SAN DIEGO -- While the back end of the Padres' bullpen, most notably All-Star Huston Street, has gotten some well-deserved attention this season, some of the names setting up for the closer are starting to stick as well. Luke Gregerson has been a familiar late-inning option over his three-plus years with the Padres, as has left-hander Joe Thatcher, despite currently residing on the disabled list, but Dale Thayer and Brad Brach are starting to be used more frequently in high-leverage innings for San Diego. Such was the case on Monday night, with the Padres holding a 2-0 lead when Brach and Thayer turned in perfect sixth and seventh innings. Gregerson and Street followed with flawless frame of their own, showing the depth that Padres manager Bud Black has seen developing since the start of the season.
"I think a number of guys are starting to settle in now," Black said. "The standard is set by Joe and Luke, they've been here. There are some good guys to look at for our younger pitchers. They set a great tone for the guys who will eventually be part of our bullpen in the future." Thayer, for his part, has allowed only three earned runs in his 19 innings since June 25, and Brach has not given up a run in 13 of his last 17 outings. Thayer spoke about the interchangeability between Brach and himself setting up the eighth and ninth innings. "For a while it has been me and Brach switching off back and forth," Thayer said. "It has been going well. Street's having a great season so far, so if me and Brach can get the ball to those guys, we're going to win a lot of games." Having also collected five saves when Street was on the disabled list, Thayer acknowledged that Monday's progression of Brach, Thayer, Gregerson and Street could be a successful one for the Padres. "That's picture perfect right there," Thayer said. "Hopefully we can do that more often than not and win some games."