When the Padres got back from the All-Star break they were right in the thick of the playoff race. It only took eight games for them to bury themselves nearly out of post-season contention.
The Friars lost to the Cubs 6-5 on Saturday in Chicago, their 3rd straight 1-run loss, to fall to 1-7 since the break and 5.0 games out of the 2nd National League Wild Card spot. What's heartbreaking is they really could be on the complete opposite end of this spectrum.
San Diego's losses have come by 2, 2, 3, 5, 1, 1 and 1 run. The only game they weren't really in was a 12-7 stinker in Miami.
Saturday's game had its good points. Rookie Fernando Tatis Jr. hit a 468-foot home run, the longest of his career and the longest for any San Diego infielder in the Statcast era (since 2015). Manny Machado launched the 200th home run of his career. The only 3rd baseman to reach 200 dingers faster than Manny was Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews.
After Joey Lucchesi got touched up for six runs in just 4.1 innings the Padres bullpen combination of Matt Strahm and Trey Wingenter kept the Cubs off the scoreboard for the next 3.2 innings.
But a couple of costly little things eventually did them in. Lucchesi threw a pitch right down the middle of the plate to Javier Baez, who deposited it into the left field bleachers for a 3-run home run that turned out to be the game-winner. In the 9th inning San Diego had a chance to tie but again, a little thing made the difference.
Wil Myers led off with a walk against closer Craig Kimbrel. He tried to steal 2nd base and should have been safe ... except he wasn't. Baez made a lightning-quick, no-look tag that got Myers on the foot. But that display of athleticism should not have mattered.
Myers made a terrible slide, keeping his left hand close to his body instead of extending it into the bag. Had he used good fundamentals he would have been safe and the trying run would have been in scoring position.
The Padres try to avoid a sweep on Sunday when they send 20-year-old lefty Adrian Morejon to the mound for his Major League debut against Kyle Hendricks.