Drew Pomeranz struggles for Padres in last spring start

Mar 23, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz (13) pitches during the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 23, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz (13) pitches during the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

The San Diego Padres lost to the world champion Kansas City Royals 11-3 Monday behind five solid innings from Edinson Volquez and sustained 18 MPH winds which helped two first inning home runs find the stands as well as helping my daughter’s hat find the ground multiple times. Edinson Volquez led off the game with two balls, which surely brought Padres fans back to 2012 when he led the National League with 105 walks. Matt Kemp provided the only Padres offense in the first with a weakly hit single up the middle. Drew Pomeranz allowed a wind-aided Whit Merrifield homer to left center, and after a Mike Moustakas single to short a two run shot to Lorenzo Cain that found nearly the same spot in the stands as Merrifield’s liner.

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In the second, after a Derek Norris walk and a Melvin Upton seeing-eye single up the middle, Norris got caught wandering off 3rd before Moustakas got rid of an Alexi Amarista chopper. After a less than enthusiastic run down Norris went back to the bench and the other runners smartly moved up to 2nd and 3rd. Then the suddenly powerful Whit Merrifield hit one over the head of Jose Pirela in left for two more RBIs. Merrifield owns a career slugging percentage of .395 in the minors. Merrifield later came around to score on a wild pitch by Pomeranz, who did not help his case for a rotation spot today.

Pomeranz got three curveballs over nicely for strikes in the second and two more in the third, dropping them in the zone at 79 consistently, but his fastball reached no higher than 91 and he looked eminently hittable against the world champs. His control was off today, and the wind surely did not help by aiding two homers in the first, but he looked more like the Pomeranz that has been discarded by three teams than the answer for the number four slot in the rotation. Later in the game Fernando Rodney looked strong, hitting 94 and 95 with roughly a dozen fastballs and pulling an 84 MPH curveball that looked unhittable.

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Volquez looked strong against his former mates until he got his feet tangled in the third and accidentally put a fastball in Pirela’s back, setting up a weakly hit Matt Kemp double play. Volquez kept everything on the ground until the 4th when Wil Myers hit an opposite field double, his fifth of the spring, down the line. Two batters later, Upton got one up into the wind depositing it at the base of the center field wall to account for the first Padres run.

In the bottom of the 4th Leonel Campos got Eric Hosmer to hit into a nice dp which started off with Amarista ranging to his right and performing a Derek Jeter jump throw to Jemile Weeks. Omar Infante then put one off the glove of Upton in center and Campos threw one in the dirt that bounced off Norris and actually bounced all the way up and over the netting behind home plate.

In the 5th Kemp had a strong single up the middle to plate Weeks for the second Padres run of the day. Amarista seemed to shake off a scary moment as he landed awkwardly diving for a travis snider blooper in the bottom of the 5th. Nick Vincent then hit Tony Cruz on a fastball up and in but got the slugging Merrifield to finally sit down on strikes.

Norris led off the sixth with a wind aided 400 foot plus shot to left center off Wade Davis, giving padres fans hope that offense will be on the way. By the bottom of the sixth the padres and roy6h both teams were well into the guys with no names on their jerseys and numbers in the 80s and 90s on their backs. It did afford me the chance to see Dusty Coleman, he of the .190 average this spring, park one to left center that landed on the concourse beyond the families on the grassy knoll. Did I mention the wind was blowing out?

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Finally, in the 8th inning we got to see the much hyped Jabari Blash and he did not disappoint. One pitch from Dillon Gee, a vested major league pitcher, and Blash tore the cover off the ball, lining it to left where the outfielder was standing a step from the warning track in great position. One pitch, one swing, but it looked good.