Friday night’s series opening loss to the Dodgers went almost exactly how it seems the entire 2017 season has gone so far for the San Diego Padres.
For the folks in the Petco Park press box, the bright spot of the seeming endless 31st game of the season had to be the new Mr. Softee Machine. The four hour, 11-minute affair ended in an 8-2 loss and served as a microcosm of the 2017 season for the home team.
Friday’s starter, Jhoulys Chacin, pitched 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball but was removed having thrown only 89 pitches. While the back end of the bullpen has been solid, relievers leading up to Ryan Buchter, Brad Hand and Brandon Maurer have been less than stellar at times, last night allowing six earned runs in the later innings. The Padres relievers’ ERA ranks 25th in MLB at 4.96.
The already depleted roster suffered another blow when backup catcher Hector Sanchez suffered a foot contusion on a Joc Pederson foul ball. Austin Hedges’ well deserved off day ended when he had to take over. In addition to playing backup catcher, the Padres’ depth chart lists Sanchez as the only option in place of Wil Myers at first.
Myers himself has been critical of his defense, and a day off now and again probably wouldn’t hurt. The thin nature of that depth chart has been severely challenged already with Travis Jankowski, Alex Dickerson and five pitchers on the disabled list.
The Dodgers played without noted Padres’ killer Adrian Gonzalez, who went on the disabled list for the first time in his 14-year career. However, his replacement at first, Cody Bellinger, hit two home runs and drove in four of the Dodgers’ runs.
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In the bottom of the sixth inning, San Diego loaded the bases and couldn’t manage to get a run home, a recurring theme. In Thursday’s 3 to 2 loss to the Rockies, the team went 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position. Since the team ranks 29th in OBS at .283 and 27th in strikeouts per game at 9.3, those runners left on base loom even larger.
On the plus side, this relatively young lineup, mentored by Erick Aybar, does not give up. In the bottom of the eighth inning with the Padres down 4-2, Yasiel Puig made one of his signature catches on a deep fly ball hit by Hedges.
Game 31 started well but ended in yet another loss, thanks to the middle relief corps and poor situational hitting.