Over the last week, the Padres have flipped the script, winning six of their last seven and turning what was a 3-7 record into a 9-8 mark for the Spring.
Over that seven-game stretch, the Padres have outscored their opponents 48-26, scoring just shy of seven runs per game. On the pitching side, they have allowed 3.7 runs per game and are averaging 7.4 strikeouts per 9.0 innings pitched.
Paving the way for the pitching success has been the relief work of Brad Brach, Andrew Cashner, Alex Hinshaw, Miles Mikolas, Joe Thatcher and Dale Thayer. The six relievers have combined to allow just four earned runs over 25.2 innings of work, posting a cumulative 1.40 ERA. With Opening Day just over two weeks away, the battle for any open bullpen spots has reached a boiling point.
While the home squad was battling Yu Darvish and the media frenzy that accompanied him in Peoria, half of the Padres were in Goodyear to take on the Reds yesterday. Led by starter Cory Luebke, the Friars tossed a three-hit shutout, striking out 13 over the course of the afternoon.
Luebke paved the way, striking out four while allowing one hit and one walk over his 2.0 frames. Casey Kelly followed with 2.0 perfect innings and two strikeouts of his own. Relievers Andrew Cashner, Dale Thayer, Matt Palmer, Erik Hamren and Brad Brach shutout the Reds over the final 5.0 frames, striking out seven. Brach put on a show in the ninth, striking out the side to close out the game.
After yesterday’s games, the Padres have now struck out 39 in 43.0 innings of work, averaging 8.2 strikeouts per 9.0 innings pitched. San Diego’s relievers are averaging a strikeout per inning with 33 in their 33.0 innings this Spring.