The Padres offense could not get the bats going on Sunday, and Kirby Yates struggled to keep the game tied.
I’ve generally never been a fan of using the closer in non-save situations, especially when he was used the night before. Granted, Kirby Yates needed just nine pitches to lock down the 5-1 victory for the Padres on Saturday. But opponents have been able to notch a .427 slugging percentage against Yates in non-save situations throughout his career.
Leading up to the ninth inning, Eric Hosmer returned to the lineup after having the stomach flu the previous night. He stayed hot, smashing a solo home run in the bottom of the third inning. The score would remain that way until the eighth inning when Emilio Pagan was touched up for two runs, as the Diamondbacks took a 2-1 lead.
Moving to the bottom half of the inning, the Padres had men at first and third with one out and Greg Garcia at the plate. The backup infielder blooped a single into centerfield, scoring Jake Cronenworth on the play.
Back to Yates, the Padres closer struck out Carson Kelly to begin the bottom half of the ninth inning, but then the wheels fell off. Ildemargo Vargas singled to center field, and Kevin Cron and Nick Ahmed both walked to load the bases. Ketel Marte hit a pop fly to Trent Grisham, and off the bat, it appeared it was going to be shallow enough for the Padres centerfielder to make a play at home plate.
However, it was deep enough for the run to score. David Peralta followed Marte with a single that just missed the outstretched glove of Jurickson Profar, thus ending Yates’ day. Pierce Johnson came in and struck out Starling Marte on three pitches, which makes you wonder why he wasn’t used in this situation in the first place.
I guess, lost in all of this, Garrett Richards made his first start for the Padres this year, tossing five frames while allowing just one hit and fanning six. It was more than enough for the Friars, who could not generate any offense outside of Hosmer’s blast, leaving 12 men on base in total and going 2-for-13 with RISP.
It’s way too soon to panic, but in a 60-game season, you hope that the Padres don’t look back on this one and wonder “what if.” Still not panicking, the back end of the bullpen hasn’t looked as dominant as expected through the first three games, with Pagan getting touched up for a blast in the opener as well. We will not panic…yet.
The two teams will conclude their four-game series on Monday.