Before Friday night’s game, San Diego Padres manager Bob Melvin said he “didn’t know where” the team would be without closer Taylor Rogers, who has an ERA of 0.00, a WHIP of 0.43 and 11 saves.
Later Friday, Melvin got a warning as rookie Steve Wilson fought out of a jam to get his first save in the majors as the Padres defeated the reeling Miami Marlins for a second straight night.
After working three of the previous four games, and six of the last 10, Rogers wasn’t available Friday. Neither was set-up reliever Luis Garcia.
“We’re trying to spread it around and not wear these guys out,” Melvin said after game 27 of 162. “Other guys are going to have to contribute.”
Saturday evening, the Padres will go for a third straight win while the Marlins will seek to end a six-game losing streak — with each of the last five losses by one run.
“We’re close — one key hits turns these games around,” said Marlins manager Don Mattingly, whose Marlins had the tying run on second and the potential winning run on first with no outs in the ninth Friday, only to have the game end on three consecutive fly balls.
Saturday’s pitching matchup has right-hander Pablo Lopez (3-1, 1.29 ERA) starting for the Marlins against Padres left-hander Sean Manaea (2-2, 3.60).
Pitching hasn’t been the problem for the Marlins in the first two games of the series. San Diego has won both games at home despite scoring only five runs on 10 hits over 16 innings. The problem is the Miami offense, which has three runs on 10 hits.
“Both teams have had great pitching in the first two games,” Mattingly said. “Both teams have scuffled for offense.”
Having won the series opener on a pair of Manny Machado homers, Melvin basically turned the Padres’ batting order inside out Friday.
He put the only four contributing bats — Jake Cronenworth, Ha-Seong Kim and the red-hot duo of Machado and Eric Hosmer — at the top of the order while no one from fifth down was hitting higher than .197.
“We’re getting a lot of wins without a lot of production,” said Melvin. “We’re getting good-pitched games and strong defense.”
In the first two games of the series, the Padres saw starters (Nick Martinez and Yu Darvish) go seven innings in back-to-back games for the first time this season.
Now it’s up to Manaea, who has given up 10 runs (nine earned) over 11 innings in his last two starts after posting a 1.42 ERA in his first three outings as a Padre.
Saturday will be Manaea’s first career start against the Marlins, and Lopez’s first career start against the Padres.
A 6-foot-4, 225-pound Venezuelan, the 26-year-old Lopez already is in his fifth season in the majors with the Marlins. He had a 3.07 ERA and 1.120 WHIP in 20 starts in 2021. And in his first five starts this season, Lopez has given up five runs (four earned) on 19 hits and six walks with 30 strikeouts in 28 innings.
“He does a great job with early strikes to get ahead in the counts and changing speeds,” Mattingly said of Lopez.
–Field Level Media