(Photo credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
The San Diego Padres are out of it, although not officially.
Because of that, manager Bob Melvin says the goal is to win, win, win ... right through the end of the season.
"We're just in a better place," Melvin said Monday night after the Padres held on to defeat the Colorado Rockies 11-9 in the opening game of the final homestand of the season. The win was San Diego's season-best fifth straight.
"It's a feeling where teams go through," Melvin continued. "It feels like you're going to score and win even before you go out there. ... Finish the season strong and have a good feeling. We're playing our best baseball. We're scoring and adding on. I can't explain the why."
On Tuesday against Colorado, the Padres go for a sixth straight win -- which would double their longest winning streak of the season before this run.
San Diego will have National League Cy Young Award candidate Blake Snell (14-9), who leads the majors with a 2.43 ERA in 30 starts, going against Rockies right-hander Ryan Feltner (2-3, 5.86).
Finally, the Padres are executing in all phases of the game. The only thing not on their side is time. They are 73-78 with 11 games to go, leaving them 5 1/2 games behind the final NL wild-card position and needing to pass four teams.
At least they aren't headed to a 100-loss season, which the Rockies (56-94) might experience for the first time in franchise history. With an 11-26 record over the past 37 games, Colorado is building momentum toward the ignominious mark.
"What I like is that we're playing hard to the end of every game," said Rockies manager Bud Black, whose team battled back from an 11-3 deficit Monday night to having the tying run on base with two outs in the ninth.
What the Rockies most lack at the moment is starting pitching, particularly with the recent loss of Kyle Freeland (oblique) and Peter Lambert (biceps).
Feltner, 27, will be making his first appearance since May 13, when he sustained a skull fracture while getting struck on the right side of his head by a line drive off the bat of the Phillies' Nick Castellanos.
Feltner, who will be limited to around 80 pitches Tuesday, has a 1.75 WHIP and opponents are batting .268 against him this season. While he will be facing the Padres for the first time this season, he made all of his three career starts against the Padres in 2022, going 0-0 with a 3.68 ERA in 14 2/3 innings.
Meanwhile, Snell continues one of the best runs in Padres' history. In addition to his stellar ERA, he also has the lowest opponents' batting average (.187). In an interesting paradox, Snell ranks fourth in the major leagues in strikeouts (217) while also leading in walks (93).
"I don't think it matters who he is facing," Melvin said of Snell, "and the walks aren't a big thing. He has total confidence in his stuff and has the ability to freeze runners at third with the strikeout."
--Field Level Media