The Padres defeated the Dodgers at Petco Park on Saturday, triggering a celebration in San Diego. This was the obstacle they had been trying to overcome for the past decade.
Their reward for beating L.A., however, was a date with Philadelphia at the National League Championship Series — an extremely dangerous proposition. Like the Padres and the Phillies, the Phillies entered the NLCS hot, having defeated a rival team and having established their rotation.
The Padres couldn’t overcome Zack Wheeler in Game 1 of the NLCS, Tuesday night at Petco Park. It was a disappointing 2-0 loss. The Padres suddenly find themselves in the same place they were during the season: fighting for their playoff lives.
Second baseman Jake Cronenworth said, “It’s all about the mentality coming in the next day.” It’s a game that we must win. It’s not something you want to do in a series. But I can assure you that everyone in this clubhouse will be up for tomorrow.”
The Padres had a difficult time getting into the postseason. They were able to secure a spot on the last Sunday of the season. They won the Wild Card Series against New York Mets. They lost the opener against the Dodgers and then won three consecutive.
The Padres have had to struggle this year. They will have to win this series against the Phillies if they want to be able to defeat them in the third World Series.
Manny Machado, third baseman for the Padres, said that Wheeler “went out there and threw an hell of a match.” “We couldn’t string any runners together, and left a few guys on base. He was throwing strikes. He was attacking the zone. He was attacking the zone. We both hit the ball but couldn’t find the gap.”
The Padres were unable to score a hit in seven innings due to the hard-throwing Phillies righthander. Wil Myers’ fifth-inning hit was the only one the Padres had — although they did have a chance against Jose Alvarado in the bottom ninth.
Jurickson Profar walked for a single out, and Phillies third baseman Alec Bohm was thrown errantly to second on Juan Soto’s grounder. Machado came to the plate to score the winning run. Petco Park was quiet for the majority of the game, but it woke up and unleashed 8 1/2 innings worth of stored energy. Machado was successful and Josh Bell scored.
Manager Bob Melvin of the Padres said, “We built a little bit there in the ninth.” We always feel great when we have a chance of winning in the ninth inning. Didn’t happen. It can leave a bad taste in the mouth so you want it to go away as soon as possible.
Melvin stated, “You would like to win the first one.” Melvin said, “If it doesn’t happen, you definitely feel a little more important on the second one. We must get out there and swing the bats better. It’s not difficult — they guy tomorrow is also pretty good. We need to do better at-bats.
Yu Darvish was not given much chance by the San Diego offense. Darvish was mostly sharp in seven innings of two-run baseball. He did surrender two Phillies home runs, first with a Bryce Harper opposing-field hit that landed in row 1. A Kyle Schwarber moonshot landed in the first row…of the second deck in right-field. Statcast at Petco Park recorded the longest home run.
Darvish stated, “The Harper homerun, I don’t think that was an error.” It was a ball out. He was able take the bat to it. Schwarber’s home run is on me. It was my error. I was aware he was waiting for something offspeed and the ball went in the middle.
After that, Darvish held the Phillies’ offense in check. His seven innings will go a long ways in preserving the bullpen for Game 2 on Wednesday.
The history of the best-of-7 postseason series has shown that teams with a 1-0 lead have won 119 of 185 games (64%). Teams that lose Game 1 at home in any series using the current 2-3-2 format have won just 30% of the 68 series (44%).
After losing on the road to the Dodgers, it’s not as difficult as the Padres had expected. A longer series allows for more flexibility, and Blake Snell, the Game 2 starter has been great over the past three month. It doesn’t get much easier for the Padres offense with Nola at the plate. It’s also quick to turn the tide.
Melvin was reminded of this fact after the game. “Let’s get outside as soon as possible.”