San Diego Padres morning after: No excuses for listless loss in Pittsburgh

San Diego Padres right fielder Fernando Tatis Jr. and catcher Gary Sanchez.
San Diego Padres right fielder Fernando Tatis Jr. and catcher Gary Sanchez. / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The clock may not have struck midnight in Pittsburgh when it comes to the 2023 season for the San Diego Padres. The chimes, however, certainly went off when it comes to a fan base's tolerance with a team that isn't playing up to its potential and doesn't seem to have the emotional fortitude to make a change in its style of play.

When Padres manager Bob Melvin tells the world that the Pittsburgh Pirates (2-8 in their last 10 games, including Tuesday's 9-4 win over San Diego, by the way) "seemed like they had a little bit more spirit the rest of the game than we did," it's a problem. It's even a bigger problem when the Padres know the importance of time left in the season to get their campaign back on track.

Whether Padres players wanted to agree with Melvin's assessment or not, one thing is clear: The time for listless responses when the team falls behind is over.

San Diego Padres have to discover an emotional edge to save season

The Padres jumped out to a 3-0 edge before Pittsburgh answered with three of their own against spot starter Reiss Knehr, who drew the start for an ill Yu Darvish. That the Pirates scored against Knehr should not have been a surprise. Melvin even admitted as much.

“When you start somebody that’s gonna give you limited pitches, you might give up some runs,” Melvin told the media in Pittsburgh. “We have to know offensively we have to do a little bit more than just score three runs in the second inning.”

And that's the problem. Pittsburgh counter-punched and the Padres took it right on the chin and never recovered. That's not what championship teams (or even teams heading to the postseason) do, and it's clear the Padres just may not be that team.

With 11 games left to play before the All-Star break and the Padres now at 37-42, if San Diego is to get back to or above .500 before the Midsummer Classic, time is of the essence. And so apparently is a little spirit inside the Padres dugout.