I know that I cannot speak for all Padres fans. However, I think that many of us can agree that the team’s late-game meltdowns have been nothing short of frustrating to witness this year. Despite their best efforts to come back from a 2-0 deficit, San Diego was denied another victory after their bullpen allowed a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning off of the bat of Jeff Mathis.
The Marlins took an early lead in the bottom of the fourth when Andrew Cashner surrendered a two-run double to Derek Dietrich. The worst part about that particular hit was the fact that Cashner put two runners on base after he recorded the first two outs of the inning.
The fourth inning was Grizzly’s only hiccup though, and the right-hander shut the Marlins down over his final two frames in the game. Overall, Cashner worked six strong innings and did more than enough to keep his team in the game. Every outing with him on the mound has become a treat to watch this year, and he definitely has the ability to be a fixture in San Diego’s rotation over the course of the next decade.
Although their lineup sputtered to produce once again, the Padres eventually tied the game in the top of the seventh when Carlos Quentin smacked a two-run home run off of Chad Qualls. Quentin, who pinch hit for Cashner in that situation, came through in a huge way and it appeared that Bud Black’s decision to pull his cruising starter for a potential big-inning paid off in full.
Cashner’s exit though meant that San Diego would have to rely on their inconsistent bullpen. To their credit however, relievers Nick Vincent and Luke Gregerson threw scoreless frames in the seventh and eighth innings. I should mention that it was comforting to see Gregerson back to his old self, and it certainly was nice to see him whiff two of the three batters he faced too.
Unfortunately for the Friars, Black elected to use Tyson Ross in the bottom of the ninth instead of in his long-relief role. Needless to say, that particular move blew up in San Diego’s faces. Ross only recorded one out before he gave up the grand salami to Evan Mathis for the win, and the June-bullpen woes received a final “cherry on top” with today’s meltdown.
The Friars will send Jason Marquis to the mound tomorrow as the team will try to salvage a series-split against the last place Marlins. Marquis will be pitching for his tenth win of the season as well as a berth on the All-Star team. I just hope that his bullpen can lock a victory down if he hands them a late-game lead.