San Diego Padres: Lucchesi, Bullpen, & Szczur’s RBI 2B Lead in Win


The San Diego Padres dug in their spikes last night and took the finale of a three-game series after losing the first two against the Washington Nationals.

The San Diego Padres really needed their 2-1 victory over the Washington Nationals at Petco Park last night. To be clear, the win was necessary for reasons based on team morale, not on the illusion of true contention. At least not at this point in their season.

The offense spread out their assault and Joey Lucchesi worked his way out of a few jams to keep things close.  Getting a spot start in right field and leading off for the Friars, Matt Szczur laced an RBI-double in the seventh to give the Padres a 2-1 lead that the bullpen held up in impressive fashion.

Joey Fuego leads the way for the San Diego Padres

The San Diego Padres’ rookie hurler, Joey Lucchesi, made it through last night’s win over the Washington Nationals by exhibiting a ton of moxie and poise.

Oh, and also by keeping hitters off-balance all night with his ungodly off-speed arsenal, which only makes his heater seem all the more befuddling. The Padres’ young left-hander went five innings, allowing six hits and a walk, but only permitting one Nats player to cross home plate.

His six strikeouts on the night give him 46 for the season (14th in NL; Max Scherzer, 80) and bump his strikeouts-per-nine mark up to 9.78 on the season, right alongside his outstanding 82.2% left-on-base percentage.

Lucchesi’s night for the Friars

Both Anthony Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman were left on base in the first inning after Lucchesi got Howie Kendrick to hit a soft comebacker.

Young Fuego retired the Nats in order in the second behind two strikeouts (Matt Wieters and Moises Sierra) and in the third, striking out Gio Gonzalez (who also pitched a terrific game) and Michael A. Taylor.

After Rendon hit a monster home run to lead off the fourth, Lucchesi retired Zimmerman, Kendrick singled on a reviewed play that stood and then was picked off by with Wieters at the plate, who eventually struck out looking to end the frame.

In the fifth, in what would turn out to be final inning, the 24-year-old set down Sierra, picked off another Nats player, Wilmer Difo this time, after a sharply-hit single to right, and struck out Gonzalez again to end his evening.

San Diego Padres’ bats had just enough life in them

Matt Szczur and Jose Pirela both drew bases-on-balls against Nationals’ starter Gio Gonzalez in the first, but Franchy Cordero couldn’t bring either of them home and grounded out to end the threat and the inning.

A.J. Ellis notched the Friars’ first base hit of the game with his single in the second, which was immediately followed by Manuel Margot‘s first of three hits on the night. Joey Lucchesi walked to bring the Nats’ pitching coach out of the dugout, but Szczur struck out and Hosmer grounded out softly back to Gonzalez to leave ducks on the pond once again.

Gonzalez struck out the side in the third but the Padres finally got to him in the fourth. Ellis stroked a one-out ground-rule double to left field and then Manny Margot doubled right behind him to tie the game at one apiece.

The Friars went down in order in the fifth and couldn’t capitalize on a lead-off Jose Pirela single in the sixth, leaving the game tied at one heading into the seventh. That’s when Matt Szczur put the Padres ahead with this frozen-rope double off of the wall in left-center.

The team threatened again in the eighth but failed to score any insurance runs. Luckily, they weren’t needed.

More from Friars on Base

Padres’ relievers keep getting the job done

The Padres’ relief corps continues to sparkle, and most-certainly did so last night against a very tough Nats’ lineup in a tight game.

Craig Stammen (2.98 earned-run average in 20 innings pitched, 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings, 1.8 walks per nine) pitched scoreless sixth and seventh innings after relieving Lucchesi after five.

Kirby Yates (0.79 ERA, 11.1 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 in 11.1 innings) continued his dominance in last night’s contest, working a perfect eighth inning with two strikeouts.

His ERA+ this season is a mind-blowing, yet totally unsustainable, 490. What’s even more impressive and reasonable is his gorgeous 0.794 WHIP.

Bradley Richard Hand was money again last night for the San Diego Padres. Since his blown save against the San Francisco Giants on April 30, Brad Hand has not allowed an earned run in four innings of work (all saves) with eight strikeouts and no walks.

Next: Three Early Trade Candidates

Last night was no different as the lefty set down Howie Kendrick, Matt Wieters, and Moises Sierra in order to close the game out.