The San Diego Padres won 89 games in 2022. But they struggled throughout the season against the Colorado Rockies, who held a 10-9 edge.
The 2023 season started with more of the same as the Rockies defeated the Padres 7-2 Thursday night at Petco Park.
“It’s just one game of 162,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “But it was the home opener. You want to make a good first impression. You want to win the home opener. So, it’s disappointing.”
Rockies manager Bud Black also noted it was just one game. But it was a win against a team that the Rockies played tough.
“We played a lot of good baseball against the Padres,” Black said. “We like our ballclub. This was a great way to start.”
It could get greater for the Rockies. The season-opening series in San Diego is four games, continuing Friday night when left-hander Kyle Freeland starts against Padres right-hander Nick Martinez.
The timing couldn’t be better for the Rockies, who will face neither of the Padres’ two aces in the opening series. Joe Musgrove opened the season on the 15-day injured list with a fractured left big toe.
Yu Darvish, who saw limited action in the World Baseball Classic, pitched five innings in the Padres’ minor league camp Thursday, with an eye on lengthening out for an April 6 season debut.
Martinez, who figures to eventually be at the back end of the six-man rotation Melvin soon hopes to deploy, also saw limited duty with Team USA before he cut short his WBC involvement to prepare for a spot in the Padres’ rotation.
In 42 games (10 starts) with the Padres last season, Martinez was 4-4 with a 3.47 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP.
“He’s one of our hardest workers,” Melvin said. “He prepared before the WBC to get lengthened out. When he returned early from the WBC, he went to work to get himself in shape to start the season.”
Martinez, 32, had a 3.31 ERA in six appearances (two starts) against the Rockies last season. He gave up 22 hits and six walks in 16 1/3 innings.
Freeland, 29, was 9-11 with a 4.53 ERA in 31 starts for the Rockies last season. He pitched 174 2/3 innings.
Freeland is 6-6 with a 4.66 ERA in 20 appearances (18 starts) against the Padres. But he has always pitched better at Petco Park: a 3.42 ERA in 10 games (nine starts). He also has a 1.348 WHIP and a .260 opponent batting average.
Last season against the Padres, Freeland was 3-1 despite a 6.75 ERA in five starts lasting a total of 25 1/3 innings. The Padres hit .327 against Freeland, but he was 2-0 with a 2.09 ERA in two starts at Petco Park, where the Padres hit just .220 against Freeland.
“I’ve always liked pitching in San Diego,” Freeland said.
–Field Level Media