After being the highlighted passenger on the San Diego/El Paso shuttle on four separate trips this season, Padres’ reliever Kevin Quackenbush has finally established himself as a key cog in Bud Black‘s bullpen. During a high-leverage situation during yesterday’s 2-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks, Quackenbush was brought in by Black to face pinch-hitter Roger Kieschnick. At that point, there were a pair of runners on in the 7th inning, and a base hit ties the ball game. Quackenbush blew Kieschnick away with a fastball to preserve the lead, and passed the baton on to Joaquin Benoit and Huston Street, who slammed the door for the save.
“It’s exciting — your adrenaline’s definitely going, your blood’s flowing pretty good…It’s a good time to be out there.”~Padres’ reliever Kevin Quackenbush to Will Laws of MLB.com
Quackenbush has filled in admirably when called up, having recorded his seventh consecutive outing without allowing an earned run including Sunday’s performance. The last run the righty gave up with a walk-off variety blast to another Diamondbacks’ hitter, A.J. Pollock, back at the end of April. Quackenbush has seen his role increased from Black with injuries to ‘pen mate Nick Vincent. As the Padres have so often done in year’s past, they take unknowns, and develop them into solid members of a strong relief corp.