For the second straight game, the San Diego Padres were shut out and shut down by their opponent.
Save for the first inning, Ryan Weathers and a mismatch of middle relievers were fantastic. It didn’t matter. Just like they did on Sunday afternoon when the Padres wasted a gem from Yu Darvish, San Diego couldn’t create anything offensively.
It was another quick start for the Padres’ opponents, as San Diego gave up at least two runs in the first inning for the fourth time in five days. This time the culprit was Austin Riley, who sent a first-pitch sweeper into the left-field seats. Each of the first three hitters in the Atlanta Braves lineup hit the ball extremely hard, recording exit velocities greater than 107 miles per hour. However, Ryan Weathers settled in well, keeping the Padres’ anemic offense in the game.
It was a misleading start for San Diego at the plate, with Xander Bogaerts extending his hitting streak to 11 games on Max Fried’s second pitch of the game. Bogaerts did move to third base on a two-out single from Nelson Cruz, but Jake Cronenworth ended the threat when he grounded out. The Padres added two more hits in the second, though neither left the infield. Bogaerts grounded out to end the scoring opportunity, kickstarting a stretch of 15 straight Padres batters that were retired. “Just going into one of those things right now.”, said Bob Melvin, who described it as a “funk offensively.”
Weathers managed to hold Atlanta to just two runs, as he surrendered just one hit between the second, third, and fourth innings. However, he found himself in major trouble in the fifth. Marcell Ozuna doubled down the line, he hit Eli White, and Ronald Acuña Jr. singled to load the bases. With the dangerous Matt Olson and powerful Riley due up, it seemed like the Braves would blow the game open. Pitching coach Ruben Niebla came out and spoke with Weathers, who danced his way out of danger. He struck out Olson on three pitches before inducing a ground ball from Riley. San Diego turned that into a double play, keeping the deficit at just two runs. “All that stuff is really good for him confidence-wise going down the road, but we just didn’t give him much support.”, said Melvin after the game.
Weathers finished the sixth inning, picking up his first quality start of the season. It’s been a promising and impressive start for the 23-year-old, who has been a bright spot in the frustrating start to the 2023 season.
With Fried returning from injury, he worked just five innings before Dylan Lee entered and shut down the Padres for two more innings. Austin Nola’s two-out double in the seventh ended the lengthy stretch of Padres’ players being retired. However, Jose Azocar struck out, missing another opportunity to score.
It didn’t take long for San Diego to get another chance, as Bogaerts sent a bloop into center for a one-out single. Soto worked a walk to set the table for Manny Machado. Machado roped a ball at 105.5 miles per hour, the hardest hit ball by a Padre in the game, but to the exact wrong place. Ozzie Albies gloved the sharply hit ball, stepped on second, and fired to first to end the inning. It was an extremely frustrating inning for the Padres, who had hit probabilities of 54%, 97%, and 59% in the inning, but ended up recording three outs in the process.
Reiss Knehr held the gap at two with a pair of scoreless innings before manager Brian Snitker chose to bring in A.J. Minter to try and close the game out. Minter was able to comfortably handle the job, setting down all three hitters he faced.
It was the first time San Diego was shut out in back-to-back home games since 2016, as the “high-powered” offense that Padres fans have been promised has not delivered. “Our mindset is that we’re in this for the long game.”, said Bob Melvin, who seemed calm and confident that his team would improve. The Braves, who have won seven in a row, will send Spencer Strider to the mound on Tuesday. San Diego will counter Blake Snell as the Padres look to even the series.
Sam is a Senior in High School. He has been writing for three years, and started at EVT in June of 2021. He’s headed to Syracuse’s Newhouse School of Communications in the fall of 2023.