The San Diego Padres had a four-run lead on the Los Angeles Dodgers with nine outs to go. And they found a way to lose the game.
The Padres bullpen combined to give up not one, not two, not three, not four, but five home runs from the start of the seventh inning on in Wednesday’s loss.
With a 9-5 lead to start the seventh, Daniel Hudson gave up a solo home run to Mookie Betts in the bottom of the seventh to make it 9-6. No big deal right? Betts is a great player and it’s just one home run.
But then Jayce Tingler went to Emilio Pagan of all people. It’s important to remember that Pagan is the one that seemingly has given up home runs in big spots for what feels like the entire month of September, including the go-ahead homer off the bat of Tyler O’Neill in St. Louis that allowed the Cardinals to win that series.
In other words, it wasn’t exactly a surprise that Pagan allowed three home runs in the eighth inning. What was a surprise was Tingler leaving Pagan in the game after he had faced three batters.
Here was the sequence of events that occurred while Pagan was on the mound:
- Max Muncy solo home run (9-7 Padres)
- A.J. Pollock solo home run (9-8 Padres)
- Chris Taylor flyout to center field
- Cody Bellinger solo home run (9-9)
- Justin Turner pinch hit double
- Pagan exits the game, Crismatt in. Tatis enters as defensive replacement
First off, it makes no sense for Tatis to not start the game but then be put in the game in a double switch in the eighth. If he was going to play, then start him. He is trying to win an MVP, right?
For the first three batters, the Padres couldn’t make any change because of the three batter minimum rule. But after Taylor flew out to Trent Grisham, there’s no reason for Pagan to still be in the game. What did Tingler think was going to happen? Pagan would magically pitch better after surrendering two home runs already? Well, he didn’t.
Four homers in the bottom of the eighth to take the lead? The Ravine was LOUD. pic.twitter.com/cBHZdxcBuh— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) September 30, 2021
Tingler was asked postgame about leaving Pagan in after he gave up the second and third home runs of the eighth innng and his answer wasn’t good enough.
“We did have [Austin] Adams, [Mark] Melancon, and [Nabil] Crismatt there and so trying to get through another out there and possibly bring in Mark there with the idea that if they did tie it up, whether it was the eight or ninth, we’d have to go Crismatt and Adams the rest of the way,” Tingler said.
Jayce Tingler was asked why he didn't lift Emilio Pagan after he gave up the 2nd or 3rd home run in the 8th inning: pic.twitter.com/AjTrSXiBoh— 97.3 The Fan (@973TheFanSD) September 30, 2021
You play to win the game so when you have a lead like the Padres did after Pagan had faced three batters, you should make a move to another reliever. Melancon is capable of getting a five-out save. He was on three days rest going into Wednesday night. Adams, who hasn’t pitched in nearly a week, couldn’t have been worse than Pagan was despite his wildness at times.
Crismatt hadn’t been used since Sunday, so he could’ve obviously pitched multiple innings. Tingler said he was planning on using Crismatt to give the Padres some length but Crismatt only ended up facing three batters.
Tingler didn’t even mention another guy who was rested and that’s Pierce Johnson. He hasn’t pitched since Sunday.
The logic pointed to Tingler going to someone else after Pagan had already faced three batters and the Padres still had the lead. Tingler didn’t and the Padres paid for it. They have now lost five straight games and are two games under .500 in a season that was supposed to end in late October. Now it will be ending on October 3.