In between last week’s big series against then-NL-leading Atlanta and this week’s big series that could put the Dodgers as many as nine out of first (or as close as three), the Padres had a three-game series with NL basement-dwellers Pittsburgh.
My series previews were optimistic that the Padres’ pitching could stifle the Pirates’ offense and that the Pirates’ pitching was ill-equipped to prevent the Padres from scoring. In short, these were the classic “games you’re supposed to win.”
The Padres can’t afford to lose to Pittsburgh when they have three NL West teams breathing down their neck, and thankfully, they came through with a three-game sweep on the road. That’s no mean feat, mind you: Pittsburgh isn’t all that devoid of talent, particularly on offense, and they were hitting well against Milwaukee in the series prior. San Diego could’ve easily let one or even two slip away, but they didn’t.
It’s good they didn’t, too, because the Giants continued to win, and remain just three back of San Diego, poised to strike the second something goes wrong with the Padres. The Rockies, however, have now lost five straight, and are a distant 7 1/2 back. The Dodgers are six back, but the upcoming series (which I’ll break down later today) could drastically influence their standing in the divison.
So, props to the Padres for making the Pittsburgh series turn out like it should have. Hopefully the three-game winning streak carries over into their tough battle with LA.