San Diego Padres: Saturday Night Wasn’t That Bad

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LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 25: Austin Hedges #18 of the San Diego Padres is congratulated for his game tying run against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the nineth inning at Dodger Stadium on August 25, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. All players across MLB will wear nicknames on their backs as well as colorful, non-traditional uniforms featuring alternate designs inspired by youth-league uniforms during Players Weekend. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 25: Austin Hedges #18 of the San Diego Padres is congratulated for his game tying run against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the nineth inning at Dodger Stadium on August 25, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. All players across MLB will wear nicknames on their backs as well as colorful, non-traditional uniforms featuring alternate designs inspired by youth-league uniforms during Players Weekend. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /
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The San Diego Padres fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers in extra-innings on Saturday night.

There’s really nowhere to go but up after falling to someone called “Dick Mountain.” With rookie Brett Kennedy on the mound, the San Diego Padres put up a fight against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers, eventually falling 5-4 in extra-innings.

Saturday looked to be just another Padres game after Kennedy allowed a Manny Machado three-run home run to deep center field in the bottom of the first inning, however, Kennedy would immediately find his rhythm and settle into a groove.

Kennedy would rattle off four-straight scoreless frames, ending with a final line of 5 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 strikeouts. Outside of the rough first inning, Kennedy showed poise against a brutal Dodgers’ lineup.

His command wasn’t great (92 pitches/52 strikes) but his clutch outing against Justin Turner in the fourth inning was a bright spot on the night. Kennedy opened the at-bat with a fastball at the knees, low and away, for a called strike. He was then able to place a fastball on the inside corner of the plate, a spot he failed to hit in his first matchup against Turner (resulted in a HBP after trying to work him inside). The at-bat ended with a fly ball out to Manuel Margot in center field, leaving the bases loaded to end the inning.

At this point in the season, small victories like that from players like Kennedy are what we are watching for. Kennedy still hasn’t had a defining outing but will have a few more chances to show whether or not he belongs on the major league roster next season. He needs one or two quality outings, otherwise, his tenure in San Diego may be short-lived.

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The offense decided to show up Saturday night, knocking in four runs on 11 hits, including home runs from Franmil Reyes and Austin Hedges. Reyes’ home run was a solo shot off Kershaw in the seventh inning, to bring the Padres to within one run. It was the hardest hit ball of the entire night, exiting Dodger Stadium at 109.8 mph and traveling 403 feet.

Hedges slightly upped Reyes’ shot, sending one 411 feet from home plate. His solo home run in the ninth inning tied the game for the Padres, forcing a Saturday night extra-inning affair.

An RBI-double by Justin Turner off Robert Stock would give the Dodgers a walk-off victory and keep them in the hunt for the National League West title.

As for the Padres, this game was a big turnaround from Friday night. Kershaw isn’t the Kershaw of old but he has still been very good this season, when healthy. They may have struck out nine times and drew zero walks, however, this lineup battled against Kershaw, doing just enough to give them a chance to win the ball game. The focal point of last night was Kennedy.

The final stat line won’t make anyone take a second look but as previously mentioned, there were a few bright spots that show Kennedy is making slight progress. There’s still potential there for him to have some success, once he finds his command.

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Game three of the series will begin at 4:10 pm on Sunday as the San Diego Padres send Robbie Erlin to the mound to salvage at least one game out of this set.

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