The San Diego Padres took the first of three from the Colorado Rockies last night in Denver. Here are my random thoughts from, and a recap of, the Friars’ victory.
Colorado Rockies right-hander Jon Gray is an absolute joy to watch. His 96 MPH heater that stays down in the zone, low-90’s slider, and bulldog demeanor on the mound had the San Diego Padres baffled in the first inning, evidenced just by how he struck out the side.
Chase Headley shook his head and muttered something that incited a smirk from the umpire after he was frozen on a high heater that tailed right toward his hands at the end. Oh, to have been a gnat on his bat and had the chance to hear that exchange.
Luckily for us, we got the best of both worlds from Gray last night. As baseball fans, we got to see him at his best and for Padres’ fans, we got to see him at his worst as the Friars got to him for seven runs through five innings.
Random thoughts & recap
Headley, back at third base, made a great barehanded play in the first inning but DJ LeMahieu beat the throw by a step at first. Clayton Richard then got Nolan Arenado to ground into an inning-ending double play so all’s well that ends well.
Freddy Galvis grounded into a double play in the next at-bat, then Austin Hedges put a swinging bunt on a pitch, leaving Gray with nothing to do but tuck it away, leaving runners on first and third with two out.
Manuel Margot, the new occupant of the eighth spot in the Padres’ batting order flared a hit to right field to score Pirela and give the Padres a 1-0 lead. Richard then lined out to left field to end the inning but put some good wood on the ball.
Rockies get on the board
Ian Desmond hit a powerful opposite-field home run off of Richard to tie the game at one in the bottom of the second. That thing was crushed.
Jon Gray throws a high-seventies-to-low-eighties curveball to lefties (picture the arms of a clock if it’s 1:43; that’s what path the pitch takes across the strike zone) and it’s quite possibly the nastiest pitch I’ve seen all season.
Freddy Galvis’ throw across his body to get LeMaheiu in the third after Charlie Blackmon moved to third base after Richards’ throwing error on a throw to first was a terrific play that after only eleven games we’ve already become used to from him.
Padres show off some power
Speaking of Galvis, he absolutely tattooed his fourth-inning triple to deep centerfield, sending the ball over a very quickly retreating Blackmon’s head.
He scored on Hedges RBI double in the next at-bat to give the Friars a 2-1 lead. Then, after an intentional pass to Margot, Clayton Richard did this…
And then, Carlos Asuaje did this…
Just like that, 6-1 Padres.
Padres give half of it right back
After being staked to a five-run lead in the top half of the fourth, the Padres’ Clayton Richard retired Nolan Arenado on one pitch. Nice start.
He then gave up a frozen rope double to Trevor Story that caught Spangy a bit off-guard in left-field and walked Desmond on four pitches. Then, Chris Iannetta made him pay for it with a long three-run shot to left-center field that cut the Padres lead to 6-4.
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Padres tack on another run
He hit a hard groundball to the half-empty left side of the infield for a single.
After an inside pitch that got away from Iannetta moved Hosmer to second base, Jose Pirela notched his second hit of the game with an RBI double to right to make it a 7-4 game.
Richard got into some trouble again in the bottom of the fifth.
After allowing a one-out single to Charlie Blackmon and a two-out walk to Arenado he struck out Story to keep the Rox at bay.
Richard finished his day with five innings pitched, allowing four earned runs on five hits, striking out three and walking three.
Friars’ bullpen takes over
Jordan Lyles came in to pitch the sixth inning and finally allowed his first earned runs of the season, walking Iannetta and giving up a two-run home run to Carlos Gonzalez to cut the Padres’ lead to 7-6.
The ball was clearly caught by Spangenberg in right but was reviewed and declared a two-run homer. Andy Green was likely more-than-happy to get tossed after such an atrocious call.
Eric Hosmer and Jose Pirela added a couple of base hits in the eighth inning, their second and third hits of the game, respectively.
Craig Stammen came in to clean up the mess that Lyles left after walking Blackmon and giving up a single to LeMahieu. He struck out Arenado and induced groundouts from Story and Desmond to escape the jam.
Stammen worked a perfect eighth inning, keeping his season ERA flawless and becoming a key piece in this Friars bullpen.