Michael Wacha took the mound for the Padres looking to bounce back from a rough start against the Dodgers, and managed to keep the Rockies in check. Thanks to the Padres plentiful run support, his pitching performance was backed up nicely and Colorado was slowed down for the first few innings of the game. As the San Diego bullpen took over, things got much more shaky. The team’s big lead would slowly get smaller and smaller, but they would eventually survive and hang on despite one last push in the ninth inning by the Rockies. It was a dramatic 5th win in a row for the Padres as they kept the train rolling in the opening game of the series.
Here are three takeaways from the win:
Wacha recovers nicely from previous start
In Michael Wacha’s previous start against the Los Angeles Dodgers on September 12th, Los Angeles was able to get the best of him. The right-hander allowed 7 ER in 4 innings as the Padres fell 11-2 in an overall ugly game. Looking to rebound and show out against the Rockies, he was able to keep their offense in check. Through 5 innings, he allowed 3 runs (2 ER) and struck out 6 while walking none. Luckily, he also had the offense on his side as they tallied runs upon runs to back him up. Wacha would eventually earn the win to improve his record to 12-5 and bring his ERA down to 3.44. The win helped him to break his streak of 2 consecutive losses and get some momentum going in the right direction with only a couple more starts left on the schedule. Of all pitchers on the Padres who have thrown 110 innings or more this season, Wacha has allowed the least amount of home runs and hits, while possessing the 2nd-lowest ERA and 2nd-least earned runs allowed. His success has been very valuable for the squad, and he will look to keep it going next season as San Diego will seek a bounce-back year and need his help along the way.
The bullpen creates a bumpy road to the finish line
As Michael Wacha exited the game after his 5 innings of work, the Padres held a dominant 11-3 lead and figured that the game was all but over. However, the Rockies had other intentions as they quickly got to work against the San Diego bullpen and made things interesting. 2 runs off of Nick Hernandez in the 6th inning would mark the start of their attack against the Padre bullpen before Scott Barlow would temporarily calm things down by pitching a scoreless seventh inning. However, Tom Cosgrove and Luis Garcia would both enter the game and allow 4 combined runs through 1.2 innings of work as Colorado slowly crept their way back into the game to find themselves down 2 and rallying in the top of the ninth. San Diego was forced to use Josh Hader, who entered the game needing to record just 1 out to end things and hold off the comeback attempt. He would eventually force Brenton Doyle to fly out to right field, ending what was a dramatic finish to a game that San Diego once held a dominant grasp over. Normally, this type of performance from the bullpen will not see the game end in such a fortunate fashion, and the team will need to place an emphasis going forward on keeping the pressure applied despite what the scoreboard says.
Padre lineup comes alive to plate 11 big runs
Just one day after putting up 10 runs in Oakland, the San Diego Padres one-upped themselves in front of a sold-out home crowd. The game officially sealed the 2023 season as the most-attended season in Padres history, which says a lot about the San Diego faithful and their passion for the game of baseball. Throughout all of the team’s highs and lows, they can always depend on the fans to show up and make some noise all year long. The Padres surely put on a show for them in the game, as the whole offense seemed to be clicking. Juan Soto, Garret Cooper, and Eguy Rosario each had a pair of RBIs, while Luis Campusano found himself with 3 of his own. San Diego did all of their scoring within the first 5 innings, as a wave of home runs and extra-base hits helped the team to pad their lead.
The impressive day for Campusano comes as the newest game in a recent hot streak. He has seen almost all of the action at the catcher position in the month of September and has thrived in his extended role. With an average of .304 and 12 RBIs on the month, he has made his case to be the main catcher for the Padres heading into next season. His power and ability to hit for average give him the potential to be an impact player and keep providing the lineup with some valuable offense. As for outfielder Juan Soto, he came into the series opener versus Colorado with some extra motivation.
Soto was named the NL Player of the Week after a very impressive 7-day stretch. He got the new week off to an equally good start with his 2-4 performance as he grabbed 2 RBI and reached base 3 times total. While the bullpen was shaky, the impressive display of power and hitting from the Padre lineup was a very encouraging sight as the win streak keeps on growing.
The squad will be back at it on Tuesday night as ace Blake Snell looks to help San Diego make it 6 wins in a row. The lineup will have an equally solid opportunity as they face off against Rockies starter Chase Anderson, who is 0-5 with an ERA of 6.00.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. PT.