Slam Diego returns in 2022, as Padres win series in Arizona

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Credit: Padres

San Diego Padres pitcher Blake Snell was supposed to take his first ‘BUMP DAY’ of the new season but was scratched from the game with left adductor tightness.

This is the same injury that nagged Snell late last year. Unfortunately this disrupted the momentum started by the previous three starting pitchers, but thankfully this late scratch would be no issue for the rest of the Swingin’ Friars as they would take down David Peralta and the Snakes in a 10-5 ballgame.

The Chase Field curse is no more and Colombia was well represented in the win. Battery mates Nabil Crismatt and Jorge Alfaro went off on Sunday. This was the first time in MLB history that both members of a pitching battery were born in Colombia. Alfaro made his presence known as the team’s backup catcher by launching a homer just off the top of the wall in left-center. Coincidentally, a batter before, Jurickson Profar made Ketel Marte‘s sloppy infield defense pay as he launched a grand slam to left to begin this new season of Slam Diego baseball. Profar and Alfaro went back-to-back in the top of the second, which bred confidence throughout the squad.

Good baserunning, wild pitches, as well as some good situational hitting by Austin Nola had the Padres up big after the fifth inning. Manny Machado roped a double near the right-field pole, and although hitless, Jake Cronenworth made solid contact enough to bring home Nola for a sac-fly.

Baseball is a fickle sport, as leads can crumble in an instant if you become too complacent.

The Bob Melvin-led Padres did no such thing. The offense carried the ‘Padres on their backs in this unforeseen bullpen day. Coaching was the star of Sunday’s show.  Ruben Niebla was able to calm the ever-shaky Austin Adams  during a mound visit. He gave up three walks in the inning, but it eventually ended with no earned runs and a strikeout of Jake McCarthy. Veteran Craig Stammen had a brilliant 1-2-3 bottom of the fifth, striking out two batters as well.

For the latter half in the game, Bob Melvin’s decisions need to be contextualized. The Padres are heading up north to SF to face the Giants at Oracle.

These divisional games are so vital in the race for the playoffs in the NL West. It would be crucial to put the Padres’ main training and focus on this three-game set, and to do so, the best way forward is to utilize low-leverage relievers in this Arizona game in order to have the higher-leverage relievers fresh (with no travel day) for the game on Monday. Melvin did just that by letting Robert Suarez and Javy Guerra pitch two innings each. Suarez had jitters in the opening day loss, and so this was the perfect time to regain his confidence in himself. A.J. Preller seemingly has a soft spot for Guerra, as he has made the team this year, yet this situation was perfect for him. Although these two seemingly low-leverage relievers gave up five earned runs in the last four innings, the Padres bats were alive and well, as, in the end, the Diamondbacks were only able to halve the deficit to a final score of 10-5.

Ha-Seong Kim‘s triple indicates he is improving and now able to catch up to major league velocity, rocketing a ball into right-center. Luke Voit had a great stretch at first base, suggesting that Eric Hosmer is not the only capable first-bagger in town. Voit also added to his good work at first with three walks and a hit to his name. It will be interesting to see how the Padres starting pitching rotation adapts as we learn more about Blake Snell’s health. Preller’s recent acquisition of Sean Manaea shows that you can never have too much starting pitching.

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Jurickson Profar hits a grand slam, Colombians Crismatt and Alfaro shine as San Diego takes the first series of the year 3-1, beating the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field by a score of 10-5.

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