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Rookie Wingenter showing promise early

August 26, 2018

LOS ANGELES -- Before the lights went out at Dodger Stadium on Saturday night, Padres right-hander Trey Wingenter showed that the future looks bright not only for himself, but also for a bullpen that has held strong in the wake of Trade Deadline departures.Wingenter was called on in the eighth

LOS ANGELES -- Before the lights went out at Dodger Stadium on Saturday night, Padres right-hander Trey Wingenter showed that the future looks bright not only for himself, but also for a bullpen that has held strong in the wake of Trade Deadline departures.
Wingenter was called on in the eighth inning right after the Padres closed to within a run against the Dodgers and immediately, he was in a mess of trouble. Back-to-back Dodgers hits put runners on second and third, and some insurance runs were there for the taking.
But Wingenter rallied back, just like the Padres' offense had done all night, when he struck out Yasmani Grandal on a 97 mph fastball and did the same to Chris Taylor on an 87 mph slider. He then ended the threat by getting Yasiel Puig on a fly ball to center field.
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It was just the eighth career outing for the big 6-foot-7 200-pounder, but it was filled with poise and composure in front of a packed house at Dodger Stadium on a night when Clayton Kershaw was pitching for the home team.
"Seeing that, getting out of that jam, you get the sense that no matter what the situation is -- bases loaded, no outs; second and third, no outs -- you can get out of it, you have done it before and you can do it again at any time," Wingenter said. "That's the confidence you bring every pitch no matter if anybody is on or with the bases loaded."
The Padres' bullpen gave up just two runs over the final seven innings to a Dodgers team intent on getting back into first place. And the second of those three runs only came after hard-throwing Robert Stock was forced to wait out a 20-minute power outage delay.
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In addition to Wingetner, Padres rookie left-hander Jose Castillo delivered a scoreless inning. Veteran Craig Stammen had two scoreless innings.
"I love the emotion on the mound," Padres manager Andy Green said about Wingenter's outing Saturday. "He's not scared of anything. Those are the kind of guys that are going to make us good in the long run. I just love watching a kid step on the mound in a big situation and not shrink from it at all. And Jose Castillo did that too."
Moving forward without closer Brad Hand and right-hander Adam Cimber, who were traded to Cleveland in July, things have not been easy but the Padres are making the best of it. When it comes to the bullpen, the Padres' future plans are starting to become clear.
When the series against the Dodgers started, the Padres had a 2.96 ERA from their bullpen since the start of the second half, the best mark in the National League and second best in the Majors over that time.

"It's been good," said Wingenter, who got his chance because of the Padres' deadline dealing. "It starts with the leadership we have in the bullpen with Craig and Kirby [Yates] and the guys who have been around. They kind of set the standard in the bullpen and we take pride on taking the ball from each other, passing it on, being tough to score on, attacking hitters."
Wingenter has given up just five hits in his eight appearances, with 11 strikeouts to three walks.
"You always want to prove yourself; you always feel like you can handle certain situations, and to come up and get an opportunity to do that is great," Wingenter said. "But doing it once or twice isn't enough -- you have to keep going. Professional leaders are ones who are consistent and can be relied upon every night, and that is what I strive to be."

Doug Padilla is a contributor to MLB.com based in Los Angeles.