The San Diego Padres missed a chance to not only take the last series of the season against the Dodgers on Thursday night but, even more importantly, they missed an opportunity to gain a game on the Phillies and the Brewers in the Wild Card standings after losing to Los Angeles 5-2.
The Philadelphia Phillies dropped their game to the Chicago Cubs on Thursday, 2-0, and the Brewers lost a late lead at home against the Marlins, eventually falling 4-2. These losses gave the Padres a golden opportunity to gain a game on both teams with just six to go.
The Padres got on the board early against the Dodgers Thursday night, scoring two runs in the first inning on a Brandon Drury single with two outs that got through two Dodgers’ infielders.
The Dodgers followed that up with a run in the second inning to cut the lead to 2-1. San Diego went with a bullpen game on Thursday, starting rookie Steven Wilson. Ultimately, sending out five different pitchers on the night. Wilson went one inning, throwing a scoreless frame to start the game while striking out two.
Sean Manaea followed Wilson with four strong innings, allowing just one run on two hits and striking out three. Manaea, who was coming off a poor outing his last time out, gave encouraging signs to Padress’ fans in one of his last pitching performances before the 2022 season ends and the playoffs begin.
Pierce Johnson followed Manaea, coming to the game with the score still at 2-1, and immediately put himself in a bind. Mookie Betts started the inning with a double, followed by a Trea Turner single to put runners on second and third with no outs. Freddie Freeman then singled home Betts to tie the game, and later in the inning, Miguel Vargas had a two-run single that put the Dodgers up 4-2.
Los Angeles would tack on another run in the eighth inning on a Will Smith solo homerun and eventually won 5-2. The win gave the Dodgers their ninth straight series win against the Padres and put pressure on San Diego heading into the final two series of the season.
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“They’re very deep in the bullpen. They look at it analytically,y and they match up. That’s been the strength of their bullpen for years. Limited looks at the starter and then giving you a different look and having an idea of what pockets of players that they want to match up against,” said manager Bob Melvin about the Dodgers’ pitching that seems to have the Padres’ number, especially of late.
The Padres will host the Chicago White Sox starting Friday night for three games and then host the San Francisco Giants for three games to conclude the 2022 season.
Yu Darvish will take the mound on Friday night with the Padres magic number at three games.
Kevin is a San Diego Native covering the San Diego Padres and their affiliates