Murphy hopes Padres 'flush' offensive woes
SAN DIEGO -- While nearly all of the Padres were getting their first look at Mainers pitcher Mike Montgomery in Tuesday's 5-0 loss at Petco Park, the team's interim manager, Pat Murphy, already had a good idea of what to expect.
On April 18, while pitching for the Mariners' Triple-A affiliate in Tacoma, with Murphy managing the Padres' Triple-A affiliate, El Paso roughed up Montgomery for five runs in 2 2/3 innings.
"We saw this kid in Triple-A earlier in the season and, you know, he didn't fare as well," Murphy said. "He's doing a heck of a job in the big leagues, and I guess that's what it's all about, making adjustments."
Montgomery, using a mix of pitches that included a devastating changeup, a pitch that he was willing to throw in fastball counts, allowed one hit in picking up his second shutout in as many starts.
Montgomery, not exactly blessed with pinpoint command, didn't allow a hit until he tried to come inside on Yangervis Solarte with one out in the seventh inning. Solarte kept his hands in and lined a double into the left-field corner.
Montgomery walked four, hit a batter and struck out seven.
"It was the way he kept guys off-balance," Padres second baseman Jedd Gyorko said. "He had a good changeup. That was pretty evident when he got in a [tough] situation it was the pitch that he went to the most.
"When you command that and throw a fastball in and out, you're going to be all right."
Montgomery became the latest pitcher to handcuff the Padres, who were shut out for the 12th time this season.
"He threw some pitches on the edges. Kept the ball down, he kept attacking with any pitch," Murphy said. "I mean how many times did you see at least twice a 3-2 change? Hats off to the kid. He was great. We couldn't get a pattern on him."
Gyorko had one of those line drives. The Padres actually had two of them in the seventh inning, sandwiched around the Solarte double. Justin Upton lined out to left and then Gyorko drove a ball to deep left-center field that Austin Jackson tracked down.
"It was a little slider or cutter, whatever he cuts it. Good swing, the right approach, it just got in on me just enough," Gyorko said.
This was the second time this season the Padres have been held to one hit. They also had one hit in a loss to the Dodgers on May 23. That hit, oddly enough, was by Solarte and it came to start the game against pitcher Mike Bolsinger.
Murphy said that if the hitters are carrying the struggles from past games and past at-bats to the plate, that has to stop in order for the team to move forward.
"I think they are squeezing it a little too tight," Murphy said. "Instead of saying, 'Oh, that was a good at-bat' … all that frustration gets piled on. Sometimes you got to let go, you got to flush it, and it's not an easy process."