Schedule COMPARISON OF NL POSTSEASON CONTENDERS entering MondayExcluding NL Central leader Cincinnati
|Team||Home games left||Away games left||Strength of schedule||Off-days left|
|Atlanta||nine remaining||nine remaining||nine games vs. teams .500 or above||two scheduled off-days|
|Colorado||nine remaining||10 remaining||10 games vs. teams .500 or above||two scheduled off-days|
|Philadelphia||nine remaining||nine remaining||nine games vs. teams .500 or above||three scheduled off-days|
|San Diego||seven remaining||13 remaining||13 games vs. teams .500 or above||one scheduled off-days|
|San Francisco||12 remaining||six remaining||six games vs. teams .500 or above||three scheduled off-days|
The Padres' slump makes their finish look even more grueling than before. Of their final 20 games, 13 are on the road -- a 10-game trip due to start Monday at Colorado and three at San Francisco to end the season. Moreover, San Diego has just one off-day in that stretch.The Rockies, whose 10-game winning streak has moved them just 1 1/2 games out of first place in the NL West, still have home series against both the Padres and the Giants. Many observers believe that Colorado soon will surge into the NL West lead. But the Rockies finish the season with four games at St. Louis, where the Cardinals are unlikely to concede anything. Don't forget Philadelphia and Atlanta, the top teams in the NL East, which also are involved in the Wild Card chase. The involvement of so many teams increases the possibility that the complexion of the races could change yet again by the weekend. So when the Giants say they're simply trying to win each game -- one at a time, of course -- and not dwell on other teams' fortunes, they're being more commonsensical than cliched. "Realistically, win, win, win, win, win -- that's all that's in our heads," Romo said. Scheduled off-days could help the Giants, who are idle on the regular season's final three Mondays. Surging teams like the Giants, who have won nine of their last 12 games, typically dislike interruptions and would rather keep playing. But this particular Monday could help the Giants. Second baseman Freddy Sanchez limped out of San Diego's PETCO Park on Sunday with a sore left knee, though manager Bruce Bochy expects him to be ready for Tuesday's series opener against the Dodgers. "When you're playing well, you hate to see off-days, but we have a couple of guys that have gone pretty hard," Bochy said. "At this stage of the season, you're going to be a little bit beat up and tired, so [the off-day] is probably coming at a good time."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.