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3:58 p.m., Feb. 19
What goes around apparently comes around. Back in May, the Padres were in Baltimore to beat the Orioles in a two-game series. In August, the Orioles returned the favor to the Padres, beating them on Wednesday 10-3 to take both games in San Diego.
There may not be a better cunnythumber in baseball today than Padres starter Eric Stults, who allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 5 hits and a walk, while striking out 6 in seven innings. Regardless of his lack of velocity, he puts his pitches where he wants them, how he wants them, and generally frustrates opposing hitters.
“Stults got out of a couple of potential situations where the game could have really gotten away from us, but he hung in there,” manager Bud Black said during the postgame press conference. “When you look at it, seven inning, three runs, I think two earned, I thought he threw the ball really well.”
Still, Orioles starter Miguel Gonzales was shutting down the Padres until the bottom of the sixth inning. After a walk and a single, Jedd Gyorko stepped up to the plate and did this:
For Gyorko, it was his tenth home run, the ball grazing the top of the left-center field wall, and it tied the game and seemed to give the Padres some momentum. That momentum, along with the tie score, didn’t last long.
In the top of the eighth inning, Luke Gregerson came in to relieve Stults and gave up back-to-back singles. Black then called for the situational left-handed pitcher to face left-handed hitting Chris Davis, the overall home run leader in all of baseball.
Who knows how Joe Thatcher would have done against Davis? Thatcher was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks last week, so Colt Hynes came in to face Davis and then this happened:
That was Davis’ 41st home run of the season, and after Matt Wieters doubled, Hynes was pulled but it didn’t matter, the damage was done. The Orioles scored once more in the eighth and then three times in the ninth to put the game entirely out of reach.
“When you win, usually it’s a complete effort,” Black said. “Whether it’s offense or whether it’s pitching. And today we had a little bit of a breakdown in our bullpen.”
But sometimes when you lose, it’s a complete effort as well. The Padres had three errors on Wednesday (one of the errors was actually a horrible call by first base umpire Angel Hernandez), and only seven hits against ten strikeouts offensively, in addition to the faulty relief pitching.
It’s easy to point out that Colt Hynes failed to properly locate a slider to Chris Davis (it should have been outside as the catcher called and set up for), but the reality is that the Padres need a bunch of help in all areas. Maybe it’s getting Cameron Maybin back, starting pitching back, not to mention Carlos Quentin and maybe Kyle Blanks and another bat or two.
A complete effort might mean fielding a complete team.
We’ll see if Quentin starts or even plays on Friday, and then it’s a guessing game as to whether he’s placed retroactively on the disabled list, but if he isn’t in the lineup on Friday then he’ll likely go onto the DL. In which case, if Maybin still isn’t ready then Jaff Decker is again healthy and might get a second stint in the majors.
Former Padres catcher John Baker was designated off of the 40-man roster of the Los Angeles Dodgers, which means that he’s temporarily up for grabs. No notion as to whether the Padres will try and get him back, he’s quite popular with Padres coaches and pitchers. Stay tuned.
Thursday is an off-day for the Friars, who are currently traveling to Cincinnati to face the Reds. Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross, and Ian Kennedy remain slated to make starts there, as the Padres plan to keep the same pitching rotation intact until further notice. Friday’s game will be a 4:10 PM PDST start.