The last time the Padres and Dodgers met there were plenty of fireworks. Tensions were high among Dodger starter Alex Wood, manager Dave Roberts, and Padres manager, Andy Green. In an unusual manager banter, Roberts was ejected from the contest and further suspended for the next game. Green was also ejected but was not suspended.
However, this Friday night both managers met at home plate to exchange lineup cards and had a somewhat lengthy conversation. The conversation seemed, at the very least, to bury the hatchet and any tension moving forward.
It was a battle of the southpaws on Friday, with Rich Hill and Clayton Richard towing the slab. After starting off slow, Hill has put together a very respectable last two months. Rich Hill is a true two-pitch pitcher. Hill features a 4-seam fastball that sits from 87-92, and an old-fashioned curveball. Rich Hill is the definition of a pitcher. He relies on location and changing speeds, and on Friday night it was no different. Hill put together a very respectable line, throwing six strong, while striking out nine and giving up only two earned runs.
The numbers for Rich Hill tonight, however, do not tell the whole story. In the bottom of the 4th inning, while trying to get down a sacrifice bunt, Hill was hit by a Clayton Richard fastball on the neck, near the adam’s apple. Hill was in obvious pain, but remained in the game. In the 5th and 6th inning, Hill was pitching with a swollen neck. Hill was constantly stretching the neck out, and gasping for air. Regardless, Hill was able to tough out the 5th and 6th and put his Dodger ball club in position to win the first game of the series.
On any normal night, Rich Hill would have been the lone story. However, August 11th, 2017 was no normal night. This because Jesse Agler, Padres Radio/TV announcer, revolutionized home run call, “Mar-gone!” Friday night was all about Manny Margot. He has quickly become a fan favorite in SD, and tonight he may have added a few more to the fan club. Margot got the Padres on the board with a 3rd inning solo home run. After a ball, in his eyes, was called a strike, he didn’t let the missed call affect his AB. The very next pitch, Hill hung a curveball and Manny deposited it over the left field wall. This resulting in the first, “Mar-gone” home run call of the night.
Manny was not done, and neither was Jesse Agler. In the top of the 7th inning, the Padres trailed by a score of 3-2. Margot came up with two outs in the 7th inning against Dodgers reliever, Ross Stripling. After a tough battle, Margot hit a high fastball to the deepest part in the park, dead center. Chris Taylor gave it an effort, but it was out of reach. Queue up Jesse Agler, “Mar-gone!”. With one swing, the Friars were tied 3-3, and a brand new ball game.
With Dodgers rookie, Cody Bellinger, getting all the hype, it is easy to forget that Manny Margot is also a rookie putting together a heck of a season. This season for the Padres in entirety has had some ups and downs. Manny Margot is by far one of the biggest bright spots the Friars have had this season. Margot is clearly a part of the present and a huge part of the Padres’ future.
After tying up the game in the 7th, Jose Torres came out and threw maybe his best inning in a couple of months to keep the game tied. In the top of the 8th, Jose Pirela drank some of the Margot Kool-Aid. Pirela crushed a cement mixer down the left field and gave the Padres a late 4-3 lead.
In a somewhat surprising move, Jose Torres went back out for the 8th. He walked the leadoff guy, Austin Barnes, and got Dodger fans back into the game. Always enthusiastic, Yasiel Puig came up and ripped a ball to the center field warning track, but it was run down by Manny Margot. With one out, Dave Roberts called upon Kyle Farmer to pinch hit. Torres left a fastball up and down the middle and Farmer put a good swing on it, but he didn’t get enough. Jose Pirela tracked the ball down, and caught out number two with his back against the left field wall. After two loud outs, Green had seen enough and called on all-star reliever, Brad “Brotato” Hand for a four-out save.
Hand had to complete this four-out save against possibly the best 1-4 hitters in all of baseball. Chris Taylor was first in line, and Brad Hand struck him out to end the 8th. In the 9th, Brad Hand retired Seager, Turner, and lastly, Cody Bellinger, on a 96 mph fastball. After a rough outing in Cincinnati, Brad Hand bounced back in a huge way.
Behind Manny Margot, Jose Pirela, and Brad Hand, the Friars pulled out a victory against the hottest, and best, team in Major League Baseball.
The Friars go for the series win with Chacin on the mound tomorrow night against Dodgers lefty, Hyun-Jin Ryu.