Petco Park- San Diego, California
There are times during a major league season where a team does not play well. In a 162 game schedule, it is bound to happen.
Factor in the average age of the San Diego Padres players, and you have a recipe for disaster in regards to playing consistently. Thankfully for Padre fans, the team played well for the first few weeks of the season and got out to an 11-5 record to begin 2019.
The Cincinnati Reds came into town and were supposed to be an easy opponent for the Padres. In baseball, nothing is easy. The Red Legs took the first two games of the series, leaving the Padres in desperation mode to salvage a split in the four-game series. Eric Lauer was on the mound for the Padres on Saturday, as he looked to end the losing streak for the team from America’s Finest City.
Things did not start well for Lauer as he allowed a run in the first on a single off the bat of Jose Iglesias, scoring Jose Peraza. Eric Hosmer picked up his team the next half inning, with a solo shot into right-center field that tied the game at one. The Reds scrapped together two more runs off of Lauer before he departed, going five innings for the Padres.
The left-hander was only able to go five total innings as his pitch count was inflated again on Saturday. Ninety-four pitches are what it took for him to record 15 outs in the game. The bullpen keeps getting taxed by the rotation, and there seems to be no end in sight for this youthful Padres team.
Reds’ right-handed pitcher Luis Castillo, who was once a Padres prospect (Colin Rea trade with Marlins), was effective in the game on Saturday. He featured a mid to upper 90’s fastball with great two-seam movement and a vicious change with excellent tumble. With a serviceable slider, he kept the Padres hitters off balance all night long. Only Eric Hosmer was able to solve the pitcher as he recorded two of the four hits off the right-hander. Castillo threw 100 pitches and struck out nine Padre batters.
There have been issues at second base for the Padres this year, as both Ian Kinsler and Luis Urias have done next to nothing all season long with the bat. Kinsler earned the start on Saturday and went 1-for-2, raising his average to .164 on the year. Luis Urias got into the game as a pinch hitter in the 7th and struck out. He looks lost with the bat presently and is still featuring a huge leg kick, even with two strikes on him. Meanwhile, Ty France continues to rake in Triple-A and has played a little second base there. A promotion could be on the horizon for the SDSU product.
A rally in the eighth produced a run, but there was little else to be excited about if you were a Padre fan. Raisel Iglesias closed the door on the team, striking out Ian Kinsler, Jose Pirela and Franmil Reyes in the ninth. Reds win 4-2 and take the series from San Diego.
The Padres will try to avoid the sweep tomorrow as Joey Lucchesi takes the mound on Easter Sunday.
–Fernando Tatis has a nine-game hit streak now after hitting his first career triple leading off the 8th inning
-The Padres have now lost seven of their last eight games at home this year