Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.
After a 10-5 start, a fifth straight losing record in April is not what Padres fans expected. The Padres dropped seven of their last eight games to finish the season's first month with an 11-12 record.
Overall, San Diego fared better this past April than in recent seasons, but it was not what the fans -- nor the players or the club -- expected.
"We've had a tough week, no doubt about it," said manager Bud Black after the Astros completed a three-game sweep of the Padres on Wednesday afternoon at Petco Park.
"We've got to play a little better than we have these last three games."
Actually, the last five. The Padres dropped two of three to the Dodgers to open a nine-game homestand that continues Friday night with the first of three games against the Rockies.
Prior to this homestand, San Diego had played 12 straight series at Petco Park without losing one, going 11-0-1. Now the club has dropped two straight series.
Disappointing? Yes. End of the dream? Absolutely not.
All teams go through funks. The Padres are in one. The hot hitting that carried the team through the first 15 games cooled off in the past week. That -- combined with a struggling bullpen, some faulty defense and questionable baserunning -- spelled doom against two of the Major Leagues' hotter teams.
But we are just over one-eighth of the way into the season.
"I think our starting pitchers have done their job," said Black. "Offensively, we've scored enough runs. We've lost some close games. Overall, I think the effort's been outstanding -- the guys are playing with a lot of energy, a lot of heart, as evidenced by a number of our comebacks."
Here's hoping May is a better month.
From the scorebook
• Closer Craig Kimbrel gave up three runs in two-thirds of an inning on Wednesday, marking the first time in his career that he allowed three runs in an appearance. The outing ballooned Kimbrel's ERA this season to 5.19 after 10 appearances -- compared to a career mark of 1.54 over 297 2/3 innings.
• Center fielder Wil Myers has the longest active hitting streak for San Diego, at five games. Myers is 7-for-22 during the streak, with a double, two homers, four RBIs and six runs scored.
• Right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne gave up four runs to the Astros on Wednesday on four hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings out of the bullpen. As a starter this season, he is 2-0 with a 1.98 ERA in 13 2/3 innings over two starts. As a reliever, Despaigne has a 4.70 ERA in four appearances covering 7 2/3 innings.
• Right-handed reliever Dale Thayer has a 1.74 ERA after nine appearances. He is the lone member of the current bullpen with an ERA under 4.00 while pitching in relief.