The San Diego Padres have failed to beat bad teams this season.
That was evident in Friday’s 8-5 loss. That rough defeat could have had a lasting impact that was seen in Saturday’s game. Fortunately for the Padres, they had their ace on the mound and an offense lined with threats.
Yu Darvish did his job. He recorded a quality start in August after one of the worst months in his career. Darvish posted over a 7.00 ERA in the month. Not only was it a good start on Saturday, but the box score looks worse than he actually pitched. The right-hander gave up a two-run home run, and that was the only damage allowed. The numbers behind that are even better. Darvish only allowed five hard-hit balls all game. During that time, he struck out 12 and didn’t allow a single walk.
“Not only was he pounding the zone, it was sharp, it was late movement. The fastball had good life. He threw some split-finger fastballs that were some of the best ones I’ve seen him throw all year. He had it all working, and he was outstanding all evening, and that was needed,” Jayce Tingler said about his ace.
It wasn’t just Darvish that dealt on the mound. After he was done, one of the best bullpens in the MLB took over. Drew Pomeranz and Mark Melancon pitched after Darvish, and under their watch, only two batters reached base. They closed out the game. The pitching staff as a whole held the Diamondbacks to a .184 expected batting average.
On the offensive side of things, the Padres used a few big hits and a rally in the eighth to win the game.
Manny Machado got the offense going with a first-inning solo shot. The following inning Eric Hosmer blasted a solo shot of his own. Hosmer’s left in a hurry at 111.9 mph. In fact, that hit had the highest expecting batting average all game at .990.
Much like Darvish, Hosmer has had some serious cold streaks this season. In June, his 26 wRC+ was one of the worst in MLB history. In July, he bounced back with a 154 wRC+ but still saw his time decrease with the addition of Adam Frazier. This month is critical in determining how his season will be viewed.
In the fourth inning, the Padres had a perfect opportunity to blow the game wide open. Victor Caratini came to the plate with the bases loaded. He hit a weak pop fly toward shortstop for the first out. Then Darvish came to bat in a situation where striking out was one of the better options given the situation. Instead, he hit a grounder that turned into an inning-ending double play.
In the eighth inning, the Padres had another bases-loaded opportunity and took advantage, building a 6-2 lead. Mark Melancon shut the door on Arizona in the ninth inning to preserve the win.
The Padres aim to win the series tomorrow when Blake Snell takes the mound.