It wasn’t long ago that the San Diego Padres were myriad in a tailspin that caused their manager, Bruce Bochy, to question the team’s intensity and heart. Since then, the Padres have been on a tear, but the demons are on the horizon.
Back to where it all started -- or ended -- for the Padres: a trip to Arizona and San Francisco.
When last the Padres visited those National League West haunts April 22-27, they dropped five of six -- being swept in Arizona and dropping the final two at San Francisco in what manager Bruce Bochy called "embarrassing" fashion.
Following the trip-ending 10-3 loss in San Francisco, Bochy closed the doors to the Padres clubhouse for 17 minutes to have a chat with the troops.
"It was a minor snap," said Bochy. "Not like I would have had years ago."
But Bochy's comments were designed and timed for maximum effect. He met with the players before they could board the plane home. And the Padres had a day off the following day to chew on Bochy's thoughts.
Bochy doesn't think the meeting did anything to change the Padres fortunes. But something did. Even dropping two of three games at Seattle over the weekend didn't put a damper on San Diego's last 2 1/2 weeks.
The Padres return for three-game sets in Arizona and San Francisco this week having gone 17-5 since they last visited the cities.
The only question is: Has the run ended? The Padres got a total of 13 hits in Seattle.
With the Padres scheduled to play 13 straight games after Monday's second day off in a span of five days, Bochy has changed his rotation for the Arizona series.
RHP Adam Eaton will start Tuesday as scheduled. Then No. 5 starter LHP Darrell May will start on Wednesday, allowing both RHPs Jake Peavy (Thursday) and Brian Lawrence (Friday in San Francisco) to get another day's rest.
The Padres were 15-3 through Friday in games started by Jake Peavy (8-1) and Adam Eaton (7-2). Peavy was 4-0, Eaton 6-1.
Much has been made of the hitting of Brian Giles, Ramon Hernandez and Khalil Greene recently during the Padres' hot streak.
But another major contributor to the Padres' success has been their bench players.
The list of contributors includes two players -- outfielder Adam Hyzdu and infielder Jesse Garcia -- who are back with Triple-A Portland. Both, however, contributed during their final hours with the Padres.
The biggest contributors during the streak have been Damian Jackson, Mark Sweeney and Miguel Ojeda.
Jackson subbed for the injured Greene when he was first called up from Portland and since Greene's return has pinch-run and been a late-game defensive replacement in the outfield.
Sweeney is 7-for-17 with three doubles, a homer and eight RBI. Ojeda, who has made a couple of starts in the outfield as well as for Hernandez behind the plate, is 7-for-27 with two doubles, a triple and two RBI.
Reserves -- either as a sub starter or a pinch-hitter -- have delivered seven hits that either tied or produced the winning run during the Padres surge.
After 20 home games (16-4), the Padres are hitting .273 at home compared to .245 at the same point last season. San Diego's nine straight home wins is a record for Petco Park. The franchise record for consecutive home wins is 10 ... set three times (1978, 1980 and 1999) at Jack Murphy/Qualcomm Stadium.
Eight wins in a row for the Padres snapped before a loss to Seattle on Saturday night. 9 -- Wins in a row at Petco Park, the second-longest winning streak at the Padres' new home. The streak is still active. 17-3 --Padres' 20-game run, before they dropped two straight at Seattle on Saturday and Sunday.