On the heels of a four game sweep by the Houston Astros, the Phillies are out west this evening facing the San Diego Padres. Not exactly the team you want to be facing right now when you're trying to end a losing skid. The Padres are actually ranked as the best team in all of baseball right now according to Sports Illustrated's Power Rankings.
The intro to the rankings is entirely about just how good the Padres pitching has been of late. Sounds exactly like what the Phillies bats need right now.
Since Aug. 8, the Padres have won 13 of 16 games, and the starting pitcher has earned the win in each of those victories. Twice in that stretch San Diego has gone on five-game winning streaks with each member of the rotation picking up a victory in succession.
The 22-year-old Latos (who the Phillies will face tonight) is having the best season of the quintet, going 13-5 with a 2.33 ERA, but he will have his innings limited down the stretch. Naturally, the Padres may have an overqualified spot starter to spell him in September, as former All-Star Chris Young could be ready to return from injury in the season's final month.
Now, as we all know, rankings don't really mean anything when it comes time to actually play a game. The Astros are afterall ranked 21st in all of baseball and just swept the Phillies in four at CBP.
For those wondering about the Fightins, they fell from the 6th to 10th spot in the rankings after their pitiful week.
A bit unrelated: I was having a discussion with longtime friend of the Level, Scott R., who predicted after the second loss to the Astros that they'd go on to get swept by Houston, only to go out to San Diego to do some sweeping of their own.
It'd be nice if one of his predictions came true for once.