Five Good Things: Putting the Reds to Bed Edition
How about out Padres?!?! Envision me as a younger, tanner, Jimmie Johnson with more pliable hair as I shout this in my home rather than a locker room. Kind of sad I know but that won’t shake the happiness our Friars brought me the earlier part of this week.
Our Padres won their third straight series, this time against a very formidable opponent in the Cincinnati Reds. So here are my five good things from said series.
5. Sean O’Sullivan
The Padres’ local starter took the mound at Petco as a member of his hometown team for the second time this year in Monday’s opening game and did not disappoint. Though he walked five batters, he surrendered only one run on five hits, keeping the Padres in the game over six innings. And really, that’s all the Friars needed.
4. Edinson Volquez
Volqui went head to head to the man he was traded for, Mat Latos, on Tuesday at Petco. While Mat had since won a playoff game and also enjoyed a 10 month stretch without losing a start, Edinson has struggled to find consistency, mixing stretches of brilliance with mediocrity. But on Tuesday, Edinson matched the entire night, allowing only two runs in six and a third innings pitched on four hits. He exited after issuing a one out walk in the seventh with the game tied at two. Again, it was really all the Friars needed.
3. Padres Pen Lights Out Again.
The Padres bullpen once again became the lockdown “Pen-itentiary” Padres fans had grown accustomed in the past. Joe Thatcher, Nick Vincent, and Luke Gregerson combined for two hitless innings on Monday and then Colt Hynes, Dale Thayer and Huston Street allowed just a hit in two and two thirds innings Tuesday. They followed up with just one hit allowed by Vincent, Miles Mikolas, and Hynes over two innings Wednesday, totaling just two hits over six and two thirds of an inning for the series.
2. Nick Hundley’s Clutch Double
With the game tied with two out in the eighth, Nick Hundley came to bat with Will Venable and Jedd Gyorko on first and second base. Sam LeCure had just struck out Chris Denorfia and had a 1-0 count on Hundley when the Padres catcher ripped a line drive over the third baseman’s head and into the corner scoring Venable easily. Left fielder Chris Heisey had trouble retrieving the ball allowing Gyorko to score and put the Padres ahead, 4-2, good enough for the win.
1. The “Norf-Off”
The Padres offense was on every milk carton in southern California for the eight innings on Monday as they managed just four hits. On top of that they were also tasked with facing Cuban fire-baller Aroldis Chapman, a man who set the major league record when he fired a fastball 105.2 past Tony Gwynn Jr. at Petco Park in 2010. Yonder Alonso had what at the time the most important at-bats of the game, drawing a seven-pitch walk while laying of fastballs 100-102 mph. The Padres had the baserunner they needed with Pinch-hitter Chris Denorfia coming to bat.
Chapman fired a triple-digit fastball that Denorfia clobbered to straight center well over the center-field wall and off the foot of the batter’s eye to give the Padres a shocking 2-1 victory. Pandemonium broke out as Bro Hymn echoed through the Gaslamp as Petco Park momentarily replaced Disneyland as the happiest place on earth.
With two wins of three, the Padres continue to replicate the second half roll that made the end of 2012 so enjoyable. The Yankees come to Petco Park for the first time ever on Friday and the Padres will likely roll out newly acquired Ian Kennedy to face American Sports’ most decorated franchise. It should provide great theatre so be sure to tune in.