Same show, different stage for Padres in 4-2 loss
If the San Diego Padres are a theater group, they’re doing a great job of recreating the same show each night. Good starting pitching, not enough offense. Rinse and repeat. Nothing changed in game one against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The first three innings of the game appeared as if it would be a long night at Dodger Stadium. Dustin May, after shutting down the Padres a week earlier, picked up right where he left off. He set down all nine San Diego hitters and allowed just one ball to leave the infield.
His counterpart, Blake Snell, was much less sharp. The southpaw walked three hitters, gave up three hits and a pair of runs. He couldn’t seem to settle in, as the Dodgers hitters did a great job of working counts. The breakthrough came in the third inning when after back-to-back walks started the inning, Freddie Freeman’s double brought home both Mookie Betts and Trayce Thompson. It could’ve been much worse for the Padres, but a strikeout of J.D. Martinez and a double play got Snell out of trouble.
He was visibly frustrated as he walked off the mound, as he appeared to be yelling expletives at himself. The negative self-talk seemed to work as he locked in for his final three innings. His control improved, as he only walked one batter across the final three frames. He also was able to induce more ground balls, which meant that he limited the number of pitches that he needed to use. After throwing over 60 pitches in the first three innings, he got through the final three with under 40. “We needed six innings out of him; we got a pretty beat-up bullpen.”, said Melvin after the game.
His ability to limit the Dodgers to two runs was crucial, as for the first six innings, San Diego was lost at the plate against May. Their only real threat came in the fifth when Juan Soto led off the inning with a double. He moved over to third on a groundout, but Matt Carpenter’s flyout was too shallow to bring him home. Bob Melvin said that he believed that Soto had stopped himself, believing he couldn’t get home. When Ha-Seong Kim grounded out, the Padres’ struggles with runners in scoring position continued.
However, those struggles dissipated as San Diego came up with some two-out thunder against May. Xander Bogaerts doubled before Carpenter walked. Kim came up and, on a 3-2 count, laced a double into the corner. Bogaerts scored easily before Rougned Odor, pinch-running for Carpenter, scampered around to score. Odor just beat the relay home, tying the game at two.
After all the struggles on offense, San Diego had found itself right back in the game. They seemed to be dead in the water for six innings, but with one swing, they had been revived.
That lasted two batters.
Two more big swings from the Dodgers restored the pecking order. Mookie Betts and Freeman went back-to-back off Tim Hill, quickly reinstating the Dodgers’ two-run lead. It was a gut-wrenching and demoralizing swing, as San Diego really felt like they had found momentum. “We get some positive energy and some momentum in our dugout, and a couple of their big boys went deep.”, said Melvin after the game.
The offense hadn’t produced enough all night, which meant there was no room for error from the bullpen. Just like in the final two games of the Minnesota series, the bullpen couldn’t come up with big outs when it was needed. The Padres have gotten great starting pitching; they’ve gotten at least five innings and less than three runs in each of the last nine games. It hasn’t mattered.
The Padres put two men on with no outs in the eighth inning, but once again, they couldn’t come up with big hits. Jake Cronenworth struck out before Manny Machado grounded into his second double play of the night to end the inning. Machado hit the ball at 99.8 miles per hour, having a 48% chance of getting a hit. The coin flip fell the wrong way.
Evan Phillips worked the ninth inning as well, securing a five-out save to help Los Angeles finish off the win.
San Diego dropped below .500 after their third straight loss. Their offense, which “needed to play better,” according to Bob Melvin after their game in Minnesota, produced nothing new. It was uninspired baseball, up and down the lineup. San Diego’s fanbase was promised incredible production from their star-studded offense.
They’re still waiting, but their patience has worn thin.
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.
The Padre players are rapidly becoming a laughing stock for MLB. Millionaires who show no pride or sincere work ethics. Lazy base-running, not protecting the plate with two strikes, joking around in the dugout when you’re four runs down. Basically giving the fans the impression that it’s just a job and send me my paycheck.