Wheels fall off Padres in NLCS Game 1 loss to Phillies

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Credit: USA Today Sports

After two days off, the San Diego Padres offense failed to show up and were shut out by Zack Wheeler and the Philadelphia Phillies, 2-0. The Game 1 loss puts the Padres in a quick 1-0 hole in its first National League Championship Series appearance in 24 years.

Wheeler needed to work his way out of trouble in the first inning, as the Padres made him throw 24 pitches to escape the frame. It surely gave San Diego some hope that Philadelphia’s dominant ace would struggle or not work deep into the game, but those hopes were quickly dashed. Wheeler cruised through the next six innings and allowed just one hit, a jammed single up the middle off the bat of Wil Myers.

His counterpart, Yu Darvish, was practically just as good.

Darvish allowed just three hits over seven innings, but two of them left the yard for solo home runs. One was a bit unlucky, with Bryce Harper hitting a sky-scraping opposite-field shot that landed in the first row. The other, not so much – Kyle Schwarber deposited a hanging breaking ball by Darvish into right field’s second deck, breaking the record for the furthest home run in Petco Park history. It traveled an estimated 488 feet at 119.7 mph – the fifth such home run since the Statcast Era began in 2008 of at least 119.7 mph, per Jeff Passan.

Besides that, Darvish struck out seven Phillies and turned in yet another quality start, something that’s become the expectation for the 36-year-old. while Kyle Schwarber hit the farthest home run in Petco Park history.

The Padres did get some additional hope in the ninth inning when Jose Alvarado walked Jurickson Profar, the third base runner of the night for the Friars at the time. That brought up the beef of the order representing the tying run with one out. Juan Soto, who walked on four pitches in his first at-bat, hit a ground ball straight to Phillies’ third baseman Alec Bohm. A potential double play-ball was thrown away by Bohm, allowing the tying run to reach and setting up Manny Machado for a possible historic game-winner.

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After a mound meeting, Machado took a middle-in fastball for a strike, a pitch he tends to hammer, and flew out to right field a few pitches later. With two outs, Alvarez battled through the adversity to strikeout Josh Bel relatively easily, ending the game and securing a Phillies’ win.

The two sides will turn around quickly with a 1:37 p.m. first pitch Wednesday afternoon. Blake Snell takes the mound looking to even up the series, presumably pitching to Austin Nola, whose brother will toe the rubber for Philadelphia. The high from a monumental series win over the Los Angeles Dodgers appears to be fading quickly, with the Padres season on the line in less than 24 hours.

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