SAN DIEGO -- The roller-coaster ride of a rookie pitcher was on display in the Padres' 7-2 loss to the Marlins in Monday's matinee at Petco Park.San Diego's Eric Lauer (1-3) managed to record but seven outs. The start tied for the shortest of the young left-hander's career and came
SAN DIEGO -- The roller-coaster ride of a rookie pitcher was on display in the Padres' 7-2 loss to the Marlins in Monday's matinee at Petco Park.
San Diego's Eric Lauer (1-3) managed to record but seven outs. The start tied for the shortest of the young left-hander's career and came after one of his best showings, a one-run, six-inning stifling of the Nationals.
But when Lauer went to Washington, his curveball was sharp and his fastball command was keen. Neither pitch accompanied him against Miami, as it touched him for five runs on seven hits. Lauer struck out three and walked two, as his ERA ballooned to 7.67.
"They are all learning experiences, but it's just kind of one of those things you don't want to continue to happen," Lauer said. "I'm going to do whatever I can to make sure it doesn't happen again. I just feel like it is happening too often, and I don't want it to keep happening."
Lauer's wobbly performance had manager Andy Green scratching his head. Like others in the Padres' dugout, Green was expecting Lauer to build on his last outing instead of going in the opposite direction.
"He's come out sometimes and his stuff has looked really good," Green said. "Against Washington, his fastball was at 93 [mph], it had life and he was beating guys."
But that wasn't the case in the opener of this three-game series. The Marlins sensed that Lauer didn't have a putaway pitch and hit him accordingly.
"We knew that from the first batter of the game," Green said. "He executed his pitches, but he just didn't have the same life to them. They were able to foul them off.
"The upside is he has shown flashes where you say he's going to be good in the big leagues for a long time. Then he has bouts of inconsistencies."
Maybe it was because Lauer didn't have a firm front leg to stand on. Among his issues was landing with a bent right knee, something he couldn't correct during his brief afternoon of work.
"When you are too soft, I'm landing on my toe instead of my heel and sliding toward the plate," Lauer said. "You want to be landing it so you are sticking it and getting over my front side. That gives you the velocity and sharpness to your pitches.''
The Padres dug a 4-0 hole in the first frame. Lauer got rocked from the get-go, despite getting leadoff batter Miguel Rojas on strikes in an 11-pitch at-bat.
After Rojas' strikeout, five straight Marlins recorded hits. Yadiel Rivera's two-run single narrowly missed Lauer, with RBI singles added by Starlin Castro and Cameron Maybin.
In the third, Lauer allowed two hits, including his third double, and a walk to put the Padres behind 5-1. Nine of the 15 batters Lauer faced in his seventh career start reached base.
Franmil Reyes, who could be fighting for at-bats with Hunter Renfroe's return, pulled the Padres to within 4-1 on his second career homer in the second inning. Reyes redirected Caleb Smith's fastball over the left-center-field fence, ending the lefty's streak of 31 straight innings without surrendering a long fly.
"It feels great,'' Reyes said after his first home at Petco Park. "I was looking at the pitcher before the game and I knew that he threw a lot of fastballs. And he threw me one.''
It made for some nice window dressing, but Lauer needs to close the door on his uneven performances. He'll get the chance, as Green said Lauer's spot in the rotation is secure.
"In the Minors, there wasn't a whole lot to worry about,'' Lauer said. "You are just trying to get to the next level, and here, you are trying to stay. They say it is harder to get here than it is to stay here. Hopefully, I can calm myself down."
ERLIN HOLDS COURT
Although Lauer struggled, southpaw Robbie Erlin deserves praise for his relief work to eat up innings, especially with the Padres coming off a bullpen game in Sunday's loss to the Dodgers.
Erlin immediately silenced the Marlins with an inning-ending double play and went on to pitch a career-high 5 2/3 scoreless frames, becoming the first Padres reliever since Josh Banks in 2008 to go that long in relief and not allow a run.
"Robbie was really, really good," Green said. "If he can't take down 5 2/3 innings, we are going to have a lot of people hurting."
San Diego, which lost for the fifth time in seven games, added a run in the ninth on Renfroe's RBI infield single. He went 1-for-4 from the cleanup spot in his return from the disabled list. More >
MEMORIAL DAY MEMORY
When Jerry Coleman, the Padres' broadcaster and former Yankees second baseman, was alive, the media often did Memorial Day stories on him regarding his military service. Coleman, a Marine Corps pilot, was the only player in the Majors to see active duty in World War II and Korea. But Coleman always wanted Memorial Day to be about Max Harper, his best friend who didn't return after being shot down over Korea.
HE SAID IT
"It wasn't a good baseball game, no doubt.'' -- Green, on the Padres' subpar showing in a sloppy loss to begin a 10-game homestand
Tyson Ross notched his club-high seventh quality start against the Nationals his last time out, allowing one run on five hits with nine strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings. He has thrown at least 100 pitches in a career-high five straight starts. The Marlins will counter with Dan Straily. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. PT on Tuesday.
Jay Paris is a contributor to MLB.com based in San Diego.