There simply was no easy way to find the spoonful of sugar to make the Padres pitching medicine go down.
When salty starters Dinelson Lamet and Mike Clevinger were bounced off the Wild Card Series roster for arm ailments, GM A.J. Preller and manager Jayce Tingler adroitly tap-danced around questions about specifics and severity.
Instead of NL Cy Young contender Lamet, instead of rock-steady Clevinger, the game-weary Cardinals salivated at the chance to face Jekyll and Hyde option Chris Paddack in Game 1 on Wednesday at Petco Park.
Hyde toed the rubber as the Cardinals piled up four runs in the first inning.
“We were hoping to get him going and get all the way through (the second),” manager Jayce Tinger said after the Cardinals rode the early wave to a 7-4 win and 1-0 edge in the best-of-three series. “Truthfully, we needed him to settle in.”