Ex-Yankees pitchers let down Padres on Opening Day

Ex-Yankees pitcher Jhony Brito is in action for the Padres against the Dodgers on March 20, 2024, at Seoul, South Korea.
Inna Zeyger
Thursday March 21, 2024

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Former New York Yankees pitchers Wandy Peralta and Jhony Brito had a rough outing on Opening Day, playing a key role in the San Diego Padres’ 5-2 defeat to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Seoul, South Korea.

The Padres entered the eighth inning with a one-run lead, but the ex-Yankees duo faltered, surrendering a combined three runs and ultimately leading to the loss.

Former Yankees rookie starter Brito, who was credited with the blown save and the loss, allowed two runs (one earned) while only recording one out on the mound.

This season’s Padres roster boasts a significant Yankees influence, stemming from the blockbuster trade last year that sent superstar Juan Soto and Trent Grisham to the Bronx in exchange for a package of five players, including four pitchers: Brito, Michael King, Randy Vasquez, and prospect Drew Thorpe (later traded to the Chicago White Sox). Catcher Kyle Higashioka was also sent to San Diego in the deal.

Further bolstering their bullpen this offseason, the Padres signed Peralta, a left-handed pitcher, to a lucrative four-year free-agent contract.

Ex-Yankees talents show subpar performance

While the Yankees have a proven track record of developing talented relievers, both Peralta and Brito struggled in their Padres debuts on Wednesday. This raises questions about their immediate effectiveness and highlights the unpredictable nature of pitching performance, even for players with past success.

Wandy Peralta’s scoreless outing through the seventh inning seemed promising for the San Diego Padres, who held a fragile 2-1 lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in their Opening Day matchup. However, the tide turned dramatically in the eighth.

Peralta’s vulnerability began with a full-count walk issued to Max Muncy, echoing the baseball adage about the perils of leadoff walks. This put pressure on reliever Jhony Brito, who entered the season boasting a solid 9-7 record and a 4.28 ERA from last year.

Brito’s situation quickly spiraled as he allowed a single to Teoscar Hernandez followed by a critical walk to James Outman, loading the bases. He managed to escape with a game-tying sacrifice fly from Enrique Hernandez, but his outing was cut short.

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Taking over with the bases loaded and one out, Padres lefty Adrian Morejon faced an uphill battle. Unfortunately, a potential inning-ending double play opportunity evaporated when Gavin Lux’s grounder slipped through first baseman Jake Cronenworth’s glove, allowing the Dodgers to take a 3-2 lead. Morejon ultimately allowed both inherited runners to score.

In total, Peralta and Brito combined for 1 1/3 innings, surrendering just one hit but giving up three runs (two earned) on three walks. While Peralta managed a strikeout, the combined miscues proved costly.

Another former Yankee, Tyler Wade, saw action at third base for the Padres. He delivered a 1-for-2 performance at the plate, including a walk and a run scored. However, a defensive miscue added to the Padres’ woes.

The Padres, who acquired several players from the Yankees in the blockbuster Juan Soto trade, witnessed a mixed performance from their former Bronx pinstripes on Wednesday. While Wade offered a glimpse of his offensive potential, Peralta and Brito’s struggles on the mound contributed to the Padres’ season-opening defeat.

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