Rogers blows save, Padres collapse to fourth straight loss

Credit: Padres

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Credit: Brewers

After a disappointing series in Saint Louis in which the Padres were swept, the Padres looked certain to win. They got six strong innings from Sean Manaea, what appeared to be enough offense, and they put the ball in Taylor Rogers’ hands with a three-run lead. Rogers proceeded to put together the worst outing of his season. He faced four batters, gave up four runs. His outing turned a 96.5% win probability for the Padres into a 0% win probability extremely quickly. 

The early innings of the game were ripe with frustrations for the Padres’ offense. The Padres left six men on base in the first four innings. Sandy Alcantara struck out with runners on first and second in the second, stranding a pair. He had an opportunity to redeem himself in the fourth, coming up with the bases loaded. Alcantara worked the count full before hitting a line drive to center. Unfortunately, Brewers center fielder Tyrone Taylor got a good jump on the ball, tracking it down. According to Baseball Savant, Alcantara’s ball had a 64% chance of resulting in a hit, which would have likely scored three runs. The Padres, as it’s felt for the entirety of the road trip, just could not seem to get a clutch hit.

Despite the Padres’ struggles on offense, the game was still tied after four innings, mainly thanks to Sean Manaea’s stellar pitching. Manaea struck out the side in the first inning, sending an early message. He stayed strong, as he allowed just a single to Rowdy Tellez in his first three innings. After a long top of the fourth inning, Manaea did allow a double, but he kept the Brewers off the board. Manaea struck out seven batters in his first four innings of work.

With two outs in the top of the fifth inning, the Padres finally found success on offense. Manny Machado roped a line drive that Taylor got a glove on but could not catch. Eric Hosmer found himself down 0-2 but connected with a slider. Hosmer’s ball was just out of the reach of the Brewers right fielder Lorenzo Cain, putting the Padres ahead. 

After the Padres finally scored in the top of the fifth, the Brewers immediately put themselves on the front foot. Kolten Wong reached on a bunt single to Hosmer, who couldn’t handle the ball as he attempted to tag Wong. Former Padre Victor Caratini walked before a sharp single from Jace Peterson loaded the bases. The Padres missed a chance to turn a double play as Andrew McCutchen beat the relay throw out, tying the game at one. However, Manaea induced a chopper directly over the first base bag, which Jake Cronenworth fired to first, ending the inning. It was a crucial escape job, as Manaea wiggled his way out of the jam with very minimal damage. 

The momentum seemed to swing the Padres’ way as five pitches into the sixth inning. They scored two runs. Brent Suter came into the game, allowing a bloop double to pinch-hitting Jose Azocar. Trent Grisham moved Azocar over with a sacrifice bunt, but Jorge Alfaro came up huge. Alfaro took a middle-middle fastball just over the center-field wall, giving the Padres the lead. Alfaro’s ball was crushed, being clocked at 111.3 miles per hour off the bat. The home run was the highlight of a huge day for Alfaro, who was not retired in any of his four plate appearances. 

Manaea finished his night with a strikeout to Keston Hiura, topping off an eight strikeout night. He allowed one run in six solid innings, putting together his eighth quality start of the season, putting him into a tie for the third most in baseball. Robert Suarez came into the game struggling with control, hitting Wong before throwing a wild pitch that moved him into scoring position. However, he found the strike zone, retiring each of the next three batters he faced to keep the Padres ahead by two.

San Diego kept the pedal on the gas offensively, taking advantage of Brewers pitcher Peter Strzelecki, who was making his MLB debut. Luke Voit led off the frame with a first-pitch single before walks from Grisham, and Alfaro loaded the bases with one out. Alcantara picked up his first career Padres RBI with a sacrifice fly to score Voit. With the game still a save situation, Bob Melvin turned to Luis Garcia. Garcia allowed a single to the first batter he faced but recovered to get two strikeouts, sending the game to the ninth.

Taylor Rogers came out to close out the game, as the Padres utilized what has arguably been their best weapon in 2022. Rogers never looked comfortable, as he threw more balls than strikes. He surrendered a leadoff single to Hiura before hitting each of the next two batters he faced. Jace Peterson then laced a sinker off the center-field wall. It took a sharp bounce, leading to a game-tying, bases-clearing triple. Nabil Crismatt relieved Rogers as he tried to find a way to keep the game tied. However, a ground ball single from Andrew McCutchen completed the comeback for the Brewers.

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The Padres struggled with runners in scoring position, going 1-for-9, missing out on many opportunities to add on.

It was a dreadful loss for the Padres, who lost their fourth consecutive game, and one they looked certain to win. It will be crucial to pick up a win on Friday, as losses like these can weaken morale.

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