The San Diego Padres are very fortunate they play in the worst division in baseball.
The NL West leaders will try to avoid matching their longest losing streak of the season when they open a three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Padres may be on top of the West, but they have the worst record of any division leader. They are just four games above .500, yet own a 4 1/2 -game lead because coming into Thursday the rest of the division was a combined 54 games below the break-even mark.
San Diego lost a half-game of its lead over idle Arizona on Thursday with a 12-0 loss to the New York Mets, who completed a three-game sweep and handed the Padres their fourth straight defeat overall.
The Padres were outscored 22-4 in the series, much to the dismay of manager Bruce Bochy.
“That’s as cold as we’ve been with the bats this year,” Bochy said. “An ugly series, it started out bad and got worse today. We know it was ugly, and we got embarrassed.
“It wouldn’t have made any difference which park we played in. We could have played in Williamsport today and still made it look ugly.”
San Diego’s offense has been erratic. The Padres averaged 5.04 runs per game leading up to May 26, the day they took over first in the NL West. They are averaging just 3.86 since and have lost 27 of 44 games.
Bobby Abreu got his first day off of the season Thursday, but pinch hit in the eighth inning. Abreu has been in a horrible slump since hitting 41 homers to win the Home Run Derby, going 3-for-21 with two RBIs and no homers.
“This is for the mental aspect of it. When you play 162 games, he usually plays 158-162, that’s a lot of baseball in a year,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of Abreu. “He needs a day or two off along the way.”