SAN DIEGO — Alas, the Padres are no longer unbeaten in pink and mint.
So the team rearranged its wardrobe, and Musgrove, who has blossomed into an ace since he first donned brown and gold, continued to look the part in City Connect colors. But the Padres — done in by some (extremely) rough batted-ball luck and a poor showing from their bullpen — let a strong effort from their ace go to waste in a 7-4 loss to the Twins at Petco Park.
Here’s a look at a trio of storylines from Saturday’s loss:
1) Hit ‘em where they ain’t?
In the annals of bad luck on a baseball diamond, it’d be hard to top what happened in the bottom of the seventh inning Saturday evening.
“He was our player of the game today,” Twins shortstop Carlos Correa joked. “Jerry, he got smoked, and he was hurting after.”
Profar, en route to first base anticipating celebrating a clutch base hit, leapt and shouted in frustration. Abrams, per rule 5.09(f), was forced to return to second base.
“It sucks,” Profar said. “That was our opportunity to tie the game right there. … If the game is 2-2 right there, it’s different.”
Abrams had no doubt it would’ve been.
“That’s a base hit, and I was going to score, for sure,” he said.
Of course, even with Abrams forced to return to second base, the Padres had two men aboard with one out. But Manny Machado struck out and Eric Hosmer popped out, ending the threat. Half an inning later, the Twins tacked on five runs, putting the game out of reach.
“We built momentum off of that, for sure,” Correa said. “It should have been a tie game, and all of a sudden we’ve got a lead … and we start going crazy.”
The version of Musgrove on Saturday night was not that pitcher. As the game progressed, he wasn’t nearly as sharp, and he didn’t quite locate his breaking pitches the way he usually does. Instead, Musgrove had to battle.
And can Musgrove ever battle. He grinded his way to six innings of two-run ball, striking out eight and escaping jams with regularity.
“They made him work a couple innings, and he had to work pretty hard,” said Padres manager Bob Melvin. “When he had to make a big pitch to get a strikeout, he did, against some tough guys.”
The Padres would love to get “no-no Joe” every time out, but they know that’s an unrealistic ask. The fact Musgrove can consistently turn in starts like this one when he doesn’t have his elite stuff — well, that’s the reason they’re so comfortable paying him accordingly.
3) A rough showcase for Morejon
Expect the Padres to be among the most aggressive teams before Tuesday’s Trade Deadline. Rightly so. They’ve built a roster with some championship-caliber pieces, but also have some major flaws and a few intriguing trade chips.
One of those chips is Adrian Morejon. Expect to hear the 23-year-old left-hander’s name mentioned often in the coming days — though, if the Padres’ trade partners were watching on Saturday night, they might not have liked what they saw.
Morejon endured his roughest outing since he returned from Tommy John surgery last month. He entered with the Padres trailing by a run in the eighth inning and exited having allowed four runs — including two on a Correa moonshot — while recording just one out.
“His breaking stuff, in the games that he’s pitched well, has been a little bit better,” Melvin said. “Today, not as much. But it was six days off, so that can have an effect, too. He’s a young kid who’s still kind of finding his feet here, but [he] has great stuff and is going to be a heck of a pitcher.”
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