Well, at least the Padres aren’t in last place.
That’s a distinction they held for a few hours after Saturday’s loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks, but the Friars totally redeemed themselves in avoiding a series sweep with a 2-1 win on Sunday afternoon.
Facing a juicy matchup against the team with the worst record in the National League, the Padres went out and scored a total of four runs in the three-game set. They now remain a game ahead of the D’backs and the Tampa Bay Rays for worst record in all of baseball as they welcome the Cincinnati Reds to Petco Park this week.
There’s no doubt the lineup will be shaken up in the next few weeks as the trade deadline approaches. The Reds might be one of the teams to swoop in. They trail the red-hot Milwaukee Brewers by 6 ½ games in the NL Central and are in the thick of the wild card race.
And speaking of trades, the Padres face one of the pitchers they might regret trading away when Mat Latos takes the mound on Monday night.
There will be a lot to watch as this nine-game homestand continues.
Monday, 7:10 p.m.: Jesse Hahn (R, 3-1, 2.38) vs. Mat Latos (R, 1-0, 2.89)
Make that three straight quality starts for the rookie Hahn, who is solidifying his spot in the rotation. The Reds gave up Yasmani Grandal and Yonder Alonso for Latos three years ago. The jury’s still out, especially after Latos missed the first two months with an arm injury.
Tuesday, 7:10 p.m.: Ian Kennedy (R, 5-9, 4.01) vs. Mike Leake (R, 6-6, 3.41)
Despite riding a three-game losing streak, Kennedy has 20 strikeouts in his last 16 2/3 innings. Leake, a San Diego native, has won his last three starts.
Wednesday, 12:40 p.m.: Tyson Ross (R, 6-8, 3.18) vs. Johnny Cueto (R, 8-5, 1.88)
Poor Ross can’t pitch much better than his last two starts – 7 IP and 2 ER each – but has lost both. Cueto is making a solid case for the Cy Young and has four straight quality starts.
What’s at stake: Let’s not say any more about the Padres’ situation. It will only depress us. Instead, let’s focus on the Reds, who are 6 ½ out of first place in the NL Central, tied with the St. Louis Cardinals, and a half-game out of the second wild card spot. They’re not going away, especially with this pitching staff.
For what it's worth, the Padres took two of three on the road when the teams met in May.
Who to watch:
Padres: Cameron Maybin has four hits and a pair of RBIs in his last four games. Tommy Medica has the team’s only home run in the past week. Wait, what?
Seth Smith isn’t doing his trade bait status any favors as he tries to break out of an 0-for-14 slump. He still leads the team with eight homers and 24 RBIs.
Reds: Third baseman Todd Frazier leads the team with 17 homers and 46 RBIs. He also has seven hits in his last three games. First baseman Joey Votto is the biggest name in the lineup, but has struggled with injuries this year. He hasn’t homered since May 10. Catcher Devin Mesoraco has 14 long balls in just 166 at-bats. He leads the team with a .307 average.
Coming up: The San Francisco Giants come to Petco this weekend trying to regain a sole share of first place in the NL West. Talk amongst yourselves about whether you want to start a “Beat SF!” or “Nor-Cal Sucks!” cheer.