Guess who's coming to town? It's the Padres, whose uneven play (including an 18-inning loss to the Diamondbacks last night) has their fans suffering from whiplash. While the Dodgers have played the tortoise and have yet to lose three consecutive games, the wild-hare Padres have traveled a different road. Witness the San Diego roller-coaster ride:
- April 9-13: won 5 straight
- April 29-May 4: lost 6 straight
- May 8-14: lost 6 straight
- May 15-25: won 10 straight
- June 1-5: lost 4 straight
The Dodgers' consistency makes sense when you think about it, but what's driving the Padres' craziness? They're 26-30, which isn't too bad for a team undergoing a drawn-out ownership change that has resulted in their player payroll being slashed to $44 million.
The Padres' bright spots are few but brilliant. Jake Peavy leads the staff with 74 2/3 innings pitched and a record of 5-6 — although his future in the organization is very much in doubt. There's also superstar slugger Adrian Gonzalez, who is playing out of his mind with 22 home runs. But he can't do it alone; only one other Padre with at least 100 at-bats has an on-base percentage of over .350 (Scott Hairston).
So perhaps that's the formula for assembling a sub-.500 squad still capable of greatness: Surround some stars with scrubs and paralyze the payroll while the team suffers through an ownership turnaround over the course of several seasons. Pity the Padres? Not quite. But let's hope the Dodgers still have it in them to kick an opponent when it's down.