All things considered, things could have gone a lot worse for the San Diego Padres and their first game of the 2017 season. It was still a bad experience, and the Friars were on the receiving end of another run beatdown, but at least we didn’t set any records from it.
Now, for starters, the Pads were matched up against Clayton Kershaw. The word around the league is the guy’s good at pitching, and he was able to show that off today and will be showing that off for the rest of the season. Up against Kershaw was the Padres’ Jhoulys Chacín, a fresh face for the team but not a fresh arm in baseball.
Chacín did not make a good impression.
In just a bit over 3 innings, Chacín was credited with allowing 9 runs across the plate (all earned.) He struck out 2, and exercised the new intentional walk feature where you save a little time and energy to suck some of the fun and risk out of an otherwise tactical pitching decision. His first IW paid off, his second didn’t in a big way.
Intentional walks are weird now.— Dennis Lin (@sdutdennislin) April 3, 2017
To pull things back a little bit, the entirety of the Padres pitching allowed 14 runs today, the bulk of them coming in the middle of the game. In the third inning, that second IW of Jhoulys was tailed by an unintentional walk in the form of a HPB on Adrian Gonzalez. With the bases loaded, Joc Pederson cranked a grand slam. Rattled, Chacín then gave up a solo home run to Yasmani Grandal.
The recipe of this game included a few peppered bright spots for the Padres. One of those bright spots was in the top of the first, where Wil Myers reached safely on an error and Yangervis Solarte snuck a single through the infield for the game’s first run and the season’s first run. You’ll notice that’s already a whole lot more offense than just a season ago.
Another bright spot was seeing Hunter Renfroe use his gun-for-an-arm for the first time this season. Albeit it could have been more accurate, seeing the show of strength was exciting. Young players showing their strength is going to be the main ticket seller this year.
Hunter Renfroe arm strength on that Joc Pederson sac fly... 100.5 MPH. #Cannon— Daren Willman (@darenw) April 3, 2017
Speaking of young talent, Miguel Diaz had a great introduction, one of the only pitching highlights for the good guys today. Diaz, despite never pitching above low-A ball, went a full inning against the Dodgers giving up no hits and struck out Pederson.
Later in the game, after six more Dodger runs, Ryan Schimpf did what Schimpf does best: hit ball hard. Schimpf’s first home run of the season, with many more to come, was popped off Kershaw on the tail end of his start.
The inning after, with the Dodgers bringing in relief boy Chris Hatcher, Manual Margot hit an RBI-double to score Travis Jankowski. So that’s three runs in a game featuring Clayton Kershaw. Again, not bad, all things considered.
What was bad was another home run to Grandal, an earlier home run to Corey Seager, and those back-to-back home runs in the third inning. Eliminate that kind of pitching meltdown (which will be the ’17 Padres’ mission to avoid) and you have a mediocre loss.
The Christian Bethancourt Experiment had its first failure. With two wild pitches and an injury scare after chasing one of those wild pitches into a play at the plate, Bethancourt wasn’t really selling himself as a relief tool.
All in all, it was a bad game for the Padres, but it was a watchable bad game. We might get a lot of those this season, but who knows yet. This is just game number one, and it’s in the books now.