The San Diego Padres have won yet another series, but still were unable to get that elusive sweep. We saw it in the first series in Colorado, then against the Pirates and Dodgers. The Padres just can not get that last game of a series. In fact they are now 0-9 in last games of a series. Incredible.
Three out of the four final games which could have ended in a series sweep, have ended disastrously. We saw a shutout Wednesday afternoon, then there was that shutout against Clayton Kershaw last week. Against the Pirates we were blown out 11-1 trying to earn the sweep. This team just cannot get the job done and has lacked that “killer instinct” so far this season.
Even though the Friars could not get a sweep, there are still many positives to look at from the series. Fact is that the Padres have been playing great baseball as of late. The N.L. West standings didn’t quite shake up after this series, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The Padres are still not far from first. This next series against the New York Mets can really be vital as the Padres aren’t necessarily favorites and it is a four game series. The team will just have to keep up what we have seen in the Rockie series and the Dodgers series. For now let’s take a look at how the Padres played in this past series against the Colorado Rockies.
Game 1: We Strike and We Strike Out
James Shields would have a great outing on Monday night and finally get his first win of the 2016 campaign. The Padres would strike early on Jon Gray with a two-run double by Matt Kemp with the third batter of the game. After that the Padres would not strike again and would strike out continuously throughout the game. Gray would have a really nice performance. Jon Gray would go six innings and strike out 11. Shields would not strike out more batters than Gray, but he was solid on the mound. The only run of the game for the Rox would come from and RBI double off the bat of former Friar Nick Hundley in the fourth inning. That would be it for the game scoring wise.
The Padres bullpen would be lights out after a strong performance by James Shields. “Juego G” would go six innings and only allow that one run. Ryan Buchter, who has looked out of this world for the Padres this season would continue that trend in this ballgame. Buchter took over in the seventh and pitched one and a third innings and would strike out four Rockies. Brandon Maurer went two-thirds of an inning and would continue his great form.
Fernando Rodney would step in to close out the game in the ninth. Rodney would get his fifth save of the year and continue to posses an ERA of 0.00 on the season. This would be a solid game for the Padres overall and it was nice to see James Shields get his first win of the season. If you can take something negative from this game it would be the strikeouts which turned out to be 12 in total. The Padres have been struggling with that this year. We have seen amazing performances against the Padres this year with many strikeouts. Like the games against Clayton Kershaw and the Phillies Vincent Velasquez. While the strikeouts did not affect the end result of Monday night’s game, it could become a problem in the future for this squad. Particularly in the near future, in the upcoming four game series against the Mets.
Game 2: There Goes The No Hitter, and the Shutout, and the Win
The Rockies would be the ones who would strike early in game two of the series. Andrew Cashner would give up a dinger against the first batter he faced. Charlie Blackmon would get his first home run of the season in the top of the first inning on the fourth pitch of the at bat. The Rockies would not stop there as Mark Reynolds would deliver an RBI via a sacrifice fly and the Rockies would lead 2-0 after the top of the first inning.
In the top of the second the Rockies would continue to add runs to the scoreboard as Trevor Story would deliver an RBI single to make it 3-0 Rockies. That would be it for the Rockies and unlike the Padres in game one those few early runs would not be enough for the Rox. Eddie Butler was the man on the mound for the Rockies. Butler had looked great early in the ball game as he would go three and two-thirds innings without allowing a single hit. All that would change in the bottom of the fourth with two outs as Matt Kemp and Brett Wallace would deliver back to back solo shots to end the no-no and the shutout.
Butler would then have a solid fifth inning but then in the bottom of the sixth the Padres offense would really open up the scoreboard and make it a 5-3 ball game. Wil Myers, Brett Wallace, and Alexei Ramirez would deliver the RBIs. In the bottom of the seventh Wil Myers would get his second RBI of the game and make the score 6-3 Padres. The bullpen would put in another strong outing. Kevin Quakenbush, Brandon Maurer, and Fernando Rodney would combine for three scoreless frames and five strikeouts. Rodney would get his sixth save of the season. This would be another great game for the Padres in which all components would come together to create a solid win for the team. Andrew Cashner had a quality start and the offense would do more than enough to win the ballgame. Not to mention the solid work put in by the bullpen as well. A very nice win for the Padres overall.
Game 3: No Sweep, Eighth Shutout
As mentioned before the Padres were unable to put the brooms to use Wednesday. The Padres have yet to sweep any team this year, but the Padres would do something they had done seven times already. Unfortunately the Padres would suffer their eighth shutout of the year to the Colorado Rockies. Tyler Chatwood would look amazing for the Rockies as he would strike out seven and throw a shutout through eight innings. Jake McGee would then come in to close the game for the Rockies and the game would end 2-0.
Cesar Vargas would be on the mound for the Padres and would deliver another great start. Vargas would go six innings and only allow a single run. Vargas again would look absolutely confident on the mound and would do all he could to get the win on Wednesday. Unfortunately the offense could not deliver and would suffer their eighth shutout of the year. That is quite a worrying number as it is still very early in the season. I had mentioned before that a shutout against Clayton Kershaw, okay that’s understandable but against Chatwood it isn’t quite ideal. No disrespect to Tyler Chatwood as he has posted impressive numbers on the road this season.
Even so, this not the type of guy you want to see your lineup get dominated by. The Padres will definitely have pick it up if they even hope to compete against the Mets in this upcoming series. There are several positives to look at in this game in terms of pitching. Of course we have Cesar Vargas, then the bullpen would look sharp again. Despite giving up a run, Brad Hand would still look good out there striking out two in his inning of work as well. The offense was the only component in this game that would lead the Padres to their downfall. They are just too inconsistent.
Maybe It’s Time to Send Jemile Down
Jemile Weeks has not been living up to expectations of what we saw of him in spring training. Weeks has had a tough start to his career as a Padre as he is currently hitting .140. Weeks had an abysmal series going 0-9, yeah you read that correctly 0-9! Maybe it’s time to give Adam Rosales more of a chance to start at second. Or even call up Jose Pirela. With Yangervis Solarte, Alexi Amarista, and Cory Spangenberg almost healthy his time is probably limited anyways.
Cesar Vargas should stay on the team
Cesar Vargas had his third major league start today. Vargas has thrown nothing but quality starts to begin his career. The most runs he has allowed in a start is one. The most impressive thing about Vargas is not his numbers though it’s just his poise, his demeanor, the way he goes about pitching a major league baseball game.
Vargas has earned himself a spot on this team and should really be a part of the rotation. It was recently announced that Robbie Erlin will unfortunately need Tommy John surgery, so there is a chance Vargas could remain on the club. When Tyson Ross returns someone from the rotation will be sent down or sent to the bullpen. I think it is important for Vargas to stay on the team both for the Padres and for his sake. You don’t just want to disrupt someone’s flow who’s dominating in the big leagues. You want to keep him up on the team to see what he is capable of, while he is in good form. We will see what the team decides to do.