Godot is free to catch the next flight out of San Diego, and we’ll wait for something else; the San Diego Padres will not be going on an eight game losing streak and finally cough up their season-long lead in the National League West.
It’s not the Padres amazing 73-47 record, best in the National League and third best in the Majors (after the Yankees and Tampa), that will keep them upright and moving forward. And it’s not that the calendar has somehow reached August 20th, and the Pads have a mere 41 games left to play.
No, what will keep San Diego from slipping on the long-awaited 2010 banana peel are the remaining teams they play to finish up the season, and the location at which those games will be played. These two intriguing items will almost guarantee the Pads a first place finish (if there is such a thing in life).
Of their remaining forty-one games, the Padres play 13 (almost a third) against sub-.475 teams (Cubs, Arizona, and Milwaukee). Another 12 are against middling .500 teams (Dodgers and Colorado), and only 10 are against winning teams (St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati).
Oh, and seven of San Diego’s remaining games are against the San Francisco Giants— a winning team for sure, but against whom the Padres have a 9-2 record so far this season. Even a 4-3 split of those games produces a damaging 13-5 win/loss record against San Francisco this year.
Add one more delicious ingredient to the NL pennant stew: between now and the playoffs, the Padres will play 22 games at PETCO Park and 19 games away– a serious plus for a team that has won 62% of their 2010 home games.
The 2010 reality check for the San Francisco Giants is that they have been tested at various critical times this season, and would likely get about a C+ on those various tests at the local community college. The recent Philadelphia series was typical: the Giants scored a mere ten runs in three games in the best hitters’ ballpark in the National League. Their starting pitching and bullpen were scorched for 19 runs, as they squandered a chance to put distance between themselves and the Phillies in the NL Wild Card race.
Here’s the deal. If all the Giants have left in their ammo pouch is claiming the Marlins’ Cody Ross on waivers to block another team from getting him, we are in a world of more bovine excretion material than anyone ever imagined.