The St. Louis Cardinals came into San Diego looking to take advantage of a weaker Padres team. They did not expect for the Padres to put up a fight, but the Friars came out swinging as they took game one from the Red Birds. The bullpen hurt the Friars in the end, but there were some positives to take from the series. The Padres did compete against a team that is clearly better. They put up runs against the Redbirds three tough starting pitchers. The bullpen issues need to be fixed though.
Tons of Cardinals fans were in the house to witness the three-game series and they were treated to excellent California weather. The series marked the return of Jedd Gyorko to San Diego and was also the first time Jon Jay would face his previous organization. The two were traded for each other in the offseason. Gyorko did not start in game one, but had an excellent game on Saturday going three for five with a 3-run home run off former Cardinal Carlos Villanueva.
The Padres are playing very inconsistent so far this season. I guess that was to be expected with a new roster of players and a rookie manager. It could be a long season for Padres fans, however the team is in a transition period. With more time, players that are suited to Andy Green‘s type of play can be implemented into the system. When that happens the teams efforts on the field can be more consistent and the wins will come.
Game 1 Padres Win Opener 4-1
Wil Myers continued his hot hitting as the slugger went three for three including his fourth home run of the 2016 season. He provided most of the offense on the night for the Padres as the team sported their new brown throwback uniforms.
Andrew Cashner went six strong innings earning his first win of the year. The big Texan struck out four and only allowed one run on three hits. He was pretty economical and only took 94 pitches to get through his six innings of work. Cashner probably could have gone out for the seventh, but manager Andy Green decided to go with his bullpen instead.
Ryan Buchter and Brandon Maurer shut the door on the Cardinals in the seventh and eighth inning. Maurer in particular looked extremely nasty as he fanned two in his inning of work and totaled 12 pitches in that time. Fernando Rodney came on for the save and pitched a scoreless ninth to record his third save of the season.
Games 2 Padres Smashed 11-2
With the loss of Tyson Ross and Robbie Erlin, the Padres were forced to tap the minor leagues for a starter on Saturday night. Cesar Vargas was recalled from Double-A San Antonio where he was off to a great start this year. The Mexican right handed pitcher was signed this off season from the Yankees franchise.
On Saturday Vargas went five strong innings, throwing 97 pitches. He allowed five base hits and one earned run while walking three and striking out three. He featured a very decent curve ball and pitched with confidence. Vargas did not seem rattled one bit and should be inline for a start next week.
After Stephen Piscotty homered to lead off the sixth, Matt Holliday walked and manager Andy Green removed the young pitcher. Up to that point the game was well in the Padres reach, but the removal of Vargas is when the wheels came off the bus. Kevin Quackenbush, Brad Hand, Carlos Villanueva and Luis Perdomo each gave up at least one earned run and the bullpen imploded allowing a total of 10 earned runs on 11 hits in four innings of relief.
Game 3 Bullpen Implodes Again Resulting in 8-5 Loss
Colin Rea and Mike Leake matched up and each failed to bring their best stuff. Both pitched lasted only five innings, and each allowed only three earned runs. A throwing error by Jedd Gyorko was the difference in the game at one point. The error to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning allowed the Padres to rally and score two runs in the inning. Gyorko would come back to avenge his mistake though.
Ryan Buchter was once again dominant, as the lefty threw two innings of relief, only walking one batter while striking out four Cardinals. He has looked really good this season and is effective against lefties and right handed batters. He has proved to be very useful in the early season for the Friars. Unfortunately for the Friars it was Brandon Maurer‘s turn to get roughed up as he allowed three earned runs in one inning of work. The game was blown open in the top of the eighth by the Cardinals as they took an 8-5 lead. Trevor Rosenthal took the mound to face the Padres top of the order in the ninth.
Jon Jay battled his former team to lead off the inning but lined out to right field on a full count pitch. Up came Wil Myers who lined a base hit to right field (his second hit of the day). Matt Kemp stepped up to the plate (3-11 in the series to that point) and he also lined a base hit to right field. Derek Norris came in to pinch hit for Travis Jankowski who was forced into the game after Melvin Upton Jr. was throw out of the game for arguing balls and srikes. Norris was the tying run and quickly got behind 0-2 in the count. He fouled off several great pitches working the count full. He was rung up a pitch that was tracked by FOXTRAX as outside, but was still a very close pitch. The last chance for the team was Brett Wallace. He came to the plate as the tying run and he too worked the Cardinals closer deep in the count. Unfortunately he grounded out to none other than Jedd Gyorko to end the game. The scrappy Padres battled, but in the end the bullpen killed them.