Saturday, June 10, 2023

With one loss, the Padres beat Odori at home

WASHINGTON – The Padres have taken a lot of hits in the first 50 games of the season. None like the seventh inning on Friday, though. The Nationals hit seven straight for five runs, leaving their opponents stunned.

Two innings later, the Padres were very close to losing their sixth straight series and third in a row against a last-place team. It was five years before he suffered his worst loss in about 1,500 years. We’re only at the end of May, but could it be time to shake it up?

On a team filled with superstars with the biggest salary in franchise history, it’s Odor — who signed a minor league contract this spring — who has emerged as the Padres’ most loyalist of late. Of course, Odor had a two-out, three-run home run in the ninth inning, leading San Diego to a remarkable 8-6 victory at Nationals Park.

“Someone started to smell,” he said later. “This guy is me. Now let’s start.”

The Padres can only hope that this was a victory that will put the season in the right direction.

“Yeah, it wasn’t the best game,” said Jake Cronenworth, whose team started one of the wins. “But what we did in the ninth inning, to come back, put together a bunch of good bats, that’s what we have to hold on to.”

Cronenworth started the ninth with a wild eight inning against Nationals closer Harvey Hunter. He hit three consecutive doubles, one of which was such a defensive swing that the ball nearly hit Juan José Soto in the circle.

After one Cronenworth, Soto did the same. Soto drew a walk in each of his first four plate appearances, but when Harvey hung up on him with a split, Soto hit him with a right. Making his second trip to Washington since last summer’s trade, Soto finished the week on base in 11 of his 14 plate appearances, including seven walks. But do not be deceived by that patience.

“I myself say: ‘all the time aggressive,'” Soto is told. “I get walks. But at the end of the day, I walk because there are pitches. It’s not the walks I want. I want to hit.”

Soto’s single put men on first and second with no outs, but the Padres continued their recent trend — well, at this point, it’s not a trend anymore — of not producing with runners in scoring position. Xander Bogaerts and Matt Carpenter were hit, leaving the team with a .182 average with men in scoring position this season.

That’s the draw of Odori, who has gotten more playing time in the absence of Manny Machado. The left-handed pitcher sent a 99 mph fastball over the middle of the inside plate to the bullpen in right field. In the past 11 games, the Padres have had just three hits with runners in scoring position driving in more than one run. All three were responsible for Odor.

“It’s a winner,” Soto said.

“You feel good when he’s at bat now,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “He is not afraid of any situation.”

The Padres, of course, still have a lot of questions to answer. They have nothing better to do with people in circulation, ending Thursday’s game 16-3 in overtime. His bullpen, which had been dominant recently, collapsed in the seventh.

But it is better to deal with those issues later. Maybe 2023 likes that flattery.

“Teams do this well,” Soto said. “We keep fighting. Even when things go wrong, we have to go out there and fight.”

The Padres took a 5-1 lead into the seventh inning when things got out of hand. Between Tim Hill and Nick Martinez, they allowed seven consecutive hits to start the inning, though Martinez managed to stop the Nationals. The act ended when catcher Brett Sullivan jumped to make contact with Alex Call’s shoe after missing the ball on the ground. He still failed to run one.

Of course, lately, any shortfall seems huge for the Padres. San Diego hasn’t overcome a losing streak since May 5. In the eighth inning they walked Brandon Dixon, who led off the inning with a double. In the ninth there were two other runners who were like runners.

But Odor — who now has a .409/.480/.818 batting line since the day Machado was injured — hasn’t lost faith that things have changed. Homer took the loss Wednesday and later said it only took “one game” to turn it around.

It was confirmed the next day.

“Smell,” I say, it is. “A pretty carbureting game to start. We’ll see each other tomorrow.”

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
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