With Michael Wacha taking the mound for the Padres and the series on the line, the team felt pretty good about their chances. Wacha held an 11-3 record prior to the start but ended up taking what was only his second loss in his last 6 decisions. He was greeted rudely by Kyle Schwarber to open the game, as he immediately made it 1-0 with one swing of the bat. The next two innings would be solid for Wacha before Bryce Harper would make it a 3-0 game in the fourth with a double. That would be it for his start, and the bullpen would take over early on in the contest. San Diego would eventually fall down 5-0 and end up scoring just once in the ninth before falling 5-1 to close the series in unfortunate fashion.
Here are three takeaways from the loss:
Wheeler shuts down the San Diego lineup
Zack Wheeler has consistently been one of the aces in the Philadelphia pitching staff since he signed with the club. He headed into Wednesday’s game looking to improve upon his 10-6 record and did just that. The Padres simply looked helpless as Wheeler dominated through all 6 innings that he pitched. He did not allow a run to score as San Diego was only able to manage one hit off of him.
This left the team facing a 5-0 gap before they even got to see a pitcher from the Phillies bullpen, and it was too little too late. Wheeler’s start comes as the latest example of the Padres’ struggles against competitive pitching and the batting order’s lack of production. This has been a main theme of the team’s struggles this year and one that they will need to correct if they want to see a different fate next season.
Offense collects just 3 hits total in disappointing effort
The Padres once again flashed their inconsistent tendencies as they saw the offense put up a poor effort just a day after a nice, well-rounded game. The team somehow managed to plate a run in the ninth inning to avoid a shutout, as they gathered two of their three hits on the day in the frame. Fernando Tatis Jr. and Juan Soto hit for a combined 0-7, while Manny Machado and Xander Bogaerts each had themselves 1 hit. The majority of the lineup was left struggling to come up with answers, as even the Philadelphia bullpen arms looked sharp in innings 7-9. While 5 runs is a decent amount, the blame certainly cannot be entirely placed on the Padre pitching staff. Michael Wacha’s start was cut short after he threw 94 pitches through just 4 innings, but he allowed only 3 runs. Tim Hill would then allow 2 more to score as the next man up from the bullpen, but San Diego pitched a shutout game from that point on. The main point is that 3 hits in total will not win you a game, and most of the time will not even allow you to score a run.
Philly power hitters take care of business
3 of the most important pieces in the Phillies lineup showed their best on Wednesday as they lifted the team to secure a big win. The combination of J.T. Realmuto, Bryce Harper, and Kyle Schwarber accounted for 5 out of 12 Philadelphia hits on the day and 4/5 total RBIs. The big day for them from the plate was started off by Kyle Schwarber, who rocked his 41st home run of the year to lead off the game and put the Phillies up from the jump.
Bryce Harper kept things moving in the 4th inning as he snapped an 0-20 skid with a 2-RBI double that put Philly up 3-0. J.T. Realmuto helped put on another run with a solo homer in the fifth inning that would make it 4-0. The Padres proved vulnerable to their power hitting all game long and were stung because of it. The Phillies are a team that relies on their power to plate runs, and they were able to execute their game plan perfectly to steal a series on the road from San Diego.
The Padres will have an off day tomorrow before heading to Houston to take on the Astros in a 3-game series. Houston is in the midst of an intense race for the AL West crown, and San Diego would love to play spoiler with some upset wins. They should have a pretty good chance to grab a win in the first game of the series as Blake Snell will toe the rubber.
First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. PT.