The Padres came home from a rough road trip in Atlanta, where the team was swept by the Braves, looking for comfort.
This 2017 season will be a long one for Padre fans, as the team is not built to compete just yet. There are positives, though, to this team, and a focused fan must concentrate on the big picture rather than look at the standings. I know that is a tough task for a die-hard fan, as this franchise has been in neutral for a long time.
Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot represent the future of this team. Either player is capable of being really special and there is no way of knowing what kind of career they will have. We just have to witness it firsthand, and that is exciting. Their potential is astounding and so is the potential of dozens of other young players in the Padres’ farm system. It is a good time to be a fan. But it will take time.
Presently the team just took two of three from the first place team in the division. That is certainly a positive, though it should not give you false hope about the full potential of this team. All is all this team should compete. There will be ugly games, there will be close games and there will be game where this team’s youth and exuberance guide them to victory. This series was, in a way, a microcosm of what to expect from this team the whole year.
Game 1- Jet-Lagged
Playing a night game in Atlanta, which brought the team home well past midnight on Monday morning, resulted in a very flat Padres team. They were dominated by the D-Backs to the tune of a 11-2 score. The Padres scored first on a sac fly by Wil Myers, but the joy was short-lived, as the D-Backs stormed backed for three runs in the fourth and four runs in the fifth. A three-run homer by Yasmany Tomas in the fifth was the deciding factor in the game. Jarred Cosart was injured in the fourth inning for the Friars. A hamstring injury forced the right-handed pitcher to leave the game. He was later placed on the 10-day D.L. by the team.
Shelby Miller was dominant for the D-Backs. He was clocked as high as 99 mph on the radar gun. He displayed the stuff of an ace pitcher, and the Diamondbacks are certainly happy that he is showing some life after a down 2016 season. Erick Aybar got the last out of the game for the Friars on the mound, after Christian Bethancourt was unable to mop up for the Padres. Bethancourt’s ERA is up to 14.73 on the year and there are whispers that the experiment with him on the bump could be close to coming to an end.
Game 2- Chacin Turned into an Ace
With Zack Greinke on the mound, this was supposed to be another win for the team from Arizona. Jhoulys Chacin had something to say about that, as he threw eight shutout innings for the Friars and was downright filthy on the mound. His fastball had plenty of movement and the veteran pitcher was able to keep a very potent D-Backs lineup in check. Chacin threw 101 pitches and only allowed three hits, while walking one and striking out five.
The big hit for the Friars came off the bat of Erick Aybar, as he belted a solo homer into the right field stands in the bottom of the eighth inning. It was only the fifth hit allowed by Grienke, but it was huge. Brandon Maurer struck out two in the ninth to record his second save of the year. The Padres shocked the D-Backs in this game as they evened up the series against the snakes ace.
Game 3- Richard Steps Up
In the deciding game of this three-game set, the Padres turned to Clayton Richard. The left-handed pitcher has been lights out recently for the team and continued his hot streak as he went six and two-thirds, allowing nine hits and striking out eight batters on the night. Richard worked his way into trouble a couple of times, but was able to get out of it with timely pitching. He is really impressive on the mound.
The Padres got solo home runs from Wil Myers and Austin Hedges in the game and the series MVP, Erick Aybar, chipped in with a two-run double. The Padres battled hard in this series after getting stomped on in the first game. They have shown heart early this year, and that is a good sign for the long-term of this squad. They will battle you to the last out no matter what. Brandon Maurer came on in the ninth after an impressive outing by Brad Hand. Hand struck out all four batters he faced and the Padres pitchers recorded 14 punch outs on the night. Taking the series from the D-Backs was a great way to start a home stand.
Miami Marlins come to town for a three-game series that starts on Friday.