By News 8 Sports Director Kyle Kraska
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS 8) - I have never been one to panic when it comes to baseball. Losing streaks are inevitable. The fact that the Padres' longest streak prior to its current 7 games was only 3 measly games is rather remarkable. But now our first place Padres find themselves in uncharted waters. Is this a mere bump in the road or the beginning of an avalanche?
Like former big league manager Earl Weaver used to say, "Momentum is tomorrow's starting pitcher." And that, inherently, has been the Padres' problem of late. Young Mat Latos and veteran Jon Garland certainly continue to dazzle. Latos hasn't allowed more than 2 earned runs in a game since June 4th and Garland has been a work horse, tossing at least 5 innings in every start since opening day. Clayton Richard, while inconsistent, has been steady of late winning 5 of his last 6 decisions and allowing two earned runs or less in 4 straight starts.
But the bottom of the rotation is a mess and doesn't show signs of getting better. Wade LeBlanc, after a sensational start is obviously laboring. His starts are short and painful to watch. Leblanc has allowed 16 earned runs in his last 3 starts, averaging 4 1/3 innings per game. And Kevin Correia's numbers are even worse. In his last 3 starts, Correia has given up 20 earned runs in just 12 innings of work.
Confidence is a funny thing in sports. When you've got it you can't lose. When you lose it, everything that can go wrong does go wrong. The latest disaster came Wednedsay when Luke Gregerson, who hadn't allowed a hit or a run in 5 straight starts, loaded the bases then served up the game winning grand slam to Arizona's Brandon Allen. The big swing came moments after two double-play grounders resulted in zero outs. So, the Padre's season-long losing streak has reached 7 games and their lead in the N.L. West is down to 3 games. The big question now is how will these young Padres handle this sudden dose of adversity.
But before you press that giant panic button, answer this. If I had told you back in March that your Padres would lead the N.L. West by 3 games on September 1 at the start of a 10-game homestand, would you have believed it? Now we've just got to wonder if what's gotten the Padres to this point can last for at least one more month.