Padres to be tested again after 2nd SF sweep

Padres to be tested again after 2nd SF sweep

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres have been here before.

Twice this season they've entered a three-game series against the Giants with a chance to gain ground and make a statement in the National League West. And twice they've left that series reeling from a sweep at the hands of their division rivals.

After dropping Thursday's series finale, 3-1, the Padres hope their response this time matches the last one.

On April 27 in San Francisco, San Diego took its first sweep at the hands of the Giants -- and a fifth straight loss overall. The Friars bounced back to win 10 of their next 16 games -- before suffering another setback this week at the hands of the Giants.

"This is baseball; next thing you know you're back at it," said catcher Christian Bethancourt, who went 1-for-3 Thursday. "We've just got to keep working every day, not let ourselves down. The season is still very young. We've got to come out here with a good attitude like we've been doing. Even though our record is not positive, we still come here and grind."

Of course, that's not to say these three games didn't sting.

"Any time you get swept, it's tough to swallow," said Padres starter James Shields. "We got outplayed this whole series. We got outpitched. We need to clean that up, bottom line. I'm not making any excuses. We just need to get better."

With Thursday's loss, the Padres fell to 17-25. They trail the red-hot Giants by 7 1/2 games.

A week ago, the NL West was a jumbled mess without a clear frontrunner. Now, the Giants have won eight straight, and the Padres have lost four in a row -- giving them some serious distance to make up if they hope to contend.

"[The losses] are obviously tough, they're obviously more magnified, especially when San Fran or L.A. comes into town," said first baseman Wil Myers. "Obviously, the fans get really into that. I think they get magnified a little too much, but you've still got to put a lot of weight into those types of games, especially in the division."

Up next is a date with another fierce division rival, the Dodgers. But in the eyes of manager Andy Green, it's time to look introspectively.

"We've just got to keep focused on the process," Green said. "I think that's what it's been from the beginning here. Look at the process and figure out what we've got to do to be a better baseball team."

Green followed that statement by adding, "Right now, it's not from a pitching aspect."

And he's right. The Padres' pitching staff has been very solid of late. The offense, on the other hand, managed one run in each of the three games.

"If you don't score runs, the game feels flat," said Green. "It doesn't matter the level of energy that's brought to the park or the level of effort. It just doesn't feel like it's got any liveliness to it at all. That's what happened the last few days. There hasn't been a lot of offense; every little detail of the game gets magnified when you don't compensate for that.

"That said, it's not for lack of effort. These guys are in there, grinding."

Twice now this season, the Padres have been swept, and on both occasions, they won their next two games.

But before the Padres can put together a streak, they have to win one game. And that one game -- scheduled for Friday against the Dodgers -- has all their focus.

"I didn't think about it being a springboard after three losses in San Francisco," Green said. "I don't look at this [potentially] as a springboard after three losses here. I look at it as we've got one game to win tomorrow. That's against [Scott Kazmir] and the Dodgers. What can we do to win that baseball game?"

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.