With the Padres fresh off a series victory against the Colorado Rockies, the team was as close to the .500 mark as they’ve been in quite some time. In a big game against a division rival, Yu Darvish got things going the right way on the mound for the team by tossing 7 innings and allowing only 2 runs. However, the last 3 innings of the game would see the Padre bullpen allow 8 runs. The Dodgers would rally in the 8th to tie the game at 3 and then take the lead as they went on to score 7 more times in the final 2 innings and cruise to a victory.
Here are three takeaways from the series opener:
James Outman has himself quite the performance
James Outman has heated up significantly for the Dodgers ever since the second half of the season began. He continued to make an impact on Friday night as he immediately got things going for Los Angeles by robbing a 2-run home run from Fernando Tatis Jr. in the first inning. He would then get things done on offense as well by blasting his own solo home run in the second inning to get the scoring going for the Dodgers. Outman would go on to finish the game 2-3 with a walk and 2 RBI’s to complete his all-around day. As he continues to heat up and establish his position as one of the most prominent rookies in baseball, the Padres will need to do their best to contain him for the remainder of the series. Outman is slashing .318/.500/.432 in the second half of the season so far, which is quite the improvement compared to his .236/.318/.420 marks in the first half. While still young, his defense and slugging ability give him the potential to make his mark in the Dodger’s roster for seasons to come.
Top of the Padre lineup goes quiet
Juan Soto, Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, and Xander Bogaerts each had themselves relatively quiet games on Friday evening. While they did account for 4/10 San Diego hits on the day, the only run they were able to drive in all game came on a 9th-inning solo home run from Juan Soto (who continues to have a power surge at the plate in recent games). They will be expected to produce more offensively for the rest of the series if they want to remain competitive against the division-rival Dodgers, who also have themselves a lineup filled with big names and impressive power. The majority of the production for the Padres in the game came from the 8 and 9 slots in the lineup, as Trent Grisham and Luis Campusano were responsible for 3/5 San Diego runs. While this production from the bottom of the lineup is definitely welcomed, the Padre lineup is designed to rely on their big-name sluggers to hit the ball hard and plate runs for the team. Going forward, there will be more pressure on the top of the lineup to keep up with the offensive production of other high-octane rosters as the season progresses and enters crunch time.
The bullpen backfires for San Diego
While Yu Darvish got the Padre’s pitching momentum going in the right direction with 7 solid innings of work (2 ER, 4K), the San Diego bullpen would not have their best stuff. First into the game to relieve Darvish was Robert Suarez, who was only able to pitch 0.2 innings and allowed 5 runs to come across for the Dodgers. During his time in the game, the Dodgers erased a 3-2 deficit and established a 7-3 lead heading into the bottom of the 8th inning. In the 9th inning, things only got worse as new trade acquisition Scott Barlow entered the game and allowed 3 more runs on only 0.2 innings of work. By this time, the deficit was simply too great for the Padre offense to overcome, and the team went down in disappointing fashion. For fans, the game most likely left an unsettling feeling, as the Padres made an emphasis on acquiring pitching help at the trade deadline. The bullpen, which overall has been the 8th best in baseball ERA-wise, will need to try its hardest to keep this mark intact and back up quality starting pitching with shutdown appearances. Every game will continue to matter more and more down the stretch as San Diego pushes for a playoff spot, and bullpen collapses will only become more gut-wrenching.
The Padres will have a chance to even the series tomorrow as they take on the Dodgers in the second game of four as their record sits at 54-56.
First pitch is scheduled for 5:40 p.m. PT.