In his final start of the year, Michael Wacha looked to finish the season out strong and help the Padres secure the series victory. He did just that, as he was spot on during his start. Wacha kept the White Sox off the board for the majority of the game, and it was Jurickson Profar who did the heavy lifting on offense. Profar notched a couple of big hits early as San Diego found themselves up 6-0 after 2 innings. That would be all of the run support that they needed as Chicago failed to get anything major going on offense. The Padres took a 6-1 win and guaranteed themselves their 6th consecutive series win to close out 2023.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
Wacha shines in final start of the season
Michael Wacha has been one of the most dominant pitchers on the San Diego pitching staff all season long. The 32-year-old has been a winning machine who was able to provide the Padres with some solid innings and proven consistency. Making his final start of the year, he brought his best stuff to the table. Wacha would throw 7 innings of shutout baseball and strike out 7 batters in the process. He would walk 1 batter and allow just 3 hits as he cruised to victory number 14.
Finishing the year with a final record of 14-4 and an ERA of 3.22, the Padres will have to make a very interesting decision. Wacha is under contract with a 2-year, $32 million team option that the team will have to decide on picking up or not. With key arms such as Blake Snell and Josh Hader hitting free agency, it would certainly make sense to see San Diego pick up his option and have him back with the team next season. He was nothing short of impressive in the first season of his Padre career, and his contributions helped out the squad in a big way.
Profar leads the way to victory for the offense
It seems as if the Jurickson Profar effect has become a real thing this season for the San Diego Padres. Since the team brought him back earlier in the month of September, they have gone 19-7 (.731), which is the best mark in baseball during that time period. Saturday’s game was the latest example of his impact for San Diego, as he put together a nice performance to help the Padres tack on some early runs. He started off hot with a bases-clearing double in the 1st inning which would make it 3-0 and set the tone for the game.
Just an inning later in the second with the squad already up 5-0, Profar would hit an RBI single to score Juan Soto and make it 6-0. San Diego would not score again for the rest of the game, but did not need to after taking care of business early on. Profar would finish the day 2-5 with 4 RBI as he did a nice job gathering some runs early. His efforts also helped the Padres to get back over .500 (81-80) for the first time in a long time. Before their win in the first game of the series over Chicago, they had not been at .500 since May 11th when the squad was 19-19. Profar’s heart and effort have certainly contributed to the recent success in San Diego.
Chandler Seagle makes first MLB appearance
With catcher Luis Campusano hitting the 10-day IL due to a right ankle sprain, the Padres decided to promote catcher Chandler Seagle from the taxi squad. After being drafted by the team in the 30th round in 2017, he has battled in the minor leagues to make a name for himself. He finally got the chance with the Padres having just 2 games left and finding themselves eliminated from playoff contention.
Seagle had played 287 total games within the Padres minor league system prior to his call-up, with 16 games of experience at triple-A El Paso. Despite Brett Sullivan being the starting catcher on the day, Seagle got his first major league plate appearance in the ninth inning as he pinch-hit for Juan Soto. He would end up grounding out Tim Anderson, but the day will still be a memorable one for him and his family. With the final game of the season tomorrow, perhaps manager Bob Melvin will give him the chance to make his first real start at catcher.
The 2023 season finale for the Padres will take place on Sunday afternoon, as Pedro Avila is scheduled to square off against Jose Urena. San Diego will look to close out the year with a sweep and secure an above .500 finish.
First pitch is scheduled for 12:10 p.m. PT.