The first inning is killing San Diego Padres pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne.
The Cuban right-hander gave up three runs in the first inning in Friday night’s 5-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. In his previous start, he gave up four first-inning runs against the Cardinals. In both games, he gave up another run in the second inning, then settled down in the the third and fourth. Against St. Louis, he was done after four. Friday, he lasted five, finishing with three scoreless innings before departing.
In his last four starts, Despaigne has allowed 9 runs in the first inning, and 4 runs (3 earned) after the first inning. That’s a first-inning ERA of 20.25. After the first, his ERA has been 1.53.
But Despaigne’s poor start was not the only reason the Padres lost. There was also the offense. Or rather, the complete and utter lack of offense. Diamondbacks starter Josh Collmenter had allowed 17 runs in his last 18 innings prior to facing the Padres. San Diego should have been licking their chops waiting to hit against the struggling right-hander. But instead, they played like they were hungover from Thursday’s tough 2-1 loss to Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers, in which Tyson Ross pitched brilliantly until allowing a 2-run 8th inning homer.
Collmenter absolutely shut down the Friars’ offense, allowing only two baserunners through the first eight innings. Both hits came in the third inning, when the Little Ninja, Alexi Amarista, plunked a one-out single into left, and then tried to advance to third on a two-out knock to right field by Yangervis Solarte. Unfortunately, DBacks right fielder David Peralta used to be a pitcher, and he threw a strike to third to beat Amarista and end the Padres’ biggest threat until the ninth inning.
Despaigne nearly escaped the first inning unscathed, retiring the first two hitters. But Peralta placed an opposite-field hit between left and center field, and ran all the way to third before the defense got the ball back to the infield. Mark Trumbo followed with an infield single that went deep into the hole at shortstop to plate the Diamondbacks first run. Miguel Montero (2-for-4, HR, double) followed with a line shot off the right-field foul pole for a 2-run homer and a 3-0 lead.
Despaigne allowed only a hit and a walk over the next three innings, and finished with 5 IP, 5 hits, 1 BB, 4 runs, 3 ER, and 4 Ks. He dropped his second consecutive decision, falling to 3-5 on the season.
Newcomer Frank Garces pitched two effective innings in relief, allowing only a walk.
Collmenter’s brilliant evening came to an end in the ninth inning, as Snakes manager Kirk Gibson pulled him after Collmenter again allowed singles to Amarista and Solarte, sandwiched around a Tommy Medica strikeout. Amarista scored a meaningless run on a passed ball, making the final 5-1.
There was really nothing positive to focus on in this game. The Pads just got soundly beaten. But this is baseball. So today is a new day with a new game and a clean slate. After games like last night’s, it’s good to remember that.
Keep the Faith.