The big matchup between the NL’s two best teams didn’t go too well for the Padres, as their offense was completely shut down by Jair Jurrjens and Tim Hudson in the first and third games of the series. Only a ninth-inning rally off of Billy Wagner in Game 2 kept this from being a sweep.
Furthermore, the series saw David Eckstein succumb to a calf strain, putting him on the DL and leaving San Diego dangerously thin in the middle infield, with Oscar Salazar now being the primary backup middle infielder behind Jerry Hairston and Everth Cabrera.
That said, the series also brings some good news. First off, you have to love the Padres for pulling out that Game 2 win against all odds. Getting two runs off of Wagner and then two more in the 12th off Kris Medlen, no slouch himself, is a huge accomplishment. I’m not one to get all worked up over “clutch performances,” but it was key to pull that game out against a playoff-caliber team in Atlanta.
The other good news that occurred was that Colorado dropped 2 of 3 in Florida, so they couldn’t gain any ground in the standings. The other two NL West contenders, the Dodgers and Giants, are playing each other and have split the last two games. If LA wins tonight, all three teams will be between 4 and 5 back of San Diego; if SF wins, the Giants move to three back while the Dodgers fall six out of first.
In any case, nobody really stepped up to gain serious ground on the Padres while San Diego struggled with the excellent Atlanta ballclub, so they come out of the series no worse than when they entered it, besides losing Eckstein.
Now it’ll be on to Pittsburgh, where the Padres play three very winnable games.