The hope was that the day off yesterday would help revitalize the Padres, and change their mojo for the three game set against the Rangers and break their five game losing streak. Unfortunately the mojo has not turned yet as the Pads dropped game one tonight, 4-3.
The common theme throughout the now six game losing streak has been the little things – both the ones being done an not being done. Such was the case again tonight, and it started in the first inning. Kennedy walked the lead off man, who then stole second on the first pitch. A passed ball moved him to third. The final piece to complete the gift run was a pop up to shallow left-center field that Upton, Jr., Barmes, and Middle brooks were all going for. Middlebrooks ended up making the catch but the runner at third had tagged and took off for home instantly, appearing to catch the Pads off guard. The slight hesitation to throw the ball home was the difference as the runner crossed the plate safely for the first run.
Another Ranger run crossed in the 3rd thanks to a lead off triple and ground out. The 4th yielded two more, this time on back to back home runs by Fielder and Beltre to put the Pads in a 4-0 hole.
Kennedy only lasted 4 1/3, but Thayer, Despaigne, and Kelly all did a nice job of holding the Rangers in check.
The offense finally started to get to Rodriguez in the 6th with Upotn, Jr. hitting a home run to get the Pads on the board. In the 8th they chipped away some more against the bullpen with the league’s highest ERA. Alonso walked and advanced to third on Kemp’s double off the left field wall. Upton’s sac-fly scored Alonso to make it a 4-2 game. Kemp took advantage of a pick off behind him at second and took off for third on the throw. He beat the throw to third which was rushed and thrown away and Kemp was awarded home to get the Pads within one, 4-3.
The Friars then forged another rally in the 9th as Venable hit a pinch hit single. Upton, Jr. bunted him to second. Alonso walked to put the winning run on base with Kemp at the plate, but he struck out to end the threat and the game.
The Padres have been in every one the past six loses. Every one of the games has been close, and in most cases the outcome could have been different were it not for one play, one key hit, or one pitch. It’s the closeness of all these games that breeds both an intense frustration as well as a blurred optimism that these close losses could still be turned around to close wins moving forward.
Shields will try to end the losing streak tomorrow and get the Pads back on track for the final couple of games before the break. First pitch will be at 6:10 PST, and Uncle Teddy and and I will look forward to having you join us for the call on the Mighty 1090.