LOS ANGELES -- Contrary to popular belief, the Padres aren't half bad offensively. Their better half routinely surfaces on the road. Free from the distant, intimidating reaches of PETCO Park, the Friars relax and bomb away. In the truest statistical measure -- performance on the road, where all elements are close to equal -- a compelling argument can be made that San Diego has the best, most complete offense in the National League. On the road, the Padres lead the league in batting average (.277) and on-base percentage (.343), and are tied for second with Atlanta in slugging (.446), trailing only the New York Mets' .460.More
At home, where homers, triples and doubles go to die, they're dead last in all three categories -- .246 batting, .385 slugging, .318 on-base percentage. "Put any offense in PETCO Park and the numbers are going to go down," said first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, whose 22 homers tied for the club lead with Mike Piazza coming into Sunday's matinee against the Dodgers. "Those [statistics] don't surprise me. It's not a coincidence. "I see guys all the time stand up on the ball at PETCO Park, thinking they've gone deep, and they're outs. Playing 81 games like that, it's going to take a toll. A lot of home runs, doubles and triples are fly balls in our park. It's just reality." The difference is apparent in almost every case, the lone notable exceptions being Dave Roberts and Mike Cameron. Roberts is hitting .316 at home and .284 on the road, while Cameron is batting .266 at home with 10 homers and 31 RBIs, compared to .265 on the road with 10 homers and 36 RBIs. "I've lost a few [homers] in the gaps," Cameron said. "It can get frustrating, but I don't mind hitting at PETCO. It's still the same game. Just go play." Josh Barfield leads the league in road average at .332, but is hitting only .232 at home. Piazza's contrast is equally striking. The catcher is hitting .325 on the road with 12 homers and 36 RBIs, while he's a .218 hitter at home with 10 homers and 28 RBIs. "I don't know what it really says," Piazza said of the discrepancy. "When we do the right things offensively, we're a good team. We've got speed, a little power, and we're not relying on any one thing when we put together good at-bats." Sweeney savors save No. 2: After pitching the final three innings on Saturday night, giving up one run and closing down an 11-2 victory, Brian Sweeney was handed the baseball by catcher Josh Bard. "I was going to throw it in the stands," Sweeney said. "But when we were shaking hands, somebody said, 'You got a save.' I thought, 'Yeah, that's right.'"
Three or more innings to finish off a victory constitutes a save no matter the score.As Trevor Hoffman -- standing four saves behind all-time leader Lee Smith's 478 -- walked by, Sweeney caught his attention and said, "You're not mad at me, are you, Trev'?" Sweeney's save was his second, which ranks second on the club to Hoffman's 38, and both have come in support of Woody Williams. Sweeney's first save came on May 7 at PETCO Park in a 6-3 decision over the Cubs. Scott Linebrink has one save, earned in the final game before the All-Star break, after Hoffman had saved four games in succession. "I don't think anyone's going to believe it," said Sweeney, who has both baseballs commemorating the final outs of his saves. "You were on a team with Trevor Hoffman, and you got a save? Two saves? Was everybody sick that day?" Walker thriving: Todd Walker was back at second base on Sunday against Derek Lowe after his three-hit game on Saturday night, featuring his second homer as a Padre and eighth of the season. Acquired from the Cubs at the trade deadline, Walker is 6-for-19 on the road trip with four RBIs. The versatile veteran is hitting .296 since joining the Padres with a .439 slugging percentage and .381 on-base percentage. "I got rescued," he said, grinning, referring to the move from Chicago. "This is fun. It makes your focus so much better, playing important games like this. It's what it's all about." Wells on schedule: David Wells, whose sprained right ankle was examined in San Diego on Saturday, is in line to make his next start on Wednesday night at PETCO Park against Arizona. Manager Bruce Bochy said he felt Wells was able to break off several quality curveballs, and is confident that the veteran lefty will be able to give the Padres quality innings against the Diamondbacks. Coming up: A pair of aces -- San Diego's Jake Peavy (9-14, 4.17) and the Dodgers' Brad Penny (16-8, 4.04) -- square off in Monday night's series finale at Dodger Stadium at 7:10 PT.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less