And break the hearts of Padres fans it did tonight, like no other night of the 2015 season as the Padres fell to the Dodgers 4-3. We knew it was going to be a tough game with Kershaw on the mound for the Dodgers. We knew it could be an uphill battle tonight after coming off a challenging road trip physically worn down and potentially emotionally spent after the dramatic come from behind extra-inning victory to cap the wining trip. We knew all this and yet still the loss tonight feels like a punch to the gut.
Why? Because we know the importance of this series. We know this team with getting some of its pieces back recently seems on the verge of rattling off a streak of wins. We know this team doesn’t quit. We know how confidence building back-to-back come from behind victories could be. But it wasn’t meant to be.
Despaigne threw the ball well tonight for the Friars and matched zeros for the first two inning with Kershaw. Then in the third with two outs and two strikes he hit Pederson…trouble. Puig then reached on a slow roller to third that was ruled an error to put Pederson at second. Gonzalez then singled to put the Dodgers on top 1-0 on the two out rally.
The 4th started off with a single given up to Turner, who reached second on a ground out. With two outs Despaigne got ahead of Ellis, the 8th hitter, then left a cookie right down the middle for him that he lined in left field for a single to score Turner. Hitting a robust .138 on the season you sure don’t expect him to hurt you, but a belt high fastball down the middle is hard to miss. Heck, with Kershaw hitting .172 behind him Ellis was probably the easier out. 2-0 Dodgers.
It stayed that way until the 7th. It stayed that way because Kershaw was dealing with his FB/CB/CL combo all the way into the 7th inning. Then lighting struck…twice! First Barmes ambushed a slider delivered to him out over and crushed it into left center field to cut the deficit in half to 2-1.
With two outs and Kershaw now out of the game it was time to pounce on the struggling set up relievers of the Dodger bullpen. Myers hit catchable routine pop up on the infield in between the mound and home plate. The pitcher blew it by getting involved with the catch instead of directing traffic and at the last second threw a great block on the first baseman trying to catch the ball and it fell. That brought Norris to the plate. Yep, All-Star candidate Norris. Hitting .368 with runners in scoring position Norris. Mr. “I hit even better at a .407 clip when there are two outs and ducks on the pond” Norris. Norris of hitting a grand slam walk off HR against the Pirates fame. That Norris. Right dude, right place, and KA-BOOOOM!!! He came through yet again with a home run into the left field seats to give the Friars their only lead of the game 3-2. The dugout and the stands were exultant!
The lead was short lived, however, as the Dogers came back to score 2 in the 8th to retake the lead 4-3 and this time they did not let it go…ouch…
The Pads tried to comeback once again but just couldn’t get it done. Tomorrow the Friars again have their hands full with Greinke on the hill for L.A. but Kennedy will get his turn to match goose eggs with him and get the Pads on a roll. Uncle Teddy and I will have all the action for you on the Mighty 1090.