The Padres dropped their home finale on Wednesday, losing to the Angels 5-2. It turned out to be an impromptu bullpen game, as the bigger news is that, after pitching only 1 inning, RHP Mike Clevinger was pulled from the game after experiencing pain/tightening in his right bicep. According to post-game comments and early reports on Thursday, Clevinger underwent further tests to include an MRI, which led to the injury being described as a sprained elbow. Adrian Morejon came in for the 2nd inning, and simply, he got lit up. Morejon gave up 3 hits in his 1 inning of work, all of them home runs, for 4 earned runs, as well as 2 BBs and recording 1 K. From then on, it was a parade of arms: Dan Altavilla, Tim Hill, Craig Stammen, Emilio Pagan, Drew Pomeranza, and Pierce Johnson all pitched at least an inning, making it a grand total of 8 Padres pitchers in the game. Only Craig Stammen gave up another run in the 6th inning, so if you’re looking for a silver lining, you can console yourself with the fact that the bullpen provided 7 innings of relief, giving up only 1 earned run on 7 hits and 1 BB while K-ing 9 Angels batters.
The lone bright spot in the game came from the returning 1B Eric Hosmer. Hos smacked a 2-run oppo home run in the 1st inning, showing off his amazing recovery powers.
Two-out oppo thunder @TheRealHos305 pic.twitter.com/bWNS4LxaN9— San Diego Padres (@Padres) September 23, 2020
Unfortunately, that would be the only offense the Friars could muster. The Pads continued their recent struggles at the plate, once again leaving a plethora of runners in scoring position, going 1-8, and K-ing 9 times in the game while only working 1 walk.
Just a disappointing way to end the home finale. Let’s get into news and notes:
- Despite the ominous feeling we all probably have right now, there’s some reason for optimism regarding Mike Clevinger, however slight it might be. In the post-game, Padres manager Jayce Tingler revealed Clevinger felt his biceps tighten on a curveball he threw to the Angels’ Jared Walsh. “He threw his bullpen; everything was good,” Tingler said. “He felt good in the bullpen today, and to start the game, he said he felt good. It was the first curveball he threw to Walsh.” It’s the same kind of tightness that caused the team to skip Clevinger’s start on Sunday, so the team hopes that additional rest is all Clevinger may need. Asked whether Clevinger’s postseason status was in jeopardy, Tingler stated, “We’re going to wait for the results and see what the doctors say. I don’t want to speculate or anything like that because I just honestly don’t know.” While the team currently hopes Clevinger can pitch again this postseason, safe to say, we’ll need folks to step up in the meantime, as the odds make it unlikely Clevinger pitches in this postseason.
- The potential injury to Clevinger opens the question of who joins the Padres’ postseason rotation? Right now, RHPs Chris Paddack and Garrett Richards remain As options, with Paddack seemingly having the edge. Paddack hasn’t pitched in relief since Rookie ball, and it seems logical that, if the Padres intended to use him that way, they’d probably have gotten him some experience in the bullpen by now, similar to what they’re doing with Richards. This then leads into other questions regarding the postseason roster, such as will the team have enough righty bats, especially off the bench, and for that matter, who will be on the bench? “There are a lot of competitions, and that’s a good thing,” said Padres manager Jayce Tingler. “Because we believe we’re a really good team.”
- SS Fernando Tatis Jr. got his first off day of the season For the home finale. Tatis had a hit in his last 3 games after going hitless in his previous 3 games, but was still slashing .200/.312/.338 with 2 homers, 9 walks, and 17 strikeouts in 77 plate appearances this month. It’s likely the start of several off-days for Padres regulars. “I think you’re going to see over the next couple of games, we’re going to rotate that a bit,” Tingler said. “That was (Tatis’) day to be off. A couple other guys will have some days off as well.”
- Speaking of FTJ, Sports Illustrated posted a nice expose on the NL MVP candidate. The article highlights not only Tatis’ prodigious talent, but also his unbridled joy while playing the game. “He just has the spirit of a 10- or 12-year-old, playing the best sport in the world,” says Padres manager Jayce Tingler. “And he does it with a swag, a confidence, and he has a blast.” Give it a read to put a smile on your face; I’m sure you’re like me and could use it.
- C Luis Campusano hit on the field before Wednesday’s game. Campusano has been on the injured list since 06 SEP with a left wrist sprain. Campusano homered in his MLB debut before sustaining the injury and had been considered for a right-handed-bat role before Pham’s accelerated return to action.
- Jurickson Profar was 2-for-3 Wednesday, and has hit in 10 straight games. That is tied for the 2nd-longest streak in his career. He is batting .438 (14-for-32) in the run.
- Trent Grisham did not reach base for the first time in 17 games, breaking his career-long streak.
- In a feel good story, RHP Trevor Rosenthal was named to the Baseball Assistance Team’s (B.A.T.) board of directors, joining among others former Orioles outfielder and Morse High alum Adam Jones. B.A.T. supports former major and minor league players, former Negro League and All-American Girls Professional Baseball League players, umpires, scouts and MLB and MiLB team personnel. This year, B.A.T. has distributed $3.8 million in grants to nearly 2,000 individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The bullpen’s 2.58 ERA in September is the 2nd-lowest in baseball behind the Cubs (2.01). Their 5 home runs allowed this month are tied for the fewest in the majors.
That’s it for today. The Padres take on San Francisco today for their final series. The Padres will start RHPs Dinelson Lamet and Chris Paddack in Friday’s 7-inning doubleheader (as a reminder, one of the games will be a make-up of the game postponed from 12 SEP). The Friday start lines Lamet up to start Game 1 of the Wild Card Series on 4 days’ rest, although the Padres could certainly reshuffle the order before then. I suspect Lamet will only go 2-3 innings, in order to preserve his arm.
The first game will start at 1610 Pacific, with the 2nd game beginning about 30 minutes after the first game ends.
GO PADRES!!! RESPECT SAN DIEGO!!!