Well, things have gotten a little bit interesting suddenly. While the Padres remain 9 games below .500, the prospect of ever even sniffing .500 suddenly does not seem laughable. Thanks in part to a 5 game winning streak that includes a 4 game sweep of the suddenly nose-diving Mets, the Padres find themselves in a spot that they have not been in since the first week of April: hopefully.
Last year, I hated seeing Tony Clark coming to the plate. Hated it more when Chris Young was pitching. For some reason, I felt like Clark was a consistent Padre killer. So when they signed Clark last winter I thought "great, a big thumper off the bench." Up until Sunday that "thumping" had not materialized. Apparently he only needed to face the National League's best closer (statistically speaking of course, we know where the real best closer resides!) in a full count, down by 2 with 2 guys on situation. Tony Clark's homerun capped an improbable sweep, winning 3 games 2-1 (including beating Johan Santana) then rebounding on Sunday from down 3 in the first to immediately get those runs back in the bottom half of the 1st. Now the Dodgers come to town and the Padres have a chance to move into third. 6.5 GB and 9 from .500. If this team is at .500 by the All-Star Break and within 5 games, things will get very interesting indeed.
Headley Watch: Word is that Headley will finally and mercifully make a Padres debut when inter-league begins next week. Kevin Towers has said that the sudden change in the Padres fortune has relieved the pressure of bringing up Headley, as opposed to have him come up while the team was scuffling in May and be seen as THE SAVIOR. They still seem hesitant to let him play left though. Perhaps they see something in PMac and Huber that I don't. Hard to imagine Headley plays left worst than those two.
- Jody Gerut has turned it on in the past week and presents a legitimate speed threat at the top of the lineup who is now hitting for average. The power is still not there (although how much power were you expecting?) but getting on-base is, and that has been key to the Padres sudden winning ways.
- Jake Peavy is said to be returning from the DL this Thursday, a day game against the Dodgers, after throwing a simulated game yesterday.
- I love rooting for Edgar Gonzalez. I don't know why but I do.
- Tonight, Greg Maddux goes for the Padres. Somewhat under the radar, Maddux has quietly had a tremendous year, especially at home. The Dodgers send rookie Henshaw who, while sometimes erratic, has electric stuff and a high K/9 rating. Never good when playing the Padres.