Not much was expected from the San Diego Padres this season, but they have already pulled off an achievement that no team has matched.
The Padres’ eight-game winning streak is the longest in the major leagues this season, and they will try to continue their surprising roll by finishing off a three-game sweep of the host Cincinnati Reds on Sunday afternoon.
San Diego (11-6) appeared to have little chance of competing in the NL West in 2010, but the four other teams in the division are looking up at the Padres in the early going. San Diego has gotten timely hitting and outstanding pitching during its longest win streak since a 10-game run from May 15-25.
The Padres have outscored opponents 40-14 during that span.
The Padres’ 2.73 ERA is the best in baseball.
“It starts with the pitching; they’ve done a great job,” Venable told the team’s official website. “You put up a couple of runs, play some defense and you don’t need much more.”
The left-hander has pitched well in three starts but has not gotten much offensive support. Richard’s best outing came against San Francisco on Monday, when he allowed one run over 6 1-3 innings of a 3-2, 10-inning win.
Richard pitched once at Cincinnati last season while with the Chicago White Sox, allowing five runs - three earned - over three innings of a 10-8 victory June 20.
Richard is 0-5 with a 6.52 ERA in 18 career games - 12 starts - during the day, compared to 11-7 with a 3.99 at night.
The Reds are hitting .213 in day games and could only muster four hits Saturday afternoon. They also made three baserunning blunders and Drew Stubbs(notes) lost track of the number of outs in the outfield, angering manager Dusty Baker so much that he didn’t address the media following the loss.
Bailey went 3-0 with a 1.04 ERA in his final four starts of 2009, providing hope that he was turning the corner, but he has failed to make it out of the sixth inning in three April outings. He gave up five runs, eight hits and three walks over 5 1-3 innings against Los Angeles on Tuesday, leaving without a decision in an 11-9 win.
“It was same old stuff. I was trying to be too fine,” Bailey told the Reds’ official website.
Bailey has delivered a pair of strong outings in two starts against San Diego, both at home. He gave up three runs - one on a homer from Gonzalez - over 7 1-3 innings of a 6-4 victory July 27.
Gonzalez is 3 for 6 against Bailey, with each hit going for extra bases.