For most observers, the team that has been the biggest surprise in Major League Baseball in 2010 has been the San Diego Padres.
Not much was expected of the Padres. I thought they would be a better team this season and picked them to finish third in the NL West behind the Giants and Dodgers. That surely would have been an accomplishment. Indeed, they have already won more games this season than they did in 2009.
But now a third place finish would be a let down. The Padres have been atop the NL West for most of the 2010 season largely on the strength of stellar pitching both in the starting rotation and in the bullpen, sterling defense and the bat of Adrian Gonzalez.
However, the Padres have hit the skids and with their 4-2 loss this afternoon against the Colorado Rockies they have lost ten games in a row. Their lead atop the NL West has been reduced to one game over the San Francisco Giants. The Padres have not tasted victory since August 25th when they defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-3 at Petco Park. Interestingly, seven of the ten losses have taken place at Petco. Prior to this descent, the Padres longest losing streak this season had been three games when they were swept at home by the Dodgers during a weekend series in the middle of May.
Speaking of the Dodgers, they come to San Diego tomorrow evening to begin a three game series. The Padres then host the Giants for a four game series starting Thursday. This coming week could make or break the Padres. Are we seeing one of the most monumental collapses in the history of baseball? Or have they weathered the worst of this storm?
Do the Padres have a prayer?
UPDATE: On Monday night, the Padres snapped their ten game losing streak with a 4-2 victory over the Dodgers and retain a one game lead over the Giants in the NL West. The relief on their faces was visible. But there's still a long way to go.