1:13 AM ET
This is not how the San Diego Padres would have preferred to draw up their first postseason series victory since 1998. They played three wild-card games against the St. Louis Cardinals and their starting pitchers threw a combined six innings. They used eight pitchers in a Game 1 loss, used nine pitchers in the wild, 11-9 victory in Game 2, then used nine pitchers who combined for the series-clinching 4-0 shutout on Friday in Game 3.
We’ve never seen anything like this before. The Padres saw 78% of their innings come from the bullpen, with manager Jayce Tingler taking full advantage of his expanded 28-man playoff roster that included 14 pitchers. There had never been a combined nine-pitcher shutout in a nine-inning game in the regular season or postseason, but the Padres, with their two best starting pitchers injured and not on the active roster for this series, had planned for a bullpen game all along if the series went three games. What they hadn’t planned on were bullpen games in the first two contests, after Chris Paddack and Zach Davies both got knocked out early.
So starting pitching is dead? No, not