The Giants loaded the bases with no outs in the second inning against Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright and were able to push across two runs to take an early lead in the opener of the NLCS.
Pablo Sandoval led off the frame with a double to right field which was very nearly caught by Randal Grichuk in right field. Wainwright then walked Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt dropped a single in front of left fielder Matt Holliday to load the bases. After Brandon Crawford struck out, Travis Ishikawa blooped an RBI single down the right field line, out of the reach of a triangle of Cardinal defenders.
Wainwright was nearly out of the jam after getting Madison Bumgarner — who hit two grand slams during the regular season — to line out to shortstop. However, another run scored when third baseman Matt Carpenter was unable to cleanly field a Gregor Blanco grounder. Joe Panik, the eighth batter of the inning, hit a sharp grounder back to Wainwright for the 1-3 out to end the frame.
Wainwright struggled in his previous start in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Dodgers, allowing six runs in 4 1/3 innings. He complained of elbow discomfort, but went out of his way recently to allay any concerns that he may be in poor health.
The Padres fired manager Andy Green on Saturday, per an official team release. Bench coach Rod Barajas will step into the position for the remaining eight games of the 2019 season.
Executive Vice President and GM A.J. Preller gave a statement in the wake of Green’s dismissal:
I want to thank Andy for his tireless work and dedication to the Padres over the last four seasons. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary at this time to take our organization to the next level and expedite the process of bringing a championship to San Diego. Our search for a new manager will begin immediately.
In additional comments made to reporters, Preller added that the decision had not been made based on the Padres’ current win-loss record (a fourth-place 69-85 in the NL West), but rather on the lack of response coming from the team.
“Looking at the performance, looking at it from an improvement standing, we haven’t seen the team respond in the last few months,” Preller said. “When you get to the point where you’re questioning where things are headed … we have to make that call.”
Since his hiring in October 2015, Green has faced considerable challenges on the Padres’ long and winding path to postseason contention. He shepherded San Diego through four consecutive losing seasons, drawing a career 274-366 record as the club extended their streak to 13 seasons without a playoff appearance. And, despite some definite strides in the right direction — including an eight-year, $144 million pact with Eric Hosmer, a 10-year, $300 million pact with superstar Manny Machado, and the development of top prospect Fernando Tatís Jr. — lingering injuries and inexplicable slumps from key players stalled the rebuild longer than the Padres would have liked.
For now, they’ll prepare to roll the dice with a new skipper in 2020, though any potential candidates have yet to be identified for the role. It won’t come cheap, either, as Green inked a four-year extension back in 2017 — one that should have seen him through the team’s 2021 campaign.