Petco Park- San Diego, California
Over the last few years, the honor for top major-league farm system has arguably been a see-saw battle between the Padres and the Atlanta Braves. So far, the Braves have shown to be further along in the process, as the NL West fourth-place Padres dropped the first of three against the leading NL East-leading team at Petco Park 5-3.
Recently signed to Atlanta as free-agent, Dallas Keuchel weaved his way in and out through seven strong innings allowing one run on six hits. Keuchel’s only mistake was a solo home run to Manny Machado in the sixth. This was Keuchel’s fifth start since signing with Atlanta, after a lengthy hold out as one of the last free agents from the previous year. The Padres had been rumored as a potential suitor for Keuchel’s services on and off, but in the end, it appears the price was too high for the 31- year old. Keuchel is now 3-2 with the Braves and carries a 3.09 ERA.
Padres pitcher Dinelson Lament (0-2, 6.30) made his second start since returning from his season-ending Tommy John surgery last year and was roughed up right away when he gave up a three-run home run to Josh Donaldson in the first. While seemingly in control at times, Lament continued to exhibit that the Achilles heel this season the Padres pitching staff is the home run. Lament allowed the three-run home run to Donaldson in the first and a solo shot to reigning Rookie of the Year Ronald Acuna in the fifth, the home run being his 22nd on the year.
A highlight for the Padres was the major league debut of relief pitcher Andres Munoz. Munoz’s first pitch was clocked at 101 mph, depending on the source. Munoz got out of a minor jam with a nasty slider to Brian McCann. If Munoz can continue to locate that pitch, he will be a welcome addition to an already overworked and depleted bullpen.
– Manny Machado continued his hot hitting from the first half, going 3-for-4 with the lone Padres run coming in the sixth off his 27th home run of the season. Machado raised his average from a .238 on June 11th to .272 after last night’s game.
– Matt Strahm, who was recently demoted to the bullpen after 15 starts, gave up a run in the lone inning he pitched. One of the main reasons he was regulated to the bullpen was his susceptibility the long ball and Strahm proceeded to give up a team-leading 20th home run allowed to Donaldson in the eighth.
– Other than Strahm, the Padres bullpen held strong and shut-out the Braves, permitting no runs in the final four innings on three hits.
– Rookie-phenom Fernando Tatis continued his hot-hitting going 2-4, with a bloop hit to right-center and an infield hit. Tatis is now hitting .330 for the season.