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Padres endure five-game stretch in 70 hours

A rare Petco Park doubleheader adds to team's workload
MLB.com @AJCassavell

SAN DIEGO -- The on-field cage used for batting practice at Petco Park didn't get much use this weekend.

Instead, the Padres -- with a remarkable five games in a 70-hour span -- were forced to make some considerable adjustments to their daily routine. Those adjustments paid dividends in the form of three victories in four games against the Dodgers before Monday's day game, a 2-0 loss to the Cardinals.

Full Game Coverage

SAN DIEGO -- The on-field cage used for batting practice at Petco Park didn't get much use this weekend.

Instead, the Padres -- with a remarkable five games in a 70-hour span -- were forced to make some considerable adjustments to their daily routine. Those adjustments paid dividends in the form of three victories in four games against the Dodgers before Monday's day game, a 2-0 loss to the Cardinals.

Full Game Coverage

It was a May 7 rainout against Los Angeles that prompted one of the toughest home stretches for the Padres in the ballpark's history. Saturday was just the second doubleheader in Petco Park's 14 seasons -- and the first since July 1, 2006, against the Giants.

That twin bill also took place on a Saturday, between a night game Friday and a day game Sunday. But the Padres had Monday off to recover. This time, they had Labor Day and an afternoon game against St. Louis to contend with.

"You just kind of accept it, wake up in the morning and come out here and play," said first baseman Wil Myers, who went 7-for-14 during the stretch. "If you dread it, I don't feel like you'll play as well. You just go out there, accept the fact that you're going to have a lot of games in a short amount of time, and play."

Third baseman Cory Spangenberg, who notched two hits in both legs of Saturday's doubleheader, took the same approach, despite the fact that he couldn't recall having played so much baseball in so short a time.

"Maybe a tournament when I was in high school or something," he said. "But I can't remember anything like this in pro ball."

Like most Padres this weekend, Spangenberg eased off his extra work for a few days.

"We're playing a lot of baseball right now, and it's hard to get in as much work as you normally do and still be able to perform at a high level," said Spangenberg. "I've backed off a little bit. We all have. You're exerting yourself for so much of the day that it's hard to put in as much work as we do normally. I've tried to sleep in a little later, too."

In some cases, the Padres simply weren't allowed to get that work in. They haven't taken on-field BP since Friday. (Ironically, they were shut out by the Dodgers that night, and then put forth three impressive offensive efforts thereafter.)

And if any infielders were looking to take optional ground balls before -- or between -- Saturday's doubleheader games, they were prohibited. Optional grounders were canceled altogether.

"We've pulled back," said Padres manager Andy Green. "Guys understand where their bodies are this time of year, and it's a balance."

The results certainly justified the means. The Padres were quick to point out that the generally upbeat nature of their clubhouse made it easy to sustain the weekend grind. In the eyes of second baseman Carlos Asuaje, it was the biggest factor in the Padres' three wins over Los Angeles in a 30-hour stretch.

"We enjoy ourselves while we're playing," said Asuaje, who was out of the lineup Monday after he was the only player to start all four games against Los Angeles. "That goes to show the chemistry we have as a team, as a group. We have a lot of people pulling for each other."

AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.