Nick Hundley got to keep his smile going on a rare off day at home. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
The Padres did three things over the weekend. Well, they did a lot of things, but we'll focus on three pretty big ones.
First, they snapped the 13-game winning streak the Phillies had going at PETCO Park.
Second, they won back-to-back games for the first time this year.
Third, they split their 4-game set with Philadelphia, the first time in 2012 they haven't lost a series.
It all combines to make their rare day off at home a much more enjoyable one. Baseball teams usually use their days off to fly to a new city, either starting or ending a road trip. Having time at home is a treat. So, what kind of exotic plans to they have?
"There's some garage work I have to do," said manager Bud Black. "Garage cleanup. I have to pay some bills. There might be a car service, I'll have to look in to that."
OK, so Ferris Bueller they're not. But the padres' weekend success sure makes sitting in the auto dealer's waiting room a lot easier.
On Tuesday the Padres open a 3-game series at PETCO Park against the N.L. East-leading Washington Nationals. Stephen Strasburg is not scheduled to throw in his home town, but that doesn't mean the Friars are getting off easy. The Nats have a pitching staff that's on a historic pace.
Sure, they've only played 10% of their season, but this is fascinating. Over the last 12 years, only 14 pitchers in all of baseball have allowed less than one baserunner per inning (a stat called WHIP, which is walks and hits allowed per inning). Right now, all five of Washington's starters have a WHIP under 1.00.
So, San Diego baseball fans may be missing Strasburg. But we might just get to see three other guys who are throwing just as well.
Usually I'd say that's a big problem for the Padres, but on Saturday night they beat Roy Halladay, who might be the best pitcher in the National League. That's one heck of a confidence boost.