In 2020 the Padres have been one of baseball's most resilient teams. They have more comebacks wins than anyone in the Major Leagues.
A heaping helping of resiliency is something they need right about now.
The Friars are going to have to win three straight games against the Dodgers, the team with the best record in baseball, the overwhelming World Series favorites, the division rivals that have finished ahead of them every year for nearly a decade, and they’ll have to do it without their top two starting pitchers.
Oh, and L.A. did not have a 3-game losing streak at any time in the regular season. The last time the Dodgers lost three in a row was August 29, 30 and 31 of 2019 to the Diamondbacks in Arizona.
If Jayce Tingler has a Knute Rockne “Win One for the Gipper” speech in his arsenal this would be the time to break it out.
On Wednesday night the Padres were robbed (quite literally, thanks to a Willie Mays-esque catch by Cody Bellinger to steal a home run from Fernando Tatis Jr.) of a win that would have tied their National League Division Series 1-1. Zach Davies started that game and went 5.0 innings, the longest outing for a San Diego pitcher in five post-season games.
On Thursday night they'd like a similar outing and they're asking one of their many talented youngsters to give it to them. 21-year-old Cuban lefty Adrian Morejon gets his first career playoff start against 23-year-old Dodgers fireballer Dustin May.
Morejon has looked sharp in 3.0 post-season relief innings, allowing just one hit with two strikeouts. May got the win in Game 1 when he followed starter Walker Buehler with 2.0 perfect innings, throwing just 27 pitches in the process.
Tingler says Morejon is capable of going as many as five innings, even though he hasn’t lasted longer than three in any of his big league appearances. With San Diego’s pitching situation being what it is (no Clevinger, no Lamet, overworked bullpen) they might need their offense to simply outslug L.A. like it did the Cardinals in the Wild Card round.
The Friars bats seemed to come around in Game 2. Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer hit home runs off Clayton Kershaw and the ball Tatis his was an absolute missile against Brusdal Graterol’s 99-MPH heater. San Diego scored twice in the 9th in a rally against Kenley Jansen and Joe Kelly so there’s reason for optimism with the team that scored the 3rd-most runs in baseball during the regular season.
First pitch is set for 6:08 pm San Diego time on MLB Network.
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