The Padres turned to young southpaw Ryan Weathers in Friday’s series opener against Los Angeles. Although San Diego came out on the wrong end of the contest, Weathers was stellar in his first career big league start.
After making a trio of relief appearances this year, Weathers turned in 3 2/3 innings of scoreless ball to set the tone for his club – lowering his ERA on the year to a minuscule 0.93. Weathers got the nod due to the injuries to Adrian Morejon and Dinelson Lamet. But it sounds like the latter will be making his 2021 debut in the next week or so.
“He threw the ball really well, got to his pitch count, got to the innings that we wanted to see,” manager Jayce Tingler told MLB.com. “We’ll see him over the next couple days … but very good reports from [Thursday] night.”
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This is huge for the Padres, who are in the midst of a grueling stretch of schedule, playing a game every single day for more than two weeks straight. Games like Friday’s 12-inning marathon that saw Jake Cronenworth take the mound don’t help the staff in any way, shape or form, so getting any fresh arm is a plus – let alone a guy who finished fourth in NL Cy Young voting last season.
Last year, Lamet pitched to a 2.09 ERA in a dozen starts before hitting the shelf late in the campaign. Without him in October, there was a definite hole in the San Diego rotation – which was subsequently filled this offseason with the additions of Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and Joe Musgrove.
Padres get a big boost in Dinelson Lamet
Now, Lamet can slot in at the back of the Padres’ rotation, without the pressure or expectations of being an ace or shouldering the load of an entire team. If he can turn in quality starts and keep the team’s powerful offense in the ballgame every five days, he’s doing his job.
This would, at least in theory, allow Tingler to use Weathers in a swing man role moving forward. He’s shown an ability to handle whatever’s thrown at him – and given how exhausting this stretch has been on the arms (and the fact there’s still nine more games to go in the next nine days, six coming against the Dodgers) – his presence will be critical.
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As for Lamet, it looks like he’ll debut at Petco Park against Milwaukee early next week. There’s no official word on that front yet – but that aligns with how he’s been ramping up of late.