Citi Field, New York City
The San Diego Padres headed into their series with the New York Mets, having lost seven of their last ten games.
Chris Paddack was on the mound for the Friars, and the staff ace was hopeful of getting the three-game series started on the right foot. Paddack was not an issue in the game as he pitched well enough to win. The problem was the Padres inability to solve left-handed pitcher Jason Vargas.
Armed with an 84 mph fastball, the pitcher had the Padres off-balance all night. He struck out eight on the night, including Fernando Tatis Jr. three times. Vargas’ plus changeup fooled Tatis like much of the Padres’ hitters. He spotted the pitch on the corner and flipped up a serviceable curveball to keep hitters further on their front foot.
Vargas pitched well, but the approach of the Padres’ hitters was horrendous. As they attempted to pull every pitch from Jason Vargas, they fell further and further into his trap. The team did walk four times on Vargas pitches, but all in all the at-bats by the Padres were a total loss. They must do better. “We didn’t barrel enough baseballs tonight,” Andy Green said.
Robinson Cano homered twice off Chris Paddack. The last a two-run shot on a hanging curveball in the 6th inning. Paddack allowed three runs on five hits in 88 pitches. He struck out four and walked two on the night. His ERA sits at 2.84 on the season now in 17 games. He battled through a chorus of boos at Citi Field and was serenaded by the Mets fan with taunts directed at him. Moments like this will only make Paddack a better pitcher in the long run. He did not crumble under pressure. “I got away from my gameplan a bit tonight,” Paddack said. Andy Green indicated after the game to the press that “Cano looked like he was sitting on the soft stuff.” The second baseman hit both Paddack’ offspeed pitches into the stands.
Two homers would be quite the accomplishment, but Cano had a thirst for more. In the bottom of the 7th, he took Logan Allen deep for a two-run homer deep into the right-field seats. The Mets’ second baseman had driven in every run at this point in a 5-0 game. For the first time in his career, Cano homered three times in one game.
Hunter Renfroe drove in Tatis in the 8th to make it 5-1, but the game was well in hand for the Metropolitans. A late rally in the 9th for the Padres made things interesting, but they were unable to get the job done as Manuel Margot flew out with two in scoring position to end the game. 5-2 was the final score.
Michel Baez made his major league debut. He is the 13th Padre to do so this season. The big right-handed pitcher threw a scoreless inning, topping out at 99 mph on the radar gun.
The Padres should have done damage against Vargas because they will now face Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom in back-to-back games. The team will have their work cut out for them if they plan on taking this series in New York.