In Spring Training, Padres pitcher Yu Darvish said he thought Joe Musgrove deserved to be San Diego's Opening Day starter. After the season's first month it looks like Yu was right.
Musgrove turned in yet another fantastic start on Sunday in Pittsburgh, striking out eight and allowing just one run in 7.0 innings to lead the Padres to a 5-2 win. With two games left (on Tuesday and Wednesday in Cleveland) the Friars have already assured themselves of a winning 8-game road trip.
The game was delayed by inclement weather but it didn't bother Musgrove in the slightest. The only run he allowed came in the 7th inning when Roberto Perez singled home former Padres farmhand Jack Suwinski. Joe responded by punching out Daniel Vogelbach on his 92nd and final pitch of the afternoon.
He left with a 3-1 lead thanks to RBI singles by Manny Machado and Trent Grisham but had to go through watching a bit of a stressful 8th inning. Robert Suarez had control issues, walking the first two hitters he faced then giving up an infield single to load the bases with nobody out. In came Tim Hill, in an almost impossible situation, and did about as good a job as anyone could hope.
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Hill gave up a sacrifice fly to make it 3-2 then induced a 6-4-3 double play from Diego Castillo to end the inning.
San Diego gave themselves a bit of a cushion in the top of the 9th. Rookie C.J. Abrams, who had a pair of hits and looked as comfortable at the plate as we've seen him, brought in a run on a sac fly and Jake Cronenworth followed with an RBI single to make it 5-2, plenty for their new closer.
Taylor Rogers handled the 9th for his 9th save of the year. The Padres get an off-day on Monday then start a quick 2-game set in Cleveland with the highly-anticipated return of Mike Clevinger. The righty will make his first appearance since the end of the 2020 season. He missed all of last year recovering from Tommy John surgery.
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