Are The Padres Pulling Away For Good?

Whether it’s the AL West or the NL West in MLB, the level of play seems to drop off substantially when rating the various divisions. In the AL West, the LA Angels and the Oakland A’s are presently tied for the lead, but then a team like Texas drops four in a row and they still only find themselves 1 ½ games back of first place.

Over in the NL West, I have a sneaky suspicion that the San Diego Padres are about to make a definitive move on their rivals who are playing sub-par ball. San Diego has won 4 in a row on the road and now heads to Colorado for a weekend set against a floundering club.

The Padres got some great news yesterday when their presumed ace, prior to the season, Jake Peavy won his first game in two months. Peavy helped himself on Wednesday with a homer, a double and four RBIs as the NL West-leading Padres rolled to a 10-3 victory.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers have lost eight straight, are 1-13 since the All-Star break and have been outscored 81-29 during this stretch. They are eight games under .500 (47-55) and a season-worst 7 1/2 games out of first place in Grady Little’s first season as manager.

Peavy (5-10) threw 129 pitches over seven innings allowing two runs and five hits with eight strikeouts and three walks. The right-hander came in 0-5 with a 6.61 ERA in eight starts since beating St. Louis 10-8 on May 28. Peavy has seven hits in 36 at-bats this season including his first career home run on July 5 at Philadelphia. His eight RBIs equal what he had in 200 at-bats before this season.

The acquisition of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez has been the steal of the year as the former 1st round draft pick in 2000 by the Florida Marlins has been nothing short of spectacular. He extended his hitting streak to 17 games on July 26. Gonzalez, who hit in 17 consecutive games from May 17-June 9, is the first player with two streaks of 17 or more games for San Diego since 1997 when OF Tony Gwynn had streaks of 19 and 20 games.

Prior to this year the hometown Gonzalez had hit only 7 homeruns and driven in 25 in just 192 at-bats, so the Padres are jumping for joy and they are getting excellent production out of Mike Piazza who has chipped in with 15 homeruns and 45 RBI’s in just 250 at-bats.

Pencil in the Padres as the NL West champions and look for them to flex their muscles in the Rocky Mountain High state this weekend!

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