It took three games for one of San Diego’s starting pitchers to allow a hit.
That’s a promising sign for one of baseball’s most disappointing teams of 2021.
The Padres began the season by taking three of four at Arizona. Yu Darvish threw six no-hit innings in Thursday night’s opener, then newly acquired left-hander Sean Manaea went seven the following game. San Diego became the first team in the modern era to have a starting pitcher give up no hits through at least six innings in back-to-back games, according to STATS.
If not for a bullpen collapse in the opener after Darvish’s outing, the Padres would have swept the series.
With stars like Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. in the fold last season, San Diego was expected to challenge the powerful Dodgers in the NL West. Instead, the Padres went 79-83 with Tatis playing only 130 games.
They’re without the star shortstop again at the start of this season, thanks to a left wrist injury, but the Padres have a new manager in Bob Melvin and plenty of talent. They also opened against an Arizona team that lost 110 games last year.
San Diego took advantage of that. This week, the Padres face San Francisco, the defending NL West champion, and Atlanta, the defending World Series champs.
IT’S A HIT
Patience with hit batters is already wearing thin. Benches cleared in Washington on Friday night after New York Mets star Francisco Lindor was hit in the face by a pitch from Steve Cishek. The previous night, James McCann of the Mets was hit twice, and Pete Alonso left with a bloody lip after he was hit by a pitch.
Five batters were hit Saturday when the Chicago Cubs beat Milwaukee 9-0. Players from both bullpens ran onto the field after Andrew McCutchen of the Brewers was hit by a pitch.
Both those games involved division rivals, so they’ll see each other again before too long. The Mets are back in Washington from May 10-12, and the Cubs play at Milwaukee from April 29-May 1.
The Padres have had four pitchers win the Cy Young Award. Name them.
LINE OF THE WEEK
With the major leagues playing an abbreviated first week, we’ll look overseas for this honor – to Japan’s Pacific League.
Roki Sasaki pitched a perfect game with 19 strikeouts for the Chiba Lotte Marines against the Orix Buffaloes. The Marines won 6-0 on Sunday.
The 20-year-old struck out 13 consecutive batters during one stretch. It was the first perfect game in the Japanese major leagues since 1994.
COMEBACK OF THE WEEK
It didn’t take long for the Toronto Blue Jays to show off their fearsome offense. They fell behind 7-0 in the fourth inning before slugging their way back to a 10-8 win in their season opener against Texas on Friday night.
The last team to win its first game after trailing by at least seven runs was the New York Yankees in 1950, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Yankees beat Boston 15-10 after trailing 9-0.
The Blue Jays had a win probability of just 2.5% in the fourth inning against Texas, according to Statcast.
The Rangers did return the favor Sunday with a big comeback of their own, beating Toronto 12-6 after trailing 6-1 at the start of the fourth.
Jake Peavy in 2007, Mark Davis in 1989, Gaylord Perry in 1978 and Randy Jones in 1976.
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