My latest Baseball Digest post is up for your reading pleasure. As in previous weeks, it's focused on looking at this week's worth of home games against Arizona and Philadelphia. This post is more pointed at what just happened.
I think all of us were a little nervous going into August, and it wasn't just because the Giants were surging. The schedulers had set the Padres up to spend the first three weeks of August on an extended road trip. The three home games with Pittsburgh were nice, but essentially they were just another city to stop in for a series before moving on. With 17 road games in 21 days, although publically all of us thought 'these are the 2010 Padres, they'll find a way', privately many of us thought 'I wouldn't be surprised to arrive on 24 August in second place, looking up at San Francisco'. And when they started this stretch off with a 3-4 trip to Arizona (which as we talked about back on 9 August wasn't that bad), some folks started jumping off the bandwagon.
Then the Padres got hot. White Hot. Like the SUN!
Sweep of the Pirates. Winning 2 of three tense games in Frisco (which would have been a sweep if they could have gotten a hit with RISP on 8/14). First 4-game sweep ever in Chicago. Then a minor let down in Milwaukee, winning only on Sunday. But you put it all together, and over this 21 day run the club went 13-7. That's only .650 ball, folks. This just in: The 2010 Padres are GOOD.
Never in my wierdest dreams did I think the Padres would leave San Diego with a 2.5 game lead, and return with a 5.5 game bulge (SF pounded Cincinnati last night to cut a 1/2 game off the deficit).
Now we will play 16 of 19 in Petco. Starting off this extended homestand is 3 against a team we've owned at home this season, and 3 against a team that's won 15 of the 19 games they've played downtown.
If you haven't got pennant fever, hang out at my house for a while - it's contagious, and you'll be infected before long. Or you might get Bronchitis. There are no guarantees in life, people.
Just so this post has some statistical content, here's an update on the offensive performance of our two trade deadline acquisitions:
Miguel Tejada - 21 games, 96 PA, .276/.344/.391, 1 HR. Tejada has improved his hitting across the board since being acquired July 29th. He still isn't showing much HR power, but he has injected some life into the offense.
Ryan Ludwick - 21 games, 88 PA, .237/.318/.408, 3 HR. Ludwick had a great home series against Pittsburgh, but other than that he's struggled. Opposing pitchers seem to have found two weaknesses in his game at the plate - sliders off the corner away, and high fastballs. Ludwick, if the Milwaukee series is any indication, can't lay off either. Everybody struggles from time to time at the plate, but Ludwick will start facing 'he can't hit without Albert Pujols behind him' questions more frequently until he snaps out of his current funk.
Padres have 39 games left. Going 20-19 the rest of the way wins them 94 games. San Francisco would have to go 24-12 to catch them. Colorado needs to finish 30-8, LA 31-6, and AZ can't catch them even if they win all their remaining games.