With the Miami Marlins 4-3 defeat of the Pittsburgh Pirates earlier on Friday, the Padres were officially eliminated from playoff contention. That means that their series against the White Sox will officially go down as the final one of the 2023 season. Nick Martinez took the mound in the opening game as the starter and pitched very well to keep Chicago off the board. Meanwhile, San Diego would grab the lead in the 5th after a quiet first few innings. They would jump out to a 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of the 8th before the White Sox made things interesting, and ended up getting 2 runs back before falling short. The Padres took a 3-2 win and put themselves in a good position to close out the year with their 6th consecutive series victory.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
Nick Martinez delivers an impressive start
In just his 9th start of the season, Nick Martinez was tasked with taking care of the White Sox lineup and limiting their performance. He was able to do an excellent job controlling the game, as he carved through the Chicago lineup for 5 straight innings without allowing a run. Martinez would strike out 8 while allowing just 2 hits and grabbing a well-deserved 6th win on the year. He has done a very nice job for San Diego this season, whether that has come from the bullpen or as a starter. His 3.43 ERA is currently on pace to help him finish off the season with the best stats in his career so far. After a rough first four years in the league with the Texas Rangers from 2014-2017, Martinez would not appear at the big-league level again until 2022 with the Padres. In 2 years with the team, he has been able to post a sub-3.5 ERA and revive his career in a way that has been very admirable. His 106 strikeouts so far this season have also been the most of his career by far, and San Diego has benefited greatly from his contributions on the mound.
Bogaerts, Grisham lift the offense
In a game that saw the Padres struggle to gain some momentum on offense for the first few innings, Xander Bogaerts and Trent Grisham did a nice job to help out. They provided the team with all of the run support that they would need and were a big part of the win. The first to strike was Xander Bogaerts, who got San Diego on the board with a sacrifice fly in the 5th inning to go up 1-0.
For Bogaerts, the RBI came as part of a 2-3 day in which he was able to bring his batting average on the year to an impressive .285. In the following inning, it would be Trent Grisham who smacked a big 2-RBI double to provide the pitching staff with some more breathing room.
It would be Grisham’s only hit on the day, but it was definitely a big one as runs were seemingly hard to come by all game long. Both Bogaerts and Grisham did a good job keeping the Padres afloat as the team would end up hanging on by just 1 run.
Bullpen bends, but doesn’t break
As the Padres headed to the bottom of the 8th inning up 3-0, they seemed confident that they would be able to keep things rolling and finish off the game with a shutout. However, the White Sox had other intentions and did their best to make things interesting in the final 2 innings. As Robert Suarez took the ball to pitch the 8th, he allowed Chicago to grab their first run of the game on a big solo shot from third-baseman Yoan Moncada. Suarez was able to escape the inning with just 1 run allowed on 2 hits and a walk. As the ninth inning came around, Josh Hader took the ball looking to get three simple outs and finish the game with no more bumps in the road. He would be greeted rudely on a leadoff home run from Carlos Perez to make it a 3-2 game. Hanging to a 1-run lead, Hader would get the first out before walking Andrew Benintendi and putting the tying run on first base. The next batter, Eloy Jimenez, would get hit by a pitch from Hader and move the tying run into scoring position. With the game on the line, Yoan Moncada would ground into a rally-killing double play and give the Padres a 3-2 win. Hader could finally exhale as he managed to work around trouble and grab his 33rd save of the season. While it wasn’t pretty, the bullpen was able to dig deep and do a nice job making sure that Chicago did not come all the way back to steal a win.
Game 2 of the series will take place on Saturday night, as Michael Wacha is scheduled to make his final start of the year in game 161.
First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. PT.