The San Diego Padres are mired in a five-game losing streak, and their hold on the final wild-card spot in the National League is down to a game with 50 games to play.
They are 1-5 since acquiring Juan Soto, Josh Bell and Brandon Drury for a boatload of prospects and have been shut out in back-to-back games, including Monday night's series opener against the visiting San Francisco Giants.
Game 2 of the three-game series will be Tuesday night in San Diego.
Despite Monday's loss, the Padres are in a soft section of their schedule. Seven of their next eight series -- and eight of the next 10 -- are against teams with a losing record. The Padres' schedule through August is one of the softest in the major leagues.
Padres manager Bob Melvin, however, isn't quick to jump on this point.
"I think we just need to start playing a little bit better regardless of who we're playing against," Melvin said. "The Giants are a lot better now. They're healthy again. And they're always a challenging matchup for us.
"The schedule presents an opportunity. But I really don't look at it that way. We just need to start playing a little bit better."
The Giants, for example, are one of those teams with a losing record. But the Giants defeated the Padres 1-0 Monday for their third straight win.
"We had a tough series against the Dodgers, and we've bounced back pretty good," Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. "We've got a couple guys back. Who knows."
Despite a 54-55 record, the Giants are only 5 1/2 games behind the final wild-card berth. Were they to sweep this series in San Diego, the Giants would be only 3 1/2 games behind the Padres with six head-to-head games left.
Tuesday night's game will feature a match of right-handers -- San Francisco's Alex Cobb (3-6, 4.08 ERA) against San Diego's Joe Musgrove (8-5, 3.00).
On paper, the pairing appears to favor the Padres. But Musgrove is 0-5 over his last eight starts, and the Padres are 1-7 in those games.
Over his first 12 starts, Musgrove was 8-0 with a 1.59 ERA with 12 straight quality starts. And the Padres were 11-1 when he started.
Over his last four starts, Musgrove has given up 17 runs on 26 hits and five walks with 22 strikeouts in 21 innings. That's a 7.29 ERA and a 1.476 WHIP.
Musgrove has made two starts against the Giants this season, and both games resulted in 2-1 wins for the Padres. Musgrove is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA and a .111 opponents' batting average in the two games -- allowing five hits and seven walks with 10 strikeouts in 14 scoreless innings.
Cobb won his only start against the Padres this season. He gave up two runs on four hits and two walks with 10 strikeouts in five innings on April 12 in a game the Giants won 13-2 in San Francisco.
Although he is 0-2 in his last four starts, Cobb has allowed only eight earned runs on 19 hits and six walks with 30 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings for a 2.84 ERA during the stretch.
--Field Level Media