Padres vs. Marlins Series Recap 5-11-14

Baseball 12 May 2014
Padres vs. Marlins Series Recap 5-11-14

Headley scoring on Amarista’s hit in 4th inning of game #4.

The Marlins came into town for a four game set boasting three of the N.L.’s best young starters in Jose Fernandez, Nathan Eovaldi, and Henderson Alvarez, all of whom were scheduled to pitch the final three games of the series in that order.  Not necessarily great news considering the Pads were coming off an eight game stretch where their offense had produced a total of 14 runs, for an average of 1.75 runs per game.  It appeared that the Friars best chance of putting up some runs to take some pressure of the unbelievably resilient pitching staff was in game #1 against who many believe to be the weakest link in their rotation chain, Jacob Turner.  But this is baseball, and nothing but nothing is predictable. Here’s how the four contests played out.

  • GAME #1 – Kennedy vs. Turner.  Coming off a sloppy and disappointing 8-0 loss to the Royals the day before, as mentioned above this was the game that the Padres had to take.  Turner had been ineffective in his two previous outings of the season, sporting a robust 9.90 ERA.  Of the four starters they would be facing Turner was the one primed to get fat on, and build some confidence with before facing the fearsome trio that followed on the mound the next three games.  Making an opening victory even more palpable was having Kennedy on the hill, who had been throwing as well as he has in a Padres uniform in recent outings, posting a 2.50 ERA over his last three efforts.  Things started out as planned…sort of.  The Pads scored in the second inning, but it was Kennedy himself who hit the HR to lead the charge! He was also holding up his end of the bargain pitching 5 shutout innings. However, when the leader of the evening looked back, his troops were nowhere to be found. The offense just couldn’t get anything going as planned against Turner. Kennedy eventually allowed a run to cross in the 6th to lose the lead, and would exit after 7 innings tied 1-1.  The game stayed at a deadlock until the Fish pushed 2 across in the 11th, and the Pads couldn’t respond. 3-1 was the final score, with the offensive blackout reaching a new level of frustration having at that point scored only 2 runs over the previous 31 innings played…and tougher pitching on the way.  1-0 Marlins series lead.
  • GAME #2 – Ross vs. Fernandez.  A great match up!  Two young hurlers that can shut down the opponent when on. The expectations were that for the Pads to win it would have to be a close, low scoring contest.  Well, game #1 didn’t go as expected, and fortunately neither did Game #2. Against all odds and expectations the Pads offense chose Fernandez to start their resurgence against. They scored 2 in the first thanks to Gyorko’s 5th HR of the season to give Ross an early lead. Tyson took it and protected like a marine guarding a permitter wall – nothing was going to cross on his watch. He held the wall until the Pads finally got to Fernadez again, this time with their biggest outburst of the season scoring 6 runs, 4 thanks to Gyorko’s second HR of the game, this time a grand slam. Smith, Alonso, and Amarista would also have mulit-hit games. Ross would go 7 allowing only 1 run, out pitching Fernandez as the Friars cruised (yes, I said cruised!) to a much needed 10-1 victory. Much needed win in the standings, but even more so needed psychologically for the offense, and physically for the pitching staff to not have to toil with game on the line each and every pitch.  Pads even the series 1-1, and even more importantly hopefully had started a big momentum shift.
  • GAME #3 – Stults vs. Eovaldi.  There was an early scare that the mojo from the previous night may have already left because Stults surrendered a 2-run HR in the 1st to spot Miami to an early 2-0 lead.  Would the offensive spark from the previous night carry over against another flame throwing youngster in Eovaldi? Yes!  Smith tripled to plate a run in the 1st.  He wasn’t done though, hitting a solo HR in the 3rd to tie the game 2-2. Stults meanwhile had found his groove and was posting zeroes inning after inning using his slow curve and good change up better than I’d seen in a while, keeping the Marlins bat barrels away from the ball.  In the 6th, for the second game in a row, the offense took control of the game with a big inning against the Marlins bullpen, this time the big blow coming from Headley with a 3-run HR in his first appearance off the DL, to give the Friars a 6-2 lead. Smith was intentionally walked, but would double in the next inning as the Pads scored 2 more, giving him a HR, 3B, and 2B, leaving only the 1B left to complete the franchise’s first cycle.  He would not get an other plate appearance though, snuffing out the hopes of making history, but the Pads won handily 9-3, and added even more momentum to the offensive turn around that was emerging before our very eyes. 2-1 Pads series lead.
  • GAME #4 – Erlin vs. Alvarez. The Pads had gotten past Fernandez and Eovaldi, but were not out of the woods yet with Fernandez in the way of a series win, bragging a 2.60 ERA and coming off a CG shutout in his previous outing.  Oh yeah? No problem! Venable set the tone with a lead off HR, and that was all the help Erlin would need. He absolutely DEALT for 6 1/3, using his fastball/curveball combination much of the way, mixing in some change ups and sliders when needed to keep the Marlins off the board. The resurgent Pads offense took some of the pressure off posting a 4 spot in the 4th on RBI hits by Amarista, Denorfia, and Smith.  Miami made it interesting scoring 4 of their own in the 8th, but Benoit finally stopped the bleeding, and Street worked out of a bases loaded predicament in the 9th to lock down the 5-4 victory and the 3-1 series win…phew!

Honestly, the series went nothing like most people anticipated in that the Padres offense couldn’t score in the first game, then for the next three games exploded for 24 runs – more than they scored for the previous 10 games combined.  As exciting as it was to see the bats come alive, let’s not forget what the pitching staff did yet again, especially the starters.  They kept the Pads tight in every game, until the offense was able to get to the opposition.

Hopefully the offense will continue its revival, and take some of the pressure off the staff that’s carried this club.  They deserve a chance to take a breath.  Good signs of the offense included Gyorko hitting some long balls both to left and opposite field, and Alonso getting 7 hits over the last three games.  By far the hottest Pads bat recently has been Seth Smith’s, and he was rewarded for it receiving the N.L. Player of The Week Award hitting .500, with an OBP of .576, and a 1.000 SLG % that included a HR, 5 doubles, and 3 triples…wow!

With Headley back, and Quentin on the team flight today to Cincinnati, it looks like the the offense might be ready to start hitting on all cylinders.  Looking forward to seeing how the road trip goes in two hitter friendly stadiums with Great American Ballpark, and Coors Field.

Here are the pitching match up with the Reds:

  • Game #1 (4:10 p.m.) – Cashner vs. Leake
  • Game #2 (4:10 p.m.) – Kennedy vs.Cueto
  • Game #3 (9:35 a.m.) – Ross vs. Simon

The Padres will look to keep the momentum rolling.



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