With April showers not affecting the Padres play, May certainly brought the flowers that blossomed into another dominant month for San Diego. With May’s closer, we’re now going to look back and examine how the Friars faired against their competition as well as what’s in store for June.
Padres May Recap
Losing their starting catcher, Austin Nola, for the majority of April while finishing 15-12 during the rainy month was most likely not how San Diego envisioned the beginning of their season. Fortunately for them, their play was given the spark it needed as they rode a two-game win streak that started with Arizona and continued with San Francisco as they shook off the early frost and prepared for the summer sun.
The first week of May saw the Friars recommence a six-game homestand against the San Francisco Giants, a team that had their number early on. Last time around, a pinch-hit homer from Mike Yastrzemski and a strong outing by Kevin Gausman was the difference between the two as the Giants flew back home with a series win against San Diego.
Fast forward to May, the Padres wouldn’t be fooled twice and were able to rely on Yu Darvish and Blake Snell in games one and two to help their team snatch the series win from San Francisco. This victory would put both teams at one series win each on the season while also building hype for their next reunion on May 7th.
Fresh off the victory against San Francisco, the Padres would now look to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates in a three-game set in the final leg of their homestand. Both teams were looking to get back in the win column as San Diego closed their previous series with a loss while the Pirates were currently suffering a four-game losing streak.
Austin Nola and Tommy Pham were the sole providers in game one as they delivered one RBI each and lifted their team over Pittsburgh to grab game one. Along with his first RBI of the season, Nola’s huge double also went down as his first hit in the 2021 campaign.
Game two took a turn for the worst as Pirates starter Mitch Keller blanked the Friars in five innings of work with five strikeouts and two walks to add to his line. Although this was a tough loss for San Diego’s bullpen, Austin Nola was able to register the Friar’s only RBI of the game and avoid the shutout. This loss wouldn’t keep San Diego down for long as they closed out the series winning 4-2 against Pittsburgh and were now preparing to fly to San Francisco to face the Giants yet again.
The third meeting between the Giants and Padres could only be described as a grudge match with the winner gaining a series advantage over the other. Blake Snell takes the mound for San Diego should be reason enough to be intimidated but the Giants shook off any hesitation and were able to milk the star for four earned runs, five total, with two of them coming off the bat of Buster Posey.
It seems the Giants had the Padres figured out again as Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford both took Joe Musgrove deep in a strong 7-1 win over San Diego. With two straight losses in the series, the Padres needed to win game three to avoid the sweep by San Francisco and they did just that. Chris Paddack went four strong innings with four strikeouts and a walk while the bullpen closed the doors and the bats stayed hot for the Friars as they handed San Francisco an 11-1 loss.
Even though the Giants took the series win and lead for the season against San Diego, the Padres would have a chance to redeem themselves when they flew to Colorado to play the Rockies. Colorado came into this matchup after suffering a three-game series defeat against the St. Louis Cardinals, two of which were shutouts. The Padres also found themselves in peculiar waters as they came off of two straight series where they won the final game and would look to add more to start a potential streak.
The first game was postponed due to inclement weather so instead of playing three straight games with one game per day, the teams gained a rest day and then played three games in two days, the final day yielding a doubleheader. Manny Machado’s five RBIs went down as the exclamation point for game one as the Padres crushed the Rockies 8-1.
The Padres would go on to split the doubleheader with Colorado winning the first game 5-3 but then dropping the finale 3-2 thanks to a three-RBI performance from Rockies third basemen, Joshua Fuentes. With the series win under their belts, the time to head home arrived but this time, they’d be sporting a nine-game homestand against St. Louis, Colorado, and Seattle.
Middle of the Month Mayhem
With a dismal record of 6-5 halfway through May, it was time the Friars battened down the hatches and went to work. First up on the docket was St. Louis, a team that just took the series from Milwaukee and was hungry for more. The Padres made short work of the red birds and swept them in three games, the first time this season they had won a series in that fashion. Nola truly burst out of his shell in this one and collected a series-high six RBIs in the second game versus the Cardinals.
With the Cardinals out of the way, it was time for the Padres to set their sights on a rematch versus Colorado and potentially extend their win streak. Games one and two witnessed Darvish and Snell post 10+ strikeouts each with Darvish also collecting his first hit in a Padres uniform. In the final game of the series, Fernando Tatis Jr. went 4-5 at the plate with two RBIs while also pulling out a wicked split slide into second base to lift his team over Colorado.
This win marked the second consecutive series that San Diego won and extended their win streak to six games. Having a day off in between the homestand was all it took for San Diego to prepare for their next opponent: the Seattle Mariners. With San Deigo still hungry for more wins, this matchup against a roughed-up Seattle team would prove to be a good one.
Think the Padres win streak would end? Think again. The Friars were able to extend their six-game win streak into nine games after they outscored Seattle 30-7 in the series. Tatis Jr. continued his unreal statistical tear and recorded a series-high 10 RBIs as well as his 50th career homerun versus the Mariners.
With the craziest homestand, we’ve witnessed so far this season and a league-leading overall wins record, the Friars packed up and shipped out to Milwaukee to keep the ball rolling. They eventually split the four-game series with the Brewers thus ending their win streak and being brought back down to earth. With another series finished and the end of May approaching, the Padres needed to finish out the month strong and they didn’t disappoint.
Their next road trip would be to Houston to take on the Astros for the first time this season and the first time since August 2020. To close out the month, the Padres were able to win two out of three games against the Astros and finish with an 18-9 win/loss record. Although this is huge for the Padres, they would again be without their starting catcher as Austin Nola sprained his knee back on May 27th and landed himself on the IL.
With a series loss against the Cubs to start June, the Padres will look to retain that same energy from last month against the New York Mets. Without Austin Nola, this month could prove to be pivotal considering his bat has been hot but now the Friars will again have to work in the absence of him. They will also face fellow California rival the Los Angeles Dodgers towards the end of this month, a matchup that will be the deciding factor for who takes the lead in the season series.
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