The Padres failed to sweep the Dodgers at home this weekend – but it took 17 innings for a winner to emerge in the finale Sunday afternoon. They still won the weekend series in some big intangible ways.
The Padres did see two-thirds of their bullpen trio falter in the series – but each time were able to bounce back and in two of the three situations win the game when it mattered most.
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I wrote before the series started that the biggest difference between the Padres and Giants series was someone with swagger. The Giants have Madison Bumgarner and Hunter Pence with the reliable Buster Posey to man the course. The Dodgers are lacking the same type of spark player and it showed this series.
For the Padres Melvin Upton Jr.emerged as that guy this weekend – with a walk off home run in Game 1, a near walk-off in Game 2, and a game tying triple in Game 3. He set the tone more than any other player that you did not want to face him with the game on the line, because he would probably come through. He had 3 of the Padres 9 hits in the finale with a stolen base, and of course that majestic game winning walk off Friday night.
Now we will see if the Padres can take that momentum and beat the Giants for the first time this season. They do miss facing Bumgarner this time but still have Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija as well as former Padre Jake Peavy.
Drew Pomeranz kicks things off and he has been as good as anyone this season on the mound. Despite his 1.96 ERA he owns a record of just 4-4, and pitching on the road won’t help him against Cueto who threw a complete game in San Diego last time out. The Padres need to show that last weekend wasn’t a fluke and play these Giants tough.
They won’t face them again until after the All Star Break, so playing well against them now can help put themselves in a position to still be relevant by the time that series comes around. Another sweep would put the Padres over 10 games out of first while a Padres sweep would bring them within 5 games.