The San Diego Padres have a lesson to learn.
It takes more than battling the powerhouse Los Angeles Dodgers to reach the playoffs in the National League West.
After losing two of three emotionally charged games to the Dodgers in San Diego from April 16-18, the Padres were swept by the Milwaukee Brewers in a three-game series at Petco Park. On Tuesday night in Arizona, the Padres appeared flat as they dropped a 5-1 decision — after winning three of four against Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium.
Plus, Tuesday’s win was the Diamondbacks’ third straight and seventh in their last eight games. Arizona is now above .500 for the first time this season.
“I thought we were refreshed,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said after the loss. “We went out there and made a couple miscues and we’re not swinging the bats that well right now to overcome mistakes. We’ve got to get going.”
On the flip side, Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said, “I like the way we’re playing. (Merrill) Kelly extended our run of solid starts.”
Kelly allowed four hits and one run in six innings after Arizona starters Zac Gallen and Madison Bumgarner held Atlanta to one hit with back-to-back, seven-inning shutout wins Sunday.
The Padres will send rookie left-hander Ryan Weathers to the mound Wednesday night seeking a split in the two-game series. He will be opposed by right-hander Taylor Widener, who on April 4 shut out the Padres over six innings to score his first career win while helping the Diamondbacks to their first win of the season.
The 21-year-old Weathers is 1-0 with an 0.59 ERA and .083 opponents’ batting average after five appearances (two starts). He has pitched 15 1/3 innings, allowing one run on four hits and five walks with 16 strikeouts. After making his MLB debut in the playoffs last season, Weathers started the season in the bullpen and picked up a three-inning save against the Diamondbacks on April 3 — allowing a hit and no walks with three strikeouts.
Both his previous starts came against the Dodgers. He shut out L.A. on two hits and three walks with nine strikeouts over a total of 9 1/3 innings in the two outings. Weathers was pressed into the rotation due to injuries to Adrian Morejon and Dinelson Lamet.
Meanwhile, the 26-year-old Widener (1-0, 2.82 ERA) edged out Taylor Clarke for the final spot in the Diamondbacks’ rotation right at the end of spring training. Wednesday will be his fifth start. In his first start in San Diego, he held the Padres to three hits and three walks with five strikeouts.
Widener made three relief appearances against the Padres last year, giving up five runs on three hits and six walks with eight strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. His career ERA against San Diego is 3.97 ERA.
Widener has pitched shutout ball in two of his four starts this year. Overall, he has allowed eight runs (seven earned) on 19 hits and six walks with 18 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings.
–Field Level Media