Tell me you haven’t heard this story before. A winnable game goes down the drain because of a weak offense.
Ian Kennedy started off the game extremely strong, retiring the first nine batters he faced, getting five of his first six outs on groundouts, and two strikeouts. And in the top of the third with two outs, leadoff hitter Will Venable hit a line drive home run that only had a chance for damage in Philadelphia.
With the way Kennedy had started the game, it seemed that one run may have been enough to win it. But the second time through the order provided a different point of view. After almost giving up Ben Revere’s second career homer, Kennedy allowed a single to Chase Utley to tie the game. A long single by Ryan Howard put runners on the corners to set the stage for Marlon Byrd.
A three run bomb that again, only happens in Citizen’s Bank Ballpark. What started off so promising quickly turned insurmountable.
And Byrd wasn’t done there. After another pair of singles from Utley and Howard, he drove one not quite as far for a sacrifice fly, to put the Phillies up 5-1. Not to be outdone, Carlos Quentin doubled and later scored on a sac fly himself, to close the gap and set up a save situation at 5-2. Jonathan Papelbon made things interesting by loading the bases in the ninth, but he didn’t allow any runners to score and recorded his 300th career save.
The end was disappointing, to say the least. A.J. Burnett wasn’t dominating the lineup, but over-aggressiveness and poor approaches helped him get out of any jams he encountered. Papelbon was hittable and vulnerable, but the team just couldn’t get enough going to do anything against him.
Kennedy showed good stuff early but he just couldn’t find a consistent rhythm. He pitched well out of the wind-up, but when runners got on and forced him to pitch from the stretch he had many more issues.
A lone bright spot was Kevin Quackenbush, who came in with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 8th, set to face Marlon Byrd and Dominic Brown. He managed to get them both out on punchouts, and keep the deficit at only three.
Overall, it’s the same old story for Padres fans. This game was never out of reach, but there was no offense to be found the entire game. The team was just swinging at bad pitches and letting good ones go by. There’s a clear lack of a middle-of-the-order hitter to lead the team on. Seth Smith has been a wonderfully surprising addition, but he can’t carry a lineup by himself. Without anyone else stepping up, it’s a narrative that will be repeated many more times throughout the season.