The Padres had a chance to salvage a series-split against the Orioles when they took the field this afternoon. Although Baltimore took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning, San Diego managed to knot the game up at 3-3 when Jedd Gyorko smacked a three-run dinger!
At that point, it appeared that momentum had swung in the Friars’ direction. Moreover, the second baseman’s blast was exactly the “pick-me up” which San Diego’s lineup needed, particularly since they have had issues hitting with men on base as of late.
Of course, everything went down the toilet when the Padres had to turn to their bullpen in the final two innings of the game.
Once a model of consistency and reliability for the downtrodden franchise, San Diego’s bullpen has been nothing short of an inconsistent and unmitigated disaster so far this year. Sadly, Gyorko’s tying home run failed to mean anything after the Friars’ bullpen muddled through the final two frames. Baltimore’s lineup feasted on a number of San Diego’s relievers as they turned a competitive game into a 10-3 “laugher” when they combined to score seven runs during the eighth and ninth innings.
Before I delve into how pathetic the bullpen performed, credit must go to Eric Stults for his solid start this afternoon. The veteran left-hander, who only allowed three runs and five hits, gave the Friars seven strong innings and struck out six. Stults kept his team in the game through his seven innings on the mound, and he did a solid job of pitching around his defense’s mistakes (three errors total today).
As far as the bullpen is concerned, let me just state that I really wish that the Padres had unloaded Luke Gregerson and his “slider that doesn’t quite slide anymore” at the trade deadline. The right-hander lost his sixth game of the season today, and was solely responsible for allowing Baltimore’s lineup to begin their offensive tear in the top of the eighth. Gregerson surrendered singles to the first two batters he faced, and by that point Bud Black pulled him for Colt Hynes.
The young lefty then had the unenviable task of facing the hard-hitting Chris Davis with two on and no out, a jam Gregerson directly put him into. Hynes fared no better than Gregerson though, and San Diego’s new “LOOGY” gave up a three-run dinger to Davis and a double to Matt Wieters before he was pulled for Dale Thayer.
Thankfully, Thayer only allowed one more run to cross the plate. Sadly, the damage had been done and the Orioles scored three more runs by the time that Sean O’Sullivan finished the top of the ninth.
I was already disgusted by San Diego’s bullpen before this game, but I’m not sure how to classify my current feeling towards their collective performance after their garbage-laden performance this afternoon. How or why Gregerson is allowed to pitch in these situations is beyond me, and I hope that the franchise can unload him and his overrated slider during the winter. Oh well, it’s not like this was a game with playoff implications anyways.
The Padres will have a day off tomorrow before they embark on a six-game road trip against Cincinnati and Colorado. I just hope that the bullpen can actually show up if they are called upon to keep a game tied or preserve a lead.
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