Green has Padres headed down right path

His club playing toughest part of schedule tough, but it's a long road

Green has Padres headed down right path

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

Aug. 17 is an important date in the mind of Padres manager Andy Green.

That is the date, with the opener of a four-game series against the Washington Nationals, that the Padres embarked on a murderous part of their schedule. From Aug. 17 through the end of the season -- a span of 42 games -- the Padres play one team with a losing record ... the San Francisco Giants.

The schedule is a challenge. It is a test. And it is welcomed by Green.

"We're trying to create a winning culture," Green said recently. "The only way you do that is if you win close baseball games and show resiliency against good teams. I couldn't be happier, from when we saw the Nationals to the end of the season, there's not a tougher schedule in baseball.

"Every single team we're playing with the exception of the Giants is fighting for a playoff spot. That basically says you are going to get to test yourself and see if you've made strides during the year.

"I think there are a lot of positive signs. We also have work to do. This team is not talented enough to show up and say we're starting to arrive. We have a long way to go. Staying hungry, continuing to work and being tested by top teams ... it's a tough stretch and it is fun that way."

Green said improvement comes from teaching players and having them take ownership.

"Everything is player driven in this game," continued Green. "It comes from Manuel Margot, Jose Pirela, Carlos Asuaje, Austin Hedges. Our goal is to get better every single day. I wouldn't make much out of being slightly over .500 for the last 100 games."

"If we show up and think, 'We're doing a lot of good things and just need to carry on,' we're not going to be very good. Every one of these guys needs to go into the offseason knowing what they need to get better at ... and what we need to do to get better at as an organization. We're far off from really competing for a playoff spot."

"If you keep that attitude even when you are close to competing for a playoff spot, it will push you over the top eventually. I don't spend a lot of time looking at big-picture stuff. I look at each one individually. Wherever you are in the standings shouldn't matter. You should play with passion. And focus every single day. Don't concentrate on things on the periphery. We have a lot of work left to do before we are contending."

The Padres are 11-13 thus far during the toughest part of their schedule.

Like Green says, they are gaining ... but they have a ways to go.

NOTEWORTHY

• LHP Kyle McGrath has a funky delivery loaded with over-the-top deception. Green said his real test will come when he faces hitters for a second, third and fourth time and they become more comfortable with the deception. But Green also said he loves having two deceptive left-handers in McGrath and Buddy Baumann, whose deception is from a much lower angle.

• RHP Luis Perdomo Sunday pitched six or more innings for the 10th straight start, turned in his team-leading 16th quality start and worked his fifth straight quality start. He has lowered his ERA in seven of his last 10 starts -- dropping it overall from 4.94 to 4.61. Perdomo got 13 groundouts Sunday after entering the game with a Major League-leading 62.6 percent ground-ball rate.

• 1B Wil Myers left Arizona with a .321 career batting average (61-for 190) against the D-backs with nine home runs and 24 RBIs. He was 5-for-12 in the just completed series with a double, two homers and four RBIs.