San DIEGO -Return to reality.
The Padres beat the Dodgers in a game at Petco Park over the weekend which turned San Diego into something of an entire city celebration. It was after all the obstacle they’d waited to overcome for the past decade.
The reward for their victory over L.A. was a date with Philadelphia in the National League Championship Series -an extremely risky option. The Phillies as well as the Padres were also in the NLCS with a blaze of fire, having defeated an opponent and set their own rotation.
In the first game in the NLCS on Tuesday night The Padres could not overcome Zack Wheeler in a disappointing 2-0 defeat in Petco Park. Then the Padres are in the same spot they’ve spent the bulk of time: fighting the fight to save their lives in the playoffs.
“It’s just about the mentality coming into the next day,” said second baseman Jake Cronenworth. “It’s an important game to beat. You don’t want to be 2-0 down in the course of a game. But I can guarantee you everyone in this place is ready to take on the next game on the field tomorrow.”
The Padres needed to battle their way to the playoffs, and they were able to secure their place on the last day of the year. They fought to the finish line in a Wild Card Series against the Mets. They fell in the opening game to the Dodgers but then took three consecutive.
There’s been no easy road to the Padres this season. If they’re going to defeat the Phillies in their quest to win the third World Series, they’ll have to fight back in this series to achieve it.
“[Wheeler] went out there and threw a hell of a game,” said Padre’s third baseman Manny Machado. “We could not string runners together and had to leave some guys at the base. The striker was throwing them. He was pummelling the zone. He was pounding the zone. The ball was hit but couldn’t locate any gap.”
The hard-throwing Phillies right-handed pitcher held the Padres to one hit over seven innings. Wil Myers’s fifth-inning single wasn’t the most significant hit that the Padres hit all night although they did pose an opportunity in the ninth inning’s bottom with Philadelphia closer Jose Alvarado.
Jurickson Profar was able to work with a one-out walk. Phillie’s third baseman Alec Bohm threw errantly to second base following Juan Soto’s grounder, which brought Machado up to bat to provide the likely winning run. Petco Park was silent for the majority of the night, shook to life when it exploded with an 8 1/2-inning burst of pumped-up energy. However, Machado flew out, as did Josh Bell struck out, and that was the end of it.
“We mounted a little something there in the ninth,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “We always feel great when we’ve got the chance to beat the ninth inning. Didn’t happen. It’s an unpleasant taste on your tongue, so you’ll need to leave in the quickest time possible.”
There’s good news and bad news on this front. The good news: The first start of Game 2 is slated for 1:35 PT on Wednesday afternoon. The bad news is that the Phillies will send another pitching ace to the mound Aaron Nola. Aaron Nola.
“You’d like to try to win that first one,” Melvin declared. “If you don’t win it’s likely that you get a bit more excited when you play the second game. We have to get out and hit the bats more effectively. It’s not much of a challenge the guy they’ll play today is pretty good and also. We need to get better at our at-bats.”
It was clear that the San Diego offense didn’t give Yu Darvish many chances. Darvish performed well over seven innings of ball that scored two runs. However, he did surrender a pair of Phillies home runs. The first was a Bryce Harper opposite-field shot that was thrown into the row in the front. Then, a Kyle Schwarber moonshot landed in the first row … of the second deck to the right field. This was by far the most home runs ever recorded in the history of Statcast on the field at Petco Park.
“The Harper home run, I don’t think that was a mistake,” Darvish stated. “That is a baseball that was outside. He was able take the bat and hit it. The Schwarber home run it’s my fault. It was my fault. I could tell that he was watching something else The ball sort of ended up in the middle.”
Darvish has kept Philly’s offense in check following that. Seven innings of his should contribute to keeping the bullpen in place for an important game 2 next Wednesday.
Through the course of the best-of-7 playoff series, teams who have had a 1-0 advantage have then gone on to win on 119 occasions out of 185 (64 percent). In all series using the current format of 2-3-2 teams that have lost game 1 on the road have been able to win only 30 out of 68 times (44 percent).
It’s not as steep of a hill as the Padres were faced with last week following defeating the Dodgers on the road. There’s a bit of room during a long series as well. Game 2 starter Blake Snell has been fantastic throughout the past three months. However, it’s not any simpler to play for the Padre’s offense, especially with Nola in the ring. The turnaround time is a short one, too.
“Good,” said Melvin and was reminded of this fact following the game. “Let’s get out there as soon as we can.”