Welp. It’s hard enough to come back after a five-day hiatus due to coronavirus quarantine. It’s even harder to return straight into a series against the hottest team in baseball.
The breakout San Diego Padres showed off their skill in every area of the game, earning their 13th victory in their last 17 contests with a 7-0 shutout win Friday night over the Oakland A’s.
The A’s didn’t put up much of a fight in the opener of this three-game series, on either side of the ball.
At the plate Oakland collected only four hits and four walks and never actually reached third base, except briefly once when Matt Olson was thrown out at the plate trying to score from first on a double. He was initially called safe for what would have been the first run of the game, but the decision was overturned on replay review when his foot popped up before reaching its destination and then came back down after the tag had been applied. It was yet another close one going the opponent’s way on replay, but in this case I believe the call was at least correct (replay is still awful and inconsistent though).
Oly was called out on this play after replay review pic.twitter.com/v6GU9DLcAS— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) September 5, 2020
Olson walked three times overall, finding a way to get on base even while his consistent hard contact refuses to fall for hits, and Robbie Grossman knocked the double that nearly scored him. Otherwise, nobody did much at the plate except a stray single here or there, and a walk to start the game by interim leadoff hitter Ramon Laureano.
Really feels like Zach Davies just decided he wasn't going to get beat by Matt Olson tonight. pic.twitter.com/JKDx0QFZB4— AJ Cassavell (@AJCassavell) September 5, 2020
On the pitching side, Jesús Luzardo was cruising right up until he wasn’t. He retired the first eight batters he faced and 12 of the first 13, breezing through four scoreless innings on 51 pitches. Then he fell apart in the 5th, putting two on with two out and serving up two doubles and two singles to put four runs on the board. That was the end of his night, and the bullpen was called to go the rest of the way.
Luzardo: 4⅔ ip, 4 runs, 4 Ks, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 0 HR, 6 hits, 78 pitches (43 strikes)
There wasn’t that much hard contact against Luzardo, but there was enough to get him in trouble, and he didn’t miss quite as many bats as usual. Rookies aren’t always their best every single time out, and this was one of those sub-optimal nights for the lefty.
The pen wasn’t its sharpest either in what turned out to be mop-up duty, except for J.B. Wendelken, who was excellent. He got Luzardo out of his jam in the 5th, then pitched a scoreless 6th inning that required five outs. The right-hander had to work around the first two batters both reaching on errors, albeit one was by Wendelken himself. Matt Chapman helped make up for his teammates’ mistakes, though, with a customary defensive gem to strand the runners.
Just give Chappy the Platinum Glove now pic.twitter.com/yAQM7Z30Qx— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) September 5, 2020
However, the pen’s southpaw contingent made things worse. We got our first look at new acquisition Mike Minor, getting in some work before his expected start in Tuesday’s doubleheader, and the 2019 All-Star ... allowed homers to the first two batters he faced. They were Fernando Tatis Jr and Manny Machado, two of the best sluggers in the league, but still. Not the first impression anyone was hoping for. T.J. McFarland gave one up too in the 8th, marking Luis Campusano’s first MLB hit, which is decidedly the opposite of McFarland’s signature ground balls.
AND THEN THE A’S CAME BACK IN THE 9TH TO TAKE ... nah, not tonight, unfortunately. Just one of those ho-hum losses that happen from time to time, especially against great opponents.
Try again on Saturday, at 1:10 p.m. The A’s will start Sean Manaea, so if you liked seeing four brilliant shutout innings followed by a big Padres rally in the 5th then you might just be in luck again. San Diego will counter with Chris Paddack, who came here to do two things — strike out batters and give up dingers. We’ll see which side of Oakland’s personality at the plate shines through.