make an All-Star Game and the first Padres’ first-round pick to make an All-Star Game for the team since Andy Benes in 1993.

The Padres continue their homestand with a two-game set against Seattle starting on Tuesday. Adam Mazur is tentatively scheduled to start for the Padres, with the first pitch at 6:40 pm Pacific.

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