It seemed too much to ask, for the Phillies to take a third game from Atlanta, and for the Padres to sweep San Francisco. Turned out, it was.
The Phillies third and fourth stringers put up a pretty valiant effort, trimming a 6-run deficit to 1 with two out in the eighth, but it was too much to overcome. It didn't matter, because the Padres controlled their own destiny on this day. Win and you move on. Lose and you go home.
Losing 3-0 in San Francisco isn't shameful. What will haunt these Padres, other than the 10-game losing streak, is all the men they left on base Sunday. Ludwick striking out in the second with two on and two out. Torrealba's double play grounder after the first two men reached to start the sixth. Tejada striking out with two on and two out in the seventh. Latos pitched well enough - 2 runs allowed should not be enough to kill a team - but on this day it was.
The Padres have some major decisions to make this off-season. No one wants to see a 90-win team dismantled, but there's a very real possibility that might happen (to wit: Chris Young, Jon Garland, and Gonzo account for $20.75 mil in payroll if the Padres pick up all their options). Then there's the question of Tejada and Ludwick - do they return for 2011? Does Heath Bell come back? What of Kyle Blanks? And so on.
We will go into those questions over the coming weeks.
For now, revel in the season that was. Heck, I thought 82-80 and third place was optimistic as a prediction. They exceeded that, kept us riveted all season, and fell just short. It was a lot of fun, even if the final result is not one we wanted, and I for one can't wait for 2011.
World Series Preview . . . with a 5 year-old
7 months ago