Yesterday sucked. An exciting comeback from the Padres ended in an offense that couldn't push things just an inch further, and a fluke blown game from the otherwise dominate Craig Kimbrel. But that was yesterday, and this is today. Today is about taking the series, and leaving the ugly under-construction dead-ivy'd Wrigley Field three games over .500. With Justin Upton out of the lineup to let his thigh rest a little; all we needed was some strong bats and the power of the mullet.
Andrew Cashner has had two starts before today, both of them not as elite as Padres fans are used to. His last game against the Arizona Diamondbacks saw 4 unearned runs and 7 hits, while still collecting 9 strikeouts. In today's noon game against the Cubs, the runs Cashner conceded were again unearned, but this time at a more containable 2. He had 5 K's and only issued two walks before being the recipient of a scoreless relief effort from the bullpen.
That error in the first inning
The Cubs took advantage of a loose strike zone and some pitches that Cashner couldn't keep away, and were early on the board 1-0. No problem, leads are something the Padres eat for breakfast. Then, with two outs, came a groundball that required a little charge from Clint Barmes. The throw to first would pull Yangervis Solarte (not Yonder Alonso) off the bag, and Chris Coghlan immediately capitalized putting Chicago up 2-0.
What, what did I do? What did I do? What do you mean I'm not allowed to call you a dink?
Cash's pitch count was getting high, and Bud Black got impatient with the way the strikezone was being called. Buddy decided wasn't going to wait until the stakes were high and started putting his voice from the dugout into the ear of the plate ump. It didn't take very long until he was tossed, and now Buddy is (probably) leading the league in ejections with 2 so far. Before leaving he pep-talked Cashner and retreated into shoddy facilities of Wrigley Field.
Wait, so which Will hit a home run?
It was Middlebrooks. Will Middlebrooks hit the home run. He hit it hard, like he hits everything, and he hit it far into the cruddy left-field bleachers. Now the game is tied, and the Padres absorbed the nutrients from that 2-run lead and converted it into energy to use throughout the game.
This baseball smashed from Middlebro ended up getting a pretty sweet seat for the rest of the day.
Cashner came back ready to game, and after an average-sized inning things started leveling out. The Pads and Cubs spent the next two innings playing footsie, until Will Venable took a 2-strike 2-out pitch into center field to drive in Matt Kemp, who had made his way to third after a walk and a sac fly. Padres 3-2.
A Solar(te) Flare on a cloudy, rainy day
With Cashner clicked in and finishing his start, and the Padres gearing for some more runs, Alonso came in to pinch hit for Ca$h and put himself on base. Yangervis Solarte, with the other hot bat, waited on a breaking ball and jacked it into the cold empty right field bleacher scaffolding. Now the Padres were up 5-2, and it was time for the bullpen to get a crack at redemption.
Cloudy weather ain't gonna keep Solarte from jacking both this home run, and the ERA of Jason Motte straight up.
7th inning: scoreless. 8th inning: scoreless. 9th inning: a scrappy gritty Chris Denorfia single! Scoreless. That's 8 innings of shutout baseball from a starter and a pen we still love, but are ready to get back to their flawless selves. Today's Upton-less lineup popped off 10 hits and left 9 on base. Every starter had a hit, except for Wil Myers (who drew a walk) and Cashner (who came pretty close a few times.)
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Mr. Meadows was the loudest voice today with 120 comments. A bunch of friendly faces popped in to say hi. hashtagtroll had the most recs on a comment from a cute turtle gif, but TheThinGwynn probably had the most overall. Who's counting?