Despite being in the midst of an extended losing streak, the San Diego Padres still lead the NL West.
History isn’t on their side for making the playoffs with another defeat, however.
The slumping Padres try to avoid losing 10 straight games for the first time in more than 16 years in Sunday’s finale against the Colorado Rockies.
San Diego (76-58) had the NL’s best record on Aug. 25, but has been outscored 51-21 in losing nine in a row since and now has the worst mark of the league’s division leaders. This skid - the Padres’ longest since 2003 - has also allowed San Francisco to cut its deficit and Colorado (71-64) to pull within 5 1/2 games.
“We have to get the confidence back,” manager Bud Black said. “We have to get that swagger back.”
Three-time All-Star Adrian Gonzalez(notes) has still been productive during the skid, batting .364 with six RBIs, but Miguel Tejada(notes) is hitting .147 with three RBIs and Chase Headley(notes) is batting .182 with one run driven in.
“We definitely haven’t been getting the breaks,” Headley said.
San Diego, which hadn’t lost more than three in a row before this slide, is trying to avoid dropping 10 straight for the first time since a franchise-worst 13-game skid May 8-21, 1994.
A 10-game slide also doesn’t bode well for the club’s playoffs hopes.
Only two teams in baseball history have suffered a losing streak of at least 10 games and still made the postseason. The 1951 New York Giants lost 11 in a row but still won the NL pennant and the 1982 Atlanta Braves dropped 11 straight but won the NL West.
Getting back in the win column could be tough with another game against Colorado, which is 10-4 against the Padres and has won six of eight at Petco Park.
Against San Francisco on Monday, De La Rosa allowed one run and four hits while striking out nine in seven innings of a 2-1 win, but didn’t earn a decision.
The left-hander had his best start of the season against the Padres, but also had one of his worst against them. He gave up one hit in seven scoreless innings to beat San Diego in his season debut April 9, but was tagged for seven runs in 4 1-3 innings against the Padres on July 9, his first start off the disabled list.
Gonzalez, the NL leader with a .335 average, went 3 for 4 with two doubles and two RBIs Saturday, and is batting .522 with six home runs, seven doubles and 16 RBIs during a 12-game hitting streak. He is 3 for 12 lifetime against Clayton Richard(notes) (12-6, 3.50), San Diego’s scheduled starter.
After posting a 1.45 ERA in winning his previous three starts, Richard allowed four runs - two earned - and four hits in 7 2-3 innings of a 5-0 loss to Philadelphia last Sunday.
The left-hander struggled in his last start against the Rockies on July 11, yielding a season-high six runs and six hits in 5 2-3 innings of a 9-7 win in Colorado, but didn’t get a decision.