The offense was flat for the home team as the San Diego Padres dropped the series opener to the Atlanta Braves on Friday night.
The San Diego Padres have some rust to shake off.
The Friars were out of sync from the very beginning, and a tipped foul ball that took out umpire Dan DeMuth seemed to dictate the tone.
The Padres’ battery looked drained and in need of a charge. They stumbled out of the gate with Francisco Mejía missing a catchable wild pitch to move runners to second and third. The Atlanta Braves capitalized immediately, as Josh Donaldson hit a three-run homer off of Dinelson Lamet in the first inning. Even Fernando Tatis Jr. had a rare defensive flop in an attempt to make a Jeter-esque play.
Lamet settled down eventually, finishing the night with seven strikeouts and two walks through five innings, though he gave up another run before exiting.
Offensively, the Padres couldn’t get anything going on a night when they out-hit the Braves. They left nine runners on base and went 2-for-6 with RISP. The Friars scored a few runs late in the game and had the makings of another ninth-inning comeback, but the effort fell short.
On the bright side, Franmil Reyes had a nice evening and did some damage with a couple of monstrous…singles? He went 2-for-3 with a walk and a pair of base knocks.
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Manny Machado ended the shutout with a solo shot in the bottom of the sixth, finishing the night 3-for-5 with two singles on top of his 21st homer of the year.
Mejía drove in the Padres’ second run in the eighth, and Eric Hosmer hit an RBI single to center field to plate Machado in the bottom of the ninth; but it was too little, too late.
Meanwhile, Dallas Keuchel did what Dallas Keuchel does, tossing an impressive seven innings with five strikeouts and a walk. He allowed only one run off of six hits and induced two double plays.
Rumors had stirred about the Padres targeting the left-hander earlier this season, and clearly for good reason.
The Padres had their own pitching prospects to get excited about, though.
Perhaps the best part of the night was the major league debut of Andres Muñoz. The 20-year-old leapfrogged Triple-A El Paso and joined the team Friday before the series opener.
Boy did he back up the hype.
Muñoz threw only one inning but that was all he needed to make an impression. The young flamethrower brought the heat, chucking a 101.9 MPH fastball for the fastest pitch ever thrown by a Padre in the Statcast era. He then induced a double play and ended the inning by striking out Bryan McCann with a filthy 87-MPH slider.
San Diego’s bullpen is ranked 10th in the league with a 4.76 ERA on the season, and that didn’t get any better when Matt Strahm allowed Josh Donaldson to crush his second home run of the game.
Muñoz is the first of many arms in the Padres’ pipeline expected to stem the team’s pitching woes. The Friars have a lot of problems on the mound, both in the rotation and in a bullpen that has struggled mightily all season long.
The Padres will get another chance on Saturday when Joey Lucchesi tees off against Julio Teheran. Teheran owns a 3.75 ERA and 1.36 WHIP on the year, while Lucchesi will look to build off his strong first-half finish. He has a 3.51 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and nearly 3:1 K/BB rate in his last seven games.
For complete coverage of the San Diego Padres’ 2019 season, be sure to visit Friars on Base all season long.