Playoffs in Sight

The San Diego Padres haven't lost four straight games in more than two months. Doing it now could end up costing them a playoff spot.

After completing a long homestand in disappointing fashion, the Padres will have to get their act together on the road when they open a three-game series Monday night against the San Francisco Giants.

Starting a 10-game stretch at Petco Park by winning a season-high seven in a row put San Diego in position to overtake Arizona for the NL West lead. Even if they were unable to pass the Diamondbacks, the Padres (85-70) figured to be on their way to winning the wild card.

Three straight losses later, the Padres find themselves 2 1/2 games behind Arizona and only one-half game ahead of Philadelphia in the wild card race.

San Diego, which last dropped four straight from July 20-23, will be on the road for the final seven games while the Phillies have the luxury of playing their last six contests at home.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made San Diego -135 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 7.5 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 83% of bets for this game have been placed on San Diego -135 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

"Obviously, the goal is to win every game from here on out," San Diego second baseman Marcus Giles told the Padres' official Web site. "We control our own destiny, that's the biggest thing. We're still in first, still up by half a game. Just don't lose."

Greg Maddux gave up five runs in only 3 2-3 innings Sunday as surging Colorado handed San Diego a 7-3 loss. But the latest defeat was overshadowed by a bizarre incident involving temperamental outfielder Milton Bradley, who was ejected and then injured his knee when manager Bud Black spun him to the ground in an attempt to keep him from going after umpire Mike Winters.

"It's terrible. And now, because of him (Winters), my knee's hurt,'' Bradley said. "If this costs me my season because of that, he needs to be reprimanded. I'm taking some action. I'm not going to stand pat and accept this because I didn't do nothing wrong.''

Losing Bradley for any length of time would be particularly damaging to San Diego, which also may be without Mike Cameron. The center fielder injured his right hand when Bradley stepped on it while the two pursued Garrett Atkins' inside-the-park home run in the seventh.

The Padres, who are batting .159 (17-for-107) during their skid, have won eight straight against the Giants.

San Francisco (69-87) hasn't done too well in the role of spoiler, losing eight of its last 11 games and likely will finish with its worst record since going 68-94 in 1996. The Giants scored all their runs in the seventh on Sunday to beat Cincinnati 5-4.

Chris Young (9-7, 2.83 ERA) looks to record his first win in over two months for San Diego. The right-hander was in line to lose his fifth straight decision Wednesday against Pittsburgh, but was rescued by Scott Hairston's three-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Young gave up three runs and five hits in six innings, walking two and striking out five.

Young was 9-3 and led the majors with a 1.82 ERA when he left a start on July 24 after two innings with an injured side. He went on the 15-day disabled list and since coming back on Aug. 9, is 0-4 with a 5.61 ERA in eight games.

Young is 1-0 with 2.75 ERA in three starts this season against the Giants. He did not receive a decision Friday versus San Francisco after allowing three runs and six hits over seven innings in San Diego's 5-4, 10-inning victory.

Barry Zito (9-13, 4.56) tries to beat the Padres for the first time in six career starts. The left-hander had one of his worst starts of the season Wednesday at Arizona, allowing five runs and nine hits in four-plus innings of a 6-4 loss.

Zito is 0-2 in his past six starts, recording his last victory on Aug. 17. He's also 0-2 with a 3.26 ERA in five starts against the Padres.

by: Dave Michaels - thespread.com – Email Us

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