The San Diego Padres 2016 season can be best visualized as an ouroboros: it started with a sweep, and now it ends with a sweep. The Arizona Diamondbacks got to experience a walk-off win to climb their way into 4th place. The Friars will now have to sit and think long and hard about their 68-94 season in dead last.
We can’t say that Paul Clemens was to blame for this loss. Unlike the other starters this series, he put in 6 innings of great work. He only allowed 4 hits and struck out a high 7. The one run that he did give up was a measly groundout RBI in the 2nd. He was totally shut out for the remainder of the game.
Between the 4th and 7th innings, the Padres established their small lead. Hunter Renfroe closed out his MLB callup with an RBI double, another RBI to add to his short stat sheet. Luis Sardinas did the same with an RBI double of his own, and the Padres stayed up 2-1 for an entire inning.
Then, after a healthy scoreless inning from Brandon Morrow, Brad Hand came in to muck it all up. He ruined the last game of the season, and gave up a tying home run to Brandon Drury with a weak low 90’s fastball.
With 2 outs and 2 strikes on Phil Gosselin, Hand had his curveball beat and allowed a single to slip through. That was enough to score the Diamondbacks’ third game-winning run, and to put the ugliest punctuation mark on a dismal season of baseball.
Despite it all, this ending is good news. The bad is behind us. The organization will get to unwind, analyze, construct, and build towards a much better season. The bar is low, and the expectations are slightly lifted from the showcase of young talent this late-September. It can only get better from here, folks.