Padres squander a big opportunity against Dodgers, lose Joe Musgrove

Joe Musgrove being shut down may hurt the Padres as he recovers from a shoulder injury.

SAN DIEGO — Everything had been set up perfectly for the Padres going into their game with their rivals up the five freeway, the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

Every team ahead of them in the wild card race lost, so they were one victory away from being three games down, but it didn’t happen on the field as they lost 10-5 to the Dodgers.

They had a 3-2 lead heading into the eighth inning when Robert Suarez let the game get out of hand, pitching 33 times in the inning and allowing five runs.

Yet again, the Padres wasted a good performance from a starting pitcher as You Darvish went seven innings allowing five hits but only two runs and four batters struck out.

That has been the theme for the Padres relief pitching has been the culprit in many losses this season.

Tomorrow is another day, and they will try their luck again, but they must win at least three games to stay competitive and not fall behind.

“It’s just take it day by day like we’ve been doing; we’ve been playing the last couple of weeks just to try to go out there and compete every night,” Manny Machado said.

To add insult to injury, the team got some bad news before facing the Dodgers as general manager A.J. Preller informed the media they would be shutting down pitcher Joe Musgrove for three weeks.

Musgrove had an MRI that showed inflammation in his right shoulder capsule.

“I honestly thought we were going in for a pretty routine checkup, but they went in and found some injury to the capsule,” Musgrove said. “Every part of me wants to go out there and throw. But everything’s telling us that we needed to step back and give it some rest.”

Preller said they aren’t ruling him out for the rest of the year. They hope he can take it easy and, in three weeks, should be ready to go.

Rest will be key for Musgrove, even though that might be the hardest thing to tell an athlete.

“Every part of me wants to go out there and throw, but everything is telling us that we need to step back and give it some rest,” Musgrove said. “We saw multiple doctors, got every opinion we could, and everyone was pretty consistent in saying that three weeks is about what you need to at least give it a chance to come back.”

Since the start of June, Musgrove has had a 1.88 ERA and was coming off a good series against the Texas Rangers before being a scratch against the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday.

“I feel like I was in a really good spot — mentally, physically, delivery wise and stuff,” he said. “Find a way to maintain that edge and come back ready to go and just maximize the time that I have off.”

He has dealt with numerous injuries this season, including dropping a kettlebell on his left toe during Spring Training. As he got better, he suffered an A.C. joint in his shoulder after landing on it. Musgrove has pitched through elbow bursitis.

“Extremely frustrating,” Musgrove said. “But, you know, I could sit here and sulk and ‘poor me.’ Or I can take it for what it is and try to be here for these guys as much as I can.”

This injury happened days after the trade deadline closed, but luckily for the Padres, they traded for starter Rich Hill. Preller feels like others will need to step up in the absence of Musgrove.

“Injuries are never easy,” Preller said. “But we do feel like with Rich, with Michael Wacha coming back, Nick Martinez having some flexibility, Pedro Avila stepping up and throwing well … we’ve got some depth. And we’re going to use it.”

Wacha is close to returning, and the Padres hope he can return where he left off while Martinez has been up and down in 2023. 

The Padres are now four games behind the wild card spot. They will need Hill, Wacha, Martinez, and everyone else on this team to put it together and start making a run before it is too late.

“We got the guys to do it,” Musgrove said. “I don’t think they’re feeling out of this thing now that I’m injured. They haven’t lost sight of the goal. My job is to just crush this rehab and get back as soon as I can.”