Philadelphia, though, continues to struggle and has a manager whose job may in jeopardy while San Diego is feeling fairly optimistic heading into this three-game series.
Philadelphia opened its current 13-game road trip by getting swept in a four-game set at Florida before losing two of three to Chicago. A loss Tuesday will drop the Phillies back to .500 for the first time since they were 14-14 on May 8.
Since leading the NL East in mid-July, the Phillies have fallen 5 1/2 games back of the first-place Atlanta Braves. The downturn of a Philadelphia team considered by many to be the most talented in the division has sprung rampant rumors that Larry Bowa may soon be fired.
“It’s a daunting number because the guys you’re chasing have won 12 straight years,” Bowa said of his team’s deficit to the Braves. “I don’t think you can worry about that. You have to worry about putting a streak together. To do that, you need solid pitching and timely hitting and we haven’t done that.”
With no starter completing seven innings during the road trip, along with closer Billy Wagner and setup man Ryan Madson being on the disabled list, a beleaguered bullpen has hurt the Phillies. The relief crops has an 8.20 ERA in the last seven games, getting ripped for 18 runs and 24 hits in 18 2-3 innings.
The defeat dropped the Padres 3 1/2 games back of the first-place Dodgers, but did not seem to hurt their confidence. San Diego had won 11 of 15 overall before losing two of three to Los Angeles.
“There are a lot of games left,” Padres first baseman Phil Nevin said.
“They are very good and we feel we’re better.”
Nevin is batting .500 (14-for-28) over the last eight games for a San Diego team which has looked good as long as it’s not facing the Dodgers.
Of their last 14 games, the Padres played six against Los Angeles and scored a total of 14 runs as they lost four. In the other eight games, San Diego won seven and scored 61 runs.
“We’ve lost two series in a row to the Dodgers. A couple of those games could have gone either way, but we’ve played some great baseball,” manager Bruce Bochy said.