Ah. We kept expecting the Padres to fall and they never did. They had the best record in the National League and we couldn't believe it. And that little engine got all the way to September and then the wheels fell off. They lost ten in a row just as the Giants and the Rockies started to gel. And now, for the first time in a really long time, the Padres are no longer in first place. They still own the wild card spot, but just barely. The Braves have been equally as disappointing down the home stretch. It's sad. Everybody loves an underdog, but the Padres aren't going to make it. Maybe we'll be wrong again, but the Fan doesn't think so.
The Padres climbed into first place on April 20th. They briefly fell out of first from June 8 - June 10 after they lost two of three to the Mets. They regained first on June 11th but fell into second for one game on June 16th. They regained first place the next day. On June 27th, the Padres were up by four and a half games after a sweep of the Marlins (which might have been the nail on Fredi Gonzalez's managerial stint there).
After several losses to the Rockies, the lead was cut to one game on July 10th. But the Padres started to build the lead back up again and by August 18th, they were up six games. Their high point was six and a half games on August 25th. Then they lost ten games in a row. Woof. That's a long losing streak. Their lead went from 6.5 at the start of the slide to one game by the end of it.
The Padres record since the losing streak is 6-5. That's not bad, but Marlins-like baseball isn't enough against the high flying Giants, who have made tremendous late season roster moves to give themselves some offense and the late run by the Rockies who have used their home field advantage and their schedule to become a factor.
When the Padres fell out of first place yesterday, it was the first time they did not hold the top spot for eighty games. That's a long run and it has to be disappointing to go that long in first and now have to simply hope for miracles. Unfortunately, it seems that the tide is against them and after a long, long season of hope, the Padres will be swept under by a tide they can't hold back.
It's too bad. That little engine almost could, but couldn't after all.