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Various Authors 11:01 a.m., April 23
Keeping the Tampa Bay Rays from scoring isn’t so easy as keeping the Miami Marlins off of the base paths. The San Diego Padres found that out first-hand on Friday, as the Rays came from behind thanks to four runs in the bottom of the seventh innings and beat the Padres 6-3.
Will Venable and Carlos Quentin hit solo home runs in the first inning, and Venable scored again in the third on a strike-out while reaching on a wild pitch, two stolen bases, and went home on a balk by Rays starter Alex Cobb. But the Rays came back with two in the bottom of the third and then the four runs in the seventh as Padres bats were silent.
But wait, there’s more. The Padres set a dubious record Friday as they struck out 13 times in 4 2/3 innings. That’s never been done before, ever in the major leagues. Cobb struck out 13 and couldn’t even get out of the fifth inning with 117 pitches.
This penchant for striking out is something the Padres are going to have to fix. Sure, Cobb is a good pitcher, a very promising young arm, but Padres hitters made him look better than he is. Cobb recorded 14 outs, and 13 of the outs were whiffs?
Behind every great pitching performance is a team struggling to be consistent with their bats. This is the position the Padres find themselves in. Edinson Volquez was fine on the hill, and some of the runs given up in relief were fluke hits, this is what happens.
In the 4 2/3 innings pitched by Cobb, between strikeouts, there were five hits and two walks mixed in there. It means that the Padres hitters weren’t much good at coming through in the clutch. It’s fine to give Cobb a pat on the back for a job well-done, but this was a pitcher that before this season wasn’t even averaging a strikeout in one inning.
Harness the energy from the swings-and-misses from the 18 strikeouts the Padres tallied up, and you could light up a batting cage for quite a few hours. Maybe the Padres could use that until they can consistently hit and score enough runs to give the bull pen a safety net.
Saturday, the Rays and the Padres are at it again. San Diego called up Burch Smith from AA to take the hill for his major league debut (more on Burch later) while the Rays offer up Jeremy Hellickson (1-2, 4.79). Game time is set for 3:10 PM PDST, and radio 1090 AM will have the call if you can’t watch the game on Fox Sports San Diego.