Things got ugly quickly for the San Diego Padres on Monday as they took on the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park.
San Diego was riding high coming into Game 1 of the series, having won three straight games against the Pittsburgh Pirates, while the Nationals were coming off of a three-game series sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers at home. Fortunately for the Nats, this was just the kind of performance they needed.
Robbie Erlin started the game for the Padres in place of the injured Joey Lucchesi, while Gio Gonzalez was tabbed by the Nationals to start opposite of Robbie. In what was only his second start of the season, Erlin would struggle mightily.
Things started well enough as Erlin worked a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the first, but quickly unraveled in the second inning as Mark Reynolds led off the inning with a single. Pedro Severino doubled and then rookie outfielder Juan Soto turned a fastball around for a three-run home run. Soto’s first Major League hit put the Padres into a hole they would never dig out of.
Wilmer Difo singled and Erlin was able to bounce back, recording two straight outs, but Trea Turner and Bryce Harper rocketed back-to-back doubles, inflating the score to 5-0. Erlin would give up a home run to Mark Reynolds in the third inning and would leave the game prior to the fifth inning having given up six runs on seven hits and two strikeouts.
San Diego finally broke through in the run column as a Jose Pirela walk preceded a home run by rookie right fielder Franmil Reyes, the first of his career. The Padres would not score again. Bryan Mitchell failed to keep the game close, surrendering home runs to Bryce Harper and Mark Reynolds (his 2nd of the game), and by the time he had left the game he had surrendered four runs on seven hits over three innings. He walked two and struck out one batter.
The game ended 10-2 in favor of the Nationals, dropping the Padres to 20-29 on the season.
Franmil Reyes’ home run in the fourth inning was the first of his big-league career, and boy was it a loud one. Coming off of the bat at 108 mph, Reyes crushed a 1-0 changeup over the right field fence. Traveling a distance of 398 feet, Reyes was able to show off the power he so regularly tapped into in El Paso this season. It should come as no surprise that the home run was to the opposite field, as Reyes has shown great power that way, hitting 13 of his 15 home runs to right. Here’s hoping this will spark the 22-year-old’s bat as he has struggled a bit over the first few games of his young MLB career.
Mitchell’s Struggles Continue
It may be time to move on from Bryan Mitchell. Mitchell has failed to show why the team entrusted him with a guaranteed rotation spot out of spring training. After being bumped from the rotation following his start against the Dodgers in Mexico, it seemed as though Mitchell would be a useful arm in the bullpen, capable of going multiple innings. In two appearances out of the ‘pen he has given up seven runs, 13 hits, and five walks over 9 2/3 innings. He isn’t missing any bats, posting a measly 4.3 K/9 and a horrific 6.93 BB/9.
Although he is out of options and the Padres would risk losing him to another team if they moved him off of the forty-man roster, he has continuously failed to make adjustments and has been one of the most ineffective pitchers in not just San Diego, but all of baseball.