San Diego – CA
The Padres have opened the 2018 season with a 2-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers at Petco Park. Opening Day starter Robbie Erlin was named the Player of the Game as the Padre hurler pitched eight strong innings giving up only four hits and one earned run, striking out five and walking only one. Erlin, who got the win had a great spring and has carried that right on into the 2018 regular season.
“I really feel good right now. The ball is exploding off my hand and I feel like I can put it wherever I want to on every pitch I throw.” Erlin said. San Diego Pitching Coach Frank Viola said Erlin’s progression over the last six months has been remarkable,
“Bobby has really taken a big step up from last year. We saw it starting to happen last September and he came out in spring [training] and really kept it going and dominated. He really earned the Opening Day Starter role.” Viola said. “We expect really big things from him this year and with Cole [Hamels] down for a while, Bobby is going to have to give us quality starts.” he concluded.
Rookie first baseman Jonas Lantigua making his major league debut supplied all of the offense for San Diego going 2 for 3 at the plate including a huge two-run homer he hit off of Brewer starter Miguel Gonzales in the home half of the fourth inning. The at-bat for the young first basemen is one he will always remember,
“Gonzales threw me a fastball down and in and I saw it all the way and gave it a rip,” Lantigua said, “I wish I could find that fan and get that ball back for my trophy case…its one I will never forget,” he concluded.
San Diego is expecting big things from Jonas Lantigua but they are also mindful of his age and experience, or lack thereof, “Jonas is going to be a special player for us but we want to monitor him very closely right now. People watch him play and tend to forget he was in A-ball last year. We have made it clear to him that we want him to just play loose, not worry about failure and have fun. He played well enough in Spring to earn the right to be here but we have also let him know that he may spend some time down in the minors this year as well and there is no shame in that,” Padres GM Jim Miller said.
San Diego plays the Brewers today in the second of a three-game set. Casey Kelly takes on Taylor Jungmann in a 1:20 P.M. start time at Petco Park. Tickets for the game are still available.
-Reggie Williams is the Padres beat writer for the San Diego Tribune