The Padres averted disaster in their three-game set against a lowly Arizona team by dominating the final game after dropping the first two, while watching the second-place Giants take just one of their last three against a tough Atlanta team as well. So, it’s still a two-game difference three games before the key Giants/Padres series.
In my series preview, I mentioned how Dan Hudson would likely struggle against San Diego’s lefties. He did allow a homer to Will Venable and a single to Adrian Gonzalez, but he took care of Chase Headley and Tony Gwynn and held the righties to just one hit.
Between that and Clayton Richard‘s struggles in Game 2, Arizona snuck out with a 2-0 start to the series.
It’s worth noting that the Padres didn’t exactly play badly–they outscored Arizona 16-9 in the series, after all. It just so happens that many of those runs came at times when they weren’t needed, so they didn’t exactly translate into wins.
One-run games are largely luck–the 2003 Tigers, the worst team in the history of the AL, was over .500 in them, for example. Obviously, the Padres lost the first two games partially because Arizona simply outplayed them, but if Luke Gregerson allows the homer to Chris Young in the final game instead of the second game, the Padres likely go 2-1. If Rodrigo Lopez had started Game 1, Joe Saunders Game 2, and Dan Hudson Game 3, the Padres could’ve easily swept.
But that’s just the way it goes. Hopefully playing the Pirates next will give the Padres a bit more of a cushion before the San Francisco series.