The San Diego Padres have given no indication they will finish their final 10-game push toward the playoffs with any more than five wins.
Then again, that might be more than enough to clinch the NL West with time to spare.
Fresh off missing a chance to add to their lead, the Padres will look to put more distance between themselves and the rest of the division when they open a weekend series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“Right now it’s a sprint,” San Diego outfielder Brian Giles said. “During the course of the season, you hear the cliche about it being a marathon. But when you can see the finish line, it’s a sprint.”
The season’s final month may be a mad dash for some, but it hasn’t been for San Diego. Not surprisingly, the painfully mediocre Padres are just 10-10 in September, but have been able to stay on their lofty perch because the other teams in the West have not mounted a significant charge.
The Padres’ 4-2 loss to last-place Colorado on Thursday dropped them back to .500. However, their lead over second-place San Francisco remained at five games because the Giants lost 2-0 at Washington.
San Diego, which has struggled to score runs, lost 20-1 Tuesday night and could muster only a split of the four-game series in Denver.
“It’s a tough loss,” Padres manager Bruce Bochy said Thursday. “I thought Adam (Eaton) threw the ball well. We just couldn’t quite cash in on a couple of opportunities there.”
The Giants open a three-game series at Coors Field on Friday, followed by a four-game home series against the Padres starting Monday.
The good news for the Padres is they will be giving the ball to one of their hottest pitchers to begin this series.
Since allowing five earned runs over 4 2-3 innings in a 9-1 loss to Cincinnati on July 30, Pedro Astacio is 2-0 with a 2.18 ERA in his last five starts. The 35-year-old right-hander has allowed just 23 hits in his last 33 innings.
The Diamondbacks are coming off a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers, including Thursday’s 7-4, 12-inning win. Alex Cintron ended the game with a two-out, three-run home run off of Duaner Sanchez.
First baseman Tony Clark went 3-for-4 with a homer and a pair of RBIs. Clark is batting .314 with 30 homers and 85 RBIs in just 328 at-bats this season.
Thursday’s game was the last in the downtown Phoenix stadium under the name Bank One Ballpark. The Diamondbacks will announce a new name for the ballpark Friday before starting their series with San Diego that will complete their home schedule.