There was a time not long ago when Padres fans would think “Just don’t lose a series. A win would be great. A sweep? That never happens and I forgot where my broom is.”
In 2019 Padres fans have a new mind set: “If we have a chance to sweep you’re darn right we’re going to!”
It’s great to have expectations (and with this team they are absolutely warranted) but taking every one of a 4-game set on the road is one of the tougher things to do in sports. San Diego lost in Arizona 8-4 on Sunday but still took three out of four from the Diamondbacks and finish their first road trip of the year an encouraging 7-3.
Someday, maybe, perhaps the Padres will figure out Zack Greinke. The Arizona starter entered the game with a 12-2 career record against San Diego. One batter in the Friars had hope his reign of terror would end.
Manuel Margot led off with a home run for his 2nd homer of the series (and season). Margot also doubled and is off to a fantastic start to the season, hitting .333 with a .910 OPS and playing his usual stellar centerfield defense.
Arizona got a pair back on a Ketel Marte home run off Eric Lauer in the 3rd inning but the Padres tied it up in the 5th when Fernando Tatis Jr. unloaded again. The 20-year-old shortstop leads the team with five home runs. He’s the youngest shortstop in Major League Baseball history to his five homers in his first 16 games and the youngest Padre to go deep in back-to-back games since Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar in 1988.
However, after that the DBacks generated the bulk of the game’s offense. Lauer gave up one more run on an Ildemaro Vargas double in the 5th inning and was replaced in the 6th inning by Matt Wisler.
Wisler used to be one of the Padres top prospects and was one of the first minor leaguers traded when A.J. Preller became San Diego’s general manager. The righty has not impressed since returning in a trade. Wisler gave up a 3-run home run to David Peralta that put the Diamondbacks up 6-2.
An inning later Wisler was called for an extremely questionable balk that allowed Tim Locastro to score from 3rd base. The Padres got two back on RBI hits by Margot and Franmil Reyes in the top of the 8th inning to at least plant the thought of an epic comeback.
But in the 8th inning reliever Phil Maton, who was recalled from Triple-A El Paso while Robert Stock was sent down, gave up a home run to Christian Walker for the final run of the game.
The Padres are 11-6 and still in first place by two games over the Dodgers. They come back home and start a quick 2-game set against the Rockies on Tuesday night. Joey Lucchesi will be on the mound for the Padres while (as of this writing) Colorado skipper Bud Black had not announced his starter yet.