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David Brown

Padres just scratch their heads as losing streak reaches 10

David Brown
Big League Stew

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Not 96 hours ago, someone at Big League Stew wrote that the San Diego Padres' losing streak was not a signal of doom for their first-place dreams.

Well, as the image of David Eckstein(notes) on the right indicates, more bad things have happened in the past 96 hours for the Friars.

Chiefly, they dropped three games to the Colorado Rockies over the weekend, including a 4-2 contest Sunday, to increase their losing streak to 10.

San Diego's lead in the NL West, which was 6 1/2 games Aug. 25, has shrunk to one game (two in the loss column). The San Francisco Giants, who beat the Dodgers on Sunday night, are knocking on the door. The Rockies are also only 4 1/2 behind.

"We have a sense of urgency right now,” Padres left-hander Clayton Richard(notes) said. "We have a special opportunity and we are going to do every thing in our control to take advantage of it."

He's right, in that the Padres still have control. Just not nearly as much as they used to.

Coolstandings.com — an invaluable site that tracks postseason probabilities — notes the Padres on Aug. 25 were 97.2 percent assured of making the playoffs. They were 93.3 percent assured of winning the West.

Great odds, right?

But now, after losing 10 straight? The Padres are just a 63 percent favorite to make the playoffs and a 56.9 percent bet to take the West.

Gulp.

If the Padres blow the playoffs, it would be the seventh-biggest collapse in major league history since 1903 (the starting point for Coolstandings' data). The biggest busts: The 1995 Los Angeles Angels had a 99.9-percent chance to make the playoffs on Aug. 24 of that year, after which they blew an 8-1/2 game lead.

And, whereas many teams in history have bounced back from a seven- or eight-game losing streak and still made the playoffs, the Padres have the odds against them now that they've lost 10 straight.

Only two teams — ever — have reached the playoffs in the same season they also had a losing streak of at least 10 games; The 1982 Atlanta Braves and the 1951 New York Giants of Bobby Thomson lore.

The Padres moved into first place April 20 and have been there all but three days since. Over the past 10 games, the Padres have been outscored 55-23. The comfort, if not the confidence, has evaporated.

"We have to turn this around," manager Bud Black said. "It's in us because I've seen it. But we haven't done it the last 10 games."

Hey, I'm still a believer, not that it does the Padres any good.

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