Robbie Erlin cannot win a 2019 rotation job these last three weeks of the season. He cannot hold off the youngsters vying for spots just yet.
The 27-year-old veteran can simply continue to state his case.
His latest argument was better.
In a game marked by Adrian Beltre passing George Brett for the most hits ever by third baseman, Erlin struck out six and allowed only two runs – one earned – in 5 1/3 innings in a 4-0 loss that saw his bats quieted by five shutout innings from Texas Rangers rookie Yohander Mendez in snapping the Padres’ three-game winning streak.
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Erlin needed the rebound.
He’d allowed seven runs in three innings last week in Cincinnati and 15 runs over his last starts (13 innings). The left-hander lost all three of those starts as he lost Friday’s but the peripheral numbers told a more complete story than the “L” by his name.
His six strikeouts were one shy of his career-high, which he tied in last week’s three-inning loss.
He did not allow a home run for the first time in five starts.
Even the runs Erlin allowed wouldn’t have crossed the plate without a hint of misfortune.
The first scored in the second after Jose Pirela had to dodge the top half of Nomar Mazara’s broken bat to even attempt a play on an infield single. A subsequent wild pitch set up Jurickson Profar’s run-scoring single.
Three innings later, Erlin had given up back-to-back singles to start the fifth inning when Isiah Kiner-Falefa sent a tapper toward third base. Wil Myers stepped on the bag for the first out, but airmailed a double-play throw to first, allowing one run to score before catcher Francisco Mejia threw to third base to get a second out on the adventurous play.
The error was Myers’ fifth in 24 games at third base.
Erlin got out of the fifth without further damage and left after recording the first out of the sixth inning when Eric Hosmer aggressively threw out Delino DeShields at third base on Shin-Soo Choo’s tapper to first base. DeShields had led off the sixth with a double, the only extra-base hit hat Erlin allowed in the start.
Erlin allowed six hits, didn’t walk a batter and threw 47 of his 72 pitches for strikes.
Profar extended the Rangers’ lead to 4-0 with a two-run homer off Phil Maton in the seventh inning.
Left-hander Brad Wieck sat down the side in order in the eighth in his major league debut.
Mendez struck out five and scattered three hits and three walks in five innings as a planned reliever behind rookie Connor Sadzeck’s scoreless first inning, the Padres’ first look at an “opener” as experimented with successfully in Tampa Bay this year.
Left-hander Jeffrey Springs followed Mendez’s effort with two scoreless innings and Jose Leclerc survived a scoreless ninth when Freddy Galvis struck out looking to end the game with runners on first and second.
The Padres managed just five hits in the game, hit into four double plays and went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position.
Beltre singled and doubled in the game, giving him 3,155 career hits – 15th-most all-time.
Tony Gwynn is 20th with 3,141.