Playoffs would take a miracle, but winning record possible

Notes on Ross, Alonso, Hedges plus a correction

Playoffs would take a miracle, but winning record possible

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Two nights ago, one of my most optimistic Twitter followers -- okay, make that the most optimistic -- came up with his plan for making the playoffs.

"Forget the Wild Card," he wrote. "If [the Padres] take the six games remaining with both the Giants and Dodgers and win five of the six the vs. the D-backs and Rockies, the Padres could win the division, if the Giants and Dodgers split their remaining games.

"This would be better than winning the Wild Card. I think they could do it by going 31-10 or 32-9."

There you have it Padres fans ... the perfect plan.

Okay, it might be just a bit of a longshot. But something more reasonable is within grasp for the Padres -- a winning season. More specifically, the Padres first winning season since 2010 and only the second since 2007.

The Padres three-game sweep of the Braves earlier this week moved them back to within three games of .500 for the first time since Aug. 4.

The road ahead is tough, starting this weekend with a three-game series against National League Central-leading St. Louis -- owners of the best record in the Major Leagues -- followed by a six-game road trip to Washington and Philadelphia.

The Padres need to go 23-18 over the last 41 games to finish in the black. It is possible, given the fact that that they play 23 of their final 41 games at Petco Park.

The Padres are 7-2 since a six-game losing streak that ended the faint playoff hopes for all but one Padres partisan. A winning season is still possible. And that would be a major step in the right direction.

8/20/15: Padres Social Hour

From the scorecard:

• Correction: In yesterday's Five Thoughts, I said the sweep of the Braves was the Padres' third of the season. It was the second. Back in April, the Padres did win three straight games in a series, but only after losing the opener of a four-game set against the Giants at Petco Park. My apologies. And thanks to Jesse Agler for pointing out the errors of my ways on Padres Social Hour Thursday night.

• First baseman Yonder Alonso continues to have the highest batting average (.271) and on-base percentage (.352) among Padres regulars. But his batting average with runners in scoring position is a below average at .182 (12-for-66), as are his five homers and 25 RBIs as a first baseman. Alonso is 8-for-25 since Aug. 10 with two doubles, a homer, three RBIs and six runs scored.

Clint Barmes is 4-for-36 with one homer, two RBIs and three runs scored since manager Pat Murphy declared the veteran the Padres' regular shortstop coming out of the All-Star break. Barmes has started just 10 of the Padres past 30 games at short.

• Catcher Austin Hedges has made 12 starts in the Padres' last 32 games and is hitting .275 (11-for-40) with a double and a home run for four RBIs and five runs scored.

• The Padres are 9-3 in right-hander Tyson Ross's 12 starts since June 20, and Ross has a 5-2 record in those games with a 2.79 ERA. Ross has 71 strikeouts in 71 innings during the run, with 55 hits and 28 walks allowed.