Takeaways from the Padres’ 7-2 loss to the Marlins

SAN DIEGO– The Marlins jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning and did not look back, defeating the Padres 7-2 in front of 27,932 at Petco Park.

Miami improved to 20-33 while San Diego fell to 22-33.

Rookie struggles 

Coming off his best start of the year in which he threw six innings of one-run ball in D.C., Padres rookie Eric Lauer entered Monday afternoon looking to keep the good vibes going against the last-place Miami Marlins. It seemed like a good time to continue his success, given the Marlins entered play with the worst offense in baseball.

Instead, the southpaw took a step back.

Lauer lasted only 2 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits and five runs, all earned. He struck out three and walked one, throwing only 39 of his 63 pitches for strikes. Of those 63 pitches, Lauer induced only three swinging strikes He was rudely greeted almost immediately by the Marlins, who scored four runs on five consecutive hits with one out in the top of the first. Following an 11-pitch battle that ended in a strikeout of leadoff man Miguel Rojas, the Fish went double-single-double-single-single to plate the game’s first four runs.

Starlin CastroCameron Maybin, and Yadiel Rivera all recorded run-scoring hits.

Following a scoreless second, Lauer found himself in trouble again in the third. With one out, Cameron Maybin drove in Starlin Castro (who had doubled to lead off the inning) with an RBI single. He walked the next batter on four pitches, which ended his day.

“Today, from the first batter of the game, he executed some pitches. But he just didn’t have the same life to it (his pitches,” manager Andy Green said after the game. “They were able to foul off those pitches off and battle.”

“Today, he continued, the finish to the pitches was not there.”

It was the third time in seven starts that Lauer failed to throw more than three complete innings. His ERA on the season now sits at 7.67.

Smith holds Friars in check

Staked to a 4-0 lead before he even took the mound, Marlins rookie Caleb Smith found himself in somewhat new territory. His 2.74 runs of support entering play was the second-lowest mark among all National League starters. Smith ran with the run support and stifled Padres bats, allowing one run in seven-plus innings of work while earning his fourth win of the season.

Although the southpaw only struck out four, he kept the Padres off balance for the entirety of the afternoon. The Padres had more infield pop-outs (6) than hits (4). It was the first time in Smith’s career that he pitched into the eighth inning.

The Padres whiffed nine times throughout Smith’s 103 pitches. Entering play, the Marlins rookie had the eighth-best swing/miss percentage in the National League.

Erlin saves the bullpen

With Sunday’s game against the Dodgers having been a bullpen day, manager Andy Green’s options in the bullpen entering play were slim. Things looked even more dire when Lauer could only manage to throw 2 1/3 innings.

In stepped Robbie Erlin.

Erlin, who allowed six earned runs in four innings during a spot-start in D.C., was able to fire 5 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. He allowed four hits and struck out two batters, throwing 43 of his 64 pitches for strikes.

“Robbie was great today,” Green reflected. “He gave us a good opportunity to get back in the game. He was outstanding.”

It has been no mistake that the lefty has been much more effective out of the bullpen than in a starting role. Monday’s performance just reaffirmed that belief, as Erlin became the first Padres pitcher since 2008 to go 5 2/3 innings or more in relief without allowing a run.

Pop up problems

The Padres botched two pop ups on Monday, continuing what has been a troubling trend in 2018.

In the first, leadoff hitter Miguel Rojas hit a pop up into foul territory on the first-base side. Eric Hosmer was battling the sun immediately after contact was made, and the sun won. The ball landed in foul territory without an out recorded.

Then, in the top of the seventh, a high pop up off the bat of Miguel Rojas landed in between second baseman Jose Pirela and right fielder Franmil Reyes for a base hit. There seemed to be a miscommunication between the two, with Pirela trying to give way to Reyes at the last second. According to MLB.com’s Statcast, the ball off the bat had a 3% hit probability. Bottom line: it was a ball that absolutely should have been caught.

San Diego has certainly had their issues in terms of catching pop ups and fly balls this season, starting with the debacle in Houston and continuing on.

Another former Padre finds success

Left fielder Cameron Maybin, who played for the Padres from 2011 to 2014, went 3-4 with 2 RBI, a run scored, and a stolen base.

Franmil provides all the offense

The only offense of the day for the Padres came off the bat of Franmil Reyes in the bottom of the second. Reyes deposited a first-pitch fastball 389 feet into the left-field bleachers for his second home run of the season.

Both of his home runs to this point have come against left-handed pitching.