This morning, the Padres took a step toward their first postseason since 2012 when they went to the World Team with a win in the division series finale. The team was out-hit 16 to 0 in the series, but still managed an 18-3 advantage in runs and an .865 OPS. The team had one run on base for every two hits, but the team was also 2nd-hit 6 times including one to Jarrod Dyson on an 0-2 pitch. The Padres will open their playoff run tonight at home against the Cardinals.
The bullpen of the team, which has struggled heavily, has allowed 4 earned runs over the last two games with Chris Nelson in the pen throwing all of his outs with runners on. Nelson’s 4 earned runs were one off his career high for the year , hitting him to the high end of the 1.45 ERA.
The Padres went out and made the best out of another short outing from the bullpen. Jon Singleton went up for the fifth inning in a game that the Padres needed to win to make the playoffs. Singleton pitched two innings, giving up a single to Ryan Howard . By the bottom of the 5th inning, Singleton had only thrown four more pitches than the final tally of the game in order to hold back the score. On the pen, they had not pitched well after allowing 3 hits in a pair of games. Singleton, in a bit of an odd way, did a little of everything to help his cause however. To start off he threw a perfect game to end the 4th; for the remainder of the night, he worked the count full and induced the only two fly outs in that two-inning effort.
It was in the 6th inning when the bullpen came up with a pair of hits in the form of Jedd Gyorko and Ryan Howard to cap off the scoring. The Padres ended the game with a walk and a run on Jedd Gyorko, who was having a bad night. Gyorko allowed one earned run before he got off the bench to lead off the 8th with a double. It was his first hit of the day, following a sacrifice fly from Chase Headley, and he only appeared to allow his first batter to get any at bat. Howard’s two-run home run made it 7-1, allowing both Singleton and Nelson to get out of the inning quickly.
Afterward, Lee came out and said that in the bullpen in the last two games, there were times where the relievers just weren’t in it. It was the same this morning, where neither reliever seemed especially active in the 9th while the lead was 5-1. Singleton struck out the side in the bottom of the 9th, but that was not enough to save his career. The bullpen was in desperate need of an impact tonight as they were shut down for the day to rest and warm up and there was no indication it would benefit one of the other pitchers in the 10th.
The rotation will not be as dominant in the next couple of games against the Cardinals.
Justin Nicolino left in the 6th inning after missing the previous two games with back spasms and it is unclear who will be put in his place. He is scheduled to be back tonight in the 1st set of back-to-backs of the year. Kiko Calcott will likely start in his place if he can get through one of the other games. As for Casey Kelly, his days next to the rotation appear to be numbered.
While the Padres are trying to make a playoff push, the team isn’t losing any momentum or ability to close games. They already were a .500 team in September despite the team having been a .500 team through the first two months of the year, so it really is hard to see them losing any momentum.
Injuries are one thing, and it would be nice to see the team with the two most injured players returning to be able to play, but it’s hard to judge when they return when there haven’t been any real signs of significant damage in the past two games.
However, when it comes to the team as a whole, the team hasn’t lost any strength, it’s in just the ability to get through tough losses.