Padres’ latest loss to Dodgers not perfect but Max Scherzer comes close; Blake Snell injured
LOS ANGELES — Injury. Insult.
The Padres lost their hottest pitcher to an adductor injury in the first inning Sunday at Dodger Stadium, and Eric Hosmer became Max Scherzer’s 3,000th career strikeout in the fifth inning.
But Hosmer also broke up a perfect game with one out in the eighth inning to prevent the Padres from becoming a further footnote in history in a season that may soon be history for them.
As it was, the 8-0 loss to the Dodgers, which completed a three-game sweep, was cruelty being rubbed into embarrassment. (Box score.)
Should the Padres continue to devolve and miss the postseason, many in the organization will look back at their failure to add a starting pitcher at the trade deadline as being among the chief factors. Specifically, the disappointment of not getting Scherzer being compounded by his going to their chief rival.
The Padres were awaiting further word from the Washington Nationals on July 29 when a report surfaced the teams had reached a deal for Scherzer to go to San Diego. Padres players were ecstatic, but they soon found out it wasn’t true. And they later found out Scherzer and shortstop Trea Turner were headed to L.A. The Padres never got a chance to match any offer.
The Dodgers have won all eight of his starts with them, as Scherzer has gone 6-0 with a 0.88 ERA. Further, the Dodgers are 29-12 since July 29.
The Padres are 14-23.
Still, they remain tied for the National League’s second wild-card spot, as the Cincinnati Reds lost again Sunday as well. The St. Louis Cardinals, who the Padres visit for three games beginning Friday, are now a game behind.
The injury portion of the afternoon will be the most lasting for the Padres.
Blake Snell retired the first two Dodgers he faced and had a 1-1 count against Trea Turner when he pulled up practically in the middle of delivering his 11th pitch and immediately limped off the mound. After briefly squatting in foul territory, he continued his walk to the dugout and down the steps toward the clubhouse.
Snell had allowed a total of four hits over his previous three starts and had posted a 1.85 ERA in his previous seven starts.
If this season had gone how expected, the injury would have meant the Padres were wondering how they would line up their rotation for the postseason.
But the Padres’ poor performance the past 2½ months has left them desperately needing victories just to make it to the playoffs.
So what Snell being hurt does now is leave them a pitcher short in St. Louis and, after that, in the season’s final two weeks.
Scherzer fell five outs short of becoming the 24th pitcher to throw a perfect game — and the second pitcher in 24 games to hold the Padres hitless. He was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the eighth.
But he did become the 19th pitcher to ever record 3,000th strikeouts.
After a quick lead-up, Scherzer’s 3,000th was delayed a bit.
He took nine pitches to strike out the side in the second inning, just the 105th immaculate inning in major league history. Just 95 pitchers have accomplished the feat. This was Scherzer’s third.
He began the fourth inning by striking out Wil Myers to reach 2,999 before Austin Nola grounded out on the first pitch he saw to bring up Nabil Crismatt. In his 10th career plate appearance, Crismatt watched two pitches outside the zone before sending a soft grounder back to Scherzer for the third out of the third inning.
Two of the three batters in the third reached two strikes, brining a relatively sparse crowd to its feet both times. But all three batters in the inning put the ball in play, as did Fernando Tatis Jr., with a fly out to the warning track to bring up Hosmer.
Hosmer fell behind 0-2 before the count went full. Scherzer then sent a change-up to the bottom of the zone that Hosmer swung over.
As the historic ball was thrown around the infield and the crowd roared, Scherzer eventually quickly doffed his cap and then went back to work. With the same ball, he retired Tommy Pham on a fly ball to right field.