If the duration of the major league baseball season were a California road trip up the Interstate 5, the Padres would barely be in Oceanside.
Nonetheless, with one month in the rear view mirror, the Padres are in cruise control.
For the third time in four games on Sunday, the Padres shut out the Milwaukee Brewers, this time on a combined three hitter by John Garland and two relievers. The Brewers came into the series leading the NL in scoring.
It was the first time the Padres have had three shutouts in a series of any length in their 42-year history.
The 8-0 victory marks the 13th win in 16 games for San Diego.
The early success has left fans and followers of baseball asking the same question:
Who are these guys and what have they done with the Padres?
As evidenced in the recent shutouts, the Friars' pitching staff, from the starting rotation to the bullpen, has been lights out.
Yet, the stingy pitching has set the tone for the Padres clubhouse and resulted in not only more offensive potency, but a unit playing with more intensity and resolve.
Adrian Gonzalez, the usually permissive Padres All-Star first baseman, was tossed in the bottom of the 8th of Saturday's 2-1 loss, after arguing balls and strikes in a rare show of emotion.
The ejection was the first of Gonzalez's career, and has a ways to go to reach Bud Black’s mark of 10. Black not only joined the double digit ejection club as a manager, but he also joined Gonzalez in the clubhouse after backing his slugger.
Home plate umpire Rob Drake's strike zone was fluctuant at best for most of the evening. It was Adrian’s third strikeout of the night and while he and Black definitely got their moneys worth, it was good to see some fire from within.
It was peculiar seeing all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman in another jersey at PETCO Park. Hoffman, who has struggled this year with four blown saves already, pitched a perfect ninth for his 595th save Saturday.
The Friars look to stay in gear for their sixth consecutive series victory and their 10th win in 11 games at home Monday, as they host division rival Colorado for a three game series.