It was quite simple for Joe Musgrove.
The only Padres pitcher to pitch a full game in the past five seasons saw one pitched against his team last night. And in a quiet, largely deserted clubhouse, Musgrove didn’t slow down by offering this assessment on his way to the showers:
“There’s not much you can do about it. This guy was mean.
Indeed, Carlos Rodón was that.
The Giants southpaw struck out 12 and allowed one run on three hits (all in the second inning). You can read about the futility of the Padres, the eclipsed excellence of Yu Darvish and what Luis Garcia had to say about his fifth loss of the season in my game history (here).
Here’s something else about Rodon’s quality:
You know who that Lincecum no-hitter was up against, right? Hint: This happened at Petco Park.
Of the Padres’ 27 misses last night, 20 came on fastballs. The Padres swung on just one of the first eight fastballs without two strikes that Rodón threw to the top of the strike zone or over the box. They swung on nine of 20 such pitches to end the game.
“He’s throwing high in the zone,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “He gets strikeouts. Going in, you really try to throw the ball up the area because it’s high speed and it’s hard to control. So the plan was that. Our approach was a bit better at the start of the game and then as it progressed we started to get up high and try to get that pitch.
The Padres are batting 14 fewer runs and have 22 lower OPS after the sixth inning compared to their .244 and .695 in the first six innings of games.
At least last night it was easier to understand when they had a walk in their last 23 plate appearances.
Who knows what would have happened if Ha-Seong Kim hadn’t been grounded in a late-inning double play with the bases loaded in the second inning. But he did, and Rodón never looked back. He had thrown eight of his 23 fastballs at 97 mph or more up to that point. Of the 55 he threw the rest of the game, 39 were over 97.
If you missed it, take it at Musgrove’s word.
MacKenzie Gore starts again today, and it’s probably time to stop worrying about the rookie’s fastball speed.
It is what it is at this point, and that is fine.
He’s 23 and entered spring training consistently hitting 98 and occasionally hitting 99. He continued to do so in his first nine games (eight starts) of the season. He hasn’t thrown a pitcher over 96 mph in his last four starts, and his average fastball speed has gone from 95.3 mph in his first nine games to 93.6 mph in the last four. .
His 94.8 mph average for the season still ranks sixth among all left-handed major league starters. The Padres think it could go up to 96 or 97 mph next year or even in later seasons. His body will fill up. His arms and legs will become stronger. He will learn how he is most effective.
For now, his 93-95 mph fastball still gets results when placed correctly. Leadership is far more important to him. And how the Padres measure his recovery and sustained strength will play the biggest role in how the team gauges when to modify Gore’s workload. (He’s already pitched 14 2/3 more innings than he did in the minor leagues last season.)
Over his past two starts, Gore has varied his pitch mix. He used his slider a lot more and with more effect. His curveball got seven outs and no one got a hit out of bounds.
Other than two days last September in which he had flu-like symptoms and was placed on the injured reserve as a precaution, the Padres bullpen is without Craig Stammen for the first time since joining the club. team at the start of the 2017 season.
Stammen, whose 327 appearances since 2017 are tied for seventh in the majors, was placed on the IL yesterday with an inflamed right shoulder. Read about it, along with Dinelson Lamet’s return to the big leagues and an update from Fernando Tatis Jr., in Jeff Sanders’ notebook (here).
Stammen’s absence makes Tim Hill, at least temporarily, the Padres’ oldest reliever.
- Melvin kept right fielder Nomar Mazara in games he started hitting against left-handed relievers, but rookie Jose Azocar continues to start against left-handers. Although Mazara’s career splits seem to make it an obvious move, a byproduct of Mazara’s revamped swing and approach seems to be that he can more consistently hit pitches coming at him from the left side. He’s 5-for-10 against lefties this season. Azocar was 0 for 3 yesterday and has three hits in his last 25 at bats.
- Trent Grisham had one of three singles against Rodon and is 4-for-10 the past three games. He’s batting .238/.323/.420 in 44 games since May 23 and raised his season average to .194, the highest since Day 3 of the season.
- Yesterday was the 16th of the Padrese sold-out season, surpassing last year’s total. They are eight sold-out houses from tying the franchise record of 24 set in 2004 (Petco Park’s inaugural season). Their total attendance of 1,547,271 over 42 games brought them to almost 3 million. The record, set in 2004, is 3,016,752. Their average of 26,840 in 2022 is the fourth-highest in the majors this season behind the Dodgers, Cardinals and Braves.
- With his seven innings yesterday, Darvish has pitched 101 1/3 innings this season. The eight National League pitchers who pitched more innings started one more game. Darvish ranks third with an average of 6 1/3 innings per start.
- Darvish hit his ninth batter yesterday, tied for third in the majors.
- It’s been a tough few weeks for the two relievers the Padres expect to protect (or keep games tied) in the final two innings. Since June 28, Luis Garcia and Taylor Rogers have combined for a 9.00 ERA and a 1.88 WHIP and have given their opponents a .359 batting average.
Alright, that’s it for me. Game day today.
Speak to you tomorrow.