Let’s all take a moment of silence for the Padres postseason hopes officially ending over the weekend.
With all the hype around the Padres challenging the Dodgers and making the postseason, the 2021 season is one of immense disappointment for San Diego. The Friars arrive at Dodger Stadium Tuesday after having been officially eliminated from postseason play by the Braves Saturday.
San Diego enters Tuesday with only 11 wins in their last 40 games dating back to August 11 and have only won six games in September when they desperately needed wins to stay afloat in the race for a wild card spot. Even taking out the fact that the Cardinals have won 16 straight games at this point to steamroll all other wild card contenders, the Reds and Phillies both passed San Diego along the way.
The Padres had been plagued by inconsistency and durability issues all year and it finally took its toll late in the season. Aside from the dugout fight last week when they were getting swept by the Cardinals (who just don’t lose these days), there have been those questions that hang over a team that doesn’t play to their perceived potential. Questions about trust and the capability of the manager have come up. But that is to be expected when a team doesn’t win like they feel they should.
Pitching coach Larry Rothschild was let go earlier this season when manager Jayce Tingler was quoted as saying the team wanted “a different message, a different voice,” with 36 games to go. The message wasn’t received and the pitching staff has an ERA north of 5.00 since Rothschild was let go.
It’s almost as if results really fall on players to execute. It also doesn’t help when the team tries to patch the holes in their sinking ship with guys like Jake Arrieta (16 runs in four starts) and Vince Velasquez (nine runs in eight innings over three starts).
The team made another change last week by firing Sam Geaney, Padres’ farm director since 2014.
As the Dodgers continue to look up at the Giants in the standings, the Padres can have an impact on both teams as they finish with three in Los Angeles and three up north in San Francisco. The Dodgers will focus on winning every remaining game on the schedule and hope that the Diamondbacks and Padres give them some help.
The current 12-3 run for the Dodgers started with a three-game sweep of the Padres at Dodger Stadium. The seasonal series is technically still up for grabs with the Dodgers holding a 9-7 advantage.
With six games left, all the Dodgers can control is winning and setting themselves up for success in the postseason.
Tuesday, 7:10 p.m. PT (SportsNetLA, ESPN)
Walker Buehler will look to get rid of the taste in his mouth from his last start. The right-hander struggled Wednesday in Denver, allowing five runs on seven hits while failing to get out of the fourth inning. It was the second time in September that Buehler had allowed at least five runs.
Yu Darvish will be on the mound for San Diego looking to finish his season strong. A perfect example of what’s been ailing the Padres, Darvish has allowed at least four runs in nine of his last 13 starts. The 35-year-old has seen his ERA balloon from 2.44 at the end of June to 4.21 currently.
Wednesday, 7:10 p.m. PT (SportsNetLA, ESPN)
Much like Buehler, Max Scherzer will shake the Coors Field off in his final start of the season after giving up five runs in five innings Thursday. The right-hander will be ready to start either the wild card game or a Game 163 if the Dodgers and Giants end in a tie.
With so many variables for the Padres, the pitcher who starts opposite of Scherzer has yet to be announced. Reiss Knehr is a possibility after starting Friday, going four innings in a Padre loss.
Thursday, 7:10 p.m. PT (SportsNetLA, MLB Network)
Tony Gonsolin will make his final start of the year altogether on Thursday, his first against the Padres. Despite not giving much length, the right-hander has thrown some quality innings for the back of the Dodger rotation. With a solid outing, Gonsolin can end his big league ERA at sub-3.00 for the third consecutive year.
While it has yet to be announced who will start for San Diego, Velasquez started Saturday and could line up to toe the rubber. The right-hander was released by the Phillies September 12 after posting a 5.95 ERA in 21 games (17 starts). Velasquez has allowed nine runs (eight earned) in eight innings over three starts since joining San Diego September 17.