San Diego Padres feel El Niño’s absence in loss to Phillies

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 16: Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrates after hitting a three-run home run in the sixth inning during a game against the San Diego Padres at Citizens Bank Park on August 16, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies won 8-4. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 16: Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrates after hitting a three-run home run in the sixth inning during a game against the San Diego Padres at Citizens Bank Park on August 16, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies won 8-4. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images) /
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With Fernando Tatis Jr. out, the San Diego Padres dropped their series opener to the Philadelphia Phillies in a game that felt lost from the start.

After winning two games in a row, the San Diego Padres fell to the Philadelphia Phillies 4-8 on Friday evening. While the bullpen blew the game wide open, the Friars had dug themselves into an early hole that was deep to overcome.

While San Diego would clearly miss Fernando Tatis Jr., who appears to be out for the rest of the season with back issues, they wanted to prove that this team isn’t defined by one person.

They failed tonight.

The team mustered together only 7 hits on the evening, going 1-for-7 with RISP and leaving four runners on base. They also committed two defensive errors.

Rookie sensation Chris Paddack certainly didn’t help his own cause. He lasted only 4.2 innings, giving up four earned runs and five runs total off nine hits including two home runs.

Paddack was hoping to bounce back after his last outing against in Philadelphia in May; unfortunately, his stat line was eerily similar to that start. Back then, the loss resulted in the Padres optioning him to to the minors for 10 days.

He appears to be struggling as of late. Paddack’s second-half ERA is 4.96, more than two runs than his first-half-ERA of 2.84; his WHIP also jumped from 0.923 to 1.113 in the same time span. His last two outings have seen a combined nine runs over 10 innings pitched.

After a stellar start to the season, Paddack has clearly faced pressure to sustain that success and perform like an ace. He’s pitched only 115 major-league innings though, so he has a lot of time to learn and grow from these mistakes as he prepares to enter the offseason as a key piece of the starting rotation.

The bullpen didn’t help him either, but what else is new? After pulling to within two runs in the top of the sixth inning, Michel Báez immediately surrendered three runs to give the Phillies an 8-3 lead that they’d never relinquish.

While the Friars’ offense made it close in the sixth, they sputtered for the most part.

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Josh Naylor had a fine evening going 3-for-4 with two runs scored, while Francisco Méjia continued his hot streak with a 2-for-3 outing and an RBI. The rookie catcher is now hitting .286/.333/.452 on the season and a monster .528/.553/.806 in August alone.

Meanwhile, with Tatis Jr. sidelined, the Friars recalled Ty France from Triple-A and moved Luis Urías over to shortstop.

There were questions as to whether or not France could sustain his Triple-A success in the majors, considering he led the Pacific Coast League in hitting this season. A one-game sample size indicates no, as he went 0-for-3 on the evening, but of course it’s still early.

Regarding Urías, moving him to shortstop somewhat indicates how the Friars see him on this team moving forward. While this author prefers he stay at second base, it appears the Padres might want to improve the rookie’s trade value for a potential offseason move.

No doubt, Urías would provide a much higher return as a shortstop than as a second baseman, and if he can sustain his recent offensive production and showcase his defensive prowess, then he’d be quite the coveted prize come October. The Padres could possibly use him as a trade chip for a top of the rotation quality starter.

Dinelson Lamet will try to help the Friars even the series on Saturday evening but he’ll have to go through Zach Eflin to get the job done. Game 2 of the Padres at Phillies series will begin on Saturday, August 17 at 4:05 PM PT/7:05 PM ET.

Next. Cal Quantrill's journey to the MLB. dark

For complete coverage of the San Diego Padres 2019 season, continue following Friars on Base all season long.

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