The San Diego Padres aren’t panicking about their season-high seven-game losing streak, instead counting on a return to Petco Park to snap them out of their funk.
They might not be too enthused about seeing their first opponent.
The Colorado Rockies have taken two of three in all four series against the NL West leaders, a pattern the Padres will be anxious to end as they kick off a 10-game homestand Friday night.
San Diego (76-56) opened up a 6 1/2-game division lead on San Francisco on Aug. 25, but the West is still very much a race.
The Padres’ cushion over the Giants is down to three after an 0-7 stretch in which they’ve been outscored 41-16. San Diego gave budding ace Mat Latos(notes) a 2-1 lead Wednesday, but the majors’ top bullpen couldn’t hold it, surrendering four runs in the seventh inning of a 5-2 defeat.
Despite a losing streak that’s four games longer than anything his team experienced in the season’s first five months, manager Bud Black isn’t concerned.
“Things aren’t going our way,” Black said. “We will spin out of it.”
Bouncing back against Colorado (69-64) could be difficult. The Rockies have taken eight of 12 from the Padres, who have posted an uncharacteristic 5.38 ERA in the season series.
Perhaps most surprising is the Colorado hitter that’s given San Diego the most trouble. Infielder Clint Barmes(notes), a .236 hitter who’s currently in a 1-for-26 slump, is batting .368 (14 for 38) with two homers and 13 RBIs against the Padres.
The Rockies didn’t miss a benched Barmes in Thursday’s makeup game against Philadelphia, but 20 hits weren’t enough to get them a much-needed victory. Colorado blew a 7-3 lead in the seventh inning, falling 12-11 to leave it 6 1/2 games behind the wild-card leading Phillies.
“We needed that win really bad,” said Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez(notes), who became the 13th player since 1952 to have an extra-base hit in 10 straight games while increasing his average to an NL-best .332.
A second-round pick from the 2007 draft, Luebke went 10-1 with a 2.68 ERA in 19 games - 17 starts - split between Double-A and Triple-A. His .200 opponent batting average was third-lowest of any starter in the minor leagues.
“I’m just going to take it a start at a time,” Luebke said. “(Black) let me know I was pitching Friday, so I’ll get myself ready on Friday and whatever this team needs me to do.”
There’s perhaps even less of an idea what to expect from Colorado’s Aaron Cook(notes) (4-8, 5.34), who makes his first start in a month. The right-hander has been on the disabled list since Aug. 5 with a sprained right big toe.
He wasn’t doing much good in the rotation prior to the injury. Cook was 0-3 with a 13.97 ERA in his last three starts, failing to last five innings in any of them.
Perhaps a visit to Petco will help Cook recover quickly. He’s 6-1 with a 2.15 ERA in the Padres’ seven-year-old facility.
San Diego’s two most productive hitters have had Cook’s number. Adrian Gonzalez(notes) is batting .364 (12 for 33) with two homers against Cook, while Chase Headley(notes) is 6 for 14 (.429) with four walks.