The San Diego Padres have just split a four game series with the Washington Nationals. What was expected to be a long and painful series, actually went quite differently. This turned out to be one of the best series for the Padres all season.
The Padres played some great baseball, even in their losses. It is mind-blowing how the Padres have performed against some of the better teams in baseball. The Friars are now have a 6-5 combined record against the Nationals, Cubs and Mets. These three teams are some of the best teams in the MLB. The Fact that the Padres have manged to achieve a record that surpasses the .500 mark is just astonishing.
You can say whatever you want about the Padres and their struggles. But you can’t take away their performances against these types of teams. There were several positive and negative things to take a look at in this series. But overall it was a very positive series. To go toe to toe with the Nats is just simply not an easy feat.
Game 1: Bryce is a Game Changer
The Nationals ended up winning this game by three runs by a score of 8-5. Bryce Harper would be the main contributor for the Nats with three RBI. So yeah Harper would turn out to be the “game changer” in game one of this series. The Padres would be the ones who would open up the score in the bottom of the first. Matt Kemp and Melvin Upton Jr. would net themselves a couple of RBI singles to make it 2-0 for the Padres. The Nationals would then pull back a run in the second inning to make it 2-1. The Nationals would then go off in the top of the third inning. Erik Johnson would allow his third and fourth home runs as a Padre. The dingers would come via Bryce Harper and Wilson Ramos. The Nats would lead it 4-2. Wil Myers would join in on the home runs as he would blast a solo shot in the bottom of the fifth. The Padres would make it interesting at 4-3.
The sixth inning would then come. Erik Johnson would allow his fifth home run as a Friar to Anthony Rendon. The home run would make it 5-3 Nats. Johnson would have a very bad performance as he would allow three home runs in the game. The Padres would continue to make it interesting. Christian Bethancourt would get himself an RBI in the bottom of the sixth. The game again would only be separated by a run at 5-4. The close score wouldn’t last though as the Nationals would make it 6-4 in the sixth with Brad Hand on the mound. The Nats would then create a bigger gap in the ninth inning as they would make it 8-4 with Matt Thornton on the mound. Matt Kemp would get the last run of the game in the bottom of the ninth. He would get himself an RBI via a sac-fly and make the score 8-5. That would turn out to be the final score of the game. In the end the long ball would be what would really kill the Padres. Erik Johnson would allow four runs on three home runs in the game. Bryce Harper as mentioned would turn out to be the key player of the game. His three RBI would be the difference in the game. This wasn’t a bad loss by the Padres at all. It really was a well fought game. The main negative of the game definitely was Erik Johnson. Giving up home runs at Coors Field is fine. But to give up three home runs at Petco Park is just inexcusable. Even so Johnson really isn’t that bad considering the recent performances of James Shields. Shields really has been abysmal. If Johnson can continue to chew up innings, it’ll all be fine. Game one really gave me hope for the rest of the series, and well I was not disappointed.
Game 2: Consistent Bats
The Padres would yet again lose to the Nationals in game two of the series. They would also mange to score five runs, yet again. Just like game one of this series this would be a loss which would turn out to be a hard-fought game. Matt Kemp would start things off as he would drive in Jon Jay in the bottom of the first. Anthony Rendon would quickly bring back the Nats in the second inning. He would hit a sac-fly off of Christian Friedrich to tie things up at a run a piece. The Nationals would then really widen the gap in the third inning. They would get four more runs off of Friedrich. That would include a two run home run by Ryan Zimmerman. After the Friars would get a run in the fifth inning, the Nats would quickly retaliate in the sixth inning. Daniel Murphy would get another run off of Christian Friedrich as he would get himself a solo shot to left field. The home run fest would continue as Derek Norris would hit a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the sixth. The score would then be 6-3 in the Nationals favor after six innings. Bryce Harper would continue to do damage on the Padres in the seventh inning. He would get an RBI to make it a 7-3 game.
