While Mat Latos has put together an impressive streak, the one that the stumbling San Diego Padres are on is among the biggest stories in baseball.
The NL West-leading Padres send Latos to the mound as they try to end their 10-game losing streak Monday night in a home matchup with the Los Angeles Dodgers.The rise of San Diego (76-59) into one of the best teams in the majors has been one of the biggest surprises of the year, but the Padres are now in the news for the wrong reasons. Low-budget San Diego had not lost more than three straight all season, but is closing in on the franchise-record 13-game skid set in May 1994.San Diego's lead in the West has been cut to one game over San Francisco and 4 1/2 over Colorado. The Padres have totaled 23 runs during the losing streak."We're in games but we're not generating the big hit, not generating the offense to get us over the top," manager Bud Black said. "We have to turn this around. It's in us because I've seen it. But we haven't done it the last 10 games."Los Angeles (69-68) failed to take advantage of San Diego's woes as it dropped the final two games of a weekend home series with San Francisco. The Dodgers led 4-0 on Saturday after six innings but haven't scored since, losing that contest 5-4 and falling 3-0 on Sunday to remain eight games behind the Padres."We need to start something on our own, and we might as well do it against the best club in our division," manager Joe Torre said. "They certainly have been struggling, but we certainly haven't been setting anything on fire, and we need to do that."Latos (13-5, 2.25 ERA) is the first pitcher to allow two earned runs or fewer in 14 consecutive starts since Greg Maddux from 1993-94. He yielded one run over six innings and did not get a decision in a 5-2 loss at Arizona on Wednesday."I did what I wanted to do," said Latos, who struck out 10 for the second time in three starts. "I tried to come out and put zeros on the board, try to keep the game close and try to win a ball game."The right-hander has gone 8-1 with a 1.51 ERA over his last 14 outings. He is 0-2 with a 3.21 ERA in three career starts versus the Dodgers, striking out 13 in 11 innings during his two outings against them this year.The Padres have lost seven of 12 to the Dodgers in 2010. Adrian Gonzalez is hitting .359 over his last 17 games, but is 10 for 46 against Los Angeles this season.Gonzalez is 2 for 10 against Vicente Padilla (6-4, 3.96), who will make his first start since Aug. 15. Padilla was activated off the disabled list Friday after being out with a bulging disk in his neck.The veteran right-hander has a 6.22 ERA on the road compared to 1.61 at home. Padilla is 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts against the Padres this year.