July 15 – Despite a huge payroll and a roster primed for another strong playoff run, the San Diego Padres have struggled for most of this season.
However, the Padres won their last two games before the All-Star break and followed up with a resounding 8-3 win over hosts the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday.
The Padres, who lost to the Phillies in last season’s National League Championship Series, will face Philadelphia in a day-night doubleheader on Saturday.
“You just have to try to win every game,” said Padres manager Bob Melvin. “That’s all we’re worried about at the moment.”
Fernando Tatis Jr., Juan Soto, Gary Sanchez and Manny Machado hit a home run Friday, and San Diego had 11 hits and four walks.
“The offensive seems to be doing really well at the break,” said Melvin.
Machado added, “We’re passing the baton and we have top-notch bats.”
Left-handers Blake Snell (6-7, 2.85 ERA) and Ryan Weathers (1-5, 6.08) are expected to be the Padres’ starters in the doubleheader.
Snell is 0-3 with a 4.91 ERA in four career starts and 18 1/3 innings against the Phillies.
Weathers has only played one game against the Phillies in his career. He suffered the loss after giving up three runs with five hits in two innings in August 2021.
“There is[confidence]that can be gained from results,” Weathers said. “But I just feel like if you’re too result-oriented in this game, it becomes difficult. You will have high and low confidence. It’s just about finding that confidence from the work week and building it up to the start day. That’s when I slowly found confidence in my everyday schedule.”
The Phillies dropped their last two games before the All-Star break against host Miami Marlins and went flat in the home game against the Padres.
Philadelphia went 1 of 7 with runners on goal and nine runners remaining on base.
JT Realmuto hit a solo home run and Alec Bohm added two hits and an RBI. Philadelphia was 8-1 down at the end of the ninth pitch, scoring two goals and besieging bases, forcing the Padres to use narrower Josh Hader for the final two outs.
“We didn’t swing the bat early,” said Phillies manager Rob Thomson. “It looked like (our batsmen) were a bit rusty. The ninth inning was encouraging.”
Bryce Harper, who hit a Pennant-winning home run in two runs in Game 5 of the NLCS, went 4-1 on Friday. Thomson said that Harper isn’t the primary cast in this series.
The Phillies are scheduled to hand the ball to Taijuan Walker (10-3, 4.02 ERA) and Ranger Suarez (2-4, 3.77) in the twin bill.
Suarez is 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA in four career games (one start) against the Padres.
Walker is 3-3 with a 2.61 ERA in seven career starts against San Diego.
After signing a four-year, $72 million contract as a free agent to join the Phillies in the offseason, Walker stagnated until mid-May. Since then, however, he has grown into one of the top pitchers in the National League. He is 7-1 with a 2.13 ERA in his last nine games.
In his last start on July 5 against the Tampa Bay Rays, Walker allowed five hits and four runs in seven innings. It was enough for him to win his sixth start in a row.
“It really could have been a lot worse,” Walker said after the outing. “Five walks, something I don’t want to do, especially against a team that can score at will. I was able to put up those shutdown innings towards the end of the game.”
–Field level media
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