The Padres would not give up just quite yet. They would still put up a fight in the bottom of the seventh. Wil Myers and Yangervis Solarte would drive in a couple of runs to make it a 7-5 game. Unfortunately for the Padres those runs would prove to be the last of the game. The rest of the Nationals bullpen would be lights out for the rest of the game. The clear negative in this one would be the start turned in by Christian Friedrich. Friedrich would give up six runs in the game in six innings of work The clear positive would be the offense. Surprisingly enough the offense would stay consistent. The Friars would yet again pull off five runs against the Nationals. That is not easy to do. Also five runs is usually enough to win you a ballgame anywhere. To be honest game two would be another solid performance overall. I mean the pitching wasn’t the greatest. But you do have to consider the explosive offense that the Nationals possess. This would be another hard-fought game for the Padres. This would not be some weak effort, humiliating showing by the Pads. The Padres once again would show that they can go at it against a team like the Nationals.
Game Three: Wil and Rea
The Padres would really show how they can go at it with the Nats in the third game of the series. The Padres would take the game by a score of 7-3 on Saturday night. To me this would be the best game of the four for the Padres. They would stay consistent and hot with the bats. They would also get a world class pitching performance by Colin Rea. I mean they would beat Max Scherzer in this one. Unlike the last two games, the Nats would actually start things off in this game. Daniel Murphy would get himself an RBI single to start things off in the top of the first. Wil Myers would immediately respond with a home run in the bottom of the first.
We would not see any action on the scoreboard until the seventh inning. The Nationals would get a run in the seventh and in the eighth to make it 3-1 in their favor. That lead would not last however as the Padres would get themselves a bases loaded situation in the bottom of the eighth. Wil Myers would come through with the bases loaded and get himself a two RBI double to tie up the game at three. The Padres would then get themselves some “easy” runs. Felipe Rivero would have a throwing error and Jon Jay would score on the play. The Padres would now lead 4-3. Melvin Upton Jr. would then drive in a run via a bases loaded walk with Blake Treinen on the mound. Yangervis Solarte would then drive in a couple via a single. the offense would explode in this eighth inning and the Padres would now lead 7-3. This would really be an amazing game for the Padres. Colin Rea would deliver quite the performance as well. He would only give up two runs in six and a third of work. Every single component would work perfectly for the Padres in this game. Now this wasn’t an easy win by any means. Yet again this would be a hard-fought game, but this time the result would be much more favorable.
Game 4: Dia De Los Padres
The fourth game of this series was a game that already seemed to be in the Padres favor. The Padres surely had some momentum going into this game. Apart from that the pitching matchup heavily favored the Padres. Our best pitcher, Drew Pomeranz would battle it out against Gio Gonzalez. The Nationals would strike first in this one. Michael Taylor would go yard in the first inning off of Pomeranz. Things seemed bleak to start off the game,but that would change very soon. Yangervis Solarte would strike back in the bottom of the first with an RBI single. Things would then stay quiet for the next few innings. The Padres would be the next to strike in the bottom of the fourth inning. Two runs would come via a double by Adam Rosales. The Friars would now lead 3-1. Drew Pomernaz would then struggle with the long ball in the fifth inning. First one to strike would be Danny Espinosa then Michael Taylor would get his second of the day to tie things up at three runs a piece. The Padres would make up for it soon after. Derek Norris and Alexei Ramirez would drive in a run a piece to make it a 5-3 game. The last run of the game would then come in the bottom of the sixth inning. Matt Kemp would drive in Ryan Schimpf to make it a 6-3 score.
The bullpen for the Pads would be solid once again. Fernando Rodney would also throw another scoreless frame to get the save. Overall this was another fantastic game for the Padres. Drew Pomeranz had a solid start going six innings and only allowing three runs with seven strikeouts. The only negative there would be the struggles with the long ball. Anytime you give up three home runs, especially at Petco Park you know you have a problem. Other than that it was a perfect Dia De Los Padres for the Friars. The offense stayed consistent once again, which would be surprising. The fact that the offense stayed so consistent throughout the series is a huge plus. They managed to score at least five runs in every game. That is not an easy feat to accomplish against a team like the Nationals. Also to split a four game series against the Nats is just amazing in its own right. The Padres would have a great showing in every single game which made it even more phenomenal. There was also one more interesting note from this series. The team to score first in the games would always be the team to end up losing. Something that is pretty uncommon in baseball. I salute the Padres for just an amazing series. As a fan it was just a marvelous experience to watch these games. Hopefully they can keep on giving us this type of baseball and not the baseball we saw in the Marlins series. Go Padres!