As if facing a three-headed monster of Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and Joe Musgrove wasn’t imposing enough for teams doing battle with the San Diego Padres, the Friars have assembled a relief corps capable of dominating any lineup on any given night.
Seriously, once again, hats off to AJ Preller. The guy has assembled a team with very few, if any, glaring weaknesses.
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One night after Joe Musgrove made Padres history with a no-hitter more than a half-century in the making, Chris Paddack lasted just four innings, allowing a trio of runs. Now, for most teams, asking your bullpen to hold the line for five frames is a tall task – but not in San Diego.
Five arms – Ryan Weathers, Keone Kela, Tim Hill, Drew Pomeranz and Mark Melancon, combined to do just that – toss five scoreless innings, scattering just three hits while striking out eight and walk one.
That continued an early season run of success for the San Diego bullpen, which enters Sunday with an MLB-best 1.08 ERA on the year.
Melancon, who I pegged for a run at Trevor Hoffman’s single-season franchise saves record before the season, nailed down his fourth save of the year. The veteran has been a shutdown presence in the ninth for the Padres – and the line of arms bridging the gap from the star-studded rotation to the ninth is equally impressive.
Padres: Bullpens win championships in today’s game
Dating back to the Royals’ 2015 World Series win, teams have focused more and more on bullpens when assembling rosters. And it’s worked pretty well, too.
San Diego is no exception. Tim Hill, along with Melancon, has made five scoreless appearances. Kela, Pomeranz and Emilio Pagan have four scoreless outings under their belts, as well – giving Tingler all kinds of options on a nightly basis.
We figured this would be the case before the season got started. Heading into Opening Day, we didn’t know who would close games for this team – strictly because of how many quality arms could be found in this group.
One week does not a season make. But the early returns from the Padres’ bullpen bode well for the team’s championship hopes – and have made for some sleepless nights for opposing hitters. You just love to see it